Swedenrock Festival June 9-11, 2005 S?lvesborg Sweden

July 27th, 2005
by Arto Lehtinen

 

THURSDAY  9  JUNE


Napalm Death

The British grind core, or could it be said death metal, veterans unleashed hell as the opening act of the festival on the main stage which was a kind of an odd choice as Napalm Death’s terrorizing approch would have worked and suited better to smaller stages and especially in the night time. Then the whole Napalm Death’s brutal maelstrom would have got its right and deserved place for sure. Of course it was kinda weird to follow three guys standing on the stage and Barney was jumping and running all around the massive main stage whereas Shane and Mick mostly focused on molesting their own instruments. The set of Napalm was nothing but anti-Bush/Blair and in general a full of hateful attitude toward governments and politicians! Well the Napalm Death guys have always been extremely outspoken on human and civil rights of everyone in the world. There is a punk spirit left in the heart, or core, of the Napalm Death guys. But I for one would enjoy seeing Napalm Death in a sweaty club where their maelstorm would cause a real ballistic reaction amongst the audience whereas the festival audience rather watched yawning and playing the pocket ball the British grind core masters in action.  The band raged several songs like Red Code, Suffer The Children and dedicated the old Cryptic Slaughter song to the late Nasum frontman….

 

**

Force Of Evil

This Danish all star metal group consists of current and former members of both King Diamond and Mercyful Fate. They have been booked to be on the small Spendrups stage for an app. 30 minute to give a rapid performance of their two albums. Being on the small stage in front of small audience under the red hot sun ain?t the most perfect situation for the Danish metal force to perform traditional metal with their evil based lyrics. As a matter of fact, both Shermann and Denner mostly remained in their spots, whereas Hal Patino jumped all around the stage like a young buck. As for Martin?s voice, which has obvious references to the golden 80?s metal vocalist style anyway, unfortunately it wasn?t in the best shape….hard to say if the sounds were a bit dull, or if there were other problems, but it sounded a litte out of tune whereas back in 2003 in Fryshuset he sounded damn evil indeed. However, Force Of Evil forced the evil through a quick set by doing songs from the albums and finally concluded the set with the mandatory Mercyful Fate classic song "Evil".

**1/2

The Setlist :

The Calling

Cabrini Green

Back To Hell

Death Comes Crawling

The Sinister Show

Hell On Earth

Evil (Mercyful Fate cover)

 

Anthrax

Anthrax visited Swedenrock back 2003 with John Bush as vocalist and did a real ballcrushing, asskicking  set in the darkened and rainy Swedish night before Twisted Sister hit the main stage. The battle field, even to the furthest corner, was entirely packed. At that time, Anthrax didn?t spend a single minute for nonsense bullshit talking…they just whipped and thrashed the huge crowd damn hard. Back to 2005, Anthrax surprisingly underwent some, but real major and dramatic line-up changes a couple of months earlier when former members Dan Spitz, Frank Bello and above all Joey Belladonna were recruited back to the band. This is of course the classic, and the most successful Anthrax line up. This performance was claimed to be an anniversary event in order to deliver something special to the heavy metal audience all around the world. In the press conference the whole five piece NY thrashers convinced us that everything has worked smoothly and perfectly and there is no album plan, except a DVD release. Especially Dan Spitz appeared to be really thrilled about the press conference by giving a lot of answers. But when questions were about John Bush came up, Scott Not Ian politely commented John Bush is a part of the Anthrax family and Dan stared elsewhere. The press conference didn?t bring up any groundshaking or other unveils, except Scott?s and Bill Milano?s relationship ain?t that friendly nowadays.   

