NOVA ROCK 2018 - Festival Show/Photo Report

This summer we were eager to see Nova Rock Festival in Nickelsdorf, Austria! The festival was held from 14th to 17th of June. With an impressive bill of bands to choose from, it was hard not to go!


On a rainy, muddy Wednesday we arrived in the middle of Pannonian fields, full of fresh energy and ready to start the festive days ahead. After some problems, we had on a count of wind, making the tent, we were finally set up and ready to be entertained by crazy Austrian crowd, already partying since morning.


The first day of the Nova Rock festival was pretty busy for us, watching bands all through the stormy day. 

Doors opened at 13.30 and the first band to open "the Red stage" was "Starcrawler". Recently formed, 70ties psychedelic/glam rock and roll group, from Los Angeles. With no expectations, we went to check them out and were pretty amused. They put as much effort into their sound as they do the theatrics of the performance. There is nothing modern about them, they are reviving the sound of the past decades as it originally was. They are a female fronted band and the vocalist was performing absolutely insane, acting like a mentally disturbed person all part of the performance. Throwing herself around the stage, imaginary killing herself, turning into a zombie. It was an entertaining show, full of talent from this young band.

After this entertainingly scandalous performance, it was time for another American band. Alternative hard rockers Shinedown were next to play the Red stage. Their latest project "Attention, Attention", that was released in January, is already busting its reputation and ranking high on the Billboards rock charts. Even though it was still quite early in the afternoon, a tense expectation was felt in the air before the gig. The majority of the audience below the stage was ready to participate. They opened the show with "Sound Of Madness", which is usually their go opener. They continued with some latest works "Cut the Chord" and "Kill Your Conscience", which were accepted with an immediate strong response. They played a couple more songs from "Amaryllis" and "The Sound Of Madness". They played: Enemies, Unity, Second Chance, Diamond Eyes. Frontman Brent Smith addressed the crowd during the show couple of times and ask the people to look to the left and right and say hello to the person they are standing next to. He then himself shook hands with the photographers below the stage. They closed the show with one of their recent releases "The Devil".

With the change of the stage set, the majority of people bellow stage were replaced by fans of quite different waters of musical taste. The setting of the stage was transformed into dark blue shades of technical futuristic figurines that completely changed the tone, and the atmosphere was perfect for the first metal act of the day, to do their thing. Meshuggah were up next. Extreme progressive metalheads from Sweden have been original in their sound, trying never to repeat themselves well over 20 years now. It was exciting to see them live for the first time. They started the show with some of their recent works: Clockworks and Born In Dissonance, which immediately took us into their esoteric world of technological progress. As usual, the vocalist didn't said much during the show, nothing wrong with letting the music speak for it self though. They played some of their greatest hits: Lethargica, Nostrum, Violent Sleep of Reason, and others. The crowd was probably most energetic during the song Bleed. 

We stayed on the Red Stage for another heavy show. Asking Alexandria was up next. They opened the show with "Into The Fire", that was welcomed with a strong response from the fans below. It was nice to see them for the first time in an almost original line-up. The vocalist Danny Worsnop was reunited with the band early in the last year, after he recorded a country-influenced album: The Long Road Home. They continued with some of their previous heavier works: Run Free and Dear Insanity. The atmosphere that they made with this first few songs was amazing. Later it was time to slow things down a bit, they played two of the recent songs from the Asking Alexandria record: Under Denver and When the Lights Come On. They also included an acoustic piece: Someone, Somewhere and closed with one of their recent works: Alone In A Room. 

After this impressive performance, we went to "the Blue Stage" where Stone Sour was to begin their gig at any time. Before the band was positioned on the stage, chanting "Corey, Corey" was heard, as the fans were expecting for him to show up any minute. When he finally stepped on the stage loud cheering, chanting and applause continued. The first song Whiplash Pants, from the recent Hydrograd record, was a great opener, but the second song Absolute Zero really got the crowd to move. A lot of the recent material was included in the setlist, like Rose Red Violent Blue (This song Is Dumb & So Am I), Song 3, Fabuless...But the enthusiasm around the band and its charismatic frontman was at its peak during some of their older pieces, like 30/30-150 and Through The Glass. The show was closed with "Fabuless", from the new album.


We rushed to Red Stage to see a bit of Skillet. This alternative rock/metal band formed by two guys and girls have released their last album "Unleashed" three years ago.  We had a chance to see it for the first time.  We were not disappointed by the band. Energy was high, very well executed live and overall was really a good show.


