Day 5 – 70,000 Tons Of Metal 2013: The Adventure

Despite a third night in a row with four hours sleep I was ready to face the day. If Day Four was a mini-PaganFest then certainly Day Five was the day of Black Death!  I dubbed it that for two reasons.  First, because of the readership of the site I had to make choices about who to cover on the first few days and Black and Death Metal are a lower priority for most of our readers. Secondly, my personal taste leans towards the Classic/Power/True/Traditional/Thrash/Viking/Pagan/Folk/Prog Metal sub genres. Accordingly, some bands got relegated to the last day. However, I do love the extreme genres and I was really looking forward to seeing a number of bands that I had not seen on their first shows on the boat such as Etecc, Sinister, Inquisition, Cryptopsy and Anaal Nathrakh.

I knew it was going to be a very busy but awesome final day with the Press Conference, Interviews, the Jeff Waters (Annihilator) Jam, the George Kolias (Nile) drum clinic, and the Belly Flop Contest and at least a dozen Metal concerts!

The day started on a very good note where we accepted an offer from our gracious host for an ‘invite only’ photo shoot with the 70000 Tons Pool Girls! We accepted the invite for purely professional reasons to support 70000 Tons, and it had nothing to do with checking out deadly Metal chicks. Honest.Pool Girl_05 Pool Girl_13

The day was already in full swing, the hot sun burning away the clouds as people checked out Nightmare second show on the Pool Deck.


Next it was off to the Spectrum Lounge to see Etecc (Must See #5)  What a wake up call after Nightmare! We want from uplifting Power Metal in the beautiful tropical sun to the very dark and smoky Spectrum to hear crushing Death/Thrash of Germany’s Etecc.  Only a few dozen souls were brave enough at that early hour but what amazed me were the number if people already sitting in the dark smoking and drinking! Maybe they were still there from the night before! Etecc while energetic and competent, were a bit of a mis-match as their more modern, Pantera inspired,down-tuned sound was different from pretty much every other band. They even threw in a cover of Pantera’s ‘ A New Level’ to cement the comparison. A few dozen loyalists grooved to their bass heavy and shouted vocals.

Etecc take it to a new level

Back into the more pleasant environment of the outdoor stage to see Delain. Although it was very hot, I knew what kind of Canadian winter I was going back too so I wanted to spend as much time as possible outside! I feel many others had the same idea as it was very full for the Dutch quintet. Delain performed much heavier live than on record and the gorgeous voice of Charlotte held up very well. I think they had a stronger set than on Tuesday.


We attended the Press Conference and picked up a few fun facts as well.  Apparently there is 4 to 5 times the alcohol consumption than the average cruise! Not surprising really. That works out to about 10,000 cans of beer a day!   The big news is that 70,000 Tons Of Metal Part Four has been officially confirmed and set to sail once again on January 27-31st in 2014, on the (Metal Majesty Of The Seas)  The interesting twist is that this time the passengers will have a chance to vote on the destination!   Pre-paid passengers will get to vote from a number of pre-determined destinations.

After the brief Press Conference we headed back the Spectrum Lounge to see Die Apokalyptiscchen Reiter (Must See# 4) I knew very little about this German, quintet but in my mind they were very much like Subway To Sally. Not musically but in terms of being very popular regionally with big sales with virtually no exposure, touring or sales in North America.  Musically this excellent band reminded me of many quality mid-90’s bands that were on Century Media, such as Tiamat, Moonspell, Samael and they had an odd look but full and powerful sound. They drew one of the biggest crowds  I had seen in the Spectrum Lounge all week.  The boisterous crowd passed a girl in an inflatable rubber raft around over their heads, literally crowd surfing!  I didn’t know the lyrics or songs but I am now a fan of this excellent band. The maritime influences and gothic influences added nice aural textures to the quite heavy songs.  Naturally, under the circumstances, the song ‘Seeman’ (from RIDERS ON THE STORM) seemed to be a crowd favourite!

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Die Apokalyptischen Reiter
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Die Apokalyptischen Reiter


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Die Apokalyptischen Reiter

The pre-arranged interviews were up next and we had a chance to talk to some bands.


Metal Church 1:00

F&J 2:00

Angra 2:30

Anacrusis 3:30


After a very successful round of interviews we made a quick stop topside on the Pool Deck to check out fellow countrymen Cryptopsy. They played a selection of cuts from across their career even going all the way back to BLASPHEMY MADE FLESH. They were a technical Death Metal fans dream as they hyper blasted through their 45 minute set with minimal chit-chat.


