70000 Tons Of Metal 2014

March 10th, 2014
by Arto Lehtinen

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70000 tons Of Metal is the biggest heavy metal cruise on the planet. It has gained and created a loyal and fanatical following amongst metal fans around the globe in a short few years. Even though there were a lot of discussions, and even some outrage on the official 70000tons forum and social media, about the long silence while waiting to hear about the booking of the bands. However, the whole cruise was a surrealistic experience for journalists and fans alike. Spirits were not dampened by a rainy day which whipped the Caribbean sea and the ship, Majesty Of The Seas, about.  The metallic mayhem on the sea sailed from Miami, Florida to Costa Maya, Mexico and back. Here is the brief write-up of all these bands who appeared on the ship.

Article by Arto Lehtinen and Timo Hanhirova

Pics by Arto Lehtinen


Bonfire

Bonfire’s booking to the cruise definitely made several people in the 70000tons forums question who they were. But hey, these long running German old school hard rockers kick ass. At least, that could be fairly said when they pulled a nice crowd to both their gigs on the cruise. On their first set they performed the entire FIREWORKS album. Even though some people had wondered what BonFire is all about, the band definitely caught attention from the crowd and created a positive hard rock gig. The band sounded vital and above all hard as rock. (Arto)

Bells of Freedom
Never Mind
Sword and Stone
Fantasy
Give It a Try
American Nights
Sweet Obsession
Ready 4 Reaction
Champion

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Carcass

Seeing Carcass under the Caribbean sky was definitely a tremendous feeling and unique atmosphere. The four piece grinders kicked the set off on the pool deck in front of an enthusiastic crowd. The whole audience went absolutely berserk when Steer and Walker’s sonic torment was unleashed. It was an ear piercing grinding assault. The band was in great shape during both their sets. However, the screen didn’t work on the pool deck whereas it worked and looked fine in the indoor environment. Carcass definitely enjoys a massive and loyal following amongst old school metal fans. Well “Genital Grinder” was specifically dedicated to Terry Butler and other former Death members from the LEPROSY era. (Arto)

Buried Dreams
Incarnated Solvent Abuse
Carnal Forge
No Love Lost
Unfit for Human Consumption
Noncompliance to ASTM F 899-12 Standard
Ruptured in Purulence / Heartwork

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Cynic

Technical death metalers, Cynic, hopped on board from our departure port city of Miami and drummer Sean Reinert surely didn’t hide his love of his home team Miami Heat as he played both Cynic and DTA gigs with a Heat shirt on. I didn’t hear stuff from the brand new Cynic album Kindly Bent To Free Us before gigs so I was pleasantly surprised with all the dynamic goodness going on. The lineup was otherwise identical to Death To All but Steve DiGiorgio was replace by Brandon Griffin. Admittedly, Cynic is no longer death metal, but their brand of progressive rock/metal is still pleasing to the ear. In addition to cuts from the new album and Traced in Air (2008) there were a couple Focus-era tracks, Veil of Maya and How Could I, both brilliant showcases of that good old Cynic sound. Performance-wise the first gig was a bit rusty as band apparently didn’t have much time to rehearse but the second one was already miles better. What was missing was the audience, sadly Cynic seems to be a cult band for the clever minority. Also missing was some variety between sets, but you can’t have it all I guess. (Timo)

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Obituary

The Kickstarter Internet phenomenon, and legendary old school death metal Obituary, can be the best in the both worlds, the new and the old. The upcoming crowd-funded album is still forthcoming but the band’s live energy at 70k was absolutely superb. Obituary definitely still have some life in that old corpse so I’m somewhat optimistic towards the new album. They don’t reinvent any wheels, but if you are an old dog like Obituary you don’t have to. Sound-wise whole festival was a jackpot and that was especially great for Obituary’s live act that could really suffer from the weak sound. Obituary sounded absolutely crushing, both inside and in the pool deck and also audience was really into it. It’s heartwarming indeed to see this kind of generation-spanning appeal. I don’t know if band has been playing Body Bag a lot lately but for me that was probably the highlight of the shows. (Timo)

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Death to All

Death To All, the tribute to the memory of the late Chuck Schuldiner, frontman of Death, was without any doubts one of those requested and demanded combos amongst the attendees of 70000tons.  Death To All pulled two sets in a row. The second one was supposed to play on the Pool Deck, because of the rainy and windy weather, DTA had to pull the second one in the same Chorus Line Theater as the first.  As for the first set,  Flattening of Emotions started the hour long gig and was followed by songs off the LEPROSY album. The whole set was an ultimate return to the Death material all the way from SCREAM BLOODY GORE up to SYMBOLIC leaving the last release out. The singer, Max Phelps, from Cynic did an excellent job in both sets when growling in the spirit of Chuck Schuldiner. Honestly, the Death material still sounds as fresh and timeless as over 20 years ago. Steve, Paul, Sean and Max treasure the legacy of Chuck Schuldiner more than awesomely. (Arto)

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Death Angel

Everywhere Death Angel is playing there’s a guaranteed surge of youthful energy. These guys can still thrash the hell out of most competition. Their new album was totally unknown to me, but when you judge the new material by these two gigs, this band still sounds surprisingly good and energetic. As it’s 2014, we must of course acknowledge that these original thrash bands have matured. Death Angel is not afraid to show they are proud of their new material and it’s cool. They didn’t play much from the first album, understandabley as they did Ultra-Violence so long ago. Now it was the time to show that there’s more in Death Angel than the infamous debut and to me they succeeded. (Timo)

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D.R.I.

