There’s plenty of fine metal festivals to visit throughout the year. Some try to keep a lot of variety, some focus on a subgenre. Some are well-known, some aren’t. Alcatraz is slowly growing towards a status of annual certainty in the agenda of metalheads nationwide. Once upon a time, the metalfestival powered by Rock Tribune Magazine started out in the Brielpoort in Deinze, they went open air in Kortrijk a couple of years ago and last year they went two-day. This year, they’re moving to a new location and present us their brand new prison-based stage.
Next to their new looks, they have a truly awesome line-up waiting for the Belgian metalheads. While personally, I could go on for days about pretty much any name on the impressive bill, I’ll just pick a few you should adjust your eating and shitting schedule for. On saturday 8th august, the fun starts at 11h with W.O.L.F. While pretty much every band is certain to own the place during their performance, Queensrÿche will be particularly important to check out at 15h45. The American progmetallers behind ‘Operation: Mindcrime’ and ‘Empire’ can finally put their minds back on making music after the quarrel they’ve had with former frontman Geoff Tate.
Don’t run too far afterwards, because scheduled next (17h) is the great Michael Schenker with his Temple Of Rock. Pretty much a best of Michael Schenker project, so an hour of nostalgia featuring some great U.F.O, Scorpions and MSG songs. Do count me in for that! Getting hungry? Wait a little longer, because 18h20 will be the hour Overkill will finally be performing again on Belgian soil. Last year at Graspop they had to cancel, so I’ve really been looking forward to finally seeing Blitz and his gang of thrashers again.
Other bands: Armored Saints (12h05, heavy metal, featuring former Anthrax vocalist John Bush); Death Angel (13h15, thrash, they just click with Alcatraz); Moonspell (14h30, gothic metal); W.A.S.P. (19h45, heavy metal);Trivium (21h15, melodic thrash); headliner: Nightwish (23h, symphonic metal).
Now up to sunday 9th august. At 14h40, Canadian thrash icons Annihilator will be performing. Nothing special, one might think. But not too long ago longtime singer Dave Padden left the band. Instead of searching for a new vocalist, guitar hero Jeff Waters decided to take over mic duties himself, like in the days of ‘King Of The Kill’. I for one am definitely looking forward to checking that out!
Frankly, there’s some names on the bill that were on Graspop last year. One band that blew me away were Polish blackened death metal greats Behemoth (17h25). Despite their satanic live show, they even owned the place in daylight, which they will have to repeat this time. I could really see them headlining some medium-sized festivals in the not-too-distant future.
Apparently, fairy tales still do exist in metal. If there’s one young band that grew to the status of metal giant in no-time, it’s Swedish power metallers Sabaton. All they needed was a singer with one of the most unique voices in the genre, some truly catchy shout-along battle anthems and shit loads of fireworks and stage sets. I’m pretty sure Joakim Brodén will absolutely love Alcatraz’ prison theme, and Alcatraz will definitely return the favor by shouting along as loudly as possible when he starts singing: “Through the gates of hell / As we make our way to heaven / Through the nazi lines”. PRIMO VICTORIA!!!
Other names: D-A-D (11h, hardrock, stands for Disneyland After Dark if you must know); Powerwolf (12h10, power metal, with christian edge, them in a room together with Behemoth would be so awesome); Death DTA (13h25, old school death metal); Carcass (16h, grindcore/melodeath); Accept (18h50, classic metal); Venom (20h20, classic/black metal)
More info and tickets can be found at the official Alcatraz website.