Album Review – Sunterra / Reborn EP (2017)

Under the sign of the ancient Egypt goddess Isis, one of the most important Industrial Metal bands from the underground Austrian scene is reborn with a new lineup and a reinvigorated attitude.

Rating5

coverUnder the sign of the ancient Egypt goddess Isis, Austrian Gothic/Industrial Metal act Sunterra are celebrating their reunion after a 10-year hiatus from the music scene with their brand new EP titled Reborn, which as you can imagine by its name marks the resurrection of the band, presenting a musical progression without forgetting their own roots. Combining Industrial and Gothic Metal with hints of Electro and Dubstep, Sunterra aim at creating their own, distinctive sound, oferring the listener fresh and thrilling music that will put you on a trance and certainly sharpen your senses while listening to it.

Formed in 1998 in the charming city of Vienna, Austria after the split of a band named Virgin Seed, and having chosen their new name Sunterra as a game of words standing for the gathering of fire and earth, the band led by bassist and lyricist Chris enjoyed almost a decade of considerable success in the independent Austrian scene, releasing the demo In Diebus Illis in 1999 and the full-length albums Lost Time, in 2002, and Graceful Tunes, in 2005, before calling it a day in 2006. In 2015, with a brand new lineup and a reinvigorated attitude, Sunterra were reborn from the ashes like a phoenix and are more than ready to rock again, with their brand new EP being the first and exciting installment in this second incarnation of the band.

Electronic and futuristic elements set the tone in the solid Industrial Metal composition Reign Supreme, with the harsh growls by Carlos and the clean, gentle voice of Slovakian singer Lilly reaching a great balance, complementing each other’s lines effectively. In addition, the song’s chorus is quite catchy and should work really well live. In Shadow in the Dark, the band “abandons” their heavy industrialized musicality a bit, focusing on their Gothic Metal vein, with gentle piano notes and the delicate vocals by Lilly guiding the listener in this eccentric voyage. This is a melancholic, alternative ballad that ends with Carlos and Ivan delivering some heavy gnarls and riffs respectively, generating an interesting contrast with the song’s initial smoothness. Then in Lord of Lies we face some obscure guitar and bass lines by Ivan and Chris, which together with the potent programmed beats will break your neck while Lilly keeps delivering her angelical vocals. Put differently, this is a high-end professional fusion of Industrial and Gothic Metal, with its background effects helping make the overall sonority truly menacing.

sunterra-1This is W.A.R. brings forward an eerie futuristic ambience with elements from electronic music, feeling like a dance hit from the 80’s or 90’s with a metallic approach and gentle breaks being thoroughly inserted amidst the fury emanating from Carlos’ guttural growls; whereas Ministry of Thoughts presents a strong Marilyn Manson-inspired atmosphere, sounding extremely alternative and mechanized. In this song highly recommended for lovers of the darkest side of Industrial Metal, Ivan showcases an excellent performance on both guitar and all programmed elements, turning it into one of the best tracks of the album. And concluding the EP, Shut Up!!! begins in an ominous way with a whimsical dialogue between Carlos and Lilly before becoming a feast of electronic Industrial Metal perfect for hitting the dance floor, a creepy track by Sunterra to end Reborn on a high note.

As one of the most important Industrial Metal bands from the underground Austrian scene is finally back in action, why not feed their newly reborn fire  with your passion for heavy music? You can watch a preview of the entire EP on YouTube to get a better sense of what the music by Sunterra is all about, or stream it in its entirety to be enchanted by their modern metal music, as well as follow them on Facebook to know more about the band and their future projects and live concerts. And if you want to show your true support for these Austrian industrialists of darkness, you can get your copy of Reborn at their BandCamp page, on iTunes, on Amazon, at Discogs and several other online retailers.

Best moments of the album: Lord of Lies and Ministry of Thoughts.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 NRT-Records

Track listing
1. Reign Supreme 4:28
2. Shadow in the Dark 5:15
3. Lord of Lies 5:05
4. This is W.A.R. 4:49
5. Ministry of Thoughts 4:47
6. Shut Up!!! 3:51

Band members
Carlos – male lead vocals
Lilly – female lead vocals
Ivan – lead guitars, programming
Chris – bass

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Album Review – Proll Guns / Horseflesh BBQ (2016)

Groovy riffs, inebriate growls and a humongous amount of bloody horse meat. This is what you’ll find in this entertaining Western Thrash N’ Roll album heartily crafted by three talented cowboys from Austria.

