Solvesborg 4-7.07 2008


Once again it is time for the annual march to Swedenrock.  This is the eighth time in a row that the beavis and butthead duo of the Finnish Metal-Rules team made an invasion on the mighty Swedenrock festival. All in all over 70 bands had been booked for the Swedenrock festival that turned out to be nothing but an utter blast from the beginning to the end! The bill of Swedenrock festival 2008 covered extreme metal to classic rock with stuff such as Carcass to Triumph and of course everything between. Therefore, there was at least something for everyone who attended the festival. As a tradition the whole festival was once again sold out when approximately 37,000 people arrived at the area every day. The Swedenrock festival has always had tremendous luck with the weather every year. Once again the gods and goddesses of the weather had given their blessing for this rocking metallic heaven on the earth with an extreme hot and sunny weekend that burned red the skin of several festival visitors. As mentioned in the first sentence, this is the eighth time in a row when the Swedenrock festival has been featured on the site Metal-Rules.com, so it is quite logical for us to give a real in-depth article of several bands performing at Swedenrock. However we are not able to cover every goddamn bloody band, but hopefully you will have a pleasant reading exprience… Enjoy !!!


Additonal reporting by Jarno Huovila







            PRIMAL FEAR             


The German nuclear power metallers Primal Fear finally made it to Swedenrock and the band should have made a visit to the festival much earlier. But better late than never. “The five piece” however kicked off on the third stage by delivering an utter lesson of “Metal Is Forever”.  The set mostly consisted of the most dynamic and furious songs picked up from most of the albums of Primal Fear. However “Fighting The Darkness” presented a more ballad oriented song and songs such as “Angel In Black” made several heads bang brutality. The nuclear core of the five piece is based on both Matt Sinner and Ralf Scheepers who are the ones who have guided the band during all these years even though other members have and gone. Apparently the band had recruited a temporary Swedish guitarist to fill the guitarist spot. Ralf was in a metallic fine form on the stage and obviously the whole band enjoyed being at the festival as the driving metallic tempo almost ripped the heart out.



Sign Of Fear

Silver & Gold

Running In The Dust

Nuclear Fire

Face The Emptiness

Seven Seals

Angel In Black

Guitar-Duel:Magnus Karlsson & Henny Wolter

Under Your Spell

Demons And Angels

Fighting The Darkness

Final Embrace

Metal Is Forever



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Coheed And Cambria was an entirely new acquaintance even though they have put more than a few albums out during the decade.  Coheed And Cambria could be associated to the prog genre, even though the New Yorkers have been labelled as some kind of emo rock status. The four piece fronted by Claudio Sanchez whose massive afro hair looked quite amusing, but the man’s voice was in the credible higher register all the time. Obviously some certain prog metal and hard rock bands may have been listened, which influenced the sound of Coheed And Cambria. Well to be honest there are a plenty of catchy and asskicking songs such “Welcome Home, The Running Free”, but of course less impressive songs in the set. Frankly finding such a talented and interesting band was quite unexpected though. 


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A hellbilly rock/metal combo from Denmark that seems to appeal to the metal and rock fanatics utterly. The whole area of the fourth stage was entirely packed when Volbeaters got on the stage. But being on the fourth stage was kind of mistake for a band such as Volbeat because the Danish four piece would have easily belonged to at least to the third stage due to the massive and overwhelming success. When the Danish volbeaters kicked the set off the frontline went absolutely beserk as the atmosphere almost reached the ecstasy feeling when the audience was jumping all over. The band’s frontman turned out a more down-to-earth individual communicating with the audience. At least he expressed the opinion and thoughts about stubborn comments aimed at Volbeat. Whatever Volbeat’s Johnny Cash meets Misfits etc style fits more than perfectly to these sorts of festivals all in all.  



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Hmm… is this supposed to be emo rock, metal core or some other eccentric trendy style? Sonic Syndicate have at least borrowed something from those genres, as the guitarist was an exact copycat of the whole emo poser scene and the chick on the guitar looked less catchy one. Two singers screaming their lungs out didn’t sound that convincing. Weird as how these swedes have got tremendous boost in the media though nothing mindblowing was offered in the musical or metal wise at all. Frankly SS was a quite boring generic act in general.



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Getting the new album out after eight years was a long process. Testament have gigged and done a number of festival dates during the whole decade to become a more and more tight live act than ever before. At Swedenrock Chuck and company definitely showed how strong and vital Testament still is in 2008 after 20 years of pure thrash metal. Chuck Billy’s massive dominating character definitely leaves other members in the shadow. The man literally stole the whole gig for himself. But as for others, well Alex Skolnick literally smoked on the guitar. He has managed to get rid of his shyness which was obvious back in 2005 after rejoing the band. Instead Greg Christian remained mostly in the background because of a short bass wire. Whereas Eric Peterssen occasionally did a guitar duet with Skolnick and turned out to be a real active. Even though the new release is nothing, but an asskicking one only a couple of songs had after all ended up to the setlist, which was quite odd. Of course a plenty of so called Testament classic tunes had been choicen to the set. Even though Testament sounded crushing there were some eccentric problems with the sounds as Chuck Billy’s mic was mixed more than once. The Bay Are thrash veterans truly testified being in a vicious strike and hopefully the band will kick off a headliner tour of their own with more recent stuff.  



