SWEDENROCK 2009

July 16th, 2009
by Arto Lehtinen


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SWEDENROCK FESTIVAL

Solvesborg 4-7.07 2008



REPORT AND PICTURES BY MARKO SYRJÄLÄ AND ARTO LEHTINEN

ADDITIONAL REVIEWS BY JARNO HUOVILA

 

Sjutton också… The summer has arrived, hasn’t it?! Sunny, rainy, and even ice cold weather all together at Sweden Rock



However, it is time for the annual march to Sweden Rock.  This is the ninth time in a row that Metal-Rules.com has made a vist to the mighty Sweden Rock festival! All in all over 70 bands had been booked for the Sweden Rock festival that turned out to be nothing but an utter blast from the beginning to the end! The bill of Sweden Rock 2009 covered everything from extreme metal ala Immortal to classic rock ala Journey and of course everything between. Therefore, there was at least something for everyone who attended. As a tradition the whole festival was once again sold out when approximately 35,200 people and all the bands and crews etc at the area every day. As mentioned in the first sentence, this is the ninth time in a row when Sweden Rock has been featured on the site Metal-Rules.com, so it is quite logical for us to give a real in-depth article of several bands performing at Sweden Rock. We are not able to cover every bloody band, but hopefully you will have a pleasant reading experience… Enjoy or die !!!

 


Wednesday June 3

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Witchcraft

The Swedish stoner rockers Witchcraft kicked Sweden Rock off when the Metal Rules legion arrived at the area. The four piece managed to create an atmospheric feeling. The music can easily be described as a real trip to the psychedelic world of mysticism and weed as well. The music didn’t cause a real ballistic reaction amongst the audience, which instead truly enjoyed with eyes closed when hypnotic stoner stuff literally flew to the vessels and cells of each human body. The set contained songs such as:"Queen of Bees", "No Angel Or Demon", "The Alchemist" and "Witchcraft"

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Amon Amarth 

It is kind of hilarious (or amusing) as Amon Amarth visited Swedenrock in 2007 by playing on the third stage. Well two years later they are on the same stage even though their success has increased tremendously and the latest opus TWILIGHT OF THE THUNDER GOD has sold well and praised by several reviewers. Obviously some things don’t seem to change as the Swedish death Viking metallers had once again pulled a huge crowd. The five piece literally raged through a killer set consisting of several tunes from the last album and of course killer cuts from their older releases. The show followed the traditional AA gig as the ultimate headbanging and beer drinking. 

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Blaze Bayley

How in the world did Blaze Bayley, formerly of WOLFSBANE, in the early ‘90s manage to become the lead singer, after the departure of Bruce Dickinson, in the premier metal band of all time, IRON MAIDEN? That will probably forever remain one of the great musical mysteries of our time. It certainly wasn’t because of his natural singing talent or abundant stage presence. Still, the man does have heart and passion for his music. His voice, while nothing exceptional, does have it’s merits when applied correctly and with the right kind of material. This is particularly noticeable on parts of IRON MAIDEN’s THE X FACTOR record and especially Blaze’s brilliant debut solo album SILICON MESSIAH (which sadly sank like the Titanic having been released the very same week as IRON MAIDEN’s reunion album, BRAVE NEW WORLD. Blaze’s show tonight, the headlining gig at this years warm-up day of Sweden Rock, was, however, not about celebrating his brief and rather inglorious stint with IRON MAIDEN. Instead it was a true showcase of his solo achievements from the years since. Only two songs from his tenure with the band were featured in the one hour and fifteen minute set, namely "Lord of the Flies" and "The Clansman", great renditions both of them. No less than six songs were played from the recent and unfortunately rather mediocre THE MAN WHO WOULD NOT DIE album. Weak, and almost comic, songs like "Samurai" and "Robot" would surely make even David St. Hubbins of THE SPINAL TAP cringe. On the other hand the album’s title track and especially "Voices from the Past" worked much better, both live and on record. Some of the highlights of the night were certainly the three selections from SILICON MESSIAH which were "The Launch", "Born as A Stranger" and "Identity". Some interesting stuff could probably have been pulled off the rather good BLOOD AND BELIEF record to help the flagging setlist, but alas it was not to be. Still, all the best to Blaze in all his current and future endeavours, after all he’s been through he’s earned it.