Rating5

Proll Guns - Horseflesh BBQ CoverartworkWho could imagine that the lovely city of Salzburg, the birthplace of the legendary Mozart in Austria, would also be the hometown of three villainous buckaroos who, despite have nothing to do with the state of Texas (the undisputed land of cowboys in the United States), are capable of producing high-octane Western Thrash N’ Roll? Singing about essential themes for any real man such as women, drinking and barbeque, here comes the dynamic power trio Proll Guns, pointing their sonic guns directly to our faces. YEE-HAW!

This libertine Thrash Metal posse was formed back in 2013, when they released their debut full-length album entitled And the Western Blood Runs, mixed and mastered by Danish producer Tue Madsen (who also worked with renowned bands like Ektomorf and Sick Of It All). Mounting their metallic horses once again, armed with their rowdy instruments and totally soaked up in whisky, they are ready to rock your town with their second album, the sonorous Horseflesh BBQ, a solid and fun fusion of traditional Thrash Metal with the dirty and drunken music from the Wild West. In addition, if you have the pleasure to see them playing live you’ll also be treated to their gorgeous “saloon girls”, Miss Candy Rose and Miss Sherly Colt.

Just as if a bloody western movie is about to start, the instrumental intro Texas Banjo Massacre sets the tone for the title-track Horseflesh BBQ to come kicking everyone in the head with its blend of Thrash and Sludge Metal. The inebriate growls by lead singer and bassist Evil Ed not only sound very thrashy, but also at the same time displaying a huge Rock N’ Roll influence, and needless to say how “carnivore” his embodiment of the song’s lyrics are. Then we have the darker and heavier anthem From Texas To Hell, a good song to enjoy while drinking a bottle of Jack Daniel’s where drummer Cra-“Y”-Maker will put you to bang your head nonstop. I wonder how Candy Rose and Sherly Colt would dance to this electrifying tune, but that’s something we can only witness if we go check the band kicking ass live.

0002Do you want some devilish Blues Metal in your life? Well, in Bloodgun Blues guitarist The Burner “scorches” our ears with his fiery riffs while the level of alcohol in Evil Ed’s blood just keeps rising; whereas Fucking Troublemaker brings forward a bad-tempered sonority with The Burner leading this excellent Rock N’ Roll anthem. Moreover, all the elements from the music by Volbeat found in the music, together with the intoxicating punch of Chrome Division, turn this into one of the top moments of the album in my opinion. And Reno Gang is yet another anthem tailored for bikers and heavy drinkers, slightly more melodic than the other tunes thanks to the crispier riffs and solos by The Burner, maintaining the alcohol content of the album way above 100 proof.

Lookin’ Out my Backdoor, a short and sweet Thrash N’ Roll chant, will generate some “friendly” circle pits during their gigs, and when the banjo hits the music things get even more fun; followed by the longest of all tracks, entitled The Revolver, a brutal Rock N’ Roll song where the screams and growls by the “cowboy from hell” Evil Ed enhance the song’s ferocity, with highlights to the nice work done on guitars and drums as well. Their western sounding keeps reverberating in the thrilling Execution, a more violent version of Hard Rock where The Burner offers some nice guitar effects and Cra-“Y”-Maker keeps kicking ass on drums. Also, its rhythm is what we can call the perfect soundtrack for a “drunk badass Rock N’ Roll party”, which translates into awesomeness. Lastly, Southern Slavery, the acoustic tune that aims at concluding the album in a pensive way, goes on for too long and doesn’t really provide anything fresh to the album, or in other words, it’s the only song that doesn’t make sense to be in Horseflesh BBQ in the end.

To sum up, Horseflesh BBQ is a highly recommended choice for fans of groovy riffs, inebriate growls and a humongous amount of bloody horse meat, and if you see yourself as one of those western metallers go check the Proll Guns’ Facebook page and YouTube channel to know more about their music. You can purchase the album at different locations such as the band’s BandCamp page, at the Grooves Inc. webstore, on iTunes or on Amazon, among others. You can either show your support and appreciation for these talented cowboys from Austria, or I believe Proll Guns will have to challenge you for a pistol (or drinking) duel to introduce you to the world of good old Thrash N’ Roll.

Best moments of the album: From Texas To Hell, Fucking Troublemaker and Execution.

Worst moments of the album: Southern Slavery.

