Pre-Sales are currently underway for their Survivors who have previously sailed on board 70000TONS OF METAL, The Original, The World’s Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise. Public Sales are slated to start on Tuesday August 16, 2016 at 3PM EDT / 9PM CEST. Mark down the date and time in your calendar as they have sold out the previous six consecutive sailings to sailors from over 70 different countries! Don’t miss the boat, book your cabin as soon as the gates open!
70000TONS OF METAL, The Original, The World’s Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise offers Metalheads a life-changing experience in an incredibly fan-friendly scenario that has no comparison. Boasting the biggest Open Air Stage structure to ever sail the Open Seas, 70000TONS OF METAL gives Sailors unrestricted festival access to all 120 live shows by 60 unique Artists on board. Not only that, throw in Meet & Greets with every Artist, exclusive Art Exhibits and Artist Clinics and the infamous JAMMING WITH WATERS IN INTERNATIONAL WATERS, the official 70000TONS OF METAL All Star Jam hosted by ANNIHILATOR’s Jeff Waters. Everyone sailing is a VIP, they spare no expense to remove seating in the theatre so that fans can create a mosh pit at sea (this is a Heavy Metal Cruise after all), and most importantly… there are bars that never close – you heard that right, bars that never close!
Round 7 Sails to Labadee
70000TONS OF METAL will sail February 2 – 6, 2017 onboard Royal Caribbean’s luxurious Independence Of The Seas which will be leaving from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to an all new Caribbean dream destination: Labadee, situated on the northern coast of Haiti, featuring pristine beaches, coral reefs and lagoon-like bays surrounded by forested mountains. Soar over the Dragon’s Breath Flight Line, the world’s longest zip line over water! Propel down the 300 foot long waterslides, get your adrenaline fix on the Dragon’s Tail Roller Coaster, cool off in the Arawak Aqua Park, or kick back and relax at the cabanas on Nellie’s Beach.
There’s no shortage of shore activities here! Don’t miss out on your chance to explore this Caribbean dream destination with your favorite Artists! Check out official video footage of excursions available at Labadee here.
Sunday February 5, 2017 is #SuperMetalSunday! Start off the best Sunday of the year with Heavy Metal bands from around the globe playing concerts on 4 different stages. Think you can make a splash? Participate in the infamous 70000TONS Belly Flop Contest which is judged by a panel of Artists! Witness Heavy Metal history in the making with JAMMING WITH WATERS IN INTERNATIONAL WATERS – the official 70000TONS OF METAL All Star Jam. Don’t forget your jerseys because the NFL Championship Game will also be screened on board! Not enough action for you? Throw in multiple workshops and Artist Clinics, and end the cruise with 70000TONS OF KARAOKE for a final sing along until the sun rises!
60 Bands Representing Every Genre Of Metal!
Every Artist on board 70000TONS OF METAL 2017 will play two shows – once on the way to Labadee, and once on the way back to Florida, presenting fans with the opportunity to see 120 shows, including some exclusive performances.
The following 32 of 60 bands have been announced for Round 7:
70000TONS OF METAL is The World’s Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise – 60 Metal Bands play 120 Shows for only 3000 Fans on one 154,000ton Cruise Ship sailing from Florida to Jamaica on board the Independence of the Seas, leaving from Port Everglades, FL on Thursday, February 4th 2016 and returning on Monday, February 8th.
Now in the Sixth year, the event is boasting its sixth consecutive sellout – a testament to the brand’s staying power, innovation and intense customer loyalty. Fans on 70000TONS OF METAL get unrestricted festival access to all live shows on board, not just one show per band with assigned seating based on which cabin category was booked.
Two full days at Sea and the opportunity to mingle side-by-side with World Class artists on a floating luxury resort in the middle of the Caribbean. This event truly has no comparison and since there are no VIP areas it’s like everyone has a backstage pass!
60 BANDS TO PERFORM
With something for even the most discerning Metal Head, 70000TONS OF METAL offers a diverse lineup covering almost every subgenre of Heavy Metal imaginable – with bands coming from all over the world, including acts from AUSTRIA, BELGIUM, BRAZIL, COLOMBIA, GERMANY, GREECE, FAROE ISLANDS, FINLAND, ICELAND, ITALY, THE NETHERLANDS, NORWAY, POLAND, PORTUGAL, RUSSIA, SWEDEN, UNITED KINGDOM and USA.
