Heart of Steel: Concert Reviews

Text and pics by Arto Lehtinen Marko Syrjala

The year passed by so damn quickly since the previous Sweden Rock festival. It felt like it was just yesterday when the Finnish Metal-Rules.com team entered the festival area to testify and experience the triumphant hard rock and heavy metal extravaganza during the three days in the beautiful landscape of the southern Sweden at the annual Sweden Rock festival. The festival has grown once again since the previous event of 2002, as all the three day tickets limited to 15,000 were sold out. 2000 tickets reserved for each day were sold like hotcakes proving the festival has become one of the biggest festivals arranged in Sweden every year. The work-out of the festival area had been carried out in the same way as in 2003: three different stages placed in separate places with a suitable distance from each other and a couple of small tent stages had been arranged for various cover and project groups to perform. Above all, a lot of vinyl, CDs and other important related stuff sellers. The Sweden Rock 2003 event was hosted by the former Europe member, Ian Haugland, who usually hangs around there every year and another dude was a little bit unknown person to foreign metalheads named Peter Löfberg being the local promoter. But the third co-host was quite interesting as the former Head Bangers VJ from the European MTV, Vanessa Warwick had been invited to run a few band presentations as well.

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A lot of bands and a lot of press conferences and all kinds of weird things happened. Here is the brief report of the Sweden Rock 2003 festival. Enjoy!

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Sykon Vanes

Unfortunately we didn’t manage to arrive on time to testify two Finnish bands namely Burning Point and Finntroll due to the traveling schedule timed a little bit too tight. But when arriving at the festival area the reunited, or resurrected (after the 17 year hiatus), Swedish hard rock / metal outfit Sykon Vanes were in action on the third stage called Spendrups and were just finishing off their set. Nothing can be said about Sykon Vanes due to the short experience about their hard-rockish delivery. But judging by the shot, it was a solid set witnessed by us. The band, however delivers the standard and guaranteed Swedish hard rock after all.

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The German space beer speed metallers have always been an eccentric case as having never achieved any huge status, just putting out several albums without any bigger fuss and hype throughout the whole 90’s, even though most of them have been real humoristic beer garbage, but still kicking ass on stage. The frontline of the security wall was entirely packed by die hard old school beer beloved fans having old denim jackets with a lot of patches to cheer with their own tankards the arrival of the beer metallers. But what has happened to the Tankard guys as they didn’t look very fat to tell the truth? They had dropped their weight quite radically and especially the guitarist Andreas Gutjahr looked in damn good shape whereas the vocalist Andreas Geremia had the typical beer stomach hanging over his genital area. The German beer metal ruled on the Swedish stage damn hard as the gig was recorded for the forthcoming live beer album. Even though the band’s liquid thrash went to the drunk audience like free beer in the local bar, on an indoor gig Tankard and beer would be a godly combination indeed.

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British power metal bands have been extremely rare. But DragonForce is one of those rarest power metal bands raising from the mother country of traditional heavy metal. But unfortunately Dragons’ set went totally under the table before their gig even set off, as the band had lost the actual drummer a couple of days before the festival and were forced to hire a temporary drummer from Sweden. The hired battery gun did survive from the gig, but with damn lousy grades as it sounded he would have played in entire another band compared to the DF dudes playing their own parts. DragonForce’s gig was doomed before it even began and even all the technical failures and setbacks brought more unwanted headaches to the whole young British power metal hopefuls. Like a guy standing next to me said about DragonForce “I definitely feel sorry for these guys.” Yes, that can be agreed indeed!!!

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Tad Morose

Tad Morose has always been called the Swedish answer to the Finnish Tarot and that comparison won’t go that far after all. Tad Morose had gathered the biggest audience for the Spendrups stage in the Southern Swedish night! Tad Morose have battled through several years without gaining any incredible success. They've really only had a solid following in their home country, which is damn shame as the five piece metallers did an excellent job by putting a great job on the stage. It can be warmly and highly recommended to pick up the latest albums by Tad Morose.

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These NWOBHM veterans previously visited the Sweden Rock festival in 2000 when they were booked to do an acoustic set in a small tent. In 2003, these veterans had been privileged to headline as the final act on the Sweden Rock stage on the first day. Although the band has never reached any mega-success during the career, mostly enjoying the cult following, the band was however received with warm acceptance by old hard rock freaks. It is kinda ironic to call them veterans as the present line up consists of vocalist Dave Hill being the original guy left from the real Demon line-up. However, the band did a great deal of old Demon classics and went through the set damn well. In the end of the set Dave Hill showed up on stage dressed in the Demon mask. Obviously most of the NWOBHM bands were obliged to make up some kind of mascot back then, cause Maiden has Eddie and Saxon with the eagle and Demon has their own Demon…


Set list
Have We Been Here Before
One Helluva Night
Spaced Out Monkey
Streetwise Cowboy
Fever In The City
Writings On The Wall
The Plague
Remembrance Day
Intro: Full Moon
Night Of The Demon
Into The Nightmare
Sign Of A Madman
Father Of Time
Don´t Break The Circle
Life On The Wire

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Read on....
Saturday, June 7th, 2003