Released in 2016 NRT-Records

Track listing
1. Texas Banjo Massacre 2:12
2. Horseflesh BBQ 4:35
3. From Texas To Hell 5:40
4. Bloodgun Blues 5:08
5. Fucking Troublemaker 3:43
6. Reno Gang 3:59
7. Lookin’ Out My Backdoor 2:09
8. The Revolver 7:35
9. Execution 4:16
10. Southern Slavery 3:18

Band members
Evil Ed – lead vocals, bass guitar
The Burner – vocals, guitar
Cra-“Y”-Maker – drums

Saloon girls
Miss Candy Rose
Miss Sherly Colt

Album Review – Infected Chaos / The Wake Of Ares (2015)

In the wake of the god of war, it’s time to join this excellent Austrian band to the sound of their warlike old school Death Metal.

Rating4

infected chaos_the wake of aresFans of Cannibal Corpse, Deicide, Entombed and old school Death Metal in general will love the violence found in The Wake Of Ares, the brand new full-length album by Austrian Death Metal band Infected Chaos. With an amazing artwork by JL Rey (Phlegeton Art Studio), and dealing with controversial topics such as suppression, slavery, gaining strength and revolting against it, The Wake Of Ares will surely awake that “spirit of war” inside you with its ruthless onrush of extreme music.

I don’t know exactly if this can be considered a concept album or not, as according to this Vils-based band the album title can be interpreted on two levels: the first related to Ares, the Greek god of war and the son of Zeus and Hera who usually represents the physical or violent and untamed aspect of war, being the supreme god of what the band calls the “blooddawn resistance”, while the second is a direct statement from Infected Chaos telling the world they are here to stay and, obviously, to crush each and every living creature that crosses their path.

I have already used the expression “calm before the storm” here at The Headbanging Moose before, and I have to apply that once again to the intro Rotting In Chains, with its occult atmosphere and eerie voices in the background, opening the gates for the brutal Death Metal tune Devours The Light to come crushing your soul. The deep growls by Christian Fischer are exactly what a Death Metal band needs, enhanced by the album’s clean and powerful production. Moreover, this song will make you go crazy into the circle pit, with the impressive bass lines by Florian Betz (who’s probably a huge fan of Alex Webster) together with its more melodic parts providing a great balance between harmony and cruelty. Ninth Circle, a song about death (or how the Ancient Greek people could have seen it) that begins as violent as the previous track, shows us that when Infected Chaos slow down they get fuckin’ heavy as hell, with drummer Christoph Raggl being completely merciless behind his drum set.

Christian’s vocals get darker and more demonic in Arson Anthem, where the guitar duo composed by Martin Hartmann and Matthias Mayr delivers pure Death Metal through their fierce riffs and solos, while Wolves In Thy Pantheon has a Cannibal Corpse vibe that makes it even more violent and amazing. Its riffs and blast beats reach a higher level of destruction, enhanced by some excellent guitar solos and background chants that add even more excitement to the song. The next track, Code Of IC, is just a simple declaration of love to Death Metal according to the band members themselves (by the way, IC is the acronym for Infected Chaos in case you haven’t noticed that yet), and they do it the most brutal way possible with an incredible assault of deep growls, nonstop drumming and huge doses of anarchy through its riffs and lyrics.

MMA02_bandphoto_infectedchaosAwaking Into Nightmare is a more introspective song that deals with a huge issue Christian had to face in 2013. Musically speaking, it keeps the album at a high level with more of the berserk sonic demolition proposed by the whole band, just like what happens in Strike From The Sky, where it actually feels like Infected Chaos come striking from the sky (or maybe from hell) with a feast of traditional Death Metal riffs and beats, perfect for breaking your neck. Then we have IA, God Of War, another great display of the skills by Florian on bass guitar and with a musicality slightly different from the rest of the album, focusing on more modern and metallic elements.

The final triad of Death Metal in The Wake Of Ares starts with The Silent Monolith, where once again the band invests in a sonority similar to the latest Cannibal Corpse albums, with an exciting rhythm tailored for banging your head on the front row during their live performances, followed by the sickest of all tracks, Blooddawn Resistance, a fictional underground movement created by Infected Chaos. I would love to see them playing this song live, as it’s the best of the album in my humble opinion and a flawless display of Death Metal where the whole band is kicking fuckin’ ass, in special frontman Christian for leading the “resistance” with an awesome vocal performance. And closing the album we have a song that its name says it all: The Sea Of Grief evokes darkness in a truly hellish and melancholic way, with even its guitar solos transpiring melancholy and sorrow.

To sum up, Infected Chaos are summoning all of you to join their “resistance” through their Facebook pageSoundCloud, BandCamp and at the Metal Music Austria official webstore with The Wake Of Ares, a great album perfect for all headbangers who love high levels of ferocity amidst a professional and thrilling sounding. In the wake of the god of war, it’s time we all join those Austrian metalheads to the sound of their uprising warlike Death Metal.

