Swedenrock 2006

August 5th, 2006
by Marko Syrjala

FRIDAY

 

Who decided to put Arch Enemy to start at noon?! Senseless!! Arch Enemy should have played a little bit later rather than being the first band of the second day on the Rock Stage…this is quite absurd. Unfortunately, I was forced to miss the half of the set. However, the Swedish five piece did a solid gig in front of a nice huge crowd by playing a number of killer tunes. Angela Gossow is definitely a killer frontlady for the band and has a strong charm and charisma, making the male bangers drool for sure.

 

 

1. Intro:

2. Nemesis

3. Enemy Within

4. Dead Eyes See No Future

5. My Apocalypse

6. Burning Angel

7. I Am Legend/Out For Blood

8. Skeleton Dance

9. Bury Me An Angel

10. Dead Bury Their Dead

11. Guitar Intro:Michael & Fredrik

12. Ravenous

13. We Will Rise

14. Bridge Of Destiny

15. Outro:

 

VICTORY

In the very early morning hours with heavy hearts I was forced to sacrifice the bulk of Arch Enemy’s show to see the legendary German hard rock band, Victory. With the new excellent vocalist Jioti Parcharidis [of Human Fortress] on the microphone, Victory took the crowd by storm. Wigs galore on stage, but never mind that, the songs and the delivery are impeccable. "Hungry Hearts" has never sounded as good as it did today. Hopefully band has now solved their problems and they will soon bring us some new, fresh material from this line- up. It would sure be interesting to perhaps see Jioti’s own band, Human Fortress, perform at Sweden Rock too, maybe next year?

 

 

 

It was great to see drum legend Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge, King Kobra, Blue Murder, Rod Stewart, etc.) in action. Cactus, which is his old band from the early seventies, are back with three original members Carmine, Tim Bogert and Jim McCarthy. They are  completed with new singer Jimmy Kunes (ex �Savoy Brown) on their ranks. Cactus did a nice collection of classic songs from their first four albums and maybe three or four brand new tracks from the soon to be released new album which will be called "Cactus V". This was just the bands second show after the re-union announcement. Overall it can be said that Cactus did a good show, despite that guitarist McCarthy was pretty ill on stage and that at times they had some technical problems. It must also be said that Carmine himself is in very fine form. His drumming was amazing and he still looks almost the same what he did some twenty years ago while other members look more like… what they should look at their age.. It�s hard to say how long this re-union will last but there is no doubt that Cactus is very interesting stuff and hopefully we are going to see them again in the fall? 

 

 

GAMMA RAY

The power metal mission continued, but now it was the Germans� turn to cause a real ballistic happy rebellion in the Swedenrockland. Gamma Ray has always had a solid following in Sweden and above all at Swedenrock giving them a normal playing time and slot on the second stage just like in 2002. Frankly there ain�t any dramatical big changes in the Gamma Ray rank, apart from Henjo Richter having returned back to the band after a small incident that happened on the ferry on the way to Finland. And of course Hansen still seems to rely on the Finnish metal know-how as the Finnish keyboard, Eero Kaukoniemi, was still beating the shit out of his keyboards. As usual, Gamma Ray�s set was based on typical well-known songs like "Rebellion In Dreamland" and of course newer tracks like "Fight". The nicest surprise was somehow an unexpected medley of old Helloween songs played one after another like "Ride The Sky-Future World-I Want Out" and the crowd was more than tremendously satisfied. Kai Hansen always seems to enjoy playing and being on the stage in front of a huge crowd and this crowd loved them for sure. The kind of power metal played by Gamma Ray is extremely well suited to a huge outdoor metal festival and makes the people happy for sure.