Over The Wall

Into The Pit

Apolcalyptic City

Practice What You Preach

The New Order

Electric Crown

More Than Meets The Eye


Trail Of Tears

Henchman Ride

Souls Of Black

The Preacher


3 Days In Darkness

Alone In The Dark

Disciples Of The Watch


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As one of many disappointing scheduling overlaps, which at a festival of this size are probably to be expected, simultaneously with TESTAMENT, on another stage played the reunited DERRINGER. Yes, the classic lineup of Rick Derringer himself, Kenny Aaronson, Danny Johnson and Vinny Appice have reunited for the first time in thirty years (which is when their last album together, SWEET EVIL, was released). Having DERRINGER playing Sweden Rock in the year 2008, who could have seen that coming? Obviously after the band disbanded back in the day, the various members have since found individual success in various other circles of rock. The bands namesake, Rick Derringer himself, continued as a solo artist and also played with Steely Dan, Johnny Winter among others. Vinny Appice is of course best known for his work with BLACK SABBATH and DIO while bassist Kenny Aaronson has worked with JOAN JETT, BLUE ÖYSTER CULT and MICHAEL MONROE. Last but not least, there’s of course guitarist Danny Johnson who has worked with ALICE COOPER, ALCATRAZZ and STEPPENWOLF. As far as their performance goes, what we saw of the show, it certainly wasn’t too bad. Although all the players in the band are professionals to be sure, the material of two ’70s DERRINGER releases hasn’t quite reached the classic status of many of their contemporaries. Thus, not surprisingly, at a certain point slight dullness began to creep in, only to be swept away by the encores. Tracks from Rick’s career outside DERRINGER, like "Still Alive and Well" and "Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo" went over quite well.


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Disturbed have always been labelled a nu metal combo, but in the press conference the band’s leader and vocalist David Draiman had a little bit different point of view of Disturbed’s sound calling it a more modern day hard rock than the embarrassing mallcore. Well mallcore or hard rock or whatever, at least the most puritanist old school hard rockers have had a difficult task to deal with when the four piece put the modern day hard rock on with the apparent industrial elements. The frontman was brought to the stage dressed in a straitjacket and a hockey mask. Well at least some puritanists may see the red, but Disturbed sounded refreshing and damn good on the stage. Though other members mostly remained in the background Draiman used the large stage very well moving from one side to another. Draiman questioned if someone had purchased the new album INDESTRUCTIBLE, a couple of hands rose, when he reasked by changing the question a little bit by being inquistive if someone had downloaded it from the net,surprisingly hundreds of hands rose up. As a matter of fact Disturbed didn’t sound that horrible at all, although this numetal label may scar some people away.


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Again overlaps forced us to miss a portion of the greatly expected performance by DARE. Featuring the charismatic Darren Wharton [ex-THIN LIZZY] with his golden voice as their frontman and this time around accompanied again by the returning, founding member, Vinny Burns [ex-TEN] on guitar. The band drew what certainly seemed like a record sized audience in front of their respective stage. Although DARE never quite made it big commercially their first two albums OUT OF THE SILENCE and BLOOD FROM STONE are nowadays considered AOR classics. Following the return of Vinny it was only natural for people to expect a lot of material from those albums, but unfortunately only "King of Spades" and "Abandon" were played with most of the set comprising of the newer and lighter Celtic -sounding material. Fortunately DARE had an extra ace up their sleeve. Former THIN LIZZY guitarist Brian Robertson joined his old friends on stage for thunderous renditions of THIN LIZZY classic "Jailbreak" and the BOB SEGER cut "Rosalie" made famous by THIN LIZZY.

Silent Thunder

Dreams on Fire

Sea of Roses



Where Darkness Ends

Beneath The Shining Water


The Fire

The Raindance



King of Spades



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The legendary At The Gates  did a reunion comeback after all these years. Frankly the comeback or rebirth of At The Gates had been waited for years. Even though members have gained notoriety in other bands, but At The Gates have remained a more cult name and been a more pioneer for and forefather of the Gothenburg metal sound. The line-up was of course the exact same as on SLAUGHTER OF THE SOUL album. The front man Tomas Lindberg was an extreme relentless hyperactive one raging on the stage wildly. The Björler twins typically remained in the same spot without moving that much in the right corner of the stage and Martin Larsson rooted on the stage in the opposite direction. The five piece rampaged a bunch of killer tunes picked up from every ATG albums. of course the stuff of SLAUGHTER OF THE SOUL got its prestigious handling, but hearing “All Life Ends” was a real pleasant choice.  ATG slaughtered the souls of the Swedenrock attendees for sure.     