Best moments of the album: Wolves In Thy Pantheon, Code Of IC and Blooddawn Resistance.

Worst moments of the album: Ninth Circle.

Released in 2015 Metal Music Austria

Track listing
1. Rotting In Chains 1:03
2. Devours The Light 5:29
3. Ninth Circle 3:46
4. Arson Anthem 4:23
5. Wolves In Thy Pantheon 3:18
6. Code Of IC 3:52
7. Awaking Into Nightmare 4:30
8. Strike From The Sky 4:10
9. IA, God Of War 4:08
10. The Silent Monolith 3:33
11. Blooddawn Resistance 3:57
12. The Sea Of Grief 4:52

Band members
Christian Fischer – vocals
Martin Hartmann – guitar
Matthias Mayr – guitar
Florian Betz – bass
Christoph Raggl – drums

Album Review – Void Creation / Deadnology (2015)

A perishing and decaying world in the form of extreme music by an outstanding Death Metal band from Austria.

Rating4

void creation_deadnologyDo you love happy and cheerful music? Do you feel deep affection for bands and artists who sing about butterflies, unicorns and other cute animals? If so, stay away from Deadnology, the brand new studio album by Austrian Death/Thrash Metal band Void Creation. Deadnology is a heinous feast of extreme music which will crush your body and soul, leaving you totally beaten and bruised rolling around in your own blood, but also with an awesome feeling of “mission accomplished” when the war spearheaded by Void Creation is over.

Founded in Vienna, Austria in 2006 by ex-members of Diabolica and Saviour, and having already participated in events like Wacken Open Air 2010 and supported bands like Nile, Gorguts and Possessed, Void Creation are back with their second full-length album to tell us the confusions of a perishing and decaying world along 10 tracks of utter savagery, and they do it in such an impressive way that not only your neck will break, but also your jaw will drop after listening to this excellent release.

It doesn’t take more than two seconds for Void Creation to start fuckin’ slaying everything around them with their technical and totally brutal Death Metal in the opening track 1984, a song full of variations and breaks where the deep bloodcurdling guttural by lead singer Alex will infect your ears while drummer Börni delivers some fast and complex drumming perfect for this type of music. Following that carnage we have Devoided, with guitarists Gilli and Piz making sure we do not stop banging our heads to the sound of their sick heavy riffs inspired by bands such as Deicide and Cannibal Corpse, and Sepsis, with its even more diabolic vocal lines and its violent but melodic guitars and drums maintaining a good flow of the music.

MMA01_photo_voidcreation_promo_01We Give You Hell Tonight is an awesome exhibit of old school Death Metal from the 90’s, very Deicide-ish, and with a name like that we couldn’t expect less than that level of devastation, right?  In addition, Börni once again is an unstoppable beast on drums, and you’ll feel impelled to scream “HELL! HELL! HELL!” together with Alex for sure. Then we have an impetuous track named Ruthless, where the band gets even faster and heavier with the intricate bass lines by Berna giving it even more substance; Symbols From The Soul, the shortest song of all which demonstrates absolutely no mercy for our necks thanks to more of Void Creation’s relentless and technical riffs and beats; and the magnificent Dystopia, which focuses on slower and heavier headbanging riffs strengthened by its dark and hopeless lyrics perfectly vociferated by Alex.

The last part of the album keeps annihilating everything, starting with The Plagues and its harsher screams nicely mixed with deeper guttural vocals. Moreover, it’s simply amazing how skillful this band is, capable of crafting such aggressive music with so much harmony in it. The next song, Thelema, is another good old school Death Metal track with hints of the music by Sepultura in its guitars, with its end being a raid of sheer brutality, before Earthlings 2.0 closes the album in a unique way: this song is completely different from the rest of the album, with more introspective and melodic passages, as if the band wanted it to represent a horribly melancholic end of the world with their music.

Lastly, isn’t the fetus/unborn baby in the album art cute? Of course not, but unfortunately that’s the world we’re living in and we have to deal with that, and nothing better than some extreme music to help us face this brutal reality. Thus, go visit Metal Music Austria’s official BandCamp page or their official online shop to get ahold of your copy of Deadnology. And may God or any other deity of your choice have mercy on your cursed neck.

Best moments of the album: 1984, We Give You Hell Tonight and Dystopia.

Worst moments of the album: Sepsis and Earthlings 2.0.

