Party.San 2023 Report

Festival:Party.San 2023
Location:Schlotheim, Thuringia
Date:11th to 13th August
Organizer:Party.San GmbH

It almost seems like the annual summer vacation, of course we are talking about the Party.San Open Air. Many metal fans consider it as one of the best festivals in Germany, if not Europe. The line-up for this year was just ridiculously good.

Thursday – Day One

Gatecreeper were the first band I saw Thursday afternoon. There could hardly have been a better start, because the guys from Phoenix, Arizona made the crowd go nuts. Songs like “Ruthless”, “Desperation” and “Starved” opened the first big mosh pit. The crowd was then even rewarded with a new song, which sounded more than promising. A more than successful performance and a great band to start you first day with.

Probably the most technically demanding band of the whole festival was Archspire. With high speed and precision, they took the crowd by storm. The highlight was the twister mat which was thrown into the audience by frontman Oliver Aleron. Never before have I seen so many metal fans playing twister during a gig.

After a small snack from Green Republic (the best food stand at the whole festival!!!) I went straight to the tent stage to catch Morbific. Holy shit, that was one of the most brutal and hardest gigs I have experienced in the last three days. I think I’m not alone with this opinion. Rarely have I experienced such a mouldering and disgusting sound live. The Finns played the tent into the ground. What a great gig.

A lot of fans were standing in front of the main stage waiting for Nile but nothing really happened. As it turned out, the band had technical problems. Unfortunately, this also dragged through the set and could only be fixed towards the end. Of course, it diminishes their performance a bit, but still it’s always impressive to hear songs like “Kafir” or “Black Seeds of Vengeance” live. Especially when you notice how Nile create a breath-taking atmosphere during this whole set, even with technical difficulties.

Death metal legends Deicide had already announced a special Legion set in advance. Besides their second album, they also performed classics like Once Upon the Cross and They Are the Children of the Underworld. Everything was on point. The sound and the set list couldn’t have been better. Maybe the best Deicide gig I ever experienced. Satan really ruled the world during their performance.

The headliner of the first day were none other than Obituary. In typical death metal manner, they opened their set with “Redneck Stomp”. No matter how often you hear this song, it always puts a smile on my face. Their performance was a true demonstration of power. No matter which criterion you take, Obituary really mastered every aspect of death metal. A worthy headliner for the first day. Even though some fans complained about the song selection. Obituary are fucking legends and therefore may proudly present their newer hits from Dying of Everything.

Friday – Day Two

Spirit Possession opened the tent stage on the second day. The black metal duo heated up the audience properly. Rarely have I seen a band consisting of two people that had such a powerful sound. Some fans, including me, were more than thrilled, which was also shown by how stacked the tent was already in the early afternoon. The punky attitude of Spirit Possession and the raw black metal sound were the perfect combination to open the smaller stage. What a start!

No gimmicks, just pure death metal. This is probably the best way to describe Drowned’s attitude. Uncompromising Death Metal exactly the way it should be played. Even a new song was presented to the audience. It’s about time that Drowned release new material. At least this gig made it clear that the band belongs to the absolute death metal elite of the Germany.

One of the biggest surprises was definitely Concrete Winds. It was as if they had rolled over the tent stage with a tank during the performance. Super aggressive sound, which nearly brought some heads to explode. The Sepulchral Voice Label night was a complete success, one brilliant band followed the next. Concrete Winds were no exception. A band to keep an eye on.

Endless Wound from Black Curse is probably one of the best metal albums of the last years. All the greater was the joy to finally see the band live. My expectations were of course very high and this performance has exceeded them by far. You know exactly what you get when the band consists of members of Primitive Man, Blood Incantation and Spectral Voice. However, their presents alone felt like a demon summoning. It was loud, constricting and absolutely diabolical. As if one had just witnessed a special event.

Mantar unfortunately had to cancel at short notice for health reasons. Instead Grave Miasma got their slot and moved from the tent to the main stage. The Brits conquered the audience with songs like “Guardians of Death” and “Glorification of the Impure”. The dark death metal sound sounded especially grimy on the big stage.

Dying Fetus are always a highlight no matter where they play. Their set at the Party.San quickly turned out to be one of the best at the whole festival. The mixture of technical riffs and murderous breakdowns caused a lot of destruction in the audience. It never ceases to amaze me how precise this band is. Every song sounds like a studio recording. It was especially interesting to hear newer bangers like “Compulsion for Cruelty” or “Unbridled Fury”, which are on the current album “Make Them Beg for Death”. Dying Fetus came, saw and conquered.

Saturday – Day Three

An early highlight on the last day definitely was Frozen Soul. Probably the most emotional performance of the whole festival. Singer Chad Green talked a lot about mental health and how to deal with grief. Death metal is not just blast beats and crazy guitar solos, so I’m thankful that they also took their time to talk about these important topics. With their distinctive “Cold school Death Metal” sound, Frozen Soul absolutely demolished this place. It was very telling that there was a brief cool down inform of rain when the band started playing. Songs like “Merciless”, “Crypt of Ice” and “Arsenal of War” made the crowd go nuts. Circle pit after circle pit until the finished their set. This was… very cool.

Never judge a book by its cover. I felt the same way when I saw Stormkeep. Probably the only band that is allowed to wear outfits like witch hats on stage and be taken seriously at the same time. Their performance seemed majestic, as if the band went straight out a fairy tale book to the Party.San. You could literally dive into the melodic passages without it being to cringy or over the top. It was a real experience to hear songs from Tales of Othertime live and to be enchanted by Stormkeep. A truly successful surprise. Keep the storm alive!

Immolation are a guarantee for good live shows. The New Yorkers presented a very tight set, which led once across the legendary discography of the band. No matter if “World Agony”, “Destructive Currents” or “Let the Darkness In,” after every song there was thunderous applause. Even if it was the last festival day, the audience went nuts during their set. Immolation stands for true and evil death metal, which they more than showed here.

Endstille had appeared very rarely at festival and club shows in the last few years. All the greater was my joy to finally see the band live again at Party.San. Unfortunately, there were major problems during their set. In the beginning you could hardly hear singer Zingultus. But at the latest during classics like “Frühlingserwachen” and “Endstilles Reich” he screamed his head off. (Shout out to Zingultus. Fuck Björn Höcke). Besides some technical difficulties, Endstille caused war and destruction.

The Party.San Open Air is a damn well-organized festival. It is from fans for fans. Especially positive are the prices for food and drinks, which have remained stable in recent years, even after the pandemic. Not every festival can claim this. The staff and the crew are always friendly and helpful to visitors. I would still like to see an entrance control again next year, so that questionable people with “NSBM” merch are not seen on the festival grounds.

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