After a round of interviews and a quick press conference it was back into the concerts as we headed to the Spectrum Lounge to see France’s Nightmare (Must See #13) the relentless and thundering double-kick drum attack really gave their songs a sense of propulsion as we charged across the waves towards the Turks and Caicos Islands. The veteran band used a few samples to added some sonic flavour to the otherwise chunky riff driven traditional Metal.
The band has been on a roll with four excellent albums in a row and they entertained the decent crowd including a cover of ‘Holy Diver’ with vocalist Amore (who is certainly no vocal slouch either) introducing the song dedicated ‘to the best singer in the world’ and then doing a fantastic rendition sounding uncannily like Dio himself. The crowd was a little subdued but perhaps the band is not as well known to the North American audience which in terms of percentage of guests on the trip occupied the #2 slot (America) and #3 spot (Canada). They finished off with ‘Trust A Crowd’ from way back in 1984 and with a rousing chorus of ‘Get Up Off Your Seat’! The song worked well to get a few more people up as they finished strong.
Next up on the pool deck with the setting sun and temperature dropping was Ensiferum one of the Big Four of Finnish Folk (along with Moonsorrow, Fintroll, and of course Korpiklaani). Ensiferum had been on the very first 70,000 Tons on 2011 and I’ve seen them a number of times as they tour heavily but they show why they are one of the best of this style. Besides it always good to hear the new songs from the most recent album performed live. They opened with ‘In My Sword I Trust’, the first single and video from their most recent album, I love it when band have the balls to stand up and say ‘We think our new material is as good as our old stuff’ and kick off a concert with a song that maybe not everyone knows yet.
I took off halfway through their set as I had seen them five times previously and grabbed a quick bite knowing I had four big shows in my ‘Must See’ list (Angra, Anacrusis, Doro, and Heidevolk) in a row and then Rage and Kreator so I knew I would probably not eat for another seven hours!
Up next was Angra (Must See #12). The Chorus Line theater was surprisingly empty which was very disappointing for me because I really, sincerely thought that Angra were one of the bigger bands on the boat. Mind you they were in direct competition with the Jeff Waters All-Star Jam which was a major draw for people. Angra was the first band of the day to play in the Theater so they had at least seven hours to prepare so it was absolutely inexcusable that they started 10 minutes late. It’s more tolerable that bands who have a later starting time get pushed back a bit but to be the first band and be late is not cool. I was relieved that people came flooding in after the third song or so.
Angra recently lost vocalist Edu and so they recruited Golden God, Fabio Lione of Rhapsody to fill in while they find a new permanent replacement, so this was a once in a lifetime (or twice in a lifetime because they played again on Thursday) opportunity to see this unique pairing. It was odd to hear Fabios voice in front of Angra but he did a great job. The show opened with the gentle sounds of a tropical rainforest and then kicked into high gear with a double shot of speedy tunes. Later in the show Fabio even commented, ‘It must be odd to hear a different voice for the band’ before launching into a fiery version of ‘Nova Era’. Angra relied heavily on the second and third albums (HOLY LAND and FIREWORKS) for the set-list. The band finished with a song perfect for the cruise, ‘Rage Of The Waters’ from their most recent album AQUA followed by ‘Gentle Changes’ which, while I will admit is a beautiful song, was a bit slow and anti-climatic, especially since the crowd was calling for some of the debut album classics like ‘Angels Cry’ and ‘Carry On’.
INTERVIEW WITH ANGRA
Next up was Anacrusis (Must See #11) Our hard-working and stoic photographer Randy ‘thrash master’ Benoit was especially excited to see the reformed Anacrusis from St.Louis and his enthusiasm was contagious especially after we had bumped into Ken Nardi a number of times throughout the day. Anacrusis probably defined the term ‘cult following’ as Super Fans from as far as South America and Canada came to see them. While the crowd was small the band blasted through a set consisting of a good song selection of their brief but bright four album career.
The thinking man’s thrash band perhaps were a bit rusty in terms of stage presence they certainly can keep pace with many of the younger progressive thrash bands. Set highlights were ‘Paint A Picture’ from MANIC IMPRESSIONS and they also did their version of New Model Army’s, ‘I Love The World’. Those who missed this show missed a rate opportunity to see a criminally under-rated band.