Terminal Spirit Disease

Suicide Nation

Raped By The Light Of Christ

Under A Serpent Sun


World Of Lies

The Burning Darkness

Forever Blind


The Beautiful Wound

All Life Ends


Blinded By Fear

Kingdom Gone

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Judas Priest was a justified headliner of the second day on the main stage. The band has in several interviews announced about playing the entire new album live. Fortunately it didn’t come about after all, but instead a new opening intro followed by “Prophecy” and another song titled “Death” was in the middle of the set. “Death” was extremely heavy and even doomy oriented song.  However the set list had been created to include several Priest classic tunes, but these traditional “Living After Midnight” and “Turbo Lover” had been skipped and replaced by less played tunes such as “Eat Me Alive” and “Rock Hard – Ride Free”.  Especially it was a welcome choice to have “Between The Hammer And The Anvil” picked up from the PAINKILLER album. Mr Metal God himself had to struggle with his voice problems as these songs from Painkiller have such a killer sounding upper register singing style. Instead Halford’s voice mostly remind of a raven’s deadly dry croaking. As for Halford’s performance and appearance on the stage which looked more or less odd. He had a tight grip on a rail not to loose the balance. His movements was occasionaly slow as hell and the use of  If Halford’s bearing was wondered amongst the metal fans after the gig, instead the guitar duet handled their own jobs more than normally. However the classic headbanging had been reduced quite dramatically. Even though the Priest has been rolling nearly 30 years, it is admirable to see these five metal gods on the stage with leather rebel clothes on and proving who are still metal gods. Despite the fact that they have gotten older, they still rock hard and ram the metal. Seeing Judas Priest on the stage is a mandatory task for every metalhead out there before it is too late.

Intro: Dawn Of Creation


Metal Gods

Eat Me Alive

Between The Hammer And The Anvil

Devil’s Child

Breaking The Law

Hell Patrol


Dissident Aggressor


The Hellion / Electric Eye

Rock Hard, Ride Free



Hell Bent For Leather

The Green Manalishi (With The Two-Pronged Crown)

You’ve Got Another Thing Coming


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In the early morning light… or at around noon to be honest, ROYAL HUNT, now featuring in their ranks the legendary vocalist Mark Boals [ex-YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, RING OF FIRE], took the stage and played probably one of the finest gigs of their career so far. It was certainly the best since the exit of their previous singer, another fine American vocalist, JOHN WEST. Fittingly, like the new album COLLISION COURSE, the show itself was pure class. Well done!

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Next up was TESLA on the main festival stage and what a brilliant show it was. Although TESLA has been around for years and sold millions of albums, they’ve managed to stay almost completely unknown for many people over here in Europe and certainly in Scandinavia. The bands blues and southern influenced hard rock came across well in the live forum and surprisingly many members of the audience seemed familiar with the songs. At times the bands lead singer Jeff Keith appeared almost like a younger version of Steven Tyler, in a positive way of course, and was probably one of the most capable vocalists on the whole festival. In the end Tesla turned out to be one of the most pleasant surprises at this years festival and hopefully the legions of new fans the band acquired this time around will have another opportunity to witness them on stage in the future. A short while after TESLA had finished, it was time for Joe Satriani to do his [instrumental] thing on the opposing stage.

Comin’ Atcha Live

Into The Now

Hang Tough

Heaven’s Trail (No Way Out)

Signs (The Five Man Electrical Band)

Miles Away

Love Song

What You Give

Rock Bottom (Ufo)

Little Suzi

Modern Day Cowboy

Edison’s Medicine

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Fastway had been booked to Swedenrock last year, but revisiting the festival was quite a surprise as no-one expected to see Fast Eddie Clarke’ s return so soon. The whole gig was just another re-run of the gig of the previous year. Nothing major issues can be added or pointed out compared to the last year’s gig. Well Eddie Clarke concentrated on the guitar playing and mostly remaining in the same spot thru the whole gig. Instead the vocalist Toby Jepson appeared to be movable and was willing to communicate with the audience.  To be honest the gig didn’t have or offer any bigger than life feeling, as a matter of fact quite a routine day for the four piece.     


All Fired Up

Steal The Show

Another Day



All I Need Is Your Love

Say What You Will

Non Stop Love

1feel Me Touch Me

Easy Livin’

