Armageddon Over Wacken
3/17/2005 - Review by: Eric Compton
A ton of live music while showing the finest new and classic metal
Various Artists - Armageddon Over Wacken - 2005 - Armageddon Records
"Armageddon Over Wacken" is probably the closest I will ever come to the Motherland, Germany's holy paradise of heavy metal entertainment. Anyone who is anyone has at some point or another played the Wacken Open Air fest. Forget about the small venue dates we have here in the US, THE Wacken fest beats them all. Now folks like me, who can't afford to go across town much less across the globe, can enjoy the experience of this huge metal extravaganza. The label brings us three discs completely loaded with live audio. Everyone from Dio to Anthrax gets the royal treatment here, with plenty of underground staples thrown in to give the listener the full spectrum. Each disc covers a certain style or format. Disc one is Thrash/Black/Death, disc two is Power/Traditional, and disc three is Underground.
Starting with disc one we get the metal icon, the living legend Ronnie James Dio. His band pulls out classic cuts with "Holy Diver" and "Don't Talk To Strangers". I'm sure his setlist was huge and judging from these two examples very entertaining. Along with the classic feel of Dio comes Motorhead, with two of their gems in "We Are Motorhead" and "Life Is A Bitch". Doro steps in to bring a female assault to the masses, checking in with "Fur Immer". Thrashers Death Angel continue their reunion tour, stopping in to perform "Thicker Than Blood" for their German faithful. Other choices for disc one include Cannibal Corpse's "Dormant Bodies Burning", Brainstorm's "Hollow Hideaway", and Nevermore's "Enemies Of Reality". Every cut sounds exceptional, really not sounding too made up or edited. These cuts really sound live, capturing the raw energy of the German crowd.
Disc two is highlighted by two thrash legends, Anthrax and Destruction. The New York badboys perform "Indians" and "Only" while Destruction storms through "Nailed To The Cross". The most interesting cut for me has to be Blaze Bailey, who pulls out an Iron Maiden tune in "Fear Of The Dark". Ex-Rods member Feinstein supports his newest record by peforming "Regeneration". Underground power metal sensations Mystic Prophecy is captured with "In The Land Of The Dead". Sweden's death metal pioneers Unleashed bring their viking charge to the masses with "To Asgard We Fly" while Finland's Stratovarius mainman Kotipelto plays "Reasons" for the audience.
This is a perfect compilation, capturing a ton of live music while clearly showing some of the finest new and classic metal. Fans get the chance to "relive" the Wacken fest, and for folks like myself, get introduced to the live sounds of the event. This is a great companion piece to some of the band's albums that you already own. Armageddon has really gone out of their way to deliver a quality official "program" of this mighty metal fest. Hopefully in 2005 the label will be planning the same thing! I'm looking forward to it!
Note - A DVD is also offered by Armageddon.
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