 

 


The reunited Anthrax kicked the set off with the classic opening song "Among The Living" after the BluesBrother intro. As it is already widely known, Anthrax with Belladonna mainly focus on playing material from albums released during the Belladonna-era apart from "Metal Thrashing Mad" off from the first FISTFUL OF METAL album. The legendary five piece thrash squad was literally on fire, as Anthrax is known for being a real energic and asskicking live act. Scott Ian and Frank Bello jumped and ran all around the stage like maniacs, whereas Dan Spitz didn?t move that much compared to these two, but however he didn?t start growing roots on the stage either. It is obvious Spitz gets along with Belladonna well. Belladonna handled his job damn well, but his hilarious praises of the crowd went beyond at least me. Of course seeing Anthrax with this so called classic line-up was great after 15 years, but at the same it is kinda sad they so far ditch the stuff released during the Bush era. On the other hand for any old school thrash metal freak, the current set list was nothing but a godsend. Last time Anthrax played at Swedenrock in 2003 at night, but if the reunited Anthrax had got the same playing time the band would have destroyed the whole area as playing in the daylight didn?t give a fair chance for Anthrax to have a real ‘Caught In Mosh’ feeling, at least in the crowd..

***1/2

Set List :

Among The Living

Got The Time

Caught In A Mosh

A.I.R

Madhouse

Antisocial

Metal Thrashing Mad

Efinkufsin (N.F.L)

Medusa

Indians

Be All End All

I`m The Man

I Am The Law

   

 

 

 

 

 

 Megadeth

  

Lets?s say that I?ve always been a fan of Megadeth and I do like all of their albums. Although Megadeth has always released very high quality albums during their long lasting career and their latest release ?THE SYSTEM HAS FAILED? is one of their strongest releases, but still no matter who ever has been in the line up, they have never been a great live band to me. Because this current ?Blackmail To Universe? tour might be the last tour ever from that band this was a great opportunity to see the Dave and the boys in action one more time.

 

The set opened up with new track ?Blackmail The Universe?? and ?Set The World Afire? from classic So Far So Good .. So What followed next. There was quite a lot people seeing Megadeth?s performance and many of the people seemed to enjoy their time but how was the gig overall? Well if we go to positive things first here we have some. First of all Dave?s guitar playing was excellent through the set and the sound was overall very clear and strong. Secondly, only a very few bands have so many great songs as Megadeth have. ?Symphony Of Destruction?, ?She-Wolf?, ?Holy Wars?, ?Trust?, ?Skin O My Teeth?, ?Peace Sells… But Who?s Buying? and the list goes on and on. Sounds like a greatest hits for almost any metalhead, right? 

 

But there are two sides on this coin. Well the biggest problem on stage is Dave Mustaine himself. His vocals sounded like kind of a messy mumbling and it was hard to even understand whatever he was singing. OK, that was nothing new from Dave, I have seen him playing live six times before and he has always been like that. But now he hardly talked or anything between songs and it felt that there wasn?t any contact between him and the audience. It was the same between him and the rest of the band, almost no communication at all. He mostly looked tired, uninspired and reluctant. The completely new backing band consisting of bassist James McDonough and brothers Shawn (guitar) and Glenn Drover (drums) are good musicians, there is no doubt about it, but still there is something important is missing on this current line up. This must be a tough situation for these guys when they don?t know if this band will continue at all or is this over and what is going to happen next?

Unfortunately it must be said that after seeing this faint performance I am not missing them too much if they are really going to call a day …


**


Set List : 

Blackmail The Universe

Set The World Afire

Skin o` My Teeth

The Scorpion

Wake Up Dead

In My Darkest Hour

She-Wolf

Die Dead Enough

Trust

Kick the Chair

Hangar 18

Return To Hangar

Back In The Day

Sweating Bullets

Tornado Of Souls

Symphony Of Destruction

Rattlehead

Peace Sells But Who`s Buying

Holy Wars

Outro/Silent Scorn

  

  

 

 

 

Crucified Barbara

Crucified Barbara is an unknown for most readers here. The 4-piece band hail from Stockholm, Sweden and consists of four girls (this will definitely increase the attention amongst the male readers for sure). Ok guys, take a break before going totally nuts. The band has received amazing media hype in Sweden since their debut IN DISTORTION WE TRUST came out. It wasn’t any wonder why the frontline of the Spendurps stage was really packed and the most part of the field as well. The four ladies rocked hard and loud on the small Spendrups stage by giving a lesson in girl power in hard rock/metal. Frankly their sound could be described as a mix of hard rock elements with some punk sounds. The obvious references to The Donnas don’t go that far, but actually Crucified Barbara definitely sound rawer and tighter than their colleagues. But the outdoor environment isn’t the most idealistic place to play ass kicking rock stuff. Crucified Barbara would be in a damn great strike in an indoor club.

