Festival report of Fall of Summer 2016

Festival report of Fall of Summer 2016  Torcy, France; 2-3rd of September 2016

Report by Estelle for Metalegion Magazine on the 7th of Januar 2017

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In the beginning of September 2016 I visited the Fall of Summer festival near Paris, France. Because of the exquisite lineup and also because of paying a fortune for the whole trip regarding that it out of many reasons turned out to be a last-minute decision for me, I had high expectations towards the bands expectations that, as luck would have it, proved themselves true on the whole.

Even though the fest is called ‘Fall of Summer’, personally it belongs among my most “summery” experiences last year due to the stunning location on a sunny beach right next to a lake and with sand below our feet at one of the 2 stages. Fall of Summer in France is thus not a festival one should miss who has an affection for dreamlike places with the comical twist of being able to see a large number of appealing bands from the most various genres of metal on the spot.

The band that I first got to see from the incredible lineup right as I arrived to the venue were the old French heavy/speed heroes, ADX. Even though one can and should still appreciate the enthusiasm they themselves still possess and gladly show to the fans on stage, it does unfortunately already show that we are not writing 1985-86 anymore. The two new songs from their newest album they started their set with (‘La Mort en Face’ and ‘La Complainte du Demeter’) did not manage to establish the mood and feeling one needs to hold at an ADX gig, and unfortunately I had the feeling they were not able to do that afterwards with their old classic songs either. The passion would still be there, however, the physical part the voice and the speed are not able to support the mental section anymore.

Manilla Road, on the other hand, did not disappoint this time either: they brought us the expected level even despite the little ragged beginning which was the effect of the absurd heat and the band being anyways somewhat tired. After getting even more heated up and getting to the ‘feel’ through the interest of the fans they with no doubt always call forth; with the classic Crystal Logic songs Manilla Road permanently managed to focus on the mood that actually they themselves created and so the band’s and the fans’ energies moved along hand in hand afterwards, complementing and expanding each other.

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Manilla Road – Photo: Estelle


Mark “The Shark” Shelton’s solos are still just as sharp-edged and beautiful sounding as ever, and as expected he took over the microphone for a few parts this time on stage as well. Despite the years’ strong effect on the 58-year-old founder & guitarist and his voice; we can still recognize the incredible high-level commitment, engagement and “let’s-do-it”-attitude on his face paired with his tender yet majestic glance which shadows it out how important Manilla Road and the fans for him are, and which makes him an uncommonly lovable and honourable musician.

After Manilla Road Polish death metal band Vader started literally in 5 minutes on the Blackwaters stage and showed us they are still after so many years right on track and ripped our heads off with some real death metal tunes.
Their setlist was particularly mixed: they presented us a group songs from their early era like “Dark Age” from the classic The Ultimate Incantation and songs from the following De Profundis, giving us the strong old school core of their performance. They didn’t leave neither the popular Litany nor the 1997 record Back to the Blind out, and picked songs from their newer releases Impressions in Blood (2006), Welcome to the Morbid Reich (2011) and Tibi Et Igni (2014) as well. We also had the chance to already hear the two newest songs from their album The Empire released in November 2016, ‘Prayer to the God of War’ and ‘Parabellum’.
They still have the dynamism and are in control of themselves on stage; I did not expect much at first but was positively surprised by Vader’s performance.

We once again did not have any chance to recover as my personal largest surprise of the festival, the impressive Riot V kicked off at the big Sanctuary stage. They presented us in honour of the passed away guitarist & main songwriter founding member of the band, Mark Reale a perfect oldschool setlist with each one of the classic songs one is eager to hear on a Riot (V) concert, including a lot from their evergreen record Thundersteel. Even though the two elderly members, bassist Don Van Stavern and guitarist Mike Flyntz just hit 51 & 53, completed with “girls-dreams” vocalist Todd Michael Hall the guys showed how astonishingly fresh, youthful, catchy and tight they are just as much on their newest neat 2014 album ‘Unleash the Fire’ as live. They simply know what the fans want and also give that to them without a hint of artificialness; being committed and respectful towards the old lineup of Riot and towards the crowd the whole time and also representing that by not wanting to shove the new record down our throats but instead concentrating on what people from Riot actually want to hear. Admirable.

