“Armageddon Over Wacken Live 2004” by Various Artists

Artist: Various Artists
Title: “Armageddon Over Wacken 2004”
Label: Cleopatra Records
Release Date: 11/15/2005
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 4/5

In the Heavy Metal Halls Of Honor there is probably no other festival that is as respected and as aspired to be a performer at as the Wacken Open Air festival. It runs for three days each year in Wacken, Germany and when it arrives, the Metal heads that come from all parts of the world number in the tens of thousands. As you can imagine, this is a very difficult festival to review and of course document but this DVD does its best to bring a little bit of the far away action right into your living room. The double DVD does seem to deliver much of what you can expect if you attended and really serves as one of those things that might prompt the adventurous Metal aficionado to map out his travel itinerary for their own visit. I enjoyed watching this more than I did listening to the companion CD’s that were released in tandem to this, as a festival of this type is better seen than merely listened to.

If I could cite a couple of problems with the DVD the first would be that almost all of the talking is done in German, and bear no sub-titles for the rest of the world to take something away from that stuff. Yes, I understand the festival is in Germany, but loading sub-text for the non German speakers would have been great especially since some of the bands probably came out with interesting comments about the day and their performance. The other down side that I felt was in the manner of use of the bands performing. Given the amount of featured players, each band should have gotten one song only on this release in order to showcase and better capture the whole affair. Giving two songs to Anthrax or Zodiac Mindwarp and Ektomorf could have been better left to one track apiece and allowed more bands to be part of this film. Despite this concern of mine, you as the viewer are still treated to some truly kick ass performances and bands that you might not easily see anywhere else in one place. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Anthrax and Dio material and Doro as well – but when you know who plays at Wacken Open Air, you kind of want the full experience or as much of it as can be presented.

Overall, this is a pretty decent DVD for ones collection and in addition to the band you get to see a fair amount of commentary footage and carousing. The fun stuff goes between some band segments and while this normally irritates me, it is done in perfect context here. A band will perform, and then you see them talking to the commentator. The downside is that this is also in German, so unless you speak the language this will be lost on you in most cases. The best way to view this DVD is as your very own “Wacken Travel Guide”, letting it act as the prompt for your visit to such a festival. A 3 CD audio release is available as well for those that just want to listen instead of see. The CD offers a booklet with band photos while the DVD is just encased in a photo laden clear DVD case.

DVD1 & DVD2 Featured Performers: Zodiac Mindwarp, Brainstorm, Mnemic, Mambo Kurt, Nevermore, Children Of Bodom, Anthrax, Motorhead, Dio, Doro & Orchestra, Blaze Bayley, J.B.O., Raunchy, Death Angel, Ektomorf, Knorkator, Feinstein, Mystic Prophecy, Mayhem, Cannibal Corpse, Destruction, Nocturno Culto, Elakelaiset, Weinhold, Kotipelto, Bal-Sagoth, Cathedral, Paragon, Unleashed, Nocturno Culto, Satryicon, Elakelaiset.

Track Listing:
1. too numerous to list.

Official Website: www.wacken.com

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