To read what all happened on Day One, please click HERE
After a couple hours of sleep I ventured onto the Pool Deck and Canada's extreme metal outfit Unexpect was already playing to the fans who were up and about or still awake from the night prior. Either way, they powered through their set and while Steel Engraved was playing in the Spectrum Lounge I had to go and put some solid food into my stomach so I totally missed their first set. Big mistake as it turned out, I heard they were awesome.
Notes from Dan:
One of the bands who I never even heard of before was Steel Engraved, a heavy metal band from Germany. They're pretty new, with their first album from 2009, which is usually a bad sign for me. But then they're also from Germany and play heavy metal (a formula for success in my book), so I decided to check them out. While nothing groundbreaking, they're not bad. They play simple heavy metal, not aping the bands of the Eighties nor quite crossing into the realm of speed or power metal. They do have some good catchy songs like "Godspeed" and "Stainless Steel", which were stuck in my head for days. And for a not very well-known band, the crowd was REALLY into their set. As for what stuck out, besides singing "Happy Birthday" to an oddly dressed birthday boy, the singer threw out quite a bit of band T-shirts to the crowd during the show, something I saw no other band do.
Well, priorities I guess but I did make sure to be back at the Pool Deck to watch, dance and rock out to Arkona. I had only seen them once and they blew me away. Vocalist Masha Arhipova, as usual, took no prisoners and had the audience going in no time. Chick is so small and petite but sure as hell kicks ass on stage. Respect!
(Un)fortunately I missed ETECC since I was going to check out some of the Meet & Greet sessions before heading back to watch Onslaught. Thrash made in the - United Kingdom; alrighty then, but honestly they have been around since the Eighties so no complaint here and they sure as hell still know how to thrash. Halfway reunited and with some new members Onslaught brought the "heavy" in full force - under bright sunlight.
It was a nice step back to "easy-listening-music" in the Spectrum Lounge and even though they are considered hard rock, Fatal Smile can't deny their glam metal influence. Dressed out like "insert any 80's Sunset Strip band here" those Swedes knew how to keep their audience mesmerized and I bet the female to male ration was slightly higher during their shows. Hey, not dissing here; I was there twice to watch them as well. LOL
Quick meeting for all the press folks, informal Q&A with Sami from Kreator, therefore missed Anaal Nathrakh and I was heading back to the Spectrum Lounge to watch one of the surprise bands for me on the 70000 Tons Of Metal Cruise. What is it with those French bands? On the Barge To Hell it was Loudblast who surprised the living shit out of me, and now it was Nightmare. Well, to be honest I did hear them before, but they also did change their style over the years and maybe that's why they slipped off my radar, who knows. One thing that really stuck out though was that their singer sounds very much like Ronnie James Dio; excellent!
Before heading back out to the Pool Deck I was walking through the Boleros Lounge where Jeff Waters (Annihilator) was getting ready to introduce the first members of the "All-Star Jam" band. Kreator's Mille and Doro were tagged to perform the Judas Priest classic "Breaking The Law" with André Hilgers (Rage) on drums, Victor Smolski (Rage) and Luca Princiotta (Doro) on guitars and Markus Grosskopf (Helloween) on bass. Hellz to the yeah - I was sticking around for that one. As a matter of fact, this was by far THE best idea ever with this "Jamming With Waters, In International Waters"; all sorts of classic metal songs performed by some of the artists on the cruise.
All Star Jam
Seriously, when will you ever be able to watch members of Týr, Nile, Metal Church, Angra and Flotsam & Jetsam jam out to Metallica's "For Whom The Bell Tolls"? Un-fucking-believable, and I hope UMC will make this an ongoing event for their cruise since this was a HUGE hit with the audience. Here is a link to a PDF file so you can see all the awesome combination of stars and which songs they performed.
But since I knew I wasn't going to be able to watch Ensiferum on their second gig, I left early to check them out on the Pool Deck Stage. Honestly I didn't know what to expect, but I kinda liked them. No clue what all they performed; maybe only older songs, but I will check them out again since they will be touring the States here in a couple of month.
I opted to skip Cryptopsy and Anacrusis and watched Angra and Evergrey instead. Well, with Angra this was actually a given since - hello, the one, the only Fabio Lione of Rhapsody Of Fire was doing guest vocals for the Brazilians. After Eduardo "Edu" Falaschi left last year I was wondering who Angra would tag as their substitute singer for the 70000 Tons Of Metal cruise and I was more than pleased once it was announced that Fabio would front the band. To call this one an amazing performance wouldn't do it just; holy crap! The man has such a great voice and is one of the nicest people you will ever meet, hands down.
