27-28/6 – 2008
Reviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Live Pictures by: Anders Sandvall
This year was the fourth year PK Musik, Live Nation and Kulturbolaget together organized the two-day festival in Gothenburg called Metaltown. Last year was it only a one day happening but this year the festival spanned two days. The day before this Metal Festival was a one day festival that was dedicated to punk and hardcore and that day was called West Coast Riot. Then it was the Metaltown that was only dedicated to metal and hardrock. Bands that performed during these two days were In Flames, Nightwish, Monster Magnet, Soilwork, Sabaton, Amon Amarth, Dimmu Borgir and Cavalera Conspiracy to mention a few. Circumstances conspired that I only had the opportunity to attend the second day but that worked out good when I realized I was able to see Nightwish, Soilwork, Amon Amarth and the awesome new death metal act Torture Division.
The festival opened its doors at noon and I arrived at the area about two hours after that. It was a long walk to get to the festival area but that was ok when I saw the sun go up over the very nice town Gothenburg. When I walked over the bridge I noticed that the festival area had changed and it didn’t look similar to last year. The area had been moved a little further up on the pier, last year it was situated further down the pier. The two bigger stages, Red and Black scene, was situated besides each other, like last year, but the small stage is now located in a tent and not in a shed as before. There was a 15 minute break in between the bands which was better than last year when it was only 5 minutes. But it’s not enough time if you want to see bands on the other stage and you want to have a proper place in the middle of the crowd. Unfortunately, a few bands cancelled their appearances. Job For A Cowboy, Opeth and Dead By April were replaced by Avatar, Marionette and Satyricon.
It seemed like the metal day Saturday was sold out because they released extra tickets which can only be a positive thing. It feels like the interest for harder music is growing in Sweden at the moment. I never thought it was going to be “hip” to be a hardrocker but apparently it is.
The line to the gates grew longer and longer when I fetched my press pass but luckily the sun shone all the time. The festival area felt more organized this year and there were two huge beer-tents this time. The range of food was enormous and I also noticed lots of security people everywhere.
Lillasyster was the first band out on stage this warm Saturday. The band comes from Gothenburg and rised from the ashes from the band Lok. The proper translation of the band name to English would be Little Sister. The band sings in Swedish and their album did pretty well in Scandinavia when it first was released. Even though it was pretty early many people had gathered in front of Big Stage 1 to see this act in action.
Singer Westerstrand did a really good job with getting the crowd going and he was like a whirlwind on stage. But it sounded like he had serious problems with his voice and he didn’t sound as he normally do. It sounded like he suffered from a major cold but that didn’t stop him from running around like a maniac on stage. The band did most of the songs from their album but also two old songs from the Lok era as well as their radio hit, the cover of Rihanna’s major hit “Umbrella”.
Then Westerstrand did something unexpected but fun. He invited all the member’s mums up on stage and told us that the band wouldn’t be anything without their beloved mums.
After 45 minutes it was time for the band to go off and it looked like most of the people in the crowd as well as the band were really pleased with the show. I was too but it was sad that Westerstrand’s voice wasn’t alright.
Then it was time for me to work, I had to choose between Dark Tranquility on one of the bigger stages or the new up and coming death metal act Torture Division on the smaller Close-Up Stage. I chose Torture Division and I did do the right choice.
Torture Division is a new old school death metal act that consists of well known names. The band is:
Jörgen Sandström – lead vocals, bass
Lord K – guitar
Tobben Gustafsson – drums
One of the main reasons why I went to Metaltown was to see Torture Division in action and especially to see the infamous and mighty Lord K in action. These guy’s don’t do many live shows and this particular gig was the bands stage-premier. When I came to the tent I saw that the band was doing their soundcheck I just said hello to the guys and went to the bar in order to have a beer while I waited for the deadly trio to kick off their set. Exactly as scheduled went the band on stage and kicked off their show with some serious Scandinavian 90’s old school death metal.
Torture Division hasn’t released a studio album yet so the band played songs from their two demos. Songs like “We Bring Upon Thee”, “Invoking The Knife” and “Ejaculation Of The Wicked” was executed and needles to say it was a totally brilliant performance by the most evil band in Sweden at the moment. Unfortunately the crowd was pretty small but Sandström didn’t mind and welcomed everyone to their first show in front of a live audience. He said that the band had written a new song while they waited to go on stage; it was called “Lik” and was the one the band performed next. The show continued with more hazardous riffs and great songs like “Terroreyes”, “Bludgeoning Pour Flesh Into Dust” and “We Are Torture Division”. Sandström thanked the metal magazine Close-Up for all support through the years and he said that the band hadn’t been anything without the support from Close-Up.