To be honest, I had managed to hear a few songs here and there from their debut album in advance, but if I had known or been familiar with songs off from their debut following and enjoying their gig and set would have been more interesting and enjoyable. Hopefully crucified barbaras will come over to do some gigs in Finland. However their set was concluded by Motorhead’s classic "Killed By Death", hmm at least Lemmy would have been damn proud of these Swedish ladies.

***

 

Saxon

The classic NWOBHM band Saxon again returned to Swedenrock after a few years break. Unlike the last time when Saxon was playing as a last band of the whole festival with huge stage buildings and the classic ?eagle? with them they now had to play 03:00 PM. The set was kicked out with classic ?Heavy Metal Thunder? and  ?Dogs Of War? soon followed. Having said all that I enjoyed every note played. The band was as tight as always, thanks to the amazing rhythm section of Jorg Michael & Nibbs Carter. It?s a kind of sad to know that Jorg will not stay permanently in Saxon because soon he?s starting massive touring with his main band Stratovarius. Anyway rumours are rumours but I heard from a very good source that Jorg?s replacement might be the long time Saxon drummer Nigel. Only time will tell how things are going with this thing, but it must be said that Jorg was superb in Saxon! Singer Biff Byford sang well but he seemed a little tired at times, but it was probably because of the heat and sun. As for guitar commando Paul Quinn and Doug Scarratt they both were in top form as always – nothing new there. Proper set was closed with ?Princess Of The Night? and encores followed swiftly: ?Denim And Leather? and ?Wheels Of Steel? then it was over.

If there is something negative to say I must admit that this was my fifth time seeing Saxon in the past four years or something and still they are doing the same songs with minimal changes only. They recently released a new brilliant album called ?Lionheart? but they only did one song from that!

Still, there is no doubt that along with Dio, M?tley Crue and Mot?rhead, Saxon had the biggest audience in this year festival.

***?

Set List : 

Heavy Metal Thunder

Dogs Of War

Backs To The Wall

Strong Arm Of The Law

Solid Ball Of Rock

Dragons Lair

Eagle Has Landed

Man & Machine

And The Bands Played On

Motorcycle Man

Dallas 1pm

747 ( Strangers In The Night)

Princess Of The Night

Encore

Denim & Leather

Wheels Of Steel

 

 

  

 


Within Temptation

Putting Within Temptation on the third Rock Stage was a mistake as the band have been in every damn media during the whole year and have been present at several award happenings. Therefore the mainstream crowd was damn interested and eager to testify Sharon and of course other members of Within Temptation on the stage. The whole area of the third stage was completely packed that moving forward or back became more or less a mission impossible. To be honest, Within Temptation would have belonged to the main stage. Despite the huge audience following, their musical delivery was less inspiring even though Sharon’s beautiful and nice tune spellbounded the audience who at least fell on their knees when so called big hits Stand My Ground and Memories cut the air. Ok their material is decent, but in the long run the set and material is unfortunately based on the success of these already mentioned songs. While watching them I pondered how many times these Dutchmen have got to hear a question dealing with Nightwish. Probably more than enough as Within Temption have been added to the huge growing list of female fronted bands coming out of Europe nowadays. Despite some technical difficulties, the flying Dutchmen did quite solid and routine styled gig.

 

**

 


Mot?rhead

Lemmy Kilmister should be awarded much more for being the true grandfather and example for thousands and thousand of rock/metal musicians and bands of today?s music world. His band Mot?rhead is playing here once again and now they are celebrating their 30?th year anniversary. I?m not sure, but I think this gig was their fifth time in here in six years and that’s something that no other band has done in this festival’s history. That tells something about their popularity at this time, right? Because this time band was celebrating their anniversary, they did some obscure songs like ?Dancin? On Your Grave? and ?I Got Mine? from the often underrated album Another Perfect Day. They also had their classic ?Bomber? – aeroplane on stage during encores and that stood out really cool!!! What else can be said about that gig? Mot?rhead was like the way they always are: loud, fast, brilliant, no bullshit here. Lemmy himself still looks and sounds same as he did some 25 years ago. The other guys Mikkey Dee and Phil Campbell played extremely well and sounded tight. Actually this line-up is sounding much better than any other incarnation of the band. It must be said that these two guys (Mikkey and Phil) are definitely not looking the same (as beautiful) as they did in the eighties because the years in Mot?rhead have left their marks in these guys, but that?s a part of being a member in this band. One of best performances in Swedenrock, once again, congratulations!…and Mikkey Dee was probably the best drummer on the whole festival!