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Riot V – Photo: Estelle


Riot V’s setlist on the 2nd of September 2016, Fall of Summer festival, France:

  1. Narita
  2. Ride Hard Live Free
  3. Fight or Fall
  4. Johnny’s Back
  5. Bloodstreets
  6. Angel Eyes
  7. Flight of the Warrior
  8. Metal Warrior
  9. Road Racin’
  10. Warrior
  11. Swords and Tequila
  12. Thundersteel

A complete turnabout and a full switch of genres: Samael came onto stage. I would rather describe the Switzerland black metal band’s performance as interesting instead of good as they even brought the electronic instruments into their older black metal songs. They had a flawless oldschool setlist though consisting of songs picked only from their first 3 albums, what the fans also welcomed and appreciated on the gig.

As the last act of the night again from a contrasting genre, American thrash group Whiplash were about to pound us with aggressivity into the ground. If they succeeded?
The guys possessed the right amount of energy & raw aggressivity as well as a perfect sound for a thrash gig and still, maybe because of the lack of communication between the band and the crowd both regarding talking/encouraging between the songs and the way of behaving on stage, or maybe the formal conventionality of their way of playing, Whiplash’s gig did not come through perfectly as expected. One (as I would usually expect it) could not lose his/her mind completely over the few tight and thrashy best-of songs they could scrape together from Whiplash as the band simply played them casually, routine-like with the rightly measured amount of energy, which unfortunately took a little bit away from the experience.

Compensating that as well as deducting the stress of having to see such an amount of bands on one day (poor us), we went and showed the French how to drink.

– – –

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Grim Reaper – Photo: Estelle

The second day started for me with a sunny Grim Reaper. I could have barely imagined the amount of energy Steve Grimmett and the whole band of his actually still have and similarly could I have barely imagine a more classic setlist including really every classic track from the early albums one is eager to hear on a Grim Reaper gig. Even in spite of the somewhat unnecessary Dio-cover (‘Don’t Talk to Strangers’) that they apparently can never leave out, and even in spite of the exaggerated encouragement of the crowd that occasionally did get a smile onto our faces, I can say I was positively surprised on account of Grim Reaper’s live performance. Steve has tons of experience, he knows how to handle the fans and last but not least: finally a veteran group where we cannot complain about the lack of vitality when it comes to playing as speedy as they should!

Grim Reaper’s setlist on the 3rd of September, Fall of Summer festival, France:

  1. Rock You to Hell
  2. Night of the Vampire
  3. Lust for Freedom
  4. Wrath of the Ripper
  5. Fear No Evil
  6. Liar
  7. Rock Me ’till I Die
  8. Don’t Talk to Strangers (Dio cover)
  9. Waysted Love
  10. See You in Hell
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Nifelheim – Photo: Estelle

No rest for the wicked – here comes Nifelheim. If I say they were the only band by whom I indeed entirely forgot about the fact that I am standing on a beach with sand gently tickling my feet, instead at some point simply realised getting lost in the tremendous, menacing obscure spirit that they created and that we all so craved on this shiny bright day…; I said enough. Terrific, pounding and shredding black/thrash brutality streaming right at our bodies without any break just how a Nifelheim gig shall be happening right from the moment the band gets on stage and plays the first note.

After this giant hit of cruelty I was still able to get myself together to curiously walk over to the big stage where Karl Willetts’ (singer of Bolt Thrower) newly founded death metal band, Memoriam gave their third concert ever. Thanks to Karl, ex-Bolt Thrower-drummer (1986-94) Andrew Whale, Benediction bassist (1991-present) Frank Healy and Benediction guitarist (2015-present) Scott Fairfax, they sound prominent and besides presenting us some good old BT-riffs and drum samples in the new tracks (along with 2 Bolt Thrower cover songs ‘Spearhead’ and ‘Powder Burns’), they assure us about having some new, catchy own ideas up their sleeves as well.
Karl still appears completely drunk on stage and still does not care about it, he does however very much care about the crowd and sings (growls) enthusiastically with love and respect towards the people who are curious about them.

During the following Dead Congregation I decided to take a little break finally as we still had Exciter, Unleashed and Tankard left for the day, but I still was listening while getting something to eat in the festival area: They played as always energetically and tightly with a few real catchy modern death metal riffs.