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I was going from seeing one of Metals finest drummers in the form of Flo Mourner who to use the cliche ‘put on a clinic’ to seeing an actual drum clinic by George Kolias but our interview went long and George finished early meaning we missed the entire thing.

Because of press duties I also missed Anacrusis, Steel Engraved, 3 Inches of Blood and the Belly Flop contest. I would have liked to see Steel Engraved and Anacrusis again but I never cared to watch fat sunburned guys jump in a pool. Because they are from my country, I’ve seen and interviewed 3 Inches of Blood about seven times over the years so they were one of the few casualties that I did not get too see at all on the boat.

However, here are some pics from the very popular Belly Flop event and the other bands I missed while doing my faithful press duties.

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The Circle Of Champions!

Immediately following the clinic was the second round of the very, very popular Jeff Waters Jam. This was music in it’s purest form, just Metal Friends playing a tiny place, on crappy gear, no egos, no labels, no politics, no managers… just Metal. The session has expanded from a few drunken friends doing karaoke late at night to one of the most popular events on the ship. I’m sure they will have to move it to a bigger stage next year but that might be a shame as it might loose some of its intimate jam charm to organized supergroup status. It will be a tough call for the organizers to see how it will grow (or not)

These were once in a lifetime performances and the enthusiasm level was high because fans knew they were seeing something special. The set list was a follows…

1) AC/DC -Highway To Hell

Doro Vocals

Christina Scabbia (Lacuna Coil) Vocals

Michael Gilbert (Flotsam And Jetsam) Guitar

Victor Smolksi (Rage) Guitar

Jeff  (Flotsam And Jetsam) Bass

Vika Piano

Hena Habegger (Gotthard) Drums

This was a great way to kick off the jam and it was fun to see Doro trading verses with Christina and hearing the massive crowd participation on the chorus!

2) Metallica-Enter Sandman

Sami Hinkka (Ensiferum) Vocals

Heri Joensen (Tyr) Guitar

Luca Princiotta (Doro) Guitar

Vika piano

Jeff  (Flotsam And Jetsam) Bass

George Kolias (Nile) Drums

Sami had the loudest Hawaiian shirt I have ever seen!

3) Black Sabbath  War Pigs

Ronny Monroe (Metal Church) Vocals

Edward Carlson (Flotsam And Jetsam) Guitar

Felipe Andreoli (Angra) Bass

Janne Parviainen (Ensiferum) Drums

Ronny’s microphone didn’t work but his voice was powerful enough to carry the minimalist tune.

 Next everyone sang happy birthday to Jeff from Flotsam and Jetsam!

4) Ozzy Crazy Train

Ronny Monroe (Metal Church) Vocals

Kiko Loureiro (Angra) Guitar

Jeff  (Flotsam And Jetsam) Bass

Andre  Hilgers (Rage) Drums

5) AC/DC Hells Bells

James Rivera (Helstar) Vocals

Michael Gilbert (Flotsam And Jetsam) Guitar

Kiko Loureiro (Angra) Guitar

Nick Douglas (Doro) Bass

George Kolias (Nile) Drums

James did a high pitched, power metal version while Bon Scott rolled over in his grave!

Please note..the photos for the Jeff Waters Jam are from the previous session and do not match with the set-list/players listed above.

Mille (Kreator), Victor (Rage), Doro and friends
Ronnie Munroe (Metal Church) leads an all-star jam
Christina, Jeff and co.
James Rivera (Helstar) and friends in action

At 4:00pm  I had more painful choices to make. The Jeff Waters Jam overlapped both Lizzy Borden and Evergrey! I love Lizzy. I had not seen Evergrey yet and it was the last chance to this trip. However,  I did not want to miss the aforementioned ‘once in a lifetime’ jam. So I bailed on the Jam after five songs and prayed my hardworking and loyal photographers A.G. and the Thrashmaster were there in the crowd taking notes and shots so I could tell our readers about what happened. We had got separated so I took my chances they were there (somewhere) so I headed up and outside to see Lizzy Borden.

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The wind and clouds had taken some of the heat of the Pool Deck but Lizzy theatrical presentation did not come across as well as the other night in the small dark venue. He also played (to the best of my knowledge) almost  the exact same set which is always mildly disappointing. On the plus side of the equation, the crowd was easily four times the size of the one at his last gig. I was glad because I thought everyone might be at the Jeff Waters Jam.  For his last song they treated us to a different cover this time, Steppenwolf’s ‘Born To Be Wild’!  After 30 years Lizzy Borden still doesn’t get enough credit for his work.