Every band that is booked for 70000TONS OF METAL 2016 will play two shows – once on the way to Jamaica, and once on the way back to Florida, presenting fans the opportunity to see 120 shows, including some very special exclusive performances:
As an exclusive World Premiere, DIAMOND HEAD will be playing unreleased tracks from their upcoming self-titled album.
DRAGONFORCE promises a special set dedicated to their 2014 release “Maximum Overload”.
Former SLAYER drummer Dave Lombardo will be bringing his brand new band DEAD CROSS – having only played a couple of warm up shows in California, this will be the newly formed band’s first show in front of a Global audience!
Commemorating 20 years since the release of their 1996 album “Irreligious”, MOONSPELL will perform Irreligious it’s entirety for the first time ever.
The complete Lineup for 700000TONS OF METAL 2016 is:
ARKONA AT THE GATES
CHILDREN OF BODOM
CRADLE OF FILTH
DIA DE LOS MUERTOS
KOYI K UTHO
MY DYING BRIDE
RHAPSODY OF FIRE
SUBWAY TO SALLY
VISIONS OF ATLANTIS
JAMMING WITH WATERS IN INTERNATIONAL WATERS
Hosted by Jeff Waters of ANNIHILATOR, the official 70000TONS OF METAL All Star Jam will once again write Heavy Metal History on board The World’s Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise when a spectacular lineup the of musicians on board team up to perform classic Metal Anthems!
Mr. Waters has assembled an impressive lineup of participants including Dave Lombardo (DEAD CROSS, ex-SLAYER), Gus G (FIREWIND), Cristina Scabbia (LACUNA COIL), Alexi Laiho (CHILDREN OF BODOM), along with members ofDELAIN, DRAGONFORCE, HAMMERFALL, HOLY MOSES, ICED EARTH, JAG PANZER, KRISIUN, MOONSPELL, RAVEN, TURISAS, VADER and VISIONS OF ATLANTIS. To view the complete scheduled lineup and setlist, visit this location – http://bit.ly/1nNQjFz
For the first time ever, 70000TONS OF METAL are introducing #SuperMetalSunday: The last day of the cruise will coincide with the 2016 SuperBowl which will be screened live on board but it will also include the aforementionedJAMMING IN INTERNATIONAL WATERS, Clinics and Work-Shops with the musicians on board, and last but not least: the World Famous #70000TONS Belly Flop Contest, which will be judged by members of THRYFING, Týr,DRAGONFORCE, ICED EARTH, CRADLE OF FILTH and DELAIN.
ROUND 7 ON THE HORIZON
70000TONS OF METAL will return for the 7th voyage in 2017, and promises to continue the pattern of sailing to a new destination with each voyage. Stay tuned, as details will be released SOON.
In only 4 months 70000TONS OF METAL 2016, The Original, The World’s Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise will sail from Florida to Jamaica on board the Independence of the Seas, leaving from Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale near Miami, FL on Thursday, February 4th 2016 and returning on Monday, February 8th.
10 more artists have just been confirmed for 70000TONS OF METAL 2016: BLOODBATH, JAG PANZER, KATATONIA, KRISIUN, PARADISE LOST, SQUEALER, STRATOVARIUS, SUBWAY TO SALLY, VADER and VALLENFYRE. Each band will perform two concerts on board, once on the way to Jamaica, and once on the way back.
As recently announced, Metal Mind Productions extended the recording deal with the British heavy metal legend – TANK. Through the years, Metal Mind have re-released the band’s back catalogue and released their recent albums “War Machine” (2010) and “War Nation” (2012). TANK’s forthcoming yet untitled album is planned for late March/early April.
Cliff Evans, TANK’s guitarist, reveals the bands nearest plans:
“We’re kicking off 2015 with our first show performing on the awesome 70,000 Tons of Metal Cruise sailing around the Carribean. A great way to start the year and an ideal opportunity to showcase some new songs from our forthcoming new studio album planned for release in late March / early April through our label Metal Mind. (Title to be announced soon). This will be our first album featuring vocalist ZP Theart, former Dragonforce frontman. Without doubt one of the best rock vocalists in the business today.Joining Mick Tucker, Myself and ZP on the new album will be former Sodom drummer Bobby Schottkowski and current Blind Guardian bass player Barend Courbois. Combined together to make a formidable metal machine. We intend to tour as much as possible this
year and we have already confirmed European shows and festivals starting in April. Details to be announced on our website. www.tankofficial.com. The mighty TANK keeps Rollin’!”