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Estelle doesn’t like waiting if it comes to Exciter

And now again with full-on power I was ready to cordially welcome the moment for which I was waiting and by reason of I decided at all taking the risk and travelling to the festival: Exciter was willing to tear my head off with nothing else but their over-the-top classic setlist from the ‘80s.
Incredible how physically fit vocalist-drummer Dan Beehler still is. I have always admired yet could never fully understand how one can have such a level of concentration and attitude to play the drums and keep his head straight while singing the ripping fast top-notch speed metal songs at the same time; however, Beehler manages that even after 37 years of playing without any problem. Only his voice started to give up and fade sometimes, especially for the end of the gig at the high-pitched notes, which for me personally still did not take from the experience of seeing the genre-creating speed metal gods playing with such dynamism, love and respect towards the people, towards each other and the whole industry live. Guitarist John Ricci and bassist Alan Johnson are similarly still particularly ‘on-track’, keen on playing while not being able to wipe the smile off their faces.

The most classic lineup and the most classic setlist ever matched with a huge amount of energy, enthusiasm and SPEED: Ladies and Gentlemen, this is what we expect to see from Exciter.

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Exciter – Photo: Estelle


Exciter’s setlist on the 3rd of September, Fall of Summer festival, France:

  1. I Am the Beast
  2. Rain of Terror
  3. Stand Up and Fight
  4. Iron Dogs
  5. Heavy Metal Maniac
  6. Pounding Metal
  7. Violence & Force
  8. Beyond the Gates of Doom
  9. Long Live the Loud
  10. Under Attack

After going into ecstasy over another band came the Swedish death metallers Unleashed. They, similarly to Vader, had an absolutely mixed setlist with a high level of variation and presented us songs from almost every album of theirs from the first until the very last 2015 one. Just as on Brutal Assault 2014, the gig was absolutely energetic again reaching its top with the two powerful ending songs, ‘Hammer Battalion’ and the obvious ‘Before the Creation of Time’.

As the closing act of the incredibly intense festival where I sometimes had the feeling with so many engaging bands we never get a real break, I went to see the old German thrashers Tankard. The crowd expectedly went crazy and started singing along and moshing right away to their classic opening track ‘Zombie Attack’ and did not finish until the band walked off stage. Vocalist Gerre showed great energies by running up and down the whole time, maintaining a pleasant vibe and topping that, later facetiously showing his (beer-)belly. The German beer-lovers kept going on with songs like ‘The Morning After’, ‘Chemical Invasion’ or ‘A Girl Called Cerveza’; they let us hear a bit from their newest album R.I.B. from 2014 and, giving a frame to their gig, they closed the show as well as the event decently with the strong ‘(Empty) Tankard’ from Zombie Attack.


And now, to sum up…

Strongest standout bands: Manilla Road, Riot V, Nifelheim, Exciter

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Blackwaters stage


Main impressions:
+ excellent location; prominent lineup; decent sound; a great variety of genres; open-mindedness
– pricey and not-that-tasty beer; location hard to find for French taxi companies in case you want to be at the airport by 5 am

Recommendations: Go!

Find more information at: http://fallofsummer.fr/
Photos were used by ‘Estelle’.

Announcements and announcements

Reasons for not being active pt. #a lot.

So dear everyone, first of all I would like to apologize for being completely passive when it came to posting in the last months. The main thing is that at the beginning of April I moved from Budapest, Hungary to Leipzig, Germany and as you can imagine unfortunately the main point before my eyes was not moving forward with my blog and getting stuff in connection with my hobbies done but adjusting to a different country and doing all the administration required for it, trying to get used to my new job, new language and all the people I keep getting to know day by day. I kind of would be able to feel settled already but I just moved again into another apartment with some of my friends inside Leipzig so I don’t – also what makes the whole thing harder is that I’m doing a night job and even though I do enjoy it (just like everything else) so far, I definitely have to practice a lot of time management in case I even wanna have social life or get any stuff done, let that be administration or handling anything I care about, including reviews/interviews.