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…after mask…
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…after mask!

It was now sunset and actually getting cool and windy (by tropical standards) so after one last look at the sun and I was glad to go inside to the plush Chorus Line Theater to see the first gig of the night in that venue, namely Evergrey. The turnout was quite poor as Evergrey had to compete with the Jam and Arkona. Luckily there was a steady stream of people after Lizzy Borden coming to see the Swedish quintet. By the end of the gig the crowd has easily tripled in size. The band played a good selection of songs from across their career and I didn’t realize how many of their tunes start with acoustic, piano keyboard line. Evergrey’s dark, melancholic tones were a direct contrast to the frantic, shrill tones of Lizzy Borden! The bass sound was really distorted and up way to high in the live mix. Despite  this I was glad to see them again. (Please note photos are from earlier show)





Back outside it was nearing dusk and on my way to Sinister (Must See #3)  I dropped by to check out Tiamat again.









Sinister, the classic Dutch Death band had been a long time favourite since CROSS THE STYX and after 20 years it was good to see them live. Sinister is one of the few band that made no compromise in their style or sound over the course of 10 albums. Their brand of guttural, brutal Death Metal was not ultra fast like Cryptopsy or Nile but they still pounded the small crowd into submission with cuts like ‘Sadistic Intent’ as well as ‘Transylvania’ and ‘Blood Ecstasy’ from the new album THE CARNAGE ENDING.  There were only four true Death Metal bands on the boat and Sinister represented the genre well.

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Staying indoors it was time for a radical sonic shift! I left Sinister, arguably one of the heaviest bands on the boat to go see Gotthard again, arguably the mellowest band on the boat! The bulk of the ‘work’ of the day was mostly done so I just enjoyed a drink and their warm, melodic Metal sound even if it was  a virtually identical set.


An hour later it was right back upstairs to witness one of the more cult bands in the boat, Inquisition. On each 70,000 Tons cruise there has been one or maybe two Black Metal bands in the line-up and frankly they stick out like a sore thumb. In 2011 it was Marduk and in 2012 it was Dark Funeral and in 2013 it was Inquisition. I imagine being the most underground band on the entire cruise must be odd but I was thankful for the opportunity to see this two man band from Columbia.

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Inquisition is about a pure Black Metal band as you can get. Inquisition was certainly minimalist, not at all theatrical other than the corpse paint, and had extremely limited presentation, stage show, lights, just music. I don’t know if it was a favourable time slot, or many curiosity seekers but there were quite a few people to see the band which struck me as odd. Maybe on Barge To Hell (UMC’s heavier extreme music sister cruise) I would expect more Inquisition fans but perhaps there are regular fans like me who enjoy all genres of Metal. I really enjoyed Dagon as his vocals were not the normal higher pitched Black Metal hiss or shriek but more of a gruesome croak.  They wrapped up the 45 minute set with ‘Ancient Monumental Warhymn’ from NEFARIOUS DISMAL ORATIONS .


Now it was time to unwind for a  while.  With 74 concerts of the 82 covered, photographed and completed, there was a string of bigger name bands playing their second show for the next six hours; Dragonforce, Rage (with the Lingua Mortis Orchestra), In Flames, Kreator and Sabaton and Flotsam & Jetsam. Here are a few pictures and some notes from these shows.

Dragonforce:  The band was firing on all cylinders outside.



During the final moments of ‘Fury of the Storm’ in a moment of sheer inspiration guitarist Herman Li and keyboardist Vadim Pruzhanov both left the stage waded into the crowd AND each performer waded into the already packed 6 person hot tubs and finished the closing (blazing) solos surrounded by ecstatic fans!  Timing and luck are everything when getting those rare shots! Herman Li’s hands must of been burning from all the high fives he got on the long wet walk to the backstage! That will go down as a legendary Dragonforce moment. Lots of performers jump up on amplifiers, walk out in the crowd on the shoulder of a burly roadie, or climb the stage rigging…. but getting in a packed hot tub with fans while playing? Brilliant!






Rage: Once again the large Theater was utterly packed as Rage and the LMO ran in an unopposed timeslot and for once due to the complex nature of the arrangements I did not mind seeing the very similar setlist again. The whole Francis Norman Violin vs. Victor Smolski Guitar trade-off battle was subtle and sublime, the whole audience was mesmerized in silence. Rage and the LMO added one new song to close out the set, ‘Higher Than The Sky’ from END OF ALL DAYS. Another triumph.