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Uriah Heep

U.K legends Uriah Heep is a band whose name is known by everybody these days. They released their latest album WAKE THE SLEEPER just last fall. It was their first album in ten years, and they’ve been constantly on tour since then. UH opened their set with their new album title track followed by a couple more new tracks before hitting the first actual classic "Stealin". Especially singer Bernie Shaw did a good and entertaining work on stage. Ever smiling, and the only remaining original member, Mick Box got a good applause when he was doing his usual moves and joking between the songs and there was nothing wrong with the rest of the band either. Many people may think that nowadays UH are just a bunch of old tired guys trying cash with their glorious past, but the fact is that they still have such a huge following especially in Scandinavia. They played such an enjoyable, musically tight, show and their set list was a nice mixture of new material and old classics like “Gypsy”, “Lady In Black” and (of course) “Easy Livin’”. Uriah Heep are still a perfect fit for such festival as Sweden Rock.

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Thursday June 4

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Candlemass

The long time Swedish doom metal legends did a real outstanding album with the Solitude Aeturnus golden throat Robert Lowe. Therefore it could be expected to see the vital performance from Candlemass at Swedenrock. Even though the set was all fine in every aspect, but several technical problems almost ruined half of the set making the current front-man play some kind of stand-up comedian role. However the band survived through unexpected difficulties and created the utter hammer of doom atmosphere. Mr Lowe’s voice truly differs from Messiah Marcolin, but however his voice sounds tremendously great. The old Candlemass songs definitely sounded amazing and even the newer material from the latest doom masterpiece fit to the set along with these older ones perfectly. Mr Lowe is a perfect man to fill the shoes left by the long time vocalist. Even though the doom dance and the legendary monk crowl were missing, Candlemass is still in a fine strike with their doomy metal.

Mirror Mirror /Dark Are The Veils of Death /Samarithan /If I Ever Die /Hammer of Doom /At The Gallows End /Emperor of The Void /The Bleeding Baroness /A Sorcerers Pledge /Solitude /Kill The King

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ZZ Top

ZZ Top, the bearded men from Texas, finally made their way to Sweden Rock. It’s been over six years since they released their latest album, MESCALERO, and since the band last time visited Scandinavia, so it was now about time, right? It was easy to notice that there was lot of expectations for this show. A huge crowd of Top fans were awaiting their heroes already hours before the actual show started.  After a brief intro the band was on stage and started with one of their biggest hit “Got Me Under Pressure”. Band went then instantly into two TRES HOMBRES tracks “Waiting for the Bus” and “Jesus Just Left Chicago”. “Pincushion” was played next and crowd seemed to enjoy what they saw and heard there.  It was well known before the show that band will not tease their fans with newer material too much and it was good choice because ZZ Top hasn’t released a decent album since early 90’s. Billy Gibbons is still in good form although it must be mentioned his voice was quite shot at times. His guitar playing was excellent and he proved some great sense of humor when a beautiful Swede girl appeared on stage and interviewed him in Swedish.  Of course his answers were like “Yes” and “No” but both, him and audience, liked it all and that’s what was important there. Bassist Dusty Hill did a good, decent job. It must be mentioned that he should sing more lead vocals because his voice was still in top form. Drummer Frank Beard, unlike the other two, seemed really tired and bored on stage. Somehow he managed to go through the set but at times his playing was really sloppy and dragging. Overall ZZ Top show was really entertaining and they proved that they have plenty of years left. The set list was a great mix of their 70’s blues based material mixed with MTV period hit songs though a cover of Jimi Hendix classic “Foxy Lady” was a little bit of an odd choice? It was also a little strange arrangement that a band of this caliber was playing so early at 08:00 PM when there were still plenty of more bands to come after them!? There must have been some schedule issues; otherwise they should have been headlining the whole festival.