 

To be honest it was about time to get Metal Church to Swedenrock as MC have been around for a long time. They are still on the road and above all have gone through some radical changes as the long time and original Dirk was forced to sit out of the band because of his diabeties and got replaced by the former Savatage drummer Jeff Plate. The Metal Church of 2006 doesn�t feature any members left from these old days, apart from Kurt Vanderhoof being a surviving member. The current vocalist, Munroe, who used to front the Seattle based metal band Rottweiler, without any doubt fits to the current formation of Metal Church as a frontman. It was quite sad to see that Dirk is gone as he had the spirit of Metal Church, but the show must go on as it is said. The song list of Metal Church was rather interesting as consisting of the material from different eras. Of course the band�s brand new opus "A Light In The Dark" was meant to be promoted as a few new songs for example "Mirror of Lies" got played. As for the older era, songs from THE DARK played rather a surprising strong role in the set, for example "Start The Fire", "Tons Of Bricks". Even though Kurt wasn�t on the best of terms with the former and now late vocalist David Wayne, somehow it would have been expected to hear some kind of dedication to the memory of to the late David Wayne before "Bless The Children" was played. Despite Metal Church have gone thru several changes, of course someo may blame the band for disgracing the band�s legacy by using Metal Church, but frankly this is MC in 2006 and all the current members have earned their places in the band and Metal Church and this is definitely a brilliant and hard kicking live band for sure.

1. Intro:

2. A Light In The Dark

3. Badlands

4. Ton Of Bricks

5. Start The Fire

6. Leave Them Behind

7. Watch The Children Pray

8. Mirror Of Lies

9. The Dark

10. Cradle To Grave

11. Date With Poverty

12. Gods Of Wrath

13. Beyond The Black

14. Metal Church

15. Highway Star (Deep Purple)

  

 

Queensryche, for a change, are on fire this time around. Their show on this very same stage three years ago, while partly interesting, was somewhat short of stellar. In fact, it was hard to believe you were even watching the same band at all. With almost half of the set list consisting of material from the "Operation: Mindcrime" album, how could it not be excellent? Well, the change is not only evident in the set list, but Geoff Tate, now with hair, has lost at least 50lbs and is looking, and more importantly, sounding great. In about half of the songs, the lovely and ever so hot "Sister Mary", brought to life by Pamela Moore, shares the stage with Nikki played by Geoff. This of course leaves the rest of the band a bit in the background as you simply can not take your eyes off the main characters. After a comprehensive cross section of both "Mindcrime" albums, the show concludes with two encores from the "Empire" album. The addition of one or two cuts from the band’s self titled debut EP or "The Warning" album could hardly have hurt, but alas, you can’t have everything. Geoff also remains in the character of Nikki throughout the show, thus no communication with the crowd whatsoever. But Queensryche wasn’t here to talk anyway, but to rock, which they certainly did. Revolution NOW!

 

 

 

1. Intro:I Remember Now

2. Revolution Calling

3. Operation:Mindcrime

4. Spreading The Disease

5. Suite Sister Mary

6. The Needle Lies

7. Breaking The Silence

8. I Don’t Believe In Love

9. Intro:Convict

10. I’m American

11. One Foot In Hell

12. Hostage

13. The Hands

14. Signs Say Go

15. Murderer?

16. If I Could Change It All

17. An Intentional Confrontation

18. Eyes Of A Stranger

19. Jet City Woman

20. Empire

 

Gotthard is really famous in Central Europe and they have sold ten platinum records merely in their own home county Switzerland. I have never taken much time to listen to them, but after seeing their solid performance I no longer wonder about the reasons for their success. This band has tons of really catchy and melodic songs in the vein of 80�s hard rock mixed with some modern elements. Good songs together with excellent playing and high class vocals by singer Steve Lee are the key to sucess over here. Definitely Gotthard was one of the positive surprises here.

 

 

TIGERTAILZ

It was hard to say what to except from U.K. glamsters Tigertailz. "Sick Sex" opened the set and it sounded quite good. I have to admit I did like some other old tracks. Kim Hooker handled his vocals in style and he was the dominant force on stage. On the other hand it�s clearly a problem for a glam band if their members don�t look the same like they did in the past. Singer Kim Hooker and Jay Pepper had no problem with that but the bass player Pepsi Tate should have done some workout before hitting on stage again� and things didn�t get any better when he was wearing a Scottish kilt. Also some of the new tracks, they played two of them, weren�t too good either…actually one was completely horrible. Anyway, Tigertailz show was entirely acceptable and they deserved their place here.