Being happy in Leipzig. Such a perfect city

I do have a feeling that this will change soon tho, as I feel like writing stuff again already especially becaaaause…:

The first issue of Metalegion Magazine I’ve been doing interviews for in 2014-15 is finally out and available for free download, featuring my interviews made with John & Donald Tardy from Obituary, Bobby Blitz from Overkill, Andreas “Gerre” Geremia from Tankard and Marc Grewe from ex-Morgoth along with a few reviews written under the name of Estelle. HERE you can find it – in case you like what you read & see, I would be happy about having the word spread. :)

I also got a few more names already with whom I will surely do an interview as we are planning the 2nd edition of the magazine: Sodom, Running Wild and Destruction, plus a lot of more band and festival ideas among which a lot will probably be sorted out. Couldn’t be more excited. :D

Soo hopefully I won’t disappear for months again and will be able to put some energy in writing, I love doing it and wouldn’t like seeing something I’ve done slipping away. :) Until then!

“I hope we are all getting old together”

I realized that I still haven’t published my phone interview made with Tankard’s Gerre in September, so here you go people! It clearly shows he’s an easy-going and easily likable guy.

Interview with Andreas “Gerre” Geremia (Tankard)

Interview for Metalegion Magazine by Estelle on the 4th of September 2014

tankardHi Gerre, first of all thank you for doing the interview for Metalegion Magazine! If you had to describe the work of Tankard over all the years in three words, what would you say?

Thrash, fun and beer. (laughs) 

In what aspect do you think you are different from the other old school thrash metal bands?

I think the main difference is that we had a lot of humour from the very beginning of Tankard. We called our second demo just ‘Alcoholic Metal’ because at the time there were a lot of new metal styles, black metal and speed metal, and posers against all the others… And you know, we never took ourselves too seriously, we always had a lot of fun and I think it wouldn’t really fit for us to have an evil kind of image or something like that.
We have a lot of serious lyrics, a good combination of funny stuff and serious stuff, but we still have a lot fun in playing that kind of music. I think this is the biggest difference between us and some other bands.

In one of your earlier interviews when someone asked you how many albums the band plans to do, you said that in a case of beer there is space for twenty bottles. You just released your sixteenth album, R.I.B. (Rest in Beer) – are you still determined about doing four more?

At the moment it looks like it. (laughs) We still have a lot of fun, we still have good things happening, we keep going now for 32 years and I can’t see the end with the band, I could not imagine my life without Tankard – so I guess the case will be full some day!

Tankard – R.I.B. (2014)

Tankard – R.I.B. (2014)

How much work and time does it take for you to record one new album? You seem to go pretty easily with it, even besides the fact that none of you is a full-time musician.

This is a very hard period for us, but it’s actually not planned to put out a new album every two years. I mean I think it’s cool releasing a new album two or three years in between, but now R.I.B. is out, we’ll see what we’ll do with the next album. I think it will take another ten or twelve years to keep Tankard alive for the 20th studio album to get the case full.

How is it different to work with Nuclear Blast from how it was when you were at Noise, Century Media or AFM Records?

Nuclear Blast is the biggest one among the heavy metal labels, they have a lot of power, so I think this was really another step forward for Tankard. They do a lot of promotion stuff and it was really a kick for Tankard, we are very very satisfied and hope that we can stay much longer with Nuclear Blast.

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Tankard – Chemical Invasion (1987)

The cover of R.I.B. is kind of an obvious reference or ‘recommitment’ to your classic album Chemical Invasion, as well as the continuation of some of the lyrics and the insane professor character. Is this a sign of the fact that you are not willing to distance yourselves from your roots, from the simple and primitive thrash metal?

No, we never distance ourselves from our roots. You know, it was a funny idea to bring the mad professor back on a cover, but I think this album sounds different than Chemical Invasion. The story is totally weird because the professor failed in ’87 to stop the chemical invasion and now he’s back to take revenge on mankind and poison everybody with free beer. I actually really like the stuff that we did back in the eighties, but I’d never do that again in these days because a lot of things have changed with the sound and everything. Tankard is a band that never forgets about its roots, we always play a lot of old songs live, yet we always try to do a good mixture of old and new stuff.

Could you choose one song from the new album and describe what it means to you?

This is a very personal song on this album, it’s called ‘Hope Can’t Die’ – it’s one of my fave songs on the record. I lost a very good friend two years ago, at that time you have this confusion of feelings, anger and sadness and hope, “what did go wrong?”, “could I have helped?” – something like that – a mixture of emotions I had two years ago when I lost that very good friend of mine.