Fabio singing with Angra
Still on a high from Angra who played in the Chorus Line Theater I went back to the Pool Deck Stage to catch a glimpse of Gothenburg's Evergrey. To be quite honest, I haven't seen them since 2006 when they played here in town at a small ass venue (500 seater) with In Flames, Nevermore and one more band who I can't think of right now. Things changed over the years and as of today only Tom Englund and keyboardist Rikard Zander remain from the line-up I saw almost 7 years ago. Nevertheless, Evergrey still got what it takes which was very apparent on the amount of fans that showed up for their performance.
One of the last remaining "Metal Queens" from the Eighties was up next in the Chorus Line Theater. Oh yeah, just in case you keep track of this - the amount of walking I did on the cruise ship was astonishing; back and forth from one place to the other and oh yes, they all were on different decks of the ship. I probably would have lost 10 pounds because of walking alone, if it wouldn't have been for the amount of barley, wheat and hops I consumed. But anyways, Doro was up next.
Dear God, I remember seeing her with Warlock at the first ever Metal Hammer Festival at the Loreley back in 1985 (check the image of the ticket stub for the line-up back then) and now, over 27 years later, the woman still a) looks almost the same and b) kicks some major ass on stage. I was particular glad she still does perform Warlock songs when on tour and with the choices of "Burning The Witches", "All We Are", "Earthshaker Rock" and "Für Immer" she actually had quite a lot of old songs in her repertoire. Again, so not complaining here, it's just that she also has some really good solo material but opted to stack her set list with the tried and true songs. One thing though which I thought was pretty funny; Mrs. Pesch apparently took note of that the majority of the cruisers where from Germany and spoke mostly German during her announcements.
We had drawn a "battle plan" and decided the ONLY time for dinner was right after Doro so we wouldn't miss a thing of Rage, who were playing with the Lingua Mortis Orchestra about an hour later also in the Chorus Line Theater. So, since I was going to watch Doro again on the Pool Deck Stage the next day, I snuck out early and headed to the Spectrum Lounge to check out Heidevolk.
While I am usually not a huge fan of the viking or folk metal bands, those guys from The Netherlands were about to change my mind about the genre. I am a sucker for bands who do sing in their native language and maybe this is why Heidevolk had such an immense impact on me. They were in the middle of "Saksenland" when I went into the Spectrum Lounge and the room was screaming and bouncing to the song. Long story short and since I was actually on my way to dinner, when Heidevolk played the following night I was present for their entire set, so more on them will follow.
Since time was limited we opted to go to the Windjammer Casual Dining buffet since this was way quicker than the sit down Starlight Dining Restaurant. Anyways, on our way back to the Chorus Line Theater I stopped to check out Lacuna Coil for a minute while Dan was securing a nice seat to watch Rage.
Alrighty, Lacuna Coil, really nice guys and gal, they were actually right in front of us in line to check into the ship the day prior, but other than that Cristina Scabbia is rather easy on the eyes - their music is way too commercial for my taste. Shit, their last album Dark Adrenaline was produced by the same guy who did Linkin Park. But while yes, their sound is too "pop-ish" for me, they sure know how to keep their fans enthralled into their music. People were going ape shit and some even cried right up front, but sorry ya'll, not my cup of tea.
Off to Rage I went to meet up with Dan, but since they played the same set (with the addition of one song) on Thursday, you will read all about it then.
Next up was one of the bands who I have not only seen a bunch of times, but am also close personal friends with. Ladies and Gentlemen: THE KREATOR HAS RETURNED. OMG and WOW and FML, I was in the zone - the Terror Zone! (Don't' worry Promonex, this will not be a song by song review ) Finally it happened, after Kreator was literally the first band UMC organizer Andy Piller asked to be on the maiden 70000 Tons Of Metal cruise back in 2011, Mille and Co. weren't in the studio or on tour and actually had time to unleash their "Extreme Aggression".
I and one of the event photographers were air guitaring, head-banging to the max and just plain enjoying the show that one of the media coordinators was wondering if we would ever get our asses in the photo pit to take pictures. LOL. Well, we finally did about half way through Kreator's set. Seriously, it would have been very unprofessional to stand right in front, with a camera nevertheless, while screaming from the top of my lungs: "Is there something after you, something after you?", or?
I only stayed in there for a song or two since one can not simply stand still for the solo during "People Of The Lie", well at least I can't. Oh, and one of the biggest fucking "wall of death" towards the end of their set; people literally were still talking about that show a couple days later.
