With the first rays of summer, summer festivals arousing and the loudest invitation to open long hot summer filled with heavy riffs sent
the biggest Austrian rock/metal festival Nova Rock that ninth year in a row gathered some of the best bands of mentioned music genres and tens of thousands fans from all over the Europe.
This year festival was traditionally placed in picturesquely area of Panonnia Fields II near Nickelsdorf close to Austrian border with Slovakia and Hungary and was opened on smaller, „red stage“ by American metalcore representatives The Ghost Inside and after some ravels during the journey, looking for and finding press parking and camping zone we are arriving at the festival right on time to catch the show of metallers from Los Angeles, Five Finger Death Punch on big, blue stage. Heavy from the first minute, Five Finger Death Punch didn’t have any troubles to animate audience on action and interaction with their songs like „Under and Over It“, „Hard to See“ or „Lift Me Up“ while noticeably engaged singer Ivan Moody underlined his energy by great vocal variations and with music harmonized stage moves so only a few people might find themselves surprised by the same kind energetic audience that enjoyed heavy riffs by really good Americans.
Swedish power metallers Sabaton prepared the audience for their show with legendary Europe’ song „The Final Countdown“ and „The March To War“ and then opened heavy with „Ghost Division“ and in recognizable wild and very energetic show forced the audience to jump and sing songs like „Gott Mit Uns“, „White Death“, „The Lion From The North“. There is no dilema that Joakim Broden is the key figure of the band that not only animate the audience to go completely wild, but in the same time lead his band through very noticeable melodies and to everyone well known war themes of Sabaton’ songs. Sabaton definitely played one of the best shows on this years Nova Rock festival, and to their show good continuation was the one staged by Within Temptaion on the smaller, red stage.
Leaded by always and again nice Sharon Den Adel, Dutch symphonic metallers greeted the gathered fans with the song „Shot In The Dark“ while Sharon thanks to her recognazible singing style and very dynamic appearance made audience dance and stimulated to sing the songs „In The Middle of the Night“, „Faster“, „Stand my Ground“ while the mood was on its best druing the „Ice Queen“ but also the last one „Mother Earth“. Within Temptation has always had stiking shows during which, as it is expected, the main role has impresssive Sharon Del Adel’ voice, so the same was at Nova Rock. After 16 years of music ways, many tours and impressive discography, Within Temptation still has that something – fresh and catchy what the audience follow and like.
We’re returning on blue stage to see Australian rockers Airbourne. And while on Australia mentioning we almost instantly think of AC/DC, Airborune play the same kind music as their older and more experienced compatriots so heavy rock riffs and great mood in the audience is guaranteed. Lead guitarist and singer Joel O’Keeffe especially delighted the audience at Nova Rock while he was climbing almost at the top of very high stage. Comparing them to AC/DC or not, Airbourne for sure has an energy and pure hard rock sound and that’s the base of their music story.
In the end of the first evening what has left was to regale ourselves with one and only – Rammstein. There has been many told and written about today in so many things legendary Neue Deutsche Härte band that greeted Nova Rock with „Ich tu dir weh“. With no many worlds and with the unique industrial tone that guarantee zero showed emotions, Rammstein continue with „Wollt ihr das Bett in Flammen sehen?“ wile the audience especially enjoyed in „Keine Lust“, „Feuer frei!“, „Mein Teil“, „Ohne Dich“, „Links 2,3,4“. As always, Rammstein was burning and flaming on stage, literally, and for the shock-dose they took care, after they cooked Flake once again in the big pot during „Mein Teil“, with controversial S&M performance that followed many time prohibited „Bück dich“. Although I’ve seen Rammstein several times during their career, this was my first festival show of legendary German band what I took as a challenge expecting that Rammstein would in few segments of their almost pefect show depart of their burning elements. Luckilly, it didn’t happen so the audience, after Rammstein left the stage, invited band for some more music and enjoyed „Mein Herz brennt“ (piano version), „Sonne“ and in the end of the show hectolitres of foam driven from the big penis navigated by Till Lindemann. Rammstein was, as expected, stars of the night so with great expectations we stepped into the second day of the festival.
