A review of the Live at Wacken 2012 DVD and CD set

March 13, 2014

Wacken 2012

To those metal-heads that are lucky enough to live in Europe, where real heavy metal lives and thrives, Wacken is the king of all music festivals. It’s like Christmas – we wait for it all year and it’s never a disappointment…for those that have the means to get there and are lucky enough to snag a ticket.

For the last 24 years, the German music festival Wacken Open Air has taken one summer weekend and turned it into three days of beer and music that melts the faces off of fans that come from all over the world to see their favorite bands on one of the festival’s stages.

Back in 2012, the festival brought in big names like Volbeat, Saxon and Amon Amarth, among others, and sold out for the second year in a row. The DVD of the show, Live at Wacken 2012, has since been released, and brings all of the bands, boobs and beer-driven shenanigans to fans all over the world.

If you’re looking for a DVD set that will blow the fucking roof off of your house and kill your insatiable craving for the metal festival you just can’t get to, congratulations, you’ve just found it; but if you’re looking for a play-by-play of the festival, start saving for the 2015 show because that’s the only way you’re going to get it.

It was a rainy weekend in 2012 when this DVD was being filmed. The ground in front of the stage turned into a muddy mess, but not even rain, mud, the possibility of pneumonia or electrocution was going to stop any part of this show from happening. Each band that took the stage was greeted with fresh and excited screams, and horns. Fans stood in the mud, drenched from head to toe from the rain. Several mosh pits broke out with each new band. Some fans wrestled in the mud, while others stood, headbanging, as they listened to the music.

The cameras caught 287 minutes of 58 of the bands that played that year, shenanigans from the fans and the seemingly good times had by all. The set is split into three DVDS, similarly to the show which is spread over three days. The first DVD shows 14 performances plus bonus features, the second, 21 and the third, 23.

Bands featured on the DVD range from the comedic, power metal sounds of Edguy to melodic death metal band Ghost Brigade, from harsh vocals to ballads and everywhere in between. There are even a few bands that aren’t metal like country-style band the BossHoss. Each band that performed was different, talented and fun in their own way. Everyone is likely to find a band that appeals to them somewhere on the DVD.

The Mood Film is a bonus feature that captured the atmosphere of the show that year. It plays after the first DVD and is a compilation of pictures played to Hammer of the Gods by Saxon. The pictures were taken from multiple points during the show, anywhere a camera could be, and depict everything from a guy with a blow-up plastic duck, slow-motion headbanging, mud wrestling and merchandise stands. The Mood Film is the only bonus feature offered on the DVD, band interviews and other events did not make it on the DVD.

Live at Wacken 2012 does give is a picture of what Wacken Open Air is all about and provides an awesome metal show to viewers that couldn’t get to Wacken. Viewers will get up in the faces of band members as they perform, watching the sweat drip from their brows and their muscles flex with every guitar riff. They will see the audience as a whole, acting wild and getting crazy, along with a few faces from some charismatic characters.

The DVD does a good job giving a range of bands, and genres that performed at Wacken that year; you are as likely to hear a bagpipe and see a kilt as you are to hear harsh vocals and see long hair and black band shirts, and gives the at-home viewer a decent picture of what the festival was like that year.

Assumingly to avoid making a million-hour DVD, it does an equally good job of leaving gaping holes between performances, throughout the set. None of the bands on Live at Wacken 2012 perform more than three songs on the DVD, which is enough to give an at-home viewer only a feel for each band. The performances were excellent, and though it would be virtually impossible to put whole set lists from each band, three songs isn’t enough to fill the average metalhead’s need for good music—but that might be a little greedy.

In addition, not all of the bands that performed during the show are on the DVD either, even if they are pictured in the album art.

Amon Amarth played at the show in 2012, but they are not on the DVDs at all, even though they are fairly well-known and are even pictured on the case. In addition, very little of the between-song banter is included, outside of the first DVD. Instead it jumps from band to band and from song to song; leaving the viewer with a black-out, went to bed with a ten woke up with a two, only remember half of what happened last night-feeling.

Live at Wacken 2012 will bring the intensity, epic-ness and, of course, music right into your living room, bedroom or wherever you keep your T.V. Even though the only thing that will ever measure up to Wacken is Wacken, this DVD set comes pretty close.

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