Live Report | Party.San Open Air 2012 - Schlotheim Germany

Party.San is an Extreme Metal Festival that takes places every year in mid-August since 1996 in Schlotheim, Germany. It has grown over the years, and this year’s fest held around 10 000 visitors. It has only one main stage, however this year a new smaller stage was introduced for ‘smaller’ local bands to perform. 

We arrived in Frankfurt on August 8th and we drove 260km to get to the festival area. When we finally got the camping site, we parked our car and we raised our tents on the grass, which seemed to be an old airport site. The festival area was not opened but a smaller area was prepared for a metal party until late in the evening. 

Day 1
The gates of the festival opened at 4pm and we were amongst the first to enter. The area was surrounded by merchandise stands. The first band to perform was Dead Congregation. The Greeks put on a solid performance even though they were unfortunate to face problems with the lead guitar and had to stop their show for several minutes. Their setlist included tracks mainly from their album ‘Graves of the Archangels’ such as ‘Martyrdoom’, ‘Teeth Into Red’ and ‘Vanishing Faith’. 

Second band to get on stage was In Solitude, the only heavy metal band to play in Party.San. We watched their 40 minutes performance from distance while talking with the Dead Congregation guys.

Around 18:30 Necros Christos appeared on stage and played their unique death/doom metal with Arabic melodies, warming up the crowd for songs such as ‘Necromantique Nun’, ‘Baal of Ekron’ and ‘Doom of Kali Ma’.  Having seen them again 2 years ago at RockHard Festival, I have to confess that their improvement is undeniable. 

The Swedish band Nifelheim was next to play. Unfortunately, Erik ‘Tyrant’ had to be replaced with a session bassist as he couldn’t make it to show. Nevertheless, the band was not affected by his absence and put on a hellish show, playing tracks from all their discography. Talking with ‘Hellbutcher’ backstage before the show, he revealed to us that they have started rehearsing their new album and they will enter the studio in September, so we should expect a new release in 2013. 

We didn’t get the chance to see the next 2 bands, Vallenfyre and Sólstafir, since we decided to check out the merchandise stands and spend some time backstage talking with the bands.

Sodom were the co-headliners of the first day and they are a band that we will never get tired of watching as they get better and better every time we see them. Their show included classics such as ‘Agent Orange’, ‘M-16’, ‘Blasphemer’ etc. as well as the new add to their setlist ‘Surfin Bird’ cover from Trashmen. We also had the chance to ask their guitarist Bernemann about the show in Cyprus. He told us that he really liked the show and he thought that the venue and the crowd were great. However, he mentioned that they would have liked to play for longer than they did and they would like to come again in the future.

There are not enough words to describe Bolt Thrower’s performance. They got on stage around midnight and played for an hour, destroying everything that was left standing from Day 1. Their flawless performance proved why they are considered one of Death Metal’s biggest and most respected legends. The fact that this bands still manages to excite its old fans as well as continue making new ones means a lot. Songs such as ‘Cenotaph’, ‘…For Victory’ and ‘Killchain’ electrified the crowd leaving us thirsting for more at the end. Other than their performance, meeting them was also a great experience as we had the chance to visit them in their dressing room.

Day 2
We woke up the next day exhausted from our flight and headbanging from the previous day and we rushed to the festival area as this time the bands started playing at 12:00. 

The first band to perform was Malignant Tumour. The Czechs played for half an hour and then the Australian thrashers Assaulter got on stage. They played songs from their 2 albums ‘Salvation like Destruction’ and ‘Boundless!’ and despite a problem with the lead guitar at the beginning they were very energetic on stage and delivered a great show. 

Iron lamb played after and then another Australian band, Gospel of the Horns. Matt Razor and Mersus from Destroyer 666 accompanied them on stage for the show. Their set was very impressive and the crowd enjoyed it with tracks such as ‘Vengeance is Mine’ and ‘Slaves’. 

We watched the next few bands from distance, saving our energy for the headliners. Entrails put on a great Death Metal show, followed by Skálmöld a recently founded Viking/folk metal band who were somehow a bit ‘off’ for this festival. General Surgery’s performance was interesting as they got up the stage dressed as doctors and covered in blood. One thing is for certain, I’d rather die in pain than having to be examined by these guys! We managed to watch Dark Fortress for 10-15 minutes and then we headed to the signing session waiting for Nile to show up. After about 30 minutes we were informed that their tour bus broke down and the session was to be delayed for another two hours. By the time we got back to the stage, Immolation was finishing up their set and unfortunately we didn’t get to see much of them. 

Once again, Nile’s signing session did not happen and was cancelled eventually. As we found out later, the second tour bus that was going to pick them up broke down as well (!) so they had to wait for a third one to bring them to the festival. Luckily, they managed to arrive on time for their performance. Ghost Brigade’s show passed really quickly and I should mention that specifically their last song ‘Soulcarvers’ created a very magical moment as the sun was going down. 