The last song from Torture Division this day was “In To The Grave” which was taken from the first demo with Sandström’s former act Grave. After that it was thank you and good bye and one of Sweden’s most deadly and brilliant acts had played their first show in front of a live audience. Do I need to say that it was a brilliant show? The band gave a deadly lesson in how good old death metal should sound and I salute Torture Division for their greatness.
I had wished for a longer show, 30 minutes was too short. It was absolutely worth the wait and it was definitely worth taking the tip to Gothenburg . The set-list is not in order but this it what the band played on this show. I really hope that Torture Division is going torelease a studio album soon.
We Bring Upon Thee
Invoking The Knife
Ejaculation Of The Wicked
Lik (new song)
Bludgeoning Pour Flesh Into Dust
We Are Torture Division
We Are Grave (Grave song)
After heavy doses of brilliant old school death metal it was time for me to go and listen to another heavy act in Soilwork.
It has been a while since I last saw Soilwork live and when I came to the stage I saw that many fans were really eager to see the band. Soilwork had 45 minutes to play and when the band ran out on stage all hell broke loose.
The band had the audience in the palm of their hands right away and lead singer Björn “Speed” Strid worked really hard to get the crowd going. The band focused on delivering songs from their later albums and then especially from their latest studio album SWORN TO A GREAT DIVIDE which was released in 2007. Soilwork was a tight live act and they didn’t disappoint me at all.
After that it was time for me to take a break and go and find something to eat and drink and to rest my old legs. I met up with Lord K and Jörgen Sandström from Torture Division which was real nice. I have met Sandström several times with his old band Entombed but it was my first meeting with the legendary Lord K. I killed a few hours with the guys and they were real nice, these guys know how to treat a fan for sure. Lord K was as friendly as he was tall but I wouldn’t like to have that man as my enemy. A big thank to Sandström and Lord K for a great time!
After that it was time for some good old Viking-metal with Amon Amarth from Sweden. While the intro was playing the band:
Fredrik Andersson – drums
Ted Lundström – bass
Olavi Mikkonen – guitar
John Söderberg – guitar
Johan Hegg – lead vocals
Entered the stage and kicked off the show with”Valhalla Awaits Me” taken from their latest album. It was full speed ahead from the beginning and the audience was with the band right from the start. Amon Amarth had been given 60 minutes to play for. Hegg didn’t talk much in between the songs and let the music do the talking instead. All four members in the front headbanged throughout the entire show and it was a sight I won’t forget. Hegg said that the band came straight from Finland and said that the Finnish crowd really knew how to create a huge moshpit. And that was exactly what happened in the crowd. A huge mosh pit was created and everyone went crazy. The crowd shouted at Hegg’s command and did everything he told them to. Hegg marched from side to side on stage and it looked like he really enjoyed the show.
Before the band went off stage after a great performance they left us with the songs “Victorious March” and “The Pursuit Of Vikings”. They didn’t do any encores but it seemed like the audience was happy anyway.
Valhalla Awaits Me
An Ancient Sign Of Coming Storm
Fate Of Norns
Across The Rainbow Bridge
Death In Fire
Runes To My Memory
The Pursuit Of Vikings
And it was about now the problems in the photo pit started. Too many photographers were placed in a too small pit and therefore a photographer come up with the idea that we were only aloud to take photos during the first one and a half song. He suggested that to the head of the photo pit and he thought it was a great idea. You had to run into the pit and then run out from it so the next group of photographers had possibility to take shots of the next one and a half song. It was totally crazy.
Nightwish kicked off their show with the song “Bye Bye Beautiful” and flames, lightings and sparks were fired off. It was the perfect way to start off the show. That song continued straight into “Dark Chest Of Wonders” where even more pyro was fired off. Then followed a song from the new album, the song was “Whoever Brings The Night” before it was time to head back to the previous album and the tune “The Siren”.
Nightwish seemed to be on a great mood, the band consists off:
Jukka – drums
Emppu – guitar
Tuomas – keyboards
Marco – bass, lead vocals
Anette – lead vocals
The band sounded really tight and it looked like they had a great time up on stage. Anette really needs to work on her image and approach. Instead of a metal diva she looked more like a clean-cut household mum. She needs to incorporate more charisma, and strength in her approach. She did her best and she has improved since the last time I saw the band live. She talked Swedish in between the songs and told us that she had lived in Gothenburg before and that it’s a lovely city to live in. The front trio used the entire stage to run around on and Anette encouraged the audience to sing along and clap their hands in almost every song. The next song on the set-list was another song from the new album called “Amaranth”. After that song Anette went off stage and Marco and Emppu sat down on two chairs and did an acoustic version of “Islander”. However, the moment was totally disturbed by the band on the other stage that was doing their soundcheck.