In the song ‘No One Hit Wonder’, you are asking “Where the hell did we go wrong” and saying “We played our asses off for more than thirty years, but now our patience’s gone, we want cash, keep the beer!” – is this just a fun track again, or do you (to some degree) mean what you are saying with the song?

Noo, this is a totally fun track again. That was my idea, because it’s really interesting to see that there are some musicians who only had one song in their lives and they can live all their lives from the money for it because the track is always played in the radio. And of course, Tankard will never do a ‘one-hit wonder’ song, because we played that long, so the idea was born to call this song ‘No One Hit Wonder’ and of course the lyrics are totally funny.

Tankard (Chemical Invasion era, 1987)

Tankard (Chemical Invasion era, 1987)

Besides the funny lyrics, you have some serious stuff going on in the lyrics again, for example in ‘War Cry’, ‘Hope Can’t Die’ or ‘Clockwise to Deadline’. Do you want or try to prove the fans that you also have this more mature side of songwriting? Or do you think that if they still haven’t noticed that Tankard is not Tankard only because of the beer, it doesn’t even matter?

We had that kind of beer-image since Chemical Invasion, we did everything for it, but later on we wanted to get rid of it – we totally failed in the nineties of course. Nowadays we do a lot of jokes about our own image, we see it with lot of parody and stuff like that. Since Chemical Invasion we always had a good mixture of serious lyrics and funny lyrics – if you watch the news every night and if you walk in the world with open eyes, then it’s not only fun, there are a lot of bad things happening on this planet.
We will always write also some serious stuff – first of all we are a band with a lot of humour and a lot of fun, but we are also a band that can play serious songs on stage while having fun. But we would never do an album only with fun lyrics.

As you said with your album Two-Faced from 1994, you began to try getting rid of this concept, of this image that the band built around beer, still, nowadays you accepted that it probably became the largest characteristic of the band.
In general, do you guys usually stick to the key things that seem to work for you, or do you still have the desire to try something new?

We never have a plan when we start the songwriting, about which direction it goes. For example if we did the next album totally seriously, nobody would believe that it’s Tankard. Somehow the old Tankard is reduced only to this beer stuff and we did everything at the beginning for it, but now we have to live with it, and as I told you before, nowadays we make a lot of jokes about our own image, so of course nobody has to take it so seriously. We really can live with that Tankard is sometimes just reduced to this kind of beer image, but we still keep on going, writing good songs, trying to do the best and hoping that the fans like it and expect Tankard to continue the music.

How seriously do you guys take yourselves when it comes to writing and recording a new album? Do you just have fun during the recording, or are you rather the hard-working types?

The songwriting and the recording stuff is very very hard and needs a lot of work, of course sometimes we have the moments in the studio when we are laughing and having a little bit of fun but it’s 95% totally hard work, you really have to concentrate on it. To tell you an example, I don’t drink any alcohol in the studio. I just open my first beer when we finished, when we are in the last minutes of finishing the last song.

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Tankard (current lineup)

Now that’s dedication!
Counting from 2000, the lineup of your albums are always the same. Have you ever thought about having some kind of a refreshment?

We are now together since 1998, especially with our guitar player Andy, he wrote most of the songs on the last couple of albums. I could not imagine to play with another member in Tankard, so I hope we are all getting old together.

I read that you are working as a social worker together with drug addicted people, can be an interesting situation for you day by day! Can you draw influence from the happenings at work for the lyrics of the band?

No, I would never do a song about that because this is my normal work and Tankard is a totally different world and I don’t really want to mix that. 

In the end I’d like to know: Is there any question that no one asked you before, and you would like someone to ask it from you?

(laughs) This is a really good question. I did so many interviews and now I had to think this over for a moment. Nobody asked me, actually nobody knows that I was a really good football player when I was young, and I really wanted to become a professional player. And nobody asked me about that! When I was getting older around 15-16, the partying started and then my career as a football player was over.
But concerning the music and singing, I think if you asked me that question at the moment, I would have to call you back in two hours maybe. (both laughing)

Thank you very much for the interview Gerre, have a good time with Tankard and put out some more albums because we are curious about you!

We will, thank you very much! Just so you know, we hope to go back to Hungary one day. Thanks for the support and have a nice evening!