Released in 2015 Metal Music Austria

Track listing
1. 1984 3:09
2. Devoided 2:49
3. Sepsis 2:57
4. We Give You Hell Tonight 2:49
5. Ruthless 3:44
6. Symbols From The Soul 1:57
7. Dystopia 4:08
8. The Plagues 3:49
9. Thelema 3:02
10. Earthlings 2.0 4:16

Band members
Alex – vocals
Gilli – guitar
Piz – guitar
Berna – bass
Börni – drums

Album Review – Mandatory / Catharsis (2014)

A good option for fans of Melodic Death Metal who enjoy European harmony blended with North American violence.

Rating5

MANDATORY_Catharsis_Cover_HQAustrian Melodic Death Metal band Mandatory is one of those cases where harmony and brutality walk hand in hand with each other, creating an electrifying sound perfect for live performances, which by the way helped this Linz-based quintet win the International Live Award in 2011 in Austria. Now with Catharsis, the band’s second full-length album, those guys deliver a more melodic and technical Death Metal than their previous releases without sounding too commercial or generic.

Although Catharsis is quite different from the band’s 2009 debut album Carbon Black, it’s still very technical and heavy, recommended for both fans of Melodic Death Metal and the more modern heavy music from North America. Moreover, do not expect to listen to old school Death or Thrash Metal, as the sounding in the whole album is very polished and even progressive depending on the song, similar to what bands such as Arch Enemy are doing today. You can indeed expect lots of shredding, guttural and clean vocals mixed, and fast and technical blast beats.

The opening track, End of Watch, can be summarized as pure European Melodic Death Metal with hints of American Metalcore, with its double bass boosting the very melodic guttural vocals. Then we have Act I: Tragedy, the first of three “acts” (or whatever the band wanted those to be) where its excellent instrumental, clean vocals and motivational lyrics (“Embrace the Light within / Shatter the Sky / Your pain and misery / Will purify your mind”) give a good balance to the song; and the slower but heavier To the Streets, a modern Thrash Metal tune the likes of contemporary Metallica and A7X, with some intense riffs and an interesting guitar solo perfect for some headbanging.

Mandatory_2012_1500_webEmperor has the most Metalcore rhythm of all songs, especially its guitar duos, with highlights to its very polished production (enhancing the sounding of all instruments) and the political message in its lyrics (“You aren’t machines / You are not chained / To these ambassadors / Of hatred fear and despise”); while the very enjoyable Act II: Catharsis begins with an intense low riff before turning into fast Melodic Death Metal. It even flirts with progressive metal due to all its breaks, variations and the excellent work done by both guitarists Chris Hörmann and Manuel “Mani” Rohrauer.

Shadowmaker is another good melodic and very progressive tune, albeit not as heavy as the rest of the album, with its guitar solos reminding me of some old stuff done by Dream Theater; followed by For the World to See, which gets back to Melodic Death Metal with its clean vocals being once again a nice touch to the overall musicality. Finally, we have Act III: Purification, the last of the three “acts”, another progressive/melodic heavy track with uprising lyrics (“Rise Up! / Liberate your wisdom / Rise Up! / Let the storm break loose”), and closing the album we have Blueprint, the most Thrash/Death Metal track of all with highlights to its technical and professional instrumental and the nice sound effects on the background. In addition, it might only be a coincidence, but the three “acts” (add also “End of Watch” to this list) are the best songs of the album by far in my opinion.

You can purchase Catharsis at Mandatory’s official BandCamp page, where the album comes as a special edition with lots of extra stuff, or also at Amazon, iTunes and other online stores. Go for it if you’re a fan of the most modern type of Melodic Death Metal available in the market, uniting melody, violence and fun in heavy music.

Best moments of the album: End of Watch, Act I: Tragedy, Act II: Catharsis and Act III: Purification.

Worst moments of the album: To the Streets and For the World to See.

Released in 2014 Independent

Track listing
1. End of Watch 3:53
2. Act I: Tragedy 4:15
3. To the Streets 6:53
4. Emperor 5:08
5. Act II: Catharsis 6:53
6. Shadowmaker 4:36
7. For the World to See 5:45
8. Act III: Purification 5:18
9. Blueprint 3:51

Band members
Markus Hundsberger – vocals
Chris Hörmann – guitars, backing vocals
Manuel “Mani” Rohrauer – guitars, backing vocals
Leo Wolfmayr – bass
Mike Pfaffenhuemer – drums, clean vocals

Attraction Review – Arnold Schwarzenegger Museum (Thal bei Graz, Austria)

You want to know what is best in life? To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to visit the Arnold Schwarzenegger Museum in Austria!