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One of the more exclusive treats at this years Sweden Rock Festival was former KISS guitarist ACE FREHLEY. It’s been more than a decade since Ace’s last solo tour in Europe, but what’s more remarkable iis that this one marked his first (but hopefully not the last) ever solo gig in Scandinavia. Rather embarrassingly the band was slated to hit the stage at half past four in the afternoon, albeit on the festival’s largest stage. After a rocket launch countdown sequence, amid a blanket of all-enveloping smoke, Ace and his minions blasted into "Rip It Out", the opening track of Ace’s 1978 debut solo album. In short order, the classic KISS track "Parasite" from the 1974 album HOTTER THAN HELL followed eliciting an approving reception from the audience. In honor of their role model, many fans were indeed donning the classic "Spaceman" makeup. Ace himself, while no longer wearing makeup and somewhat ravaged by years of leading the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, still looked pretty cool on stage in his biker like clothing and accessories. In between songs a good spirited Ace, in his classic manner, treated the audience to jokes of varying caliber. While the standard of Ace’s playing may have improved technically since his last tours with KISS, still the occasional slips, like starting to solo in "New York Groove" (and "Into the Void") one verse too early, brought an aura of authenticity to the proceedings. The band could hardly be of higher extraction and with bassist Anthony Esposito (ex-LYNCH MOB), drummer Scott Coogan (ex-BRIDES OF DESTRUCTION) and second guitarist Derrek Hawkins the foundation for Ace to improvise and build on his certainly there. Drummer Scott Coogan is in fact responsible for singing a lot of the lead vocals as well, singing the old Frehley’s Comet gem "Breakout" (dedicated by Ace for his fallen comrade Eric Carr) and taking on the role of Paul Stanley on renditions of KISS’ "Love Gun", "I Want You" and "Shout It Out Loud". Bassist Anthony Esposito on the other hand sang lead on "Strangeways". While no match for KISS’ megalomaniac fireworks, elements like Ace’s trademark smoking Les Paul -guitar were present as was to be expected. The effect of these show elements when presented in the broad daylight suffered, naturally, somewhat. In the end the Space Ace and his new posse were anything but disheartened by the blazing sun and treated their audience to exactly what they deserved, a solid bunch of classic tracks performed with a passion, making the gig stand out like a shining beacon above all competition. Only time will tell how things will proceed in Ace World, but hopefully in the not too distant future the long awaited new studio album will see the light of day and then finally a full European tour will begin?

Rip It Out


Snowblind / I Want You

Rock Soldiers


Into the Void

Strange Ways

Shout It Out Loud

New York Groove

2,000 Man

Shock Me


Rocket Ride


Love Gun

Cold Gin / Black Diamond (ending)

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In the afternoon it was time for HANOI ROCKS who are now of mostly Swedish composition in regards to its rank and file, with the founding members Andy McCoy and Michael Monroe still affording the name some credibility. In addition to Andy and Michael, HANOI ROCKS’ new lineup includes Conny Bloom and A.C. Christell, both well known musicians from the Swedish bands ELECTIC BOYS and ROLENE. The latest addition is another Swede called George Atlagic on drums. This was in fact his first show with the band, but right away he proved that he is the right man for the job and while not being a exactly a Gyp Gasino or Razzle kind of character he seemed, to be honest, more technically adept than any of his predecessors. Since the reunion in 2001 HANOI ROCKS has released three studio albums and done several successful tours across Europe and Japan but it has been six long years since their appearance at Sweden Rock. The band began their hour and a quarter long set with the track “Hypermobile” from their latest album, STREET POETRY, and followed it with the classic “Malibu Beach Nightmare” from BACK TO MYSTERY CITY. Overall the whole setlist was pretty damn good. Michael Monroe is still a force of nature on stage and the ever charming Andy McCoy, unlike last time, played the whole show perfectly. All in all, the band looked good, played good and certainly got the crowd warmed up, what else could you hope for?

Fumble Foot & Busy Bee (INTRO)


Malibu Beach Nightmare

Street Poetry


A Day Late, A Dollar Short

Bad News

Power of Persuasion



Back to Mystery City

People Like Me

Don’t You Ever Leave Me


Boulevard of Broken Dreams

Oriental Beat



Up Around the Bend

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The reunion of the legendary British band Carcass’ finally happened in 2008.  The fact that it happened at Swedenrock was kind of odd, cos it could have been expected to come about on their own soil in England. But seeing the premier show of Carcass at Swedenrock was one kind of historical moment indeed as Carcass without any doubts created the entire new genre with the brutal grindcore/death metal apporoach with the surgery and medicine lyrics. However, as for the return to the limelight it could be sensed there was some nervousness in the air amongst the Carcass member for getting back on stage for the first time in 13 years.  The set was kicked off with the intro off from the NECROTICISM album followed by “Inpropagation”.  The set consisted mostly of the material from NECROTICISM and HEARTWORK. Of course a couple of cuts from both REEK and SYMPHONIES got played. Of course Bill Steer growled like back in the day. To be honest the setlist looked putridly awesome indeed. Of course it could be some complaints about some missing songs from the first or second album. As mentioned about nervousness in the air, well as a comeback gig Carcass’ performance was bearable, but it is easy to improve being on the stage for upcoming shows, cos they looked a bit lost.  A nice unexpected surprise of the show was the original drummer of Carcass Ken Owen’s visit to cheer. The guy suffered from a tremendous haemorrhage several years ago. He gave a short drum performance and thanked the audience for being supportive toward Carcass. Carcass continue to spread the reek of putrefaction all around the globe at various festivals, but no plans to record an album at all. 