Exceptionally warm Saturday on blue stage open Finnish gothic rockers The 69 Eyes. Their show announced for 2:00 pm, was some 15 minutes late as the stage construction for headliners Kiss wasn’t ready. They opened with „Love Runs Away“, one of the songs from their latest album „X“. The sun and extremely high air temperature didn’t prevent The 69 Eyes to spread the energy that qualify their shows on gathered audience that was crumple in front rows of „wavebreaker“ in front of the big stage. Continuation in dark gothic tone with „Gothic Girl“ delighted the audience that said loud hello also to „Never Say Die“ while, as we got used to it, complete delight followed at „Brandon Lee“ and the final one, „Lost Boys“. Due to some technical issues related to the scenery for Kiss, The 69 Eyes were forced to shorten their show at Nova Rock festival. Despite, bend that has more than 20 years of downtrodden rock kilometers behind their back, and fans that would at 30 Celsius degrees enthusiastically follow each played note, presented themselves in the best light at Nova Rock.
Amaranthe, Swedish-Danish band whose career climbs high very fast played after The 69 Eyes. Technical troubles at the beginning of the show hasn’t affect Amaranthe to seduce Austrian audience and their with incredible nice mixure of melodic metal and pop melodies while Jake E and Elize Ryd delighed audience with their vocal expressions.
British black metal representatives, Cradle Of Filth, appeared on blue stage after Amaranthe and opened with „Tragic Kingdom“ and „For Your Vulgar Delectation“. Dani Filth with his inexorable screams and deep growl gets all audiences attention in songs „Summer Dying Fast“, „Nymphetamine (Fix)“ while band conquer the Panonnia Fields II area. If there were some doubts, now si clear – Cradle Of Filth are dark and wicked highness that last and that, thanks to very unique musical expression, creates new fan base that follow the band by headbaning.
After Cradle Of Filth on blue stage stepped British metal heroes Dragonforce. As Amaranthe, they had some technical trobules so the audience couldn’t hear vocals during the intro song „Fury of the Storm“ what resulted with shouts „Soundcheck! Soundchek!“. But „Cry Thunder“ forced the audience to sing along with Marc Hudson. Dragonforce’ adut is melodious and good vocal expressions while Marc Hudson’ long blonde hair brings extra points to female part of the audience.
After melodic metal sounded it was time for a row of metalcore sound on blue stage brought by Parkway Drive. Wild and crazy, Australians opened with „Sparks“ and „Old Ghost/New Regrets“ and very soon the caused troubles to security guys in front of the stage as some guy from the audience in wild stage diving arrived right into the security hands in front of the stage. Parkway Drive are pure metalcore energy, the band that knows how to make audience energetically crazy.
Swedish melodic metallers Amon Amarth took the blue stage next in a row. The audience jamed in front rows goes wild already at intro „War of the Gods“ while delirium was during the first part of the show when the band has announced „Destroyer of the Universe“. Wild atmosphere and metal riffs continued the tempo started by Parkway Drive, the security is very busy, and the audience is on the top of wilderness during the songs „Twilight of the Thunder God“ and „Guardians of Asgaard“ that closed the show. Amon Amarth and their wild performance are the proof vikings are always „in“
After heavy sound the blue stage and the audience in front was taken by melancholic sounds of Finnish love metal giants, HIM. The band leaded by the idol of the generation, charismatic Ville Valo, has recently released a new studio album and on Nova Rock beside „All Lips Go Blue“ and „Tears On Tape“ with above mentioned album, teh band played some of the most successful songs from their career so far like „Right Here In My Arms“, „Funeral of Hearts“, „Rip Out The Wings Of The Butterly“, „Join Me“ or „Wicked Game“. HIM are definitely in great playing and vocal shape, but it seems that despite of musical perfection the band is missing a trace of the atmosphere to spread on the audience and mark the concert enthusiastically as one of the best at the festival. However, HIM was great intro to the spectacle that followed when the stars of the night appeared on stage.