Rating1

Arnies_Life_ThalIf you’re a fan of Heavy Metal, you’re probably a fan of the one and only Mr. Arnold Schwarzenegger too. Also known as the Austrian Oak, the Styrian Oak, The Governator or simply Arnie, he is unquestionably the greatest action movie actor of all time, the most successful bodybuilder in history and, of course, a hero for millions of people all over the world. Movies like The Terminator (I, II and III), Predator, Last Action Hero, Conan the Barbarian, The Expendables II, among others, are either an inspiration for many heavy music bands such as Austrian Death Machine, with awesome songs like Get To The Choppa and I Need Your Clothes, Your Boots, and Your Motorcycle, or their soundtracks are full of powerful Heavy Metal/Hard Rock tunes like AC/DC’s Big Gun, Megadeth’s Angry Again and, of course, one of Guns N’ Roses’ greatest hits, the awesome You Could Be Mine. Who doesn’t love when Arnold stares at Axl Rose, grins and walks off in the official video for this song?

IMG_2667

“I’m a cybernetic organism. Living tissue over a metal endoskeleton.”

That’s why the third (and last) installment of my recent trip to Europe will be dedicated to reviewing one of the coolest museums in the world, and by far my favorite one of all: the Arnold Schwarzenegger Museum (or Arnie’s Life) in Thal bei Graz is not just a regular museum with some of Arnold’s old stuff and memorabilia, but a place where you can live his life and truly breathe all his accomplishments as a Hollywood star, his work as a the Governor of California and his exceptional achievements in bodybuilding. And the location of the museum was not chosen in vain, as it’s the actual house where Arnold grew up and spent a great part of his life, including his childhood and adolescence, and where he started his path to glory in the world of bodybuilding. Moreover, the overall quality of this amazing collection of documents, awards, props and everything else you can imagine about his bodybuilding, acting, political and personal life is enhanced by all the beauty and peace of the sorroundings of Thal. Arnold himself said many times how all the nature and peace in Thal inspired him to be a protector of the environment, especially during his years as “The Governator”.

In regards to the museum itself, I would say the top must-see items available are everything related to his role as the T-800 terminator, including his totally awesome Harley-Davidson from Terminator II, all his bodybuilding equipment (which by the way are all original from when he started working out), and many documents and other items related to his years as a politician. In addition, things like the sword used by the mighty Conan, the jacket and gun used by Sheriff Ray Owens and the costume used by Mr. Freeze make the whole experience even more fun, and of course, the Arnold statue at the entrance of the museum, just outside the front door, is truly inspirational for anyone, even if you have never been a fan of Arnie.

DSC05464

“Conan, what is best in life?”

Finally, although many people say the museum is located in the city of Graz, it’s not that easy to get there from the city centre, especially walking. Arnie’s Life is actually located in the city of Thal, which is about 20 minutes from downtown Graz if you’re driving. I went there by car and used my GPS, typing in the museum’s postal code (8051) instead of the city name as it wasn’t finding Thal in the list of cities, and that worked perfectly. However, if you’re backpacking and travelling by train or bus only, there are some options available by public transportation from Graz which you can see HERE.

DSC05456

“The best activities for your health are pumping and humping.”

To sum up, instead of “getting to the choppa”, get to Arnie’s Life and enjoy all your moments there: it’s such a pleasant and entertaining environment you won’t even notice time quickly passing by. In a world where pretty much all blockbuster movies are pure garbage and the actors and actresses have zero charisma, it’s good to “go back in time” and admire the history of a man that has always helped change the world for better, no matter what he does. I just loved the museum, and when I left it the only sentence I could think of was, of course, I’LL BE BACK!

Opening hours
Monday to Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm (last entrance: 4:30 pm)

From June 1, 2014 on: every Saturday and Sunday guided tours through the museum (start: 11 am, 3 pm)

Admission charge
Adults: € 6,50
Concessions*: € 5,00
Children from 5 to 14 years / school groups: € 3,00
Regular guided tour: € 10,00 (unique for a group)
Audioguide (German or English): € 2,00

* Valid for groups of 10 or over, children up to age 15, teens, students up to age 27, senior citizens over 65 or on presentation of a valid pensioners´ ID, challenged people, military and community service conscripts, unemployed persons.

Contact info & location
Arnold Schwarzenegger Museum
Linakstraße 9
A – 8051 Thal, Austria
+43 (0) 316 571 947
http://www.arnieslife.com/

 

Concert Review – Nova Rock Festival 2014 (Pannonia Fields II, Nickelsdorf, Austria, 06/14/2014)

A flawless festival at one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

novarock2014

INTRODUCTION: The City of Nickelsdorf and 10 Years of Nova Rock

The town of Nickelsdorf is located in the district of Neusiedl am See in the Austrian state of Burgenland, it belonged to Hungary until 1920 (like the whole province of Burgenland) and it has a population of less than 2,000 people. Those details alone wouldn’t encourage anyone to visit this little town in the middle of nowhere in Austria, don’t you agree? However, over the past 10 years there are three very special days between the second and third weeks of June when its population increases almost 100 times and Nickelsdorf becomes the world capital of heavy music: that’s what happens when the awesome Nova Rock Festival hits the town.