Intro Tape


Buried Dreams

Intro Tape

Corporal Jigsore

Carnal Forge

Intro Tape

Incarnate Solvent Abuse

No Love Lost

Edge Of Darkness

This Mortal Coil


Intro Tape

Reek Of Putrefaction

Keep On Rotting

Genital Grinder

Rotten To The Gore

Death Certificate

Intro Tape

Exhume To Consume

Ruptured (Intro)


Carneous (Outro)

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David Coverdale and his merry men are here again… AGAIN! And therein lies the problem, it is in fact their third visit to Sweden Rock in five years! What makes this appearance more special, in principle at least, is the fact that the band has finally got some new material to promote. WHITESNAKE’s first recording of all new material since 1997’s RESTLESS HEART, the well received GOOD TO BE BAD, came out earlier this spring and was met with quite a favorable response from the fans and media alike. The band itself may have been resurrected in 2003 with an all new line up, but truthfully a third time hearing the same old classics would have been too much, so it was about time to have something new to chew on. New album or not, this time marked the first time that WHITESNAKE wasn’t a headliner. Other changes included the replacing of iconic drummer Tommy Aldridge [ex-OZZY OSBOURNE] with Chris Frazier and bassist Marco Mendoza with newcomer Uriah Duffy. Aldridge and Mendoza now make up the rhythm section of another classic outfit, LYNCH MOB. Fortunately guitarists, Doug Aldrich (ex-DIO, HURRICANE) and Reb Beach (WINGER, ex-ALICE COOPER), haven’t gone anywhere since as far as guitar duos in today rock world go, they are definitely one of the more dynamic ones. Opening the proceedings was the first track from the new album, entitled “Best Years”, which was perhaps not the best possible choice for an opener being a rather heavy, mid tempo song, but mercifully the good old “Fool for Your Loving” that followed got things nicely back on track. Arguably GOOD TO BE BAD’s best track, “Can You Hear the Wind Blow”, was a breath of fresh air and sounded really good while the ballad, “All I Want Is Love”, on the other hand was somewhat less than inspiring certainly at that juncture. Although it was great to hear five new tracks, it would have also been nice to have rest of the set list shuffled around a bit. Songs like “Gimme All You Love Tonight”, “Is This Love” and “Love Ain’t No Stanger” could really use a rest and be for a change replaced with other vintage songs, there’s plenty to choose from surely. Although Coverdale’s voice may have had better days, he still sounded acceptable and certainly looked great for his age and most importantly hadn’t lost any of his bravado. In spite of any shortcomings, at least David still tries to deliver his fans what they crave, unlike some of his one-time companions-in-arms.

Best Years

Fool for Your Loving

Can You Hear the Wind Blow

All I Want All I Need

Love Ain’t No Stranger

Lay Down Your Love

Is This Love

Blues for Mylene

Snake Dance

A Fool in Love

Ain’t Gonna Cry No More

Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City

Gimme All Your Love

Here I Go Again

Still of the Night

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Having already lost count, we’re not quite sure which of the two British rock institutions, SAXON or MOTÖRHEAD, have played more often at Sweden Rock in the past ten years (probably the latter). Both bands keep on releasing new, fresh sounding material almost every year and actually performing some of it live unlike many other bands of their stature and historical significance. And speaking of performances, once again SAXON simply won’t let their loyal supporters down. Biff Byford’s voice was in top form and bassist Nibbs Carter behaved on stage like a proper maniac should, while guitarists Paul Quinn and Doug Scarrat both concentrated more on playing their instruments, to good effect. Like in the past, SAXON gave an energetic performance with a broad selection of old staples as well as stuff from their newer albums, INNER SANCTUM and LIONHEART. The trusty old "Eagle" lightning rig had again been dragged out of mothballs to the spectators great delight, and in the dimming light of the early evening it really did work wonders for its taskmasters and indeed looked damn fine. If you have not seen SAXON before then it’s about high time, but if you have then, like in the case of the aforementioned MOTÖRHEAD, you know what to expect. Seeing SAXON’s ringleader Biff Byford take the crowd time after time, is almost in itself worth the price of admission to the festival. For comparisons sake, if nothing else, it would certainly be of interest to see former members Graham Oliver and Steve Dawson one day attempt the same?


Atilla The Hun

Motorcycle Man

Let Me Feel Your Power

747 (Strangers In The Night)

Dogs Of War

To Hell And Back Again

Man And Machine

Strong Arm Of The Law

Witchfinder General


Heavy Metal Thunder

I’ve Got To Rock (To Stay Alive)

Wheels Of Steel

Denim And Leather

Ashes To Ashes

Princess Of The Night

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Al Jourgensen is gonna lay the mighty Ministry into the everlasting sleep after this tour. Damn damn… Well the farewell tour has been rampaging and rolling over the earth causing chaos and mayhem. The industrial havoc chaos combo stopped by Swedenrock to show what Al Jourgensen indeed thinks about the US government. The sound volume had been turned to the maximum causing a pleasant suffering and pain in ears and a body. It was a pity as Mike Scaccia had been dismissed and had been replaced by Sin Quirin. Especially Tommy Victor appeared to be the most relentless oneas he ran all around on the stage. Obviously Jourgensen wasn’t that pleased and thrilled to see the lame response by the attendees and kept trying to encourage people to arrange some kind of action in the pit. But Swedenrock is such an odd event, there are never any pits etc. The set equally included  plenty of new material but their biggest hit “Jesus Built My Hotrod” didn’t appear to be the part of the setlist, what a pity..