 

 

 


 

Venom were another classic band representing the extreme metal genre of the early 80�s. They are also booked other metal festivals of this summer along with Swedenrock. Yes the mighty Venom, but featuring only Cronos left from that wellknown famous Venom line-up. Originally Venom would have had over 90 minutes to play, but for one reason or another the beginning of the ‘metal black’ got delayed over 30 minutes. Even though the set was delayed so much, afterwards when asked the guitarist Mykes if they had to cut down the set because of the delay, but according to him they got to play everthing that they were supposed to play in the first place. Quite weird to be honest. But if my memory serves right, any band�s set has never ever been delayed that much in the history of Swedenrock!

Even though Cronos is the only remaining member left in the Venom ranks of 2006, the current drummer, Anton, and the guitarist, Mykes, definitely fill up the places left by Abaddon and Mantas. Of course it is quite hard to replace those two metal icons as both of them definitely carved their own marks to the whole extreme metal genre. But both guys did an astonishing job on the stage. It was quite obvious the most followed and interesting person on the stage was without any doubt, Cronos, whose strong stage charisma was really the evil one. The legendary metal icon was in his own element, showing all kinds of grim looking glances and his tongue. Of course his grim looking Doom shirt was quite hilarious. Venom definitely set new standards in reaching the maximum decibel level – even the frontman of Sodom was seen covering his ears with hands to protect his hearing, well what he has still left of it! Funny. It was expected as Venom�s set was like a flashback to the 80�s when the British black metal trio used to be in league with Satan. All the essential Venom classics was pure gold to the ears of legions of old school black metallers. A couple of newer songs like "The Evil One" and "Resurrection" were added to the set list. Venom was evil, Venom was loud as hell. BLACK METAL !!!

 

 

1. Intro:

2. Witching Hour

3. Die Hard

4. Welcome To Hell

5. Bloodlust

6. Antichrist

7. The Evil One

8. At War With Satan

9. Resurrection

10. Countless Bathory

11 Seven Gates Of Hell

12. Burn In Hell

13 Warhead

14. Metal Black

15. In League With Satan

16. Black Metal

 

W.A.S.P.’s line-up has once again gone through some changes, mostly for the better. I really was sad to see Stet Howland go, but Mike Dupke [ex-Hair of the Dog] is a good choice to fill his shoes. Doug Blair is back on the guitar once more, like he was in 2001 when W.A.S.P. last played at Sweden Rock. The surprisingly slender Mike Duda is his usual cool self and in addition to Blackie the only surviving member of the K.F.D. line-up from 1997. The whole band did a highly energetic and strong performance but it must be said that after seeing W.A.S.P. something like ten times during the past five years I really would have liked do see more changes especially on the set list. The band has released twelve studio albums but they are playing tracks only from five albums. The show, stage clothes, and even Blackie�s comments between songs are mostly the same year after year. Only slight changes in the set list, which now included a rare gem "Widowmaker" as a part of a medley, are insufficient with so many great songs to choose from! The highlight for the night’s show had to be "The Idol" in its entirety. Blackie’s voice was in fine form here, even though his face is really starting to show his age. Despite some negative comments, this was overall a good show and definitely they are still worth checking out.

 

 

 

1. Intro: The End (The Doors)

2. On Your Knees

3. Chainsaw Charlie (Murders on the New Morgue)

4. Hate To Love Me

5. L.O.V.E. Machine

6. Wild Child

7. Widowmaker

8. Sleeping (In The Fire)

9. The Real Me (The Who)

10. The Idol

11. I Wanna Be Somebody

12. What I’ll Never Find

13. Blind In Texas

 

EVERGREY

Evergrey, one of the greatest bands to come out from Sweden in the recent years, played simultaneously with W.A.S.P. yet still mangaged to pull a great crowd. Tom S. Englund in addition to being a fine player and a singer is also a great frontman, one that can pull off the thing that Evergrey does in a live situation, which is not always easy. By their showtime the darkness had already set over the festival and that certainly worked in the bands favor. All in all, a great show by a great band with great songs such as "Nosferatu" and "The Masterplan", brilliant.