Got Me Under Pressure / Waitin’ For The Bus /Jesus Just Left Chicago

/Pincushion / I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide / I Can’t Tell My Faith

/Cheap Sunglasses  /I Need You Tonight /
Cat Fish Blues / Foxey Lady /Heard / It On The X / Just Got Paid/Gimme All Your Lovin’

/Sharp Dressed Man /Legs /Tube Snake Boogie /La Grange /Tush
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Hammerfall

Hammerfall has been always considered as somewhat of a goofy band with their image. Well goofy or not, but their gig at Sweden Rock literally came out of blue. It is sure the editor-in-chief of Metal-Rules.Com EvilG would have sacrificed his ass in order to see the Swedish hammermetallers. The 90 minute set was kicked off by "Blood Bound" and was followed by several catchy melodic, let’s say, Hammerfall classic tunes. Frankly the latest additions to the line-up – Pontus Norgren and Fredrik Larsson have brought a new raging fire and new ambition to the live perfomance on the stage. The five piece nailed every song with a powerful grip and especialy the former Talisman guitarist has brought more spirit and passion to the Hammerfall playing. It has to be admitted Hammerfall literally blew up from second they went on stage with power and metallic force showing how true classic metal is played in front of fanatical audience. Hammerfall came and literally let the hammer fall at Swedenrock. Well EvilG – They were great!!!

Blood Bound /Crimson Thunder /Renegade /Hallowed Be Thy Name /Last Man Standing /At The End Of the Rainbow /Heeding The Call /Life Is Now /Any Means Necessary /Threshold /Between Two Worlds /Riders Of The Storm /Templars Of Steel /Let The Hammer Fall /Hearts On Fire

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Tyketto

The erstwhile WAYSTED singer Danny Vaughn, who then headed TYKETTO from 1987-1995 and has since forged a solo career, probably has one of the most unique and amazing singing voices in the business. It was therefore pleasant that TYKETTO has been resurrected and to find that they have lost none of the greatness in the years since. Also worth noting is Danny’s exceptional energy on stage which really helped to energize the audience about to turn blue from the cold weather. Classic tracks such as "Forever Young" and "Burning Down Inside" sounded as good as they ever did and even as a whole the setlist left little to be desired. This is itself is noteworthy since the band only ever released three albums, two of those with Danny. Not too much to choose from, but all of it pure class.

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Over The Rainbow

How does an idea of a RAINBOW "reunion" without Ritchie Blackmore sound? Bat shit crazy, but that’s exacly what has happened here. Rather unceremoniously the leather gloved frontman of RAINBOW’s arguably weakest albums, Joe Lynn Turner thinks Ritchie’s replaceable. Well, HE’S NOT, not even by his son, who nobody’s ever heard of before. Still, it was interesting to see the legendary Bobby Rondinelli (also ex-BLACK SABBATH) pounding the skins again to the classic RAINBOW tunes. It would have also been pretty cool to see/hear the honorable keyboard maestro Tony Carey, who at least played on some of RAINBOW’s finest records, RISING and ON STAGE, but it was not to be. Instead of him we got Paul Morris, who originally appeared on the Doogie White fronted STRANGER IN US ALL album. He did a fine job, great in fact, as did Greg Smith on bass as well as backing vocals. The setlist covered all of RAINBOW’s catalogue, and it was nice to hear "Stargazer", "Gates of Babylon" and even the two tracks from Doogie White’s era of the band, "Wolf to the Moon" and "Ariel". Sadly Joe Lynn Turner’s voice, never mind what’s left of it, was never really cut out to singing most of this stuff. While this whole concept of “JOE LYNN TURNER’S RAINBOW” may seem to many like a desperate grasp at past glories, as a whole it wasn’t really too bad at all, just a bit too luke warm compared to what it could be with the right people… that is with Ritchie "FUCKING" Blackmore.