Let’s Go

The Dick Song

Watch Yourself

Life is Good

The Last Sucker

No W




Rio Grande Blood

Senor Peligro


Khyber Pass

So What


Just One Fix


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Capping off the second day was DEF LEPPARD, who alongside WHITESNAKE, headlined Sweden Rock also in 2006. Truth be told, they could have actually benefitted from being downgraded, like WHITESNAKE, to a lesser responsibility. Though both bands have recently released new studio albums, it is DEF LEPPARD who have still been allowed to retain their headlining credit whereas Coverdale has been forced to yield defeat. Well, while DEF LEPPARD’s show two years ago wasn’t exactly inspiring, it was nevertheless quite good. They provided exactly what people wanted playing a lot of material from their most successful albums, PYROMANIA and HYSTERIA, give support by few cuts from their other older albums and some cover tunes from their YEAH! -cover album. What was disappointing was the fact that now again, in the year 2008, the band did almost exactly the same show as they had done then. The set lists were practically identical with the cover songs now being replaced with selections from the new SONGS FROM THE SPARKLE LOUNGE album. There’s no denying that the bands show and performance was once again solid. The new album has been hailed by many as a return to form after a couple of somewhat less than stellar efforts, and in a point of fact it’s hard to disagree with that assessment. However, a couple of new songs couldn’t help the feeling that this was just a repeat of the show that we had just seen two years ago. One can only hope that this habit of recycling bands in quick succession, especially as far as recurring headline acts are concerned, doesn’t stick. Special mention must be given to guitarist Vivian Campbell [ex-DIO], who having now been with the band for fifteen years, can still play his instrument to perfection.



C’mon C’mon


Mirror Mirror (Look into My Eyes)

Make Love Like a Man

Nine Lives

Bad Actress

Love Bites

Rock On


Armaggedon It


Pour Some Sugar On Me

Rock of Ages

Let’s Get Rocked

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Due to an overlap with Lizzy Borden, sadly we were only able to catch a portion of STORMWARRIOR’s set. With KAI HANSEN [ex-HELLOWEEN] as their special guest, performing the early HELLOWEEN classics, this was really something out of the ordinary. Compared to various other festival performances with GAMMA RAY, surprisingly, Kai Hansen’s live vocals actually sounded amazing here and the man took his stage work to whole another level when not hampered by the task of playing the guitar. Mr. Hansen leaped around, posed and bellowed and all around gave some magnificent performances of many classic HELLOWEEN staples to the great delight of the astoundingly massive audience.






Being the first band on the second main stage at noon is definitely the most unpleasant task for any band. The long time metal icon Lizzy Borden faced that pleasant timing on the second day. Unfornatunately a couple of thousand heads have managed to drag their asses up on time to witness Lizzy Borden. Even though the timing isn’t that ideal, Lizzy pulled a real heavy metallic show by having extra visual aspects. The most bizarre thing could be a couple of cover songs that were played, even though there would have been a plenty of songs to choose from. Instead those specific cover songs have certain meanings to Lizzy himself. Plenty of classic songs as well as newer ones from APPOINTMENT OF DEATH were part of the morning’s set. As far as the visual aspect is concerned, Lizzy had typical horror looking paints and a cape. Of course a skull and an axe where he drank some blood drops from the blade of the axe. In general the horror concept based on the death thema worked well. Lizzy’s band deserves nothing, but extra credits for being such a tight act and above all guitarist Ira Black has brought some needed fresh blood to the whole band.  Frankly looking forward to seeing Lizzy Borden on European soil again. If this happens, do not miss it !!!


There Will Be Blood Tonight


Live Forever

Be One Of Us

Perfect World (I Don’t Wanna Live)

Rod Of Iron

Sins Of The Flesh


Bass-Solo:Marten Andersson

Tomorrow Never Comes

Born To Be Wild (Steppenwolf)

Guitarsolo:Ira Black

We Only Come Out At Night

Me Against The World

We Got The Power

Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll (Rainbow)

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Due next on the main stage were hard rockers, GOTTHARD. They are a great bunch from Switzerland, lead by their charismatic singer Steve Lee and a great gig it was indeed. When GOTTHARD last played here in 2006 they were probably a new but a pleasant acquaintance for many members of the audience, so their return was both welcome and unsurprising. The bands high octane sound, excellent melodies and especially Steve Lee’s admirable vocals make GOTTHARD very easy to take a fancy to. The whole band seemed to have a good time as, judging by the decibels, did their audience. Hopefully the recent revisions in the bands lineup won’t constitute a hindrance to their continued and expanding success outside their home country in Europe and beyond.