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Guitar vs. violin
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I passed by the packed Pool Stage to catch a glimpse of In Flames. The modern influences in three sound have garnered them massive popularity among mainstream Metalheads but their sound is not to my taste any longer.  There is a reason why we at Metal-Rules call them ‘N Flaymz!

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In Flames
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In Flames
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In Flames

Back inside in the Theater it was Kreator second show. The sound sound problems that marred the first show were thankfully eliminated although  they still started 10 minutes late. The set was significantly different from the first one and it was littered with old songs like ‘Under The Guillotine’ and the rare ‘Riot of Violence’. The band brought a dude named Bram (who was dressed in a bright pink dress) on stage as a birthday present and he got to usher in the last song by holding the ‘Flag Of Hate’ which culminated into ‘Tormentor’. Thrash at its finest!


It seemed bittersweet as I proceeded to the small lounge to see the last band on my Must See list.  I’m talking about England’s Anaal Nathrakh (Must See #2). I had almost met my goal of watching 20 bands I had never seen before. This also meant it was nearing the end of the journey.

I’m quite fond of Anaal Nathrakh. I’m not the world’s largest fan but I do have about five of their nine or so albums and I was also impressed by their progressive elements mixed in with their Black Metal. What struck me most was how young they looked. For a band that has been around since 1999 I thought they would be older. Next thing I noticed was their image (or lack of) and the lack if stage charisma. I suppose I was expecting a more theatrical presentation. In addition, the songs I recognized seemed to lack the sophistication and nuances of the studio work. That is expected that bands are a bit heavier and streamlined live but those missing elements are what makes the bands albums,in my mind, stand out from the pack. They played to the smallest crowd I had seen all week having the poor fortune to have a time-slot that conflicted with both Sabaton and Kreator. Accordingly, I was disappointed with my first live experience with the band but still pleased to check them off my list.

Anaal Nathrakh

The final big show of the night was Sabaton on the final Pool Deck show of the cruise as the technical crew had to start dismantling the stage right away and work overnight in order to have it ready for unloading when we were scheduled to arrive in Miami at 7:00am.

Sabaton was a good choice to finish the night as they ran through  their punchy fun songs. Near the end they invited Andy Piller, founder of the 70000 Tons of Metal cruise, onstage where he spent a moment thanking the various people, crew, staff, sponsors and organizations that helped make the third cruise such a success.

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Sabaton giving the fans the finger…

Then it was back to Sabaton for one last song, fan favourite, ‘Metal Machine’ which culminated in the crowd carrying singer Joacim over to the pool and throwing him in!  He was joined in the final splashdown by several drunk fans and eventually the entire band came down and jumped in and everyone had an impromptu photo-shoot to the delight if the aforementioned drunk fans.


Despite the grand finale, our night was not quite over. We made our way back to the Theater for the final show in that location to catch Flotsam & Jetsam for the third time in five days. They mixed the set up nicely from the last couple of shows. There were a few hundred faithful hanging in until the bitter end.

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Eric A. K.

Speaking of the bitter end, we were down to one last performance, Threat Signal from Hamilton, Canada. I knew this gig could go one if two ways. Everyone could cram in for the final show and a big, fun blowout but my gut told me that the crowd would be sparse because Sabaton seemed to be the final wrap-up.

Threat Signal were playing at 2:15am in the small lounge upstairs. We took a few pictures of this popular and respected band who played to, as predicted a very small crowd of younger fans. I’m not a huge fan of their modern Metalcore sound so to end the concert portion of our trip on a high-note (thanks to Flotsam &Jetsam’s excellent gig) we called it a night at 2:30am not really looking forward to our 7:00am debarkation call. The last song I heard Threat Signal play was ‘Comatose’ from their self-titled debut album. Comatose in my bunk is where I needed to be after having a total of 12 hours sleep since Monday. The self-inflicted exercise of sleep deprivation was totally worth it!

Threat Signal
Threat Signal

Heading back to my room I passed by the Metal Karaoke in one of the nearby lounges. It was just jammed with people socializing! As much as Threat Signal was not my favourite band, I was disappointed that hundreds of people were gathered watching random fans belt out drunken Karaoke versions of Pantera, instead if checking out a perfectly good, heavy band just a few feet away.

However the atmosphere was in high party mood as the booze and tongues flowed freely as no one really wanted the cruise to end. However end it must…