Kiss… Legendary glam rockers lead by Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley appeares on the stage in high style (and of course on some 10 cm high heels) and open with „Psycho Circus“ clearly showing what we can expect until the end of the show. Kiss, believe you or not, at Nova Rock used more pyro than Rammstein, they were flying over the audience and on top of the stage, Gene Simmons showed his tounge numberless times and the audience was relaxed already ont he second song „Shout It Out Loud“ and with applause and singing followed each of the next ones – „I Love It Loud“, „Hell or Hallelujah“, „War Machine“ that Gene used for his little flaming spectacle while on „God Of Thunder“ followed the show with fake blood so for a moment we get scared that Gene might loose his worldwide known tongue. Kiss maybe hasn’t show playing or vocal pefection but they definitely proved why are they for four decades one of the greatest bands on the planet. Their visual identity is recognizable, their show is energetic and humoristic, the stage is huge. Kiss has everything glam rock stars need so, that’s for sure, we can name their show as Nova Rock festival highlight
Third and the last day of Nova Rock festival we open a bit later then the day before, with amazing Papa Roach. Their show without any further thinking we can name as the most energetic at the festival. Jacoby Shaddix and his guys played at smaller, red stage, in the late afternoon and they spread so much energy at the audience and wild riffs through songs like „Still Swingin“, „Burn“, „Silence Is the Enemy“ or „Last Resort“, that around the stage as the result of jumping arouse the dust as a fog, and in stage diving took part also a guy in a wheelchair that on the audiences hands almost reached the stage and got a special hello from the band.
After Papa Roach followed a bit more of wild sound brought by Welsh Bullet For My Valentine that continue to push warmed audience to jump with their songs „Your Betrayal“, „Riot“, „Temper Temper“ and in the end with their all-time hit „Tears Don’t Fall“ that the audience sung along with Matt Tuck and his crew.
Korn, American nu metal giants, opened their set with „Blind“ and „Twist“ and worthily shaked Panonnia Fields II. Fans that have been waiting in front of the stage for hours louldy supported extremely energetic Jonathan Davis who really know how to rule the crowd. „No Place To Hide“, „Here To Stay“, „Get Up!“, „Got the Life“ are only a few songs that forced audience to react and once again proved Korn are big name with attitude.
To close the festival at smaller stage as headliners was the task for Danish Volbeat. Croatian audience met them as those who rocked before Metallica at legendary rainy concert in Zagreb. With same intensity and dynamics Volbeat played also at Nova Rock, and the audience that was waiting for them since early afternoon jamed in front rows now took not only „wave-breaker“ pit but the whole area in front of red stage and with Michael Poulsen and guys recently joined by Rob Caggiano, sung the best of their career so far. The guy in the wheelchair who delighted Papa Roach earlier has now accepted Poulsen’ invitation and joined the band on stage while songs „Pearl Heart“, „Heaven nor Hell“, „Fallen“, „16 Dollars“, „The Hangamn’s Body Count“ and on the encore „Cape of Hero“
or „The Mirror and the Reaper“ brought the atmosphere in the audence on very top. Before Volbeat is for sure many big festivals and headliner roles. The definitely deserve that as an energy, communication and familiarity with audience they showed at Nova Rock 2013 is a chain that will connect this amazing band with the top of rock/metal scene from which they are only few steps away.
Fireworks after the last concerts closed the ninth edition of Nova Rock festival. Tired but fulfilled with good vibrations and unforgettable memories we’re coming back to Croatia impatiently waiting Nova Rock festival 2014.
Report & photo: Ivana Sataić