Axel Rudi Pell returns to Swedenrock festival, the last time he was here was in 2007. Unfortunately for the audience it was a rainy day, with heavy downpours starting a few songs in – but strangely enough that only got the band more fired up! Axel and the gang, including singer Johnny Gioeli of Hardline fame and American drummer Mike Terrana tore through the classics and a few new tunes off the new album THE CIRCLE OF THE OATH, already Axel’s 15th (!) proper studio album with the next one already planned for release in early 2014.

The Guillotine Suite

Ghost in the Black

Strong as a Rock

Before I Die

The Masquerade Ball / Casbah / Dreaming Dead

Drum solo

Mystica/ Mistreated/ Mystica

Circle of the Oath

Tear Down the Walls

Nasty Reputation

Rock the Nation


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The German guitar legend is always full of surprises when it comes to his band line-up. Two years ago Schenker was backed up by his former classic era MSG members Gary Barden and Chris Glenn and now the band consists of vocalist Doogie White (Rainbow, Yngwie Malmsteen, Tank etc.) and former the Scorpions rhythm section Herman Rarebell and Francis Buchholtz. The highly anticipated show opened up with instrumental track “Into the Arena” followed by another MSG classic “Armed and Ready”. Of course, the most interesting thing to follow was Schenker himself and the man didn’t let his fans down this time. Schenker was in an extremely good mood throughout the set and his playing was as phenomenal as ever. The Scorpions rhythm section seemed to enjoy being back on stage. It’s been over twenty years since they played together. Buchholtz proved that he’s still a world class bass player and Rarebell…Well, let’s say that at times he was as stiff as ever but mainly he managed his plot well enough. Doogie White did a decent job on vocals and he was at his best during the UFO classics. However, the man was having little trouble with some of the Scorpions tunes, like “Lovedrive”.  All in all, this was a very strong and vital performance from this group of legends. The band played all the biggest hits from Schenker’s entire career including UFO, MSG and The Scorpions. It was noteworthy that the band played four tracks from the LOVEDRIVE.  Schenker, Rabebell and Buchholtz all performed on the original album, so this was a kind of “Lovedrive re-union”-tour, but year 2012 also marks the 30TH anniversary of the classic album. Congratulations for that!

Into the Arena

Armed and Ready


Another Piece of Meat

Cry for the Nations

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

Coast to Coast

Assault Attack

Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead

Lights Out

On and On

Let It Roll

Shoot Shoot

Rock You Like a Hurricane

Rock Bottom



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Blue Öyster Cult we’re unfortunately the biggest victims of the weather. Right from the beginning it was raining so heavily that it was almost impossible to follow bands otherwise cheerful performance. Charismatic vocalists and guitarists Eric Bloom and Buck Dharmaare nowadays the only remaining members from the original line-up. For some reason, long time bassist Rudy Sarzo (Quiet Riot, Ozzy, Dio) wasn’t present and he was now replaced by Kamin Sulton. Well, it’s hard to say anything in-depth here because of the circumstances. The set was a typical “Best of” including: “Godzilla”, “Burnin’ for You” and “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” among other classics. The band sounded now as good as ever and did fill its spot quite nicely.

The Red & The Black

Golden Age of Leather

Burnin’ For You

Buck’s Boogie

Harvest Moon

Cities on Flame With Rock and Roll

Then Came The Last Days Of May


(Don’t Fear) The Reaper

Hot Rails To Hell



German power metal didn’t have the strongest representation at Swedenrock this year. Fortunately one German power metal band, Gamma Ray, rescued the festival from its lack of the true power metal. Gamma Ray definitely rely on joyful and catchy power metal riffs in their songs. Above all, sing along songs such as “Rebellion In A Dreamland” is a perfect song for open-air festivals. Of course the mandatory Helloween tunes “I Want Out” and “Ride The Sky” are a must to please the traditional metal diggers. As for newer songs such as “To The Metal” – a clear nod to Judas Priest’s “Metal Gods” and Kai Hansen ain’t hiding that, even having the Halford look alike cap. In general, Gamma Ray sounded pure with their German traditional power metal. One thing remains bothersome – where was Dan Zimmerman?

 New World Order

Gardens of the Sinner

Ride the Sky (Helloween cover)



Rebellion in Dreamland

Dethrone Tyranny

To the Metal

I Want Out (Helloween cover)

Somewhere Out in Space

Send Me a Sign


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Ugly Kid Joe, back after 15 years! We had goosebumps while hearing all the old goodies, including ‘Neighbor’, ‘Milkman’s Son’, ‘Cats In the Cradle’ and last but not least ‘Everything About You’ But – Ugly Kid Joe has always been so much more than those hits.. All their albums (3 LP’s and 2 EP’s) are full of hard rocking anthems and Sabbath-influenced doom and even grooving tunes! Occasionally they even rap. For this gig, Yael was behind the drumkit and Sonny Mayo on guitar together with original members Klaus Eichstadt on guitar, Cordell Crockett on bass and last but not least – hyper energetic Whitfield Crane on vocals. Check out their new EP STAIRWAY TO HELL, already available for download – physically available this July.