It was from June 9 to June 12, 2005 when the first edition of Nova Rock brought to town names such as System of a Down, Marylin Manson, Nightwish, Audioslave and Green Day, with over 30,000 fans per day. The following year, with huge bands like Metallica, Motörhead and Guns N’ Roses, the festival received over 150,000 visitors, becoming the largest ever rock festival in Austria. Since then, names like Volbeat, The Prodigy, Rage Against the Machine, Dimmu Borgir, Cradle of Filth, Rammstein, Kreator, Testament, In Flames and many other heavy music icons have helped put Nickelsdorf in the route (and in the hearts) of metalheads from all over the world during the always incredible European summer.

This year the lineup was once again more than amazing, starting on Friday, June 13 with the power of Volbeat, Slayer, Steel Panther and Sepultura; kicking fuckin’ ass on Saturday, June 14 with Epica, Trivium, Anthrax, Amon Amarth and Iron Maiden (and believe me, American actor David Hasselhoff); and topping it off with Rob Zombie, The Offspring, Bad Religion, Arch Enemy and Black Sabbath. You can take a look at the full lineup per day by clicking HERE.

As I was travelling around Austria and Eastern Europe I couldn’t attend all three days of the festival due to time and money restrictions, so this review is solely in regards to Day 2, with focus on the performances by Trivium, Anthrax, Amon Amarth and Iron Maiden. Unfortunately (or not), I couldn’t stay later to see “The Hoff” singing the hit song Du or doing whatever he was going to do there.

NOVA ROCK FESTIVAL: Where to Stay, How to Get There and Overall Organization

If you’re planning on attending Nova Rock next year for only one or two of the three days of the festival, or if you’re not a huge fan of camping sites, the two best options available are staying in the capital Vienna (about 70km from Nickelsdorf) and driving for about one hour or taking the train to the festival, or staying in the very pleasant city of Bratislava, in Slovakia, which is only 40km from Nickelsdorf (or a quick 40-minute drive). We chose to stay in Bratislava, mainly because it was our first time in Slovakia and our chance to know that amazing city, and we do not regret that at all: it’s a lot cheaper than Vienna, the food and drinks are amazing, and it is full of breathtaking views like the one of the entire city from the top of the Bratislava Castle during the sunset.

The festival itself was very well-organized, with a huge free parking lot, good camping space, lots of different options to eat, good toilets, decent prices for the merchandise available, and more important than all that, both the blue and the red stages were set up in a way you could see and listen to everything no matter where you were. There were also lots of different activities going on, keeping the fans entertained before their favorite bands hit the stages, including a huge party zone. The only issue this year was the unbearable dust that impregnated the entire festival due to the dry and sunny weather in Nickelsdorf, which was responsible for lots of people wearing bandanas to cover their faces like if they were some kind of outlaws. Anyway, it was better than a heavy storm, especially because driving back to Bratislava all covered in mud wouldn’t have been a nice experience.

TRIVIUM

IMG_1976Because I had some sightseeing to do in the morning and part of the afternoon, I was able to get to Nova Rock only at 4pm, which means I unfortunately missed Epica (and fortunately missed Ghost). However, I was there just in time for one of the best bands of the past 10 years: American Heavy Metal band Trivium started their powerful and fun concert at around 4:30pm setting the crowd on fire, especially the ones in the front row/section. The band’s sonority was better than the last time I saw them, partially thanks to drummer Mat Madiro: he seems to be an excellent replacement for Nick Augusto, helping the band sound more cohesive with him on drums.

A constant presence in previous editions of Nova Rock, the band seemed pretty happy to be back in Austria and, with heavy and technical songs such as Strife, Black, Through Blood and Dirt and Bone and Down from the Sky, Matt Heafy and his crew delivered what in my opinion was the second best show of the day, only behind Iron Maiden. Matt said numerous times the fans were kickin’ ass at Nova Rock, which is an absolute truth, leaving the doors open for more Trivium at future editions of the festivals, maybe one day as the main attraction (and they indeed deserve that opportunity).