As the night was coming to an end, Nile got on stage to warm up the crowd for the mighty Gods from the North- Immortal-. George Kollias, their drummer, honoured us by wearing the “Cyprus Metalhead” T-shirt we gave him backstage just before the show. They started off with “Sacrifice Unto Sebek” and kept us headbanging relentlessly for another 45 minutes till their last song, “Black Seeds of Vengeance”. It was the first time most of us had seen them and they left us all with great impressions! 

Last but certainly not least…Immortal! The legendary Norwegians came to play for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Nearly every metalhead came to hail to the Gods of Black Metal as they put on an astonishing performance. With tracks such as “Tyrants”, “One By One” and “At the Heart of Winter” how can you not love them? One of the best shows ever, with professionalism and a truly unique attitude! Abbath is truly one of the best metal performers of all times. 

Day 3
After 2 amazing days, the festival was coming to its end on Saturday, August 11th. The day started with Rectal Smegma who played instead of Rompeprop who had to cancel their performance a few days before the festival due to some illness of their drummer. Trash Amigos and Cattle Decapitation followed them, each playing for 45 minutes. 

Black metallers Nocte Obducta took over the stage playing their unique melodies in German, preparing the mood for Archgoat who played after. The Finns put on a great show playing songs from their 2 albums ‘Whore of Bethlehem’ and ‘The Light-Devouring Darkness’.

Ragnarok were scheduled to appear next but Warbringer got on stage instead! Apparently the Norwegians had a small accident on their way to the festival and their show had to be delayed. Nonetheless, Warbringer put on a killer show firing up the crowd that awarded them with many moshpits throughout their whole performance. Their setlist was inclusive of their whole discography with tracks such as ‘Shattered Like Glass’, ‘At the Crack of Doom’ and ‘Severed Reality’. I must admit that I was certainly not expecting such an incredible show but the Americans surprised us! They even played for more than they were supposed to, adding a cover to their set ‘We are the Road Crew’ by Motorhead. 

Toxic Holocaust followed with a lethal performance. The dynamic trio perfectly performed their 45 minute set, playing their classics ‘Nuke the Cross’, ‘In the Name of Science’, ‘I Am Disease’, ‘666’ etc. The band’s frontman Joel Grind celebrated his 30th birthday on stage on that day and we gave him a ‘Cyprus Metalhead’ t-shirt as a present when we met with him backstage. I hope that I will look that young when I turn 30! Their show finished very quickly and they were undoubtedly one of the best performances of the festival. 

Having arrived at the festival, Ragnarok finally played their set. They put on a decent show even though I was not really excited. Compared to Toxic Holocaust, they could only lose. Incantation who played next were amazing! Unfortunately their drummer could not make it to the show and had to be replaced by Sam Inzerra of Mortician. Apart from that, their set was remarkable, including 2 covers in their list. A fact worth mentioning is that John McEntee’s voice is far better live than on the CD recordings.

We watched Insomnium for about 40 minutes and after they played ‘Mortal Share’ we left the main stage going to the smaller Tent-Stage where Venenum were about to start. They are a death metal band from Germany having only released an EP until now. We were completely blown away by their performance. They played their whole EP and left everyone in awe. In my opinion they are definitely one of the best new acts out there right now. As soon as they finished playing, we rushed to the official market tent and bought their EP. They were amongst the best live bands of the festival and maybe the biggest surprise of all. 

We enjoyed Tankard from distance as Gerre moved tirelessly on stage exciting the German crowd with the band’s beer anthems ‘Stay Thirsty’, ‘Die With a Beer in Your Hand’ and ‘Empty Tankard'. As the end of the festival was drawing near, it was time for Naglfar to perform. They played for nearly an hour, creating a dark and majestic atmosphere and the crowd seemed to enjoy their show. Although I was unfamiliar with the band, I found their show very enjoyable.
It was then time for Polish Death Metal legends Behemoth to perform as the last band of the festival. They came up on stage around 1 am and played for 65 minutes. Their show was arguably the best one of the whole festival. It was like watching a horror theatrical show with Nergal as the main protagonist with help from Inferno, Seth and Orion, slaying every untrue soul on their way. Tracks like ‘Decade of Therion’, ‘Christians to The Lions’, ‘Slaves Shall Serve’, ‘Conquer All’ and ‘At the Left Hand Ov God’ created this hell that no one survived. They came up at the end and played ‘Lucifer’ ending this magical experience called ‘Party.San’ in the best way possible.  

We had an amazing time at Party.San throughout our stay there and it was absolutely worth all the money and exhaustion. It is one of the most well-organised festivals I have ever been so far with great billing every year. We had a great time at the camping site as well as in the market. We met a lot of new people and it was a great experience meeting with the bands and chatting with them. We managed to talk to most of the bands there as well as to guys from other bands just attending the festival like Tormentor and Odin from Desaster, Alwin from Asphyx and Vassilis Mazaris from Daylight Misery.  The sound could have been better during some performances but that was not a major setback. 

Thanks to the PSOA organizers for the amazing experience and for providing us with VIP Passes. 

See you next year at Schlotheim!

Alexandros Vacanas, Harris Charalambides and Manos Falelakis
August 2012