Panhandlin’ Prince

Milkman’s Son


Cats in the Cradle

Sweet Leaf

You Make Me Sick

I’m Alright


Tomorrow’s World


Goddamn Devil

Everything About You

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The Swiss hard rockers Gotthard have gone through difficult times since their longtime and loved vocalist Steve Lee accidentally died in a a vehicle accident in 2010. The band decided not to give up, and now, only two years later, they’re back with new vocalist Nic Maeder and album FIREBIRTH. Gotthard opened the game with LIPSERVICE track “Dream On” followed by older HUMAN ZOO track “Top Of The World”.  Right from the beginning it was clear that despite all the changes, the band hasn’t changed lot. Maeder was able to reach all the notes needed, even the highest parts, without any problems. Guitarist Leo Leoni was still running across the stage like the old days and the band did sound was as good as ever. Gotthard played all the biggest hits plus three brand new songs from FIREBIRTH. All in all, it was good to see boys back in action and Maeder seems to be a perfect fit for Lee’s big shoes vocal wise. However, there’s still some more work to do with his stage presence in the future.

Dream On

Top of the World


Master of Illusion

Remember It’s Me

Gone Too Far


One Life, One Soul

Nothing Left At All

Mountain Mama

Right On

The Story’s Over

Fist In Your Face

Lift U Up

Anytime Anywhere

I Don’t Mind

The Mighty Quinn (Quinn the Eskimo)

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What a comeback! As singer, Justin Hawkins put it while looking up at the skies in Sölvesborg;  “…And the sun comes out for the Darkness…” After some mild pouring rain, the sun indeed came out once again, and just in time for The Darkness set at the festival stage. The last time Justin played Swedenrock was in 2009 with his own (band) Hot Leg while The Darkness were on an indefinite hiatus. A very great gig also, shame for those who missed it. However, today the focus was on getting an all-original-member-The Darkness back in the spotlight. If opening number ‘Black Shuck’ didn’t get each and everyone jumping, the fourth song ‘One Way Ticket…To Hell and Back ‘ finished that job. The set also included a few new numbers, as a taster of upcoming new album HOT CAKES, to be released this August.

Black Shuck

Growing On Me

The Best of Me

One Way Ticket

Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us

Get Your Hands Off My Woman

Everybody Have a Good Time

Love Is Only A Feeling


Friday Night

Every Inch Of You

Is It Just Me?

Street Spirit

Givin’ Up

Stuck In A Rut

I Believe In A Thing Called Love

Love On The Rocks With No Ice




Motorhead has been Swedenrock’s houseband for quite a while now, playing every second year!. Motorhead’s success is without any doubts indisputable when the area was packed by the nearly twenty thousand people. The set was kicked off by “Damage Case” and was followed by “Iron Fist”,then ”I Know How To Die”. Motorhead is known for ear ripping maximum volume and the thunderous bass drum beating by Mikkey Dee. When following the gig, it could be felt Lemmy wasn’t in his normal strike at all, he appeared to be a bit absent and tired. The set consisted of the legendary Motorhead immortal numbers. A few guest appearances were witnessed when Andy La Rocque and Whitfield Crane showed up during “Killed By Death”.

Damage Case

Iron Fist

I Know How to Die

Stay Clean


Over the Top

One Night Stand

The One to Sing the Blues

Just ‘Cos You Got the Power

(incl. drum solo)

Going to Brazil

Killed by Death


Ace of Spades


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Twisted Sister made the first reunion show at Swedenrock back in 2003 by doing the headlining show. The time has truly flown since then, but some facts remain the same and some facts were fixed a bit. Despite no official new albums released for years and the known Twisted Sister look and clothes have been updated, but the band still attracts metal fans around the world. That could be witnessed when thousands of people packed the area of the main stage. Twisted Sister unleashed a two hour hard rock show. The set was tremendous including all the essential Twisted Sister classic and immortal hard rock tunes. There was no way to miss the all-time evergreens such as “I wanna Rock”, “The Kids Are Back”. The five-piece has avoided playing anything from their last official Twisted Sister album LOVE IS FOR SUCKER” for years, however the New York hard rock legends finally played “Wake Up (The Sleeping Giant)”. The song sounded amazing, and not any kind of outsider or leftover, instead it fit into the set along with other classics more than perfectly. Of course, Dee Snider was a real showman encouraging the audience to sing along and in general giving 100 % of himself during the show. The guitarist Jay Jay French ran like a maniac from side to stage of the stage. Whereas The Animal banged his bass with the intensive passion. Twisted Sister showed and proved the band still kicks ass at the stage fast and hard though the age of the musicians is nearly 60. Soundgarden performing the night before was like a pale ghost compared to Twisted Sister’s energetic gig. Hey Chris Cornell – take a lesson from them!

 What You Don’t Know (Sure Can Hurt You)

The Kids are Back

Stay Hungry

Wake Up (The Sleeping Giant)

I Believe in Rock ‘n’ Roll

You Can’t Stop Rock ‘n’ Roll

Sin After Sin

The Fire Still Burns

We’re Not Gonna Take It

The Price

Burn in Hell

I Wanna Rock

It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It)(The Rolling Stones cover)

Come Out and Play



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