Master of Illusion

Gone Too Far

Top of the World

The Call


I Wonder

Sister Moon

Anytime, Anywhere

Let It Be

Mountain Mama

The Oscar Goes to You

Lift U Up

All We Are

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The next band on the bill was BLUE ÖYSTER CULT… who, it must be said, left rather a lukewarm impression on anybody who was alert enough to remain awake through their set. Vocalist Eric Bloom, who still possesses a fine voice, and guitarist Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser are the two remaining members of original lineup and kept the show going. Even Buck’s excellent guitar work wasn’t enough to keep the audience, roasting in the fervent sun, interested till the end. Which is a bit of a shame since the best was saved for last. The bands two biggest hits:  “Godzilla” and “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” augmented a brilliant medley of three classic QUEEN songs, “Another One Bites the Dust”, “We Will Rock You” and “Bohemian Rhapsody”. All the same, BLUE ÖYSTER CULT weren’t really suitable for the main stage and save for the last twenty minutes failed to make a memorable impression. Incidently, when BÖC last appeared at the festival ten years ago, that time around they at least had legendary drummer Bobby Rondinelli [ex-RAINBOW, BLACK SABBATH] to help hold people’s interest.


The Red And The Black

Before The Kiss,A Red Cap

Burnin’ For You

E.T.I. (Extra Terrestrial Intelligence)

Harvest Moon

Me 262

Cities On Flame With Rock And Roll

Buck’s Boogie

Harvester Of Eyes

Black Blade

Then Came The Last Days Of May

Godzilla (Inc:Another One Bites The Dust (Queen),We Will Rock You (Queen),Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen),

Bass-Solo:Danny Miranda & Drumsolo:Jules Randino)

(Don’t Fear) The Reaper

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Next in line to take the stage were RATT, one of the few bands this year absolutely not to be missed and a group of special interest. Again conveniently overlapping with the legendary URIAH HEEP stalwarts KEN HENSLEY & JOHN LAWTON’s set, RATT put on, as expected, one of the more refreshing shows of the festival. Stephen Pearcy, having at long last after a nine year absence, returned to the bands ranks, might look a little worse for wear, but has nevertheless miraculously preserved his voice and can still rock out with the best of them. Guitarist Warren DeMartini and drummer Bobby Blotzer represent the other two thirds of the classic lineup. With bassist Juan Croucier opting not to return, completing the lineup, in an elegant fashion befitting of RATT’s legacy, were Robbie Crane [ex-VINCE NEIL] on bass and John Corabi [ex-MÖTLEY CRUE] on guitar. With AEROSMITH’s "Rats in the Cellar” serving as an intro the band entered the stage and opened the proceedings with "Tell the World". As a pleasant surprise the whole RATT E.P (1983) was played and what a treat it was. While Pearcy may not be the world’s most technically accomplished singer, he’s still a great front man in one of the best hard rock bands of all time. More material from the early days of RATT followed.

Four tracks from OUT OF THE CELLAR  were played with special mention going to the blistering version of "Back for More". Nice audience interaction was experienced during the sing a long bit of "Lay It Down" and You’re in Love”. Warren DeMartini did some great solo’s every then and now, although it did seem to take a while for him to get properly warmed up. Bobby Blotzer seemed to be having a good time as well, while seemingly avoiding any kind of contact with Pearcy which was probably a good idea. The chemistry of the band might not have been exactly flowing, but they certainly sounded good and tight. The set list was perfect assembly of rare gems from their first E.P to 1990’s DETONATOR track “Loving You Is A Dirty Job". Word has it a new studio album is not out of the question, but in the bands own words there really is no telling how long this lineup will be able function before a meltdown is inevitable. We will hope for the best.

Intro:Aerosmith:Rats In The Cellar

Tell The World

Sweet Cheater

Walkin’ The Dog (Rufus Thomas)

U Got It

You Think You’re Tough

The Morning After

Back For More

Wanted Man

I’m Insane

Lack Of Communication

Lay It Down

You’re In Love

Slip Of The Lip

Dangerous But Worth The Risk

Nobody Rides For Free

Way Cool Jr.

City To City

Lovin’ You’s A Dirty Job

Body Talk

Givin’ Yourself Away

Round And Round

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By reluctantly dragging oneself from RATT’s clutches, one could catch possibly the finest moments of HENSLEY/LAWTON’s gig. Lawton bellowed a selection of HEEP classics with his voice as brilliant as ever, followed by selections from HENSLEY’s rather good new album BLOOD ON THE HIGHWAY, with a special mention going to the climactic "Last Dance" [originally sang by Glenn Hughes] from the said album.