****

Dr Rock

Stay Clean

Shoot You In The Back

Love Me Like A Reptile

Killers

Metropolis

Over The Top

I Got Mine

Tragedy

Dancing On Your Grave

Ramones

Sacrifice

Power

Brazil

Killed By Death

Iron Fist

Encore:

Bomber

Ace Of Spades

Overkill

 

 

 


Accept

When the farewell tour of the legendary German metal icons was published, many suspected Accept would be seen at Swedenrock as one of the three headliners.  They headlined the opening day?

 

The press conference was held a couple of hours before balls were smashed to the wall. The Accept guys arrived without the drummer Stefan Swartzmann who was supposed to join the fold later, but never showed up. The press conference in general was quite friendly and no unwanted bad words were said at all. The band wanted to give the impression of having good harmony between each other. Accept guitarist Wolff Hoffman handled most answers by telling he hasn’t touched the guitar for years and is a professional photographer living in The States. When a question about guitarist Jorg Fischer arose, Wolff unveiled they have not the slightest idea about the man’s current status and presence. It became clear this is the last farewell tour of Accept and the band will never again rise on the stage and when the tour is all over all the members will go their own way. Therefore, according to Wolff Hoffman, the set list has been created to consist of the 80′s material from their classic albums. Wolff continued saying he wanted to see the reunited Judas Priest and he would like to hear certain JP classics on that basis why they decided to concentrate on the stuff from their most successful albums what the crowd wanna hear.

 

Without any excessive exaggerating, it could be claimed that about 20,000 metal hearts had gathered to witness the mighty legendary German metal name on the stage for the last time. As Hoffman had already promised about the setlist, the material was picked from their 80?s releases, covering songs from the second album up to the seventh album RUSSIAN ROULETTE. This was exactly what the audience were eager to hear. All the classic Accept songs for example "Metal Heart", "Son Of A Bitch" and a plenty of other ones got played during their 90 minute set. Despite the age of the Accept members being at about around 50, they were still able to arrange one hell of an unforgettable heavy metal show. All their moving and performance on the stage had been carefully cordinated and planned in advance in the same vein as they did in the glorious years of the 80?s. Frank?s and Wolff?s double guitar work was awesome. It is quite obvious the younger metal generation has desperately tried to adopt the same tight playing style but most unfortunatelty end up looking pathetic whereas the Accept members know how to make it look right in every aspect without any kind of posering. Udo?s recongizable hoarse voice crowned the whole massive guitar work, just imagine when Udo screams the opening lines of "Starlight", that definitely rises anyone?s hair up (if someone still has it left!?).  This was absolutely fantastic !!!

It has always been said the young metal generation usually wipe a floor with old metal bands, but after seeing Accept, the old dogs still know tricks to raise the feeling in the crowd up to the limit. It is really sad and a shame that Accept will be laid to rest when their live performace and songs sounded and seemed to cause the balls to the wall erection. To be honest, this show at Swedenrock definitely beat all their previous gigs done in the 90?s?. 

****


Set List :

Starlight

Living For Tonight

London Leatherboys

Metal Heart

Love Child

Breaker

Bass Solo

Head Over Heels

Neon Nights

Guitar Solo ( inc Bolero,Sabre Dance,Hall Of The Mountain King & Pomp & Circumstance)

Restless & Wild

Son Of A Bitch

Turn Me On

TV War

Up To The Limit

Monsterman

Flash Rockin Man

Burning

Princess Of the Dawn

Fast As A Shark

I`m A Rebel

Balls To the Wall

 


 

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