Today was a full day out at Sea and the bands started at 10 a.m. Due to staying up till 5 a.m. to watch Krisiun and then going to the gym (my coach would be so proud), I didn’t get out to see any bands until the afternoon. Meet & Greets were held throughout the day with every band getting a time slot. Fans could get something signed and their photo taken in front of a Barge to Hell banner. The merch store opened up nice and early at 9 a.m. and a line up could be seen until late afternoon as fans tried to get their Barge to Hell merch and various band specific items.
The first band I caught was Loudblast out on the pool deck. Apparently the band is known for pioneering the death metal genre in France but was unknown to many people on the boat. Everyone seemed to enjoy the set though.
Sacred Reich was on my “must see” list. The band isn’t touring anymore and other than some festival dates it’s not easy to catch this band, especially being from Canada. The band expressed surprise over people still “giving a shit” about them since they haven’t released anything since 1996 but the crowd was definitely into it. The sun was shining and frontman Phil Rind was grinning out to the audience. The set was tight and fun.
The crowd looked a bit uncertain about Mexican-American extreme band Brujeria. Like Lock Up (and actually including some of the same members as Lock Up), Brujeria is comprised of a mix of musicians from other notable bands and they portray themselves as Latino drug lords, bandanas and all. Vocalist Juan Brujo even had a machete hanging off his hip – not sure how he got that past the TSA. Overall an interesting set with some different stage antics.
Corrosion of Conformity
Corrosion of Conformity didn’t have the largest crowd but a sizable amount of people came to check out the set on the pool deck. The stoner metal inclined music stood out a bit from the rest of the death, black and thrash. CoC played a killer set and the trio were right into the riffs they were jamming.
Mayhem on the pool deck was a favorite for a lot of the Barge attendees. With smoke machines putting out a seemingly endless flood of smoke that rolled around like fire when lit up by the red stage lights and Attila’s blood smear visage, it was quite an atmospheric set. Although after seeing members of Mayhem sipping Pina Coladas all day long, the contrast was a little bit amusing. However, the band got into character and played a strong set.
Sanctuary in the Theater was well received. The band delivered the heavy riffs and high pitched vocals they are known for perfectly. Although not really the style of music I’m into, I stayed and watched for a bit before heading off to the next band.
The Spectrum Lounge was the smallest stage and the venue had the lowest ceilings, lowest stage and smallest photo pit. I had checked out a few bands in the Lounge already but I had not been able to snag any photos. Either the photo pit was too crowded or security got a little too nervous about the crowd and wouldn’t let photographers in the pit at certain times. I was able to get some quick photos of Havok’s set. The crowd for the thrashers was a bit small this night but word got out about their great set and when they played again a much larger crowd showed up. The entire band played with explosive energy and the axe work -notably the soloing – from both guitarists was excellent.
At The Gates
At The Gates had the longest set of the day, playing for 75 minutes. The crowd filled up as people made their way up to the pool deck from Sanctuary’s set. Their set sampled quite a few classics which pleased fans.
Moonspell seemed to have a lot fans on the Barge judging by how the Theater was filled up. Their set was visually interesting but the music wasn’t enough to keep me watching through the set.
If you were a fan of heavy metal and working on the Majesty of the Seas you lucked out being on this cruise. The ship’s crew were allowed to watch some of the bands and for Sepultura you could see them everywhere sporting Barge to Hell shirts and their Royal Caribbean name tags. Needless to say Sepultura had a massive crowd for their pool deck show. Everyone commented on the new drummer, Eloy Casagrande, only 20 years old, who had ridiculous precision considering the speed and force with which he was hitting his kit. It was an intense hour of heavy Sepultura staples and thrashing in the crowd.
Rotting Christ played to a decent sized crowd in the Lounge even though Sepultura was just finishing and Possessed was also starting at the same time. Rotting Christ sampled through their catalogue giving everyone a taste of the new and old. The Greek band was in fine form, engaging the crowd and demonstrated some fine shredding and headbanging.
Possessed was another band on the “must see” list and without leaving Canada, chances could be slim to see them again. A lot of people, and a good representation from other bands, came out to see Jeff Beccera and crew deliver a set full of classic Possessed tunes. The band had the crowd enthralled and left them thoroughly thrashed.
Grave was the final band on the pool deck this night. Their set was savage and the playing brutally fierce. With this aggressive ending to the bands on the pool deck people wandered off to Karaoke, to the Spectrum Lounge to catch Headcrusher, or for those done in by the full day of metal – to sleep.