Metal Battle Winners MUTANK Write About Trip To Wacken Holy Land - "What Has 160,000 Feet And Headbangs For Three Days Straight?"
August 14, 2014, a month ago
The Wacken Metal Battle Canada's national finals took place on June 7th at the Opera House in Toronto, where Montreal's Mutank were crowned the winners at the end of the night. BraveWords judged and witnessed the spectacle. And at that exact moment, the band's life changed and in mere weeks they were off to the Holy Land of heavy metal, the Wacken Open Air, which took place from July 31st to August 2nd in Wacken, Germany, just outside of Hamburg. Perhaps you've read our diaries of the fest including this year's 25th anniversary show (see here), but BraveWords handed the pen to Mutank to detail their own journey!
In the words of Mutank bassist/vocalist Stephen "Steveout" Reynolds...
"What has 160,000 feet and headbangs for three days straight? A gigantic mutated metalhead centipede on an ass-load of coke...
Or maybe it's Wacken, the biggest metal fest in the known universe (as if you didn't know that already). The members of a fledgling thrash brigade out of eastern Canada named Mutank just journeyed there to play the damn thing (you may not have known that) and they're here to tell you about their misadventure in a world full of metal psychos, half meter hotdogs and cows.
We only found out we were flying to Germany to play Wacken about a month before it was happening. We were going as Canada's champion for the Metal Battle event where over 40 countries compete every year for metal supremacy as part of Wacken. Canada was the last country to decide its champion, and out of something like 103 bands, it settled on one that had existed for less than a year. With these facts in mind you can imagine that even up until the night before our performance there were a lot of chicken-running-around-with-its-head-cut-off metaphors running around with their heads cut off. The band was all showing up at different times with different gear in a country none of us had been to with no real way of contacting each other or knowing what the hell was going on. When we did finally find each other we had to run into the night to find a drunk friend in some nondescript location who was providing a guitar for our performance the next day yadda yadda yadda the logistical nightmares went on and on and on.
But despite the odds, the delayed flights and fatiguing stop-overs, the incompetent airlines and loss of personal possessions, the dehydration and extended holdings of bladders, the financial squalor and the it's-too-good-to-be-trueness of it all... shit actually worked out... shit fucking actually fucking all fell into fucking place at the fekkin' last minute. We were afforded a couple hours of sleep before we were to wake up on what for us was basically metal christmas. We jumped into our tents and caught some z's on the soft, fuzzy, rock solid grounds of Wacken.
If you've never been to Wacken (go, dummy), it's absolutely huge. It's so big you walk around constantly questioning how it could possibly exist. I guess it would take a pretty kick-ass team to make it all go down smoothly, eh? Confirmed. The entire crew did an amazing job and when it was our time to get ready to take the stage, these beautiful bastards were on point with whatever our dumb-asses needed to play our best and give the crowd what they deserve: a good show. To not only witness but partake in such professionalism was one of the best parts of the whole experience, hats off to the fine gentlemen and gentlewomen who made our instruments sound good n' loud and to the entire crew behind the scenes making the festival run. Prost!
The playing of the actual set is a blur to me. You can probably see the live footage on this very page but as I'm writing this I've yet to witness it (I heard it was quite good!). All I remember is feeling like I was on drugs and this was all just a hallucination, ramming some pure metal down the faces of a few thousand unsuspecting humans, then saying "TANK MU, badnight!" and walking off-stage. One thing quite clear in my mind was walking away knowing that we had done our best and that I was lucky to share the stage with the rest of MUTANK, no matter how big or small said stage was.
From then on, the stress dissolved along with the almost frightening excitement and we enjoyed the festival for the next few days drinking beers, eating greasy feeds, doing interviews, networking with industry folk, making life-long friends and watching some of the very bands that made us want to pick up instruments and ultimately chase something bigger than ourselves. An all around radass time!
In the end we did not win the competition (congrats to Spain!) and so we return from the unholy grounds of Wacken humbled and more hungry than ever. Our participation in this festival has translated into both the best time of our lives as well as a crucial event in Mutank's thus far short history. A dream has been realized and a million more have been formed in it's stead. We return to The Tank with a giant gouge on our proverbial belt and a taste for the big stage. Look at us now and remember us as we are in this moment, soon you will begin to realize how truly mad we are as we attempt to take over the world! Mu World Order!
To finish, we would like to first say Tank Mu to those true-metal Mutards who believed and continue to believe in what we are doing, this is for you."
Guitarist Liam Hinchey:
"The almighty reverend Billy Gibbons once said 'my head's in Mississippi' … well, that`s `cause ZZ Top can never play Wacken. But Mutank did! And our head's will never be the same. A mind shattering display of the world wide METAL community at its strongest force. Together. As one. Invincible. If you call yourself a metal band - get your asses to sign up for this year's Battle Wacken. We did not get the crown, but we came out with our hands full with new allies, new fans, endless opportunities. Once in a lifetime? Well, we'll see about that! Mutank could never Tank Mu, Wacken enough for what has been the ultimate reward for a one year old hellbent band
straight outta the great white North. Prost!"
Canadian Metal Battle Champions Mutank preforming their song "Running Reds" at Wacken Open Air 2014.
(All photo courtesy of Mihaela Petrescu)