Tarot Woman / Kill the King / Street of Dreams / Man on the Silver Mountain / Death Alley Driver / Eyes of the World / Ariel / Wolf to the Moon / I Surrender / Can’t Happen Here / Jealous Lover / Stargazer / Long Live Rock’n’Roll / Since You’ve Been Gone / All Night Long

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SEVENTH WONDER

Regardless of being virtually hidden away due to appearing on the tent stage, this brilliant Swedish bands loyal fans seemed to have had no problem locating them and had duly arrived in great numbers. Even with the bearded ones, ZZ Top that is, playing simultaneously on the main festival stage, it was nearly impossible to squeeze under the cannopy to witness these progressive metallers known for their technical virtuosity and soaring vocal melodies. SEVENTH WONDER, while having their own unique sound, could easily be mention in the same context as SYMPHONY X or DREAM THEATER in their mentality. Having only released three albums so far, the last two with Tommy Karevik on vocals, the band had obviously no shortage for strong candidates to the setlist. Certainly one of the best albums of the year in 2006 "Waiting in the Wings" alone with it’s briallint songs such as "Taint the Sky", "Not An Angel", etc. would have nearly filled out the one hour set, but of course songs were also featured from the ambitious 2008 concept album "Mercy Falls". There were thus no weak moments in the set and the impressively large audience let this be known through their enthusiastic singing and exultation. Hopefully, and surely if there’s any justice in the world, SEVENTH WONDER will be heading off for bigger and even better things in the future.

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Bullet

Young Swedish bands are outstanding brilling what come to doing the retro metal thing by recycling the 80′s atmosphere and making it look kind of amusing such as Bullet and Enforcer. At least Bullet’s guitarists had adopted the Accept playing style with the classic flying-V guitars whereas the band’s frontman, Dag Hell Hofner, reminded more or less of Messiah Marcolin’s little brother. Bullet had been selected the best metal or whatever hard rock coming out of Sweden at the moment. Anyway the five piece rocked hard and free. But somehow the funny retro metal left kind of eccetric taste to the mouth as recycling and being a retro metal band creates a more amusing and comedian feeling. Bullet and other retro metallers are quite funny to be watched, but in the long run it could be suspected how they will manage to stick around for about 20 years.  

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Twisted Sister

Sick Motherfucker say I as the time really flies cos it is already 25 years since STAY HUNGRY came out and made several young kids and teens bang their hands and sing "I Wanna Rock" as loud as it was possible. Therefore the legendary hard rock and metal veterans decided to do the entire album from the beginng to the end at Sweden Rock. Dee Snider is known for being a real sport and fitness maniac and is a real living piece of evidence of how a frontman should keep the body in one hell of a good shape. The wild frontman appreared to be extreme relentless and has proved being a great showman. Running all around the stage, encouraging the audience go nuts and giving funny speeches prove he has still energy and power left in 2009. In general the whole legendary metal hard rocking five piece did a real asskicking job on the stage as playing tight and above all having fun on the stage.  The funnist speech of the festival was hold by Jay Jay when preaching how idols and all kinds of reality TV things suck a big time. Well something new ?! No!


Well "I wanna Rock", "We are gonna take it" and others echoed around the festival area with massive crushing sounds. During "Burn In Hell" red spotlights had been aimed at Snider to make him look kind of grim looking person. When the whole STAY HUNGRY had been done, a few important selected songs such as "Under The Blade" and "Come Out and Play".The biggest surprise came out of blue when Snider welcomed both Lemmy and Phil to the stage to play the Rolling Stones tune "It’s only rock’n’roll" being an utter nice surprise for sure! The whole audience went entirely nuts.

As stated above Sweden Rock was the 25th anniversary gig of STAY HUNGRY, well of course because of the album will be re-released again with the edited version feat all kinds of leftover stuff. According to the band, those unreleased songs were abandobed as a request of that time record label. Should that statement be taken seriously to pick up that edited album? Though the band has threatened to quit, but so far twisted sister rocks, and fucken hard.   

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