The legendary cross over combo DRI were forced to cancel their European tour last year. Seeing DRI for the first time was definitely a matter of timing. The cross over heroes’ first set consisted of all the known and furious D.R.I. tunes all the way from the first output up to the last studio album. Before the four piece kicked the set off, only a handful of people had arrived to testify them in action. At first, the turn out looked kind of pathetic. But out of blue the whole place was totally packed and the floor was on fire when people started messing around in the pit! D.R.I got an extra boost to their set when the crowd got into the more violent pits. Bassist Harald Oimoen appeared in a strange looking mask, Spikey raged with his guitar whereas vocalist Kurt handled the vocals with ultimate passion. It was truly a killer set indeed.

Due to the massive heavy rain, the schedule got kind of fucked up and D.R.I. had to switch playing slot. Obviously some of guys didn’t know about the re-arranged schedule as they were called around the ship to do the sound-check. Of course, this Metal-Rules.com writer was as confused as others about the schedule. (Arto)

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Massacre

Tampa’s Massacre was forced to play their first show in the pool deck in very wee hours and there were not many awake anymore to see these masters of the beyond in action. The whole situation led to a gig that was forced and tired. Luckily, the next show on the smaller stage was way more involved, both from the band and the audience. Along with some old hits the band played a few songs from the new Back From Beyond album. Those songs were ok, not mind-blowingly good or anything. But it was ok enough to ensure that the new album is worth a check out when it’s out soon. The new vocalist Edwin Webb did a good job too, so I’m not missing Kam Lee. It would have been so great to see ex-Death members Rick Rozz and Terry Butler doing some Death stuff with DTA but that was not going to happen, sad but true. (Timo)

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Overkill

Overkill knows how to thrash, that is for sure! Frontman Blitz is a real Duracell bunny having 220 volts shooting up his tiny skinny body. The NY thrashers always offers a valid and guaranteed excellent set with a balance of old and new material. They are a killer live band indeed. Nothing more to add. (Arto)

Deny the Cross
Rotten to the Core
Wrecking Crew
Bring Me the Night
Hello From the Gutter
Electric Rattlesnake
Ironbound
Necroshine
In Union We Stand
Elimination
Fuck You

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Raven

The legendary New Wave of the British Heavy metal trio, Raven, made a second stint on 70000tons. The trio unleashed a lesson in old school heavy metal  in the small and intimate Spectrum Lounge where a few hundred people had crawled forth to witness. The Gallagher brothers put on one hell of show by unleashing a load of Raven classics. Raven is the real epitome of old school heavy metal with all the clichés, but in a good way, that several bands of the present day are missing. Even though the band has been marching through the years and decades, and Raven will no longer reach bigger success, but however Raven enjoys a true loyal following amongst metal maniacs as was witnessed at both the shows. (Arto)

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Satyricon

Satyricon has no luck with the US officers once again denying Frost’s access to the soil of America. Fortunately, the booked show at 70000tons wasn’t jeopardized when the Soilwork drummer stepped in to take over the drums. After only one rehearsal, Satyricon backed by Dick Verbeuren kicked off a one hour set. While the newest Satyricon’s self titled album doesn’t sound that convincing, on the stage the Norwegians still sound tight and uncompromising. Their first set on the stage of Chorus Line Theater was  tremendous. That first set consisted of known Satyricon tunes and was kicked off by “Now, Diabolical”, and was concluded by K.I.N.G. As for the drummer Dirk Verbeuren, his job and role behind the drum battery was phenomenal and could be said genius. No need to mention about possible mistakes in his playing. Satyricon continued the brilliant show on the pool deck in the following night. The set was basically replica with a few song changes, to the set a night before. The lights, the atmosphere and all in all factors in the band were in the balance. Dirk Verbeuren continued his unbelievable playing. Obviously the last song Fueled For Hatred had been dropped from the second set because of the overtime.  (Arto)

Set I
Now, Diabolical
Black Crow on a Tombstone
Our World, It Rumbles Tonight
Repined Bastard Nation
Walker Upon the Wind
The Infinity of Time and Space
Fuel for Hatred
Mother North
The Pentagram Burns
K.I.N.G.

Set II
Now, Diabolical
The Wolfpack
Repined Bastard Nation
Our World, It Rumbles Tonight
Black Crow on a Tombstone
The Infinity of Time and Space
To the Mountains
The Pentagram Burns
Mother North
K.I.N.G.

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Symphony X

The progressive metal giants’ first set was delayed nearly 90 minutes. The audience was completely relaxed and enjoyed drinks while waiting for the start. The five piece kicked the set off and offered real catchy songs mostly picked up from the ICONOCLAST album. As for the second stint, well obviously frontman Russell Allen had truly enjoyed the cruise as having invited plenty of girls to dance on the stage. The second one was kind of chaotic in a way, but truly enjoyable.

