Various Artists
Armageddon Over Wacken Live 2004

The Wacken Festival held annually in Germany is perhaps the best known and most loved of all of the outdoor, open air, Heavy Metal Music Festivals in all the world. Metal Fans come in droves from all corners of the globe to bask in the brain-bashing, ear-splitting, neck-snapping glow of loud, live Heavy Metal. So, it’s only fitting that the most popular Metal Fest on the planet drops a 3 disc live album covering the best performances from 2004.Disc 1 starts off covering the Black, Death & Thrash Metal performances from last year’s festivities. 67 minutes of bands ranging from Anthrax to Children Of Bodom, from Cannibal Corpse to Death Angel, from Cathedral to Mayhem. Highlights would be the John Bush-led Anthrax slamming through “Indians,” Cathedral’s “Stained Glass Horizon” & Destruction’s “Nailed To The Cross.”

Power & Traditional Metal is the theme of Disc 2. On this CD, we’re treated to bands ranging from Dio to Nevermore, from Motorhead to Mystic Prophecy and from Brainstorm to Feinstein. Both of Dio’s performances here, “Holy Diver” and “Don’t Talk To Strangers” are stellar! “In The Land Of The Dead” from Mystic Prophecy, Blaze Bayley’s solo take on Iron Maiden’s “Fear Of The Dark,” and Feinstein’s “Rebelution” are among the highlights of this disc.

We’re treated to some lesser known bands on Disc 3, labeled “Underground.” Bands include Hobbs Angel Of Death, Griffin, Raunchy, Zodiac Mindwarp & Gun Barrel, as well as even lesser known acts such as Gutbucket, Thora and Reckless Tide. Nope, I’ve never heard of them either. This makes for a nice cross-section of bands ranging from Traditional Metal to Thrash to Gothic Metal. Good to have if you’re into digging deep into the dirt of the Metal Underground.

The sound quality here is superb, and judging by the occasional out of key vocal, I’d say none of it is overdubbed. There is a lot of crowd participation and energy to boot. Plus, with each CD offering a taste of a different genre, this is one no collector of Heavy Metal can be without.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Shawn Pelata
October 25th, 2005

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