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Reunited Canadian rockers TRIUMPH took the main festival stage next and rocked out their first show together in over twenty years, and while holding major curiosity value, left, honestly, the casual festival goes to wonder in amazement what on Earth ever made these guys, in their heyday, the second biggest rock act in all of Canada? Certainly they have an impressive selection of songs hailing from such classic hard rock albums as UNDER SURVEILLANCE and NEVER SURRENDER, but the live presentation here seriously left something to be desired. Perhaps it’s just a matter of being out of practice, but even the modest fireworks applied were not enough to set the ball rolling this time. Sufficie it to say the smaller "Rock" or even the "Sweden" stage would have been more fitting. Drummer Gil Moore seemed especially lost in the ozone at times trying to keep the songs together. The biggest mistake of all for this reunion concert was the decision to concentrate so heavily on the early material and leaving so many of the bigger and, at least in Europe, better known hits out. It has to be said however that extraneous shortcomings notwithstanding, Rick Emmett is still a first grade guitarist and vocalist, in his own right as well. The show wasn’t such a hopeless disappointment as it may sound, but hopefully the band will be able to train and hone their set list before their July performance in Rocklahoma.

When the Lights Go Down

Lay It on the Line

Allied Forces

Never Surrender

I Live for the Weekend

Blinding Light Show

Rocky Mountain Way

Magic Power

Rock And Roll Machine

Fight the Good Fight

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The Irish pagan folkisk blackish metallers showed up on the fourth stage. Primordial at the big festival might not be the most ideal way to express their pagan approach. Instead this kind of material would suit better in a club environment. However the Irish folkish blackish metallers offered a great deal of their pagan mythology to the Swedenrock audience having gathered to witness them being at the fourth stage. The band’s frontman Naihmass Nemtheanga had the white painted color covering the man’s entire body. Of course Nemtheanga is the main core of the whole Primordial leaving other members to remain on the background.       

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Tobias Sammett finally decided to bring Avantasia’s metal opera on the stage for certain selected shows. As for the Swedenrock show,  the band had invested some time and money on the visual side of the stage. Even the backdrop looked pretty cool. The guest list was as usual utterly amazing featuring Andre Matos, Bob Catley, Jorn Lande, Kai Hansen and a couple of female background vocalists Amanda Somerville and Claudy Yang. The gig didn’t go as planned cos Andre Matos’ mic was not turned on. The Brazilian sang as good as he could, but without any volume. And the audience wondered. Kai Hansen’s unexpected job to do “The Toy Master”, originally sang by Alice Cooper on THE SCARECROW, was welcomed with massive cheers. Frankly Hansen handled and sounded and looked thrilled about singing that Cooper song in front of a huge audience. As far as other guests are concerned, Lande remained more in the siderole on the stage and Catley wasn’t that visible or active either. In general the whole list looked and was amazing making every Avantasia fan drool. Amazing gig. Avantasia could have deserved to be a headliner after all. Even though Edguy is the priority band for Tobias Sammett, Avantasia sounded more dangerously good than his own actual group Edguy. However listening to Avantasia was more pleasant in general as all the songs are extremely catchy ones. This summer tourdates of Avantasia are one of kind.     

Twisted Mind

The Scarecrow

Another Angel Down


Reach For The Light

The Story Ain’t Over

Shelter From The Rain


Serpents In Paradise

Promised Land

The Toy Master


Sign Of The Cross (Inc:The Seven Angels)

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While the other two headliners this year, DEF LEPPARD and JUDAS PRIEST were both old acquaintances for Sweden Rock, the US glam sensation POISON at least was something completely new. These hard rockers hadn’t set foot on this continent in close to two decades and were as such quite an interesting catch for Sweden Rock. This show had the promise to be something special, something exclusive… something to remember. Certainly Bret Michales and the boys put on a good rocking show, even if the whole spectacle was over in less than an hour and a quarter. The stage lights especially, in all their greenish glory, were beautiful and the set list in its composition was as was to be expected featuring only songs from the bands first three albums (after which C.C. Deville quit). It would, in a point of fact, been rather interesting to hear something at least from the NATIVE TONGUE album or their latest, HOLLYWEIRD, (or even from the "lost" ’90s album, CRACK A SMILE). Instead the band settled for a bunch of cover songs from their covers album, POISON’D, and monstrous, not to mention unnecessary solos by C.C. and Mr. Rockett. In brief, this show would have benefitted considerably from being longer and include more rocking instead of just meddling about. Judging by the paucity of the audience and the ease at which one could get near the front of the stage compared to headliners of previous years, many of the festival goers must have concurred with this sentiment or perhaps they were by now simply too tired to stick around. In the end, falling below expectation, POISON’s performance made barely for an adequate end for this year festival. Hopefully we won’t have to wait another half a lifetime for their return to the continent and hopefully then they’ll kick our asses properly.


Look What The Cat Dragged In

I Want Action

Ride the Wind

I Won’t Forget You

What I Like Aabout You (the Romantics)

solo : C.C. DEVILLE

Cry Tough

Something To Believe In

Your Mama Don’t Dance (Loggins & Messina)

I Need To Know (Tom Petty)


Unskinny Bop

Every Rose Has It’s Thorn

Fallen Angel

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