Band members
Matt Heafy – lead vocals, guitars
Corey Beaulieu – guitars, backing vocals
Paolo Gregoletto – bass guitar, backing vocals
Mat Madiro – drums

ANTHRAX

IMG_1996After a short break, American Thrash Metal icons Anthrax started their energetic show at around 6pm, showing why they have their spot in the famous “Big Four”. What an amazing performance! Mixing some old mighty classics like Caught in a Mosh, Got the Time, Indians and Antisocial with songs from their latest album from 2011, Worship Music (with highlights to the fun zombie-anthem Fight ‘Em ‘Til You Can’t), Anthrax kept a very positive energy flowing among the fans and got the recognition they deserved from everyone in the end.

Two things should be said about their performance: first of all, in regards to the band members, Joey Belladonna proved one more time why, just like Ozzy, he’s a horrible singer but an incredible frontman. The man doesn’t stop running around the stage, cheering up the fans and making the whole experience of watching Anthrax live really awesome! And Scott Ian might not be the best guitar player in the world, but he is a true Heavy Metal hero, banging his head and delivering lots of awesome heavy riffs during all songs.

And last but not least, the tribute the whole band payed to Dio (R.I.P.) and Dimebag Darrell (R.I.P.) with the banners and the song In the End, and the other tribute to Australian masters AC/DC in the form of a beautiful cover version of T.N.T., just proved how humble all members of Anthrax are and how much they love heavy music. Anthrax were not only an excellent warm-up for Iron Maiden, but a superb lesson in Thrash Metal for everybody at Nova Rock.

Band members
Joey Belladonna – lead vocals
Scott Ian – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Charlie Benante – drums, percussion
Frank Bello – bass guitar, backing vocals
Jonathan Donais – lead guitar 

AMON AMARTH

IMG_1997Then came one of the most anticipated attractions of the day for me, as I love most of their albums and it was the first time I was able to see them live, but sadly it was not as powerful as I was expecting: Swedish Melodic Death Metal warriors Amon Amarth had a very competent performance, playing some great tunes such as Father of the Wolf, Guardians of Asgaard and The Pursuit of Vikings, and Johan Hegg is becoming one of the top frontman in heavy music. However, probably due to the fatigue everyone was feeling after so many electrifying attractions that day, their concert sounded a bit tiring after a while.

I don’t know if most of the fans there were not that much into their Viking theme, but I saw lots of people simply static and some even yawning during the entire show. I would say that huge festivals are not the best place for a band like Amon Amarth, because let’s face it: singing about Vikings is not considered cool by a huge part of the society, so I’ll wait until they come to Toronto this fall during their own tour to better analyze them live. I’m pretty sure it will be a lot better than their performance at Nova Rock.

Band members
Johan Hegg – lead vocals
Olavi Mikkonen – guitar
Johan Söderberg – guitar
Ted Lundström – bass
Fredrik Andersson – drums 

IRON MAIDEN

IMG_2010And at around 9pm, guess what happened? My sixth “Maiden England” concert, which was also my second one in less than a week (and of course the second of this Maiden England Tour 2014), was once again totally awesome. Because it was a festival, which means you’ll find all types of people there and not only true Maidenmaniacs, I just felt the audience wasn’t as great as in Brno, but that doesn’t mean people didn’t go crazy with classics like Aces High, Run to the Hills, The Prisoner and The Trooper. Revelations was again one of the top moments in my opinion, and the energy people put into singing Fear of the Dark always reminds us why they keep it in the setlist even if lots of diehard fans want them to change it for something else.

I’m not sure if the band was running out of time or if they just wanted to end the show earlier to watch the World Cup match between England and Italy, but without any further explanation they simply removed Wrathchild from that night’s setlist. I bet it was because of the match, as Bruce was wearing a weird English white jumpsuit during Aces High and said a couple of times that we all had to get back to our tents to see England beat Italy 10-0. Well, I guess Mick Jagger is not the only jinx around.

Apart from that minor upset (I’m talking about Wrathchild, not about England losing to Italy, of course), all fans were able to witness another memorable performance from the most influential Heavy Metal band of all time, which was corroborated by everybody happily singing Monty Python’s Always Look on the Bright Side of Life when the concert was over. Now I really hope “Maiden England” is over (after three years) and they come back with a new album, because although I’m 100% passionate about all those classics, I also love when Bruce, Steve & Co. provide us some fresh compositions. Let’s hope they deliver us something as good as The Final Frontier, and that they keep on rockin’ all over the world with their unique and marvelous tours.

Band members
Bruce Dickinson – lead vocals
Steve Harris – bass, backing vocals
Dave Murray – guitars
Adrian Smith – guitars, backing vocals
Janick Gers – guitars
Nicko McBrain – drums

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