Iconoclast
The End of Innocence
Dehumanized
Electric Messiah
When All is Lost
Evolution (The Grand Design)
Sea of Lies
Of Sins and Shadows

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The Church of Pungent Stench

The original Pungent Stench didn’t do much for me, and this duo of gigs in the 70k cruise is not going to change that fact for me even if it was actually The Church of Pungent Stench, semi-unofficial reformation by Martin Schirenc aka Don Cochino playing old Pungent Stench songs. Many people say this is classic stuff, but for me most of the material is a rather unmemorable basic affair of early gore-filled death/grind. The trio was still funny enough to check the gig outs. Legal battles between Schirenc and Rector Stench about using the name Pungent Stench are more interesting than the music itself. Currently it seems that 70k’s performances were the last ones under this name and now Schirenc performs eponymously. (Timo)

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Terrorizer

Terrorizer led by Pete Sandoval with Sam Moline and Lee Harrison from Monstrosity backing up were booked in the very last minute therefore both the playing times were rough and unappreciated. The three piece brutalized the 45 minute set in the morning. The set by Terrorizer was kicked off at noon on the small stage in Spectrum Lounge. It looked quite weird as a handful of people had realized to arrive on time to witness the three piece in action. Finally the place was pretty crowded. Terrorizer definitely terrorized with the intensive brutal grind core delivery without any gimmicks. The current frontman Sam Molina’s  growling  truly sounded brutal and fitted to the intensive grind core outburst perfectly.  The band didn’t keep or had any sort of small talk crap between songs. After a small break, the three piece continued grinding. But Placing Terrorizer to play the second set at 5 am on the pool deck was absolutely the terrible schedule thing. When Terrorizer started the second set, people started showed up and gathering in front of the stage. Pete Sandoval, the man behind the drum artillery, has recovered tremendous well. His playing is sharp and tight as hell.  But the playing time of the both the set didn’t give the justice for a band like Terrorizer at all. The more inhuman and reasonable playing time would have brought more audience and created the real grinding vibe in them. (Arto)

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The Haunted

The Haunted went through radical changes in the line-up a few years back. Fortunately it was rescued when the former singer Marco Aro returned to the fold. In the wake of his return the old drummer Adrian Erlandsson and new recruited guitarist Ola Englund. With this line-up The Haunted debuted at 70000tons Of Metal. Aro seems to have missed amongst the fans keeping shouting his name. The first gig on the pool deck was kind of warm-up to the following second one. Even though Aro managed to get his forehead bleeding that didn’t prevent him to go utter relentless. When The Haunted hit the indoor stage, Aro nearly climbed into the audience and the pit was tremendous. The Haunted is rescued and Aro is back, but The Haunted won’t tour crisscross the world. Welcome back … (Arto)

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Twilight Of The Gods

I’ve been ignoring Twilight of the Gods before this cruise, but now I had to get a glimpse of this ex-Bathory-tribute. Their own material is not raved about and I see now why, it’s a bit tedious hybrid of Hammerheart-era Bathory and Manowarish heavy metal. It’s totally listenable but nothing to get excited about. I don’t have slightest things against Alan’s vocals but they are probably too tied to Primordial sound and Twilight of the Gods ends up being too close. They should have played Bathory tribute set one last time but due drummer problems, they had a lad from Einherjer as a short notice fill-in, Bathory stuff was reduced to couple of songs. Those sounded really good though. (Timo)

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Poltergeist

Old-school technical thrash from Switzerland is a very good premise and I was actually quite psyched to see reformed Poltergeist on stage. Unfortunately these lads weren’t that inspired anymore. I remember liking their sophomoric Behind the Mask LP a lot but during the years something was lost and this charade wasn’t superbly convincing anymore. They were certainly alright but there weren’t too many really interesting riffs to get things really going forward. I didn’t except any massive attendance as not too many people remember Poltergeist and I was right. Maybe they played just too many songs from the third album, maybe they need more gigs, maybe Poltergeist just wasn’t that good to begin whit. (Timo)

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Victory

More German hard rock was on display when the legendary Victory got on the stage. The band has only one surviving original member left from the glorious days of the early years. Herman Frank being the guitarist for Accept as well has guided the band thru years facing ups and downs. The five kicked the set off, but right in the beginning guitarist Frank kind of lost the control when bursting to laughing after seeing that the Metal-Rules.Com guy showed up into the photo pit. Whoever Victory with the current frontman Jioti Parcharidis sounded solid and offered a guaranteed hard rock with a good set. Frank definitely relies on the new school hard rock sounding tunes with the catchy riff and memorable songs. Even though Victory remained more on the level of the cult status, however hundreds of people had crawled to see them. (Arto)

Take the Pace
Speak Up
Are You Ready
Burn Down the City
Power Strikes the Earth
Temples of Gold
Hero(Herman Frank cover)
Standing Like a Rock
Restless
Check’s in the Mail

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The official 7000o Tons Of Metal sites

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