 

Def Leppard was the last band on Friday. Before the show many people were wondering, if they really are capable of being a headliner level band anymore especially when it’s been a well over decade (or two…) since they have released a solid record. The bands breakthrough album "Pyromania" was released at 1983 and they were intended to follow "Pyromania" quickly but were derailed when their drummer Rick Allen lost an arm in a car accident, which was just the first of many problems that plagued the group’s career. "Hysteria" was finally released in 1987 and it included a great number of hit singles and it�s still one of the best selling hard rock/ pop rock albums of all time. In 1990 the band set to work on the next record "Adrenalize". During the recording, guitarist Steve Clark died from an overdose of alcohol and drugs and album was delayed for two years. In 1993, former Dio guitarist Vivian Campbell joined in band and the line-up has been stable since then. After the release of the commercial and musical disappointment album "Slang" in 1996 they have tried almost everything to get back to the level they once were but without too much success. They kind of "reached the bottom" with their 2002 release "X" which was a pure sugar pop album nat far from the vein of Backstreet Boys and other "boy bands". At that point band had already lost the old fans who liked "Pyromania" and older stuff and their new target group simply kept them too old. Their latest attempt is a cover album "Yeah" which came out earlier this spring. That album includes versions of songs like: "20th Century Boy" by T.Rex, "Don�t Believe a Word" by Thin Lizzy and David Bowie�s "Drive-In-Saturday". Only time will tell how things will go with that album but now in the point of fact that is tonight�s show in Swedenrock.

"We Will Rock You" by Queen was played before band hit on the stage and started old "High n’ Dry" classic "Let It Go". More old stuff followed with "Rock! Rock! (till You Drop)" from "Pyromania" and then continued with the title track from "High n’ Dry". At this point, the band looked and sounded really good and tight. Even Vivian Campbell, who recently announced that he hates playing metal/rock these days, seemed really to enjoy this rocking stuff and at times he really smoked on his guitar solos. Joe Elliot�s vocals were great and he also clearly liked to play that older stuff. "Let�s Get Rocked", "Make Love Like A Man" from "Adrenalize" were okay although that is not my favourite stuff from the band. "Promises" from "Euphoria" was the only track played from the newer studio albums and it�s such a good song I have to agree. Just my opinion, but maybe it�s the only good song on the last four albums overall? The title track from "Hysteria" continued the saga of 80�s hit songs, great, but then things went pathetic when the band started to play songs from "Yeah!" There is no doubt that all "Yeah!" tracks are good songs but what is the point of playing cover songs, especially in the middle of the set, when you have such good material of your own? Some twenty minutes later, including bass solo, the band returned in sequence with "Rocket" which once again included lengthy guitar solos by Vivian and Phil Collen. At that point the present atmosphere was quite listless and many people started to make their way out from the area but they were certainly too anxious because after "Rocket" the band started such a hit parade that I was some 30 minutes earlier only dreaming for. "Photograph", "Armageddon It", "Pour Some Sugar on Me", "Animal", "Love Bites" and "Rock of Ages" are all great songs from "Hysteria/Pyromania" period. In addition the band surprised us when they played rockin� versions of "Wasted" from the very first Def Leppard album "On through the Night".

Def Leppard may have already seen their "heyday" but tonight proved that they still have something to say. The whole band was in extremely tight shape and they did an enjoyable show. It was great that they now played songs what people really want to hear instead of doing something else (excluding the cover songs�) I think that the fact that they didn�t played anything from "Slang" or "X" tells more than thousand words. Maybe this band has learned its lessons and someday we can once again hear a decent hard rock album from this band?

 

 

  



1. Intro:We Will Rock You (Queen)

2. Let It Go

3. Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop)

4. High ‘N’ Dry (Saturday Night)

5. Let’s Get Rocked

6. Make Love Like A Man

7. Promises

8. Hysteria

9. 20th Century Boy (T-Rex)

10. Bass Intro:Rick Savage

11. Rock On (David Essex)

12. Rocket (Inc:Guitarsolo:Vivian & Phil & Whole Lotta Love (Led Zeppelin) )

13. Photograph

14. Armageddon It

15. Animal

16. Pour Some Sugar On Me

17. Rock Of Ages

18. Love Bites

19. Wasted

20. Outro:We Are The Champions (Queen)

 Read on for coverage of Saturday’s bands at Swedenrock 2006!

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