“Dead To The World” was then followed by “Sahara” and Anette thanked everyone for a great show and night in Gothenburg. She said that she loves In Flames and that we shouldn’t miss this great band. Nightwish closed their time on stage with “Nemo” and the sing a long monster “I Wish I Had An Angel”. Nightwish’s show was tight and strong but a little too short. The sound was a little too low and I think that they could have played older songs from the Tarja – era. But the audience seemed pleased with the show and there was no doubt that Finland’s biggest metal act is truly loved in Sweden as well.
Bye Bye Beautiful
Dark Chest Of Wonders
Whoever Brings On The Night
Dead To The World
I Wish I Had An Angel
Now that the darkness settled over Gothenburg and as I walked over to the other stage to see In Flames I noticed that behind their drums had several TV-monitors been placed. It was the same ridiculous photo rules again and the line of photographers was really long. It felt like it took forever until the band got on stage and the pyro started to go off.
In Flames went out strong with the brilliant “Cloud Connected” which was the song that made the band known for the great masses here in Sweden. The audience went totally ballistic and their screams and cheers must have been heard miles away.
Anders Fridén – lead vocals
Jesper Strömblad – guitar
Peter Iwers – bass
Daniel Svensson – drums
Björn Gelotte – guitar
In Flames was the only band that could have closed Metaltown as no other band is as loved as this one. The fact that they played in their hometown made the evening even more magic for both the band and the fans. The show quickly continued with eminent songs like “The Mirrors Truth”, “Leeches”, “Clay Man” and Colony” and flames and sparks were fired off all the time. It’s hard to get great shots during three songs and imagine taking photos during only one and a half songs.
As I walked out of the pit I heard the band playing “Transparent” and the music was almost drowned by the thousands of fans screaming and cheering. When I looked up to the bridge I saw many people standing there and listening to the music for free. Fridén thanked everyone for being there this magical night and he said the we should boo at the people on the bridge. After the booing Fridén announced “Delight And Angers”. Fridén said that the band had been in Norway the day before and that the Norwegian crowd really knew how to scream loudly. He wondered if the Gothenburg crowd could scream as loud as the Norwegian crowd. Needles to say the crowd screamed really loudly and I bet that many in the audience woke up the day after with a really sore throat. “Egonomic” was next in line and by now the audience was jumping so heavily that the ground was shaking. It almost felt like it was an earthquake going on and frankly it was quite unpleasant. As always the band was really tight and delivered a really solid and professional show. In Flames always delivers 100%. On the TV-screens behind the drums patterns pulsed to the same beat as the music and it was a great effect. It was an amazing feeling standing in the middle of the crowd, feeling the love and the pride the fans felt for In Flames.
“Trigger” was followed by “Only For The Weak” and during the last song Fridén also felt the ground shaking and told everyone to take it easy and be careful. He introduced “Graveland” and “I’m The Highway” and he told the crowd that In Flames would be coming back to Gothenburg in October and that everyone is welcome to come see them again. Next song was “Come Clarity” which went straight into “The Quite Place” and the crowd went absolutely crazy.
The last songs for the evening were “Take This Life” and “My Sweet Shadow” and on the screens blinked the name In Flames. Fridén once again thanked everyone for being there and said that this show was one of the best ones they’ve ever done. In the middle of the last song rockets were fired off in the water behind the stage and it was an amazing finale to say the least. In Flames showed that they are one of the best live Swedish metal acts at the moment and their show left everyone longing for more. It was the perfect way to close the festival.
The Mirror’s Truth
Delight And Angers
Only For The Weak
I’m the Highway
The Quiet Place
Move Through Me
Take This Life
My Sweet Shadow
Metaltown had once again presented a great mix of both Swedish and foreign acts that appeal toevery body who like’s metal and hardrock. The festival was much better arranged this year with more space and more beer tents and food stands. The area wasn’t too crowded and it gave the festival a more intimate feeling. This year 26000 people came to see the bands. 11000 two-day tickets were sold and 4000 one day tickets. Last year 12000 visitors came to the festival so it’s nice to see that the festival attendance really had increased this year. The area has a capacity for 15000 guests. The only negative thing with this day was the ridiculous photo rules, and the staff needs to increase the amount of toilets as well as put up a big screen TV so everyone can see the bands. A great festival with a great staff made this experience worth while. Metaltown is a festival worth visiting so make sure you are free next year so you can come to Gothenburg and bang your head. The artists and bands are announced quite early so you don’t have an excuse for not showing up. Because it’s a festival that is held within the city limits there is no camping so be sure to book rooms as soon as possible.
Thanks Gothenburg and Metaltown for this year and I hope that I see you again next summer for Metaltown Festival 2009.