Moshpit for Kreator
Notes from Dan:
After Rage, I headed over to the Pool Deck Stage. Up till then, my concert-watching for Tuesday had been pretty much all heavy, folk and power metal. The time was right to change gears and have a little ex-treme aggression. Yeah, the Kreator had finally come onto a UMC cruise. Now I've seen them many times before, and they've never disappointed, so I knew what I was getting into to: a blazing thrash-o-rama. And they definitely delivered. From the bark of Mille Petrozza, the thundering drumming of Ventor, and most importantly the fast, extreme, MONSTER riffage, Kreator tore the place apart from the first note to the last.
As for the set list, while there are very few thrash bands that I would actually want to see a bunch of new songs being played, Kreator totally makes it work. The only thing I could complain of was that, where I was at, the sound sometimes wavered in and out, as if the wind was carrying the music away. But I was so into it, it didn't matter much. I'd have to say that, for me, this was the best show of the whole cruise.
Set list: Intro "Mars Mantra", "Phantom Antichrist", "From Flood Into Fire", "Enemy Of God", "Phobia", "Hordes Of Chaos", "Civilization Collapse", "Voices Of The Dead", "Extreme Aggression", "People Of The Lie", "Coma Of Souls" (Intro only), "Endless Pain" and "Pleasure To Kill"
After this awesome show I took a breather, recharged with a beer and headed over to the Chorus Line Theater only to find out that In Flames's tour manager told security to throw all of the media out of the front after 3 songs! Needless to say I didn't stick around but thankfully he changed his mind for their second set so the pic's and review will come then.
Keeping up with my German heritage I then went to the Spectrum Lounge to check out Die Apokalyptischen Reiter and had a great time. While the stage was a bit small for all of them, they made the best out of the situation and actually had some of the monitor cases standing between the stage and the barriers to be up close and personal with their fans. Pretty cool gig.
By that time is was a little before 1am in the morning and after getting some more coffee (it was a toss-up between coffee and beer, but coffee won that time) I enjoyed some easy listening hard rock made in Switzerland, courtesy of Gotthard. Unfortunately they are largely unknown here in the US but their following is very impressive nevertheless. I was talking with one of the photographers earlier in the day and he told me that he is actually in the Official Gotthard Fan Club and was on the cruise mainly for them; nice!
Anyway, before getting back to good old American metal retro outfit Holy Grail, I stuck my head into the Chorus Line Theater where Subway To Sally was playing to a handful of fans. Wow, seriously, major flaw for putting them into the rather big Theater while Luna and Co. was playing in a packed Lounge. Maybe they draw more overseas, but on the boat they just didn't.
Holy Grail was fun to watch as usual. There is just something to be said to listen to those kids playing heavy metal like it's the newest thing on the market. If you like NWOBHM then you should really check them out one of these days.
Shifting major gears, the next band on the schedule was the on, off, and now back on again death metal combo out of The Netherlands, Sinister. Listening to brutal, fast as fuck death metal at 3 o'clock in the morning does put things into perspective and a lot of people actually took the time to pay their respects to one of Rotterdam's finest. While Adrie Kloosterwaard is the lonely original member left, and he actually took over the vocal duties, they kicked some major ass and I heard that their second set on Thursday was heavily patronized as well.
Killing some time before Týr closed out the morning on the Pool Deck Stage I headed back to the Spectrum Lounge to check out Ektomorf. Well, don't quite know what to think about them to be honest. Dan said they reminded him a lot of Sepultura's "Roots Bloody Roots" but either I was too tired or just had an off day, they didn't do anything for my ears. Moving on.
The first encounter I had with Týr was a couple years ago when they toured the US with Alestorm and Suidakra and I actually make a point of not missing them ever since. Apparently a lot of people neither since the Pool Deck was much fuller for them then it was for Sinister, and mind you, this was at 4am in the morning. Some folks actually told me that they took a nap so they could watch Týr at this ungodly time of day. The band clearly had fun on stage as well and appreciated the fact that so many people did show up.
By the time Týr was finished with their set it was seriously time to hit the sack, since the next day was a shore day in Cockburn Town on the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Notes from Dan: Besides (or rather beneath) Kreator, for Tuesday my favorite shows were Doro, Angra and Rage.
With such a great as well as diverse line up for the day it is seriously hard to pin point a clear favorite, but other than the obvious (duuuh - Kreator) I would say the bands who either surprised or blew me away were in no particular order: Nightmare, Angra, Doro and Heidevolk
Written on 13.02.2013 by
Professional concertgoer, dangerously armed with a camera!