We rushed again, this time to the Red Bull Music Stage to catch a glimpse of UK metalcore act, Our Hollow Our Home. The band have released last year their amazing debut album "Heartsick". We saw I believe three last songs and conclusion is that the band is going strong and deserve your attention!

We stayed at "Red Bull music" stage, to check out one of our favorite deathcore bands Thy Art Is Murder. Each time we see them, they deliver an excellent performance, full of entertainment from their frontman CJ, who is always addressing the crowd all through the show. In an intense half, an hour performance we heard all of their greatest pieces. They started with their recent material: Dear Desolation. The crowd started to mosh during the second song, Puppet Master, also from their recent record Dear Desolation. The tension was only rising and it was a perfect timing for one of their greatest pieces ever: Holy War, moshpit was opened, circle pits started and the fans let it all out. Somewhere half through the setlist, the show was stopped, the power shortage went out and we have to be patient for a few minutes. Luckily, the problem was quickly resolved. We then heard The Purest Staine Of Hate, Slaves Beyond Death, The Sun Of Misery, which made a wall of death inevitable.


Wow! The band released their new album "Reverence" and someone liked it, some die hards not so much. In today scene a metalcore band to play this kind of festival in this time slot as they had is amazing to see! They pulled out all of their classics and some of the new singles along. With fireworks going all around and see people singing and chanting along was a blast to see. This band never disappoints!


Speaking of disappointments...I saw Mr. Manson for the first time back in 2003 at the festival and then two years after at the same spot again. First time was the best show of the festival! The second one was the worst one of the festival. So this time around I was curious to see what he and the band will bring to the table. Conclusion is that his better days are sadly gonne!


The first band we caught on Friday was Arch Enemy. The band has been performing well over 20 years now and has been only improving through each new record. Swedish death metal group is fronted by Alisa White Gluz, since 2014, who has been chosen by former vocalist Angela Gossow. They started the gig with one of the recent pieces, The World Is Yours, from last years Will To Power album, they featured their first clean vocal song "Reason To Believe" on this recent project. Second song, that got the crowed to move was "War Eternal". The energy was rising as they included a lot of the great pieces from all periods of creating. They played songs like: My Apocalypse, You Will Know My Name, First Day In Hell. They saved two of their greatest works for last: We Will Rise and Nemesis.

We stayed on the Blue Stage to catch the next gig. Jonathan Davis, the iconic frontman of Korn was to perform next. He has been touring for his solo project "Black Labyrinth" and has been writing and collecting material for this project for a number of years before recording it. The Black Labyrinth was released in May this year. All of the songs from the album were included in the show, he opened with Underneath My Skin, first song from the album. The record is experimental in nature, full of oriental, spiritual beats. Some of the pieces are quite different than what we are used to hearing from him, and some like "Everyone", the second piece they played, that definetly sounds like a Korn song, passionate fast singing, intense riffs and powerful stage presence. The crowed  eyojed the show!


Paaaarty!!! This is a unique band! The band is set to release their new album "No Tourists" on November 2nd. The hits like "Firestarter", Smack My Bitch Up, Breathe, Nasty, just to name a few, blow up to the sky! What a energy, what a show as always! Another band that simply can't disappoint!


On Saturday we were again stationed on the Blue stage, where the day was reserved for some of the best core bands. Some of which we have already seen and some that we just couldn't wait to check out for the first time. The first band to open the Blue stage was "Lionheart", five-piece hardcore band from California. We have been waiting for the opportunity to check them out for quite some time now. Most of the songs that they played were from the recent album, released in November, last year: Welcome to the West Coast 2. They opened the show with the very first song, from the new record Cali Stomb, a short opening song, that speaks about their return to the scene. After a year and a half break that they had, dealing with some personal problems, the song says that they are returning stronger than ever. This introduction immediately wormed up the enthusiastic crowd and the second piece they played was: Still bitter, still cold. Later they played: Cursed, Trial by fire, LHHC, that made the crowd go crazy. It was a show full of moshing, hardcore dancing and circle pits. The energy was amazing through the whole show, you can really fell the sincerity of the message that they are trying to put across. They are just so likeable and down to earth as a band and individuals. Their lyrics speak about their rise on the scene and they say: We were never that good, we just knew how to hustle. 


Later it was time for another hardcore group to do their thing. Stick To Your Guns from California were up next. Although it was early in the afternoon they had a good audience, quite a lot of fans were gathered bellow the stage. Each time we catch a gig with them its never a dull show, and they managed to deliver another powerful, energetic, to the point performance. Through their lyrics they raise awareness of political and social nature. The frontman Jesse Barnett is usually addressing the crowd and speaking openly about this issues during the show. We heard many great pieces, like: Married To The Noise, We Still Believe, Empty Heads, Amber, Nothing You Can Do To Me, Against Them All.


