Come Rain or Come Shine… Rockharz Day 2

Zur deutschen Version geht es hier.

Find Day 1 here.

As promised, we will now continue with our article series concerning this years’s Rockharz! Second in line is, naturally, Day 2. You can now read everything about this cold and uncomfortable day that was vastly improved by good music in the article below. But let me tell you: I was never so cold on a festival day as I was there…

Huge thanks once again to for the awesome pictures!

GRABENSCHLAMPEN are essential workers! Pic by (c) 2022

We’re not made out of sugar…

I was softly woken that day by pattering rain. What must’ve been a joy to the regional farmers, was most definitely not to the advantages of the festival guests. Once it rains in the Harz regions, it rains A LOT! In our case that meant that the sun didn’t show itself until 3pm. This whole mess was completed by a cold and unsettling wind that pushed the temperatures down into the lower tens and that gave me an arctic like feeling.

But the motto of the day was „Who cares?“, at least concerning the collective feelings of the festival guests who used different methods to stay warm and dry. The merchants and their booths were smart enough to offer rain ponchos in advance to the bad weather, an offer a lot of people gladly accepted. 

Special shout-out to the coffee bike people who had an awesome hot chocolate which they decorated on occasion with a pentagram!

The rain ceased over the course of the day while the wind and the low temperatures persisted. I learned to pack more diverse and warmer clothing for next year!

Pure fascination! Pic by

It’s all about improvising!

In general, the line-up on Thursday wasn’t really my cup of tea. That meant that I only got to the festival area as HAMMER KING were nearing the end of their set and that I spent more time on the camp grounds compared to the following days. 

The first band I consciously saw were UNZUCHT. However, you can’t really say „band“ in this context here, because Covid struck the band at the last minute. That meant that instead of a full-on gig, the guests were treated to „just“ an impromptu acoustic set. It could be argued that it would’ve been better to book another metal band instead. For me, personally, it was a wonderful solution to an ugly problem that really brightened the day. It certainly didn’t harm the atmosphere. 

Since contrast is everything (at least that’s what I heard…), the relaxed acoustic set was followed by a Swedish Black Metal inferno. DARK FUNERAL are a staple in their genre, at least to me, and to see them live again was amazing. It also went poetically well with that wet and cold weather!

Part of the full truth, however, is the fact that they were kind of lost in this line-up and that it wasn’t their audience. Black Metal is rather special, especially if you don’t listen to it regularly. I really appreciate that the festival tries to accomplish a diverse line-up, but I do think that the bands have to fit together in some form. With UNZUCHT preceding and GOITZSCHE FRONT playing after them, the true musical might of the Swedes was a bit lost in the mix. 

THUNDERMOTHER; Pic by (c) 2022

All the more amazing was the appearance of THUNDERMOTHER. The Swedish quartet had a lot going on against them that day: Weather, delayed flights and the airline losing their luggage… Fortunately there were musicians who lend them their instruments so that they were able to play a bombastic show. It was my first time seeing them live and in color and I was thoroughly impressed. The songs are fast, powerful and singer Guernica Mancini has a voice that doesn’t need to hide behind other amazing singers of the scene. If you’ve never seen them live you really missed something!

Something else you shouldn’t miss are the opportunities to see DARK TRANQUILLITY. The representatives of the Goteburg School have never once disappointed me and I was very elated to see them again. Their last album Moment accompanied me through the pandemic and when they played Phantom Days I was a goner. The set was dominated by the typical emotionality of Mikael Stanne’s voice, who is one of the best clean and growl vocalists out there right now, at least to me. 

If you haven’t noticed so far, let me enlighten you: If a band plays Melodic Death Metal, I’m already a fan. All the more reason for me to be excited for the AMORPHIS and ELUVEITIE double headliner tour in December where DARK TRANQUILLITY will be as well.

DARK TRANQUILLITY; Pic by (c) 2022

The surprise of the evening, however, were SUBWAY TO SALLY. Their last album Hey! and the associated tour didn’t really deliver in my opinion which is why I didn’t have any high expectations for this gig. Luckily I was wrong! They all but played a nostalgia set that contained a lot of my favorite songs. Let me tell you, there is almost nothing as good as a song about a real crime, just look at Arme Ellen Schmitt as an example! The appearance was also brightened by the use of fire. If you’re freezing the whole day, you’ll be happy to be close to the stage when they do use fire!

Speaking of fire: I have never seen a POWERWOLF concert without it. Admittedly, I’m not a fan of this band and I do think that they could book other headliners because it almost feels like POWERWOLF headline every Rockharz, but these guys know how to party.

The crowd was just euphoric. They could’ve done anything on that stage and the people would’ve eaten it up. POWERWOLF cater to a deeply rooted human need of spirituality without believe. In times in which more people leave the church than join the church, they close a spiritual gap with Metal. I kind of admire that. On the other hand, I’ve listened to enough of it if you can say that. The atmosphere was fantastic, but the music just isn’t for me. 

Freezing and deadly tired, I went home before KNASTERBART took the stage. I was just too tired to get through the after-headliner-slot…

That was Day 2! Find out in the next part of the Rockharz-series if I froze to death or if I miraculously made it to Day 3. Stay tuned!

POWERWOLF; Pic by (c) 2022

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