On Saturday the bands started really early as Narnia went on stage at half past 12. However I didn’t pay Narnia any attention instead my focus was set on a Swedish act that really have gotten succesful the past 12 months – Sabaton.
I got in the photo pit a few minutes before it was time for Sabaton to get on stage this extremely sunny Saturday. Sabaton kicked of the day with the brilliant “Panzer Battalion” from their album PRIMO VICTORIA and already the crowd was going crazy. The band seemed to be long awaited for by the people. Sabaton are:
Joakim Brodén – lead vocals
Daniel Myhr – keyboards
Rickard Sundén – guitar
Pär Sundström – bass
Oskar Montelius – guitar
Daniel Mullback – drums
The band divided the time on material from both albums and I didn’t miss any special song and neither did the crowd from what I could hear. Sabaton was filled with confidence and delivered a brilliant show full of well played power/heavy metal deluxe. Lead singer Brodén had the audience in the palm of his hand and they did exactly what he told them to. He invited us to sing a long in “Attero Dominatus”, “Panzar Battalion”, “Primo Victoria”, “Metal Machine”. Brodén seemed to be in a wonderful mood and joked with the other guys in the band the whole time and introduced one song with the phrase “here comes another song about, yes, war”. Brodén also said that this show was the launch of their European tour.
A few songs that were played during the show were “Into The Fire”, “Back In Control”, “Wolfpack”, “Reign Of Terror”, “Rise Of Evil”, “Angels Caling “ and “Hell Rider” which was taken from the bands debut album that’s not been released yet. Sabaton sounded as heavy live as on album and again, the sound was really great, cheers to the GoM sound technicians.
Ordinary playing time was 50 minutes but the band was of course ordered back on stage to do encoures which was “Primo Victoria” and “Metal Machine”. But the band was again shouted back on stage by the crowd and this time they did a cover of a very well known song here in Sweden called “Långa Bollar På Bengt”… But after that it was time for Sabaton to hit the autograph stand and sign stuff for the fans. As far as I knew this was the peak of the festival and I was sure that nothing could be better than Sabaton….
The set list isn’t in perfect order.
Reign Of Terror
Rise Of Evil
Into The Fire
Back In Control
Långa Bollar På Bengt
Now it was time for one of the main attractions of the festival, the German legends Destruction.
The dominating stage impression was the huge backdrop placed behind drummer Marc picturing the Destruction logo. The guys that stood on stage were
Mike – guitar
Schmier – lead vocals, bass
Marc – drums, b-vox
Schmier and crew didn’t make anyone disappointed when they delivered their genuine German thrash metal as they have always done. The only one moving around on stage was Schmier and Mike looked like a little troll with his fuzzy hair banging in the summer afternoon. Unfortunatley Destruction looked a little tired and the rating should land somewhere in the middle, it wasn’t a stunning show but it was OK. Despite their tiredness I thought it was great fun to see one of my childhood heroes on stage so I was definitely satisifed.
Schmier also wondered why the crowd weren’t at Wacken because it’s normally there he is used to see so many drunken Swedes. The amount of people looking at Destruction was terribly small and Schmier’s attempt to start a mosh pit fell flat on the ground. I know the band can do better than they did now but after all every show with Destruction is worth attending.
Again, the setlist isn’t in order but correct.
Nailed To The Cross
Life Without Sense
Released From Agony
The Defiance Will Remain
Days Of Confusion
Thrash Til Death
Curse The Gods
The Butcher Strikes Back
On my way to see Helloween I passed the Naglfar gig which seemed to be pretty OK. Helloween was one of the days headliner act and they entered the stage when the afternoon turned to evening.
There was a huge crowd waiting to see the German power metal act in action. Besides Sabaton I think that Helloween had the biggest crowd during the entire festival.
Helloween welcommed us with the intro from their new album and after that came the very long “The King For A 1000 Years” which is on about 15 minutes, why play such a long song during a show? Keep them coming on albums and not during shows. After that song lead singer Andy Deris told us that almost all the bands equipment had been left behind in Spain so they were performing on borrowed instruments etc. Well, when I last saw them last winter they had the same backdrop and equipments on stage as they had now..
They also seemed to have forgotten to make a proper setlist. The band have an enormous back-catalogue to choose songs from which they totally had forgotten because this setlist was certainly nothing to be proud of. After the first song they did another maraton number in “Helloween” and after those two songs they had wasted almost 30 minutes of precious showtime. Besides that did Dani Loeble a long drumsolo on almost 10 minutes as well as Sascha Gerstner on guitar that does another boring 10-minutes gutar solo.
Squeezed in between the longer solos they actually played a few great songs like “Eagle Fly Free”, “Hell Was Made In Heaven”, “A Tale That Wasn’t Right” and my personal favorite “If I Could Fly”. Another cirqumstance that didn’t help out the show was Andy Deris tired voice that sounded nothing like I’m used to. In fact the only two that looked like they had a good time on stage were Gerstner and bass player Markus Groskopf. When it was time to close the show with “I Want Out” and “Dr Stein” it looked the rest of the band had woken up.
This was a standard show delivered from a band I know can do a lot better on a live stage. Helloween left certainly more to wish for when they walked off.
The King For A 1000 Years
Eagle Fly Free
Hell Was Made In Heaven
A Tale That Wasn’t Right
If I Could Fly
I Want Out
Because of my early departure from the festival the very next day I decided not to cover Hammerfall and Ministry. I did see Dismemeber as well before it was time to go to sleep for a early morning the next day.
As a whole Gates Of Metal was a cozy smaller festival with a bunch of dedicated heavy metal people. The feeling was intimate even though it was a few thousands attending the festival. A thing that was really great with this festival was that you could meet a few of the artists like Sabaton, Destruction and Narnia and you could get your albums etc signed in the shed that was placed near the stages. The security during the shows was also flawless, a lot of guards were posted in front of the stage and held a close look on the audience.
The minor erorrs that the festival should correct to next year are the lack of ticket people and people responsible for the press. The festival didn’t have any press-area or pressconferences either which I thought was custom for every festival. Maybe the organizers should take a field trip to a larger festival in order to see how the tickets and the press areas should be handled.
But on the other hand I think that the positive sides weigh heavier for me and I will definitley pay next years Gates Of Metal a visit.
Thanks to Tobias Eriksson at Skrikhult Production for press/photo-pass to the festival
More info about Skrikhult Production
More info about the festival
More info about the bands