With no expectations, we went to see Body Count, crossover thrash band from California. Fronted by Tracy Lauren Marrow, better known on hip-hop scene as rapper Ice T and an actor in American television show Law&Order. In September they are headed back to the studio to work on their new record Carnivores. They have a clear message for this record and this message is: Fuck all vegans, the exact frontman's words. He also sad that all carnivores kick ass and that they are carnivores. They will record this track because they feel that everyone is so pussy right now, which they repeated numerous times during the show. He also addressed the women bellow stage if they are noticing that their man is starting to grow a vagina from watching more Kardashians than they do. Later he encouraged the man to be more manly and masculine. I'm not sure what is the point of all of that showing of.


After this promising start, the day just got better when another big name appeared. Huge crowd was already gathered bellow stage, ready to participate in every song, when Bullet For My Valentine took over. They started with a fast new single, "Don't need you", followed by "Over It", "Your Betrayal" and one of their best pieces "4 Words (To Choke Upon). Singing, chanting and a lot of movement was going on as the band progressed through the set list, which was weal put together, including all the best pieces from the bands past. The fans were letting it all out and were loudest during "You Want A Battle Here's A War" and "Scream, Aim, Fire". Somewhere half through the set list they took the time for a passionate drum solo. It was another great performance from this guys and we are hoping for a chance to catch a show with them again soon. Towards the end they played "Tears don't Fall" which took the fans over and closed the show with one of the recent, great pieces, "Waking The Demon".


As far as the eye can see crowds were gathering and people packed in front of the gate to enter closer to the Blue Stage. Expectation grew in anticipation of one of the biggest names of the day. The air was electric and the atmosphere perfect for Limp Bizkit to start the show. For the first song they did a cover song from Ministry "Thieves". They played a couple more covers through the show: "Faith" from Gorge Michael and "Killing In The Name" from Rage Against The Machine. People were pumped with nostalgia as they proceeded. The set list was filled with the their biggest pieces from the past decades, but not so much from the recent recordings. Songs like: Rolling, My Generation, Hot Dog got the crowd to jump around. The heat was rising from thousands of eager fans and the energy was at its peak during: My Way, Nookie and Break Stuff. They closed with "Take A Look Around".


The last day of the festival the program was a little shortened, but not any less impressive than the previous days. The smaller Red Bull stage was already closed. During the day only Red Stage hosted shows, due to the grand preparations on the Blue stage. The stage set was getting bigger and more impressive by the hour, as it was being set up for the headliners of the day, Iron Maiden.


First band to check out early in the afternoon was Enter Shikari, from the UK. Their eclectic musical style combines influences from rock, especially punk rock and hardcore, with those from various electronic music genres. They are considered key pioneers of electronicore. A decade long period of creation produced 5 studio albums, recent one in September last year. They have been touring across UK and Europe of the support of the recent album "The Spark". This was the first Enter Shikari show we've been to and I can can say that even thou this style of music is not my first choice, songs like: Rabble Rouser and Undercover Agents just makes you wanna move and dance with the crowd. They didn't include so much of their slower emotional songs. The set list was full of faster songs with more electronic rhythms to them. This was such a fun show to be a part of and the fans really enjoyed it. They are a band definitely worth checking out.


At around 18.00 p.m. the Blue Stage was ready and the first band we went to check out in the evening was Killswitch Engage. As usual they started the show with the Strength of the Mind. The band played also some of the oldest and heaviest material, and new songs. The band is on tour supporting non other than Iron Maiden. If that's not something for a metalcore band, then tell us what is?! Great show as always from them!


If you tell to someone that you are listening to metal, one of the first bands that come to their mind is this band!  This heavy metal legends, formed back in 1975, yes 43 years ago my friends, are still kicking it as they were teenagers. Seeing Bruce and the others moving and jumping on stage was simply incredible! The tons of hits as they have is a hard to choose for playlist, but at the end I believe everyone was satisfied by the songs they choose to perform. As always stage worth seeing too and different stage scenes between. The world war 2 airplane was memorable hanging from above their heads.

The conclusion is that despite two days of mud, rain and heavy wind the festival was a memorable experience that we will never forget! The organization despite this weather conditions which was not helpful, went pretty smoothly and big ups for the organizers!