After their farewell performance on board 70000TONS OF METAL in January 2012 we are proud to announce the band’s return!
Exactly 3 years later, they are scheduled to return to the stage more aggressive then ever! It will all begin with 70000TONS OF METAL, The World’s Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise, sailing to Jamaica in January 2015.
GOD DETHRONED front man, Henri Sattler, explains:
“In early 2011, I was facing two options: one was to announce a break, and the other option was to quit the band. I definitely needed time away from it all, and having a break wasn’t reassuring enough to know if I would be able to recharge the batteries for another go.”
“Oddly enough it was at the funeral of the man who discovered us in the first place that I came to realize the story wasn’t finished yet. So here we go again. Don’t think you will be able to see us playing every club for weekends on end. We will only play a small selection of shows and this won’t happen before 2015. Besides that, the core of the band will consist of only Michiel and myself. We’ll have some cool guest musicians lined up, though, to make sure we’ll give you the best performance possible.
Last but not least, our first shows will be where we played our last ones three years ago. Our rebirth will happen on board 70000TONS OF METAL 2015. See you on board!”
70000TONS OF METAL, The Original, The World’s Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise has already confirmed: Alestorm, Annihilator, Apocalyptica, Arch Enemy, Behemoth, Blind Guardian, Cannibal Corpse, Chimaira, D.A.D., Ensiferum, Equilibrium, God Dethroned, Grave Digger, Heathen, In Extremo, Kataklysm, Korpiklaani, Lake Of Tears, Michael Schenker’s Temple Of Rock, Napalm Death, Origin, Primal Fear, Tank, Therion, Threshold, Triosphere and Xentrix, with 33 more to come!
70000TONS OF METAL, The World’s Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise, will sail Thursday, January 22, 2015 aboard the Royal Caribbean “Liberty Of The Seas” from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale near Miami, FL and will not return to the real world until Monday, January 26, 2015
Ticket prices start at US$666 plus US$333 taxes and fees per person and include all on-board entertainment, non-alcoholic and non-carbonated beverages, all meals in the dining rooms, most on-board restaurants and even 24 room service!
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.
Please welcome CARCASS with their new line-up with Jeff Walker on vocals and bass, Bill Steer on lead guitar, Daniel Wilding on drums and Ben Ash on guitar on board 70000TONS OF METAL, The World’s Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise!
Just imagine: In January 2014, 40 Heavy Metal bands and 2,000 fans from all over the World will go to the Caribbean to take over the luxury cruise ship “Majesty of the Seas” for 5 days and 4 nights. Book your cabin now at www.70000tons.com and be part of Heavy Metal History made in the Caribbean once again on 70000TONS OF METAL, The World’s Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise! The Original Metal Cruise: Home of the biggest open air stage to sail the oceans!
This is 70000TONS OF METAL, The World’s Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise where you enjoy unrestricted festival access to all live shows on board. And don’t forget, every band plays twice! There are also Clinics, Work-Shops, the infamous 70000TONS OF METAL Karaoke, Bars that never close, you heard right: They don’t close! Two full days at Sea, a fun-and-sun-filled day on a beautiful Caribbean Island and an opportunity to mingle side-by-side with the Artists that all join us for the entire trip. It’s like everyone has a backstage pass!
You can also get all your memorabilia signed at the Meet & Greet sessions. Be part of their infamous Metal Karaoke and many other special activities with the Artists. And last, but not least: Don’t forget that they have bars on board that never close! What are you waiting for? You might even need a vacation from this vacation when all is said and done.
The first 14 out of 40 bands have been announced:
SWALLOW THE SUN
70000TONS OF METAL, The World’s Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise, will sail Monday, January 27, 2014 aboard the Royal Caribbean “Majesty of the Seas” from Miami, FL and will not return you to the real world for four days until Friday, January 31, 2014.
Ticket prices start at US$666 plus US$319 taxes and fees per person and include all on-board entertainment, non-alcoholic and non-carbonated beverages, all meals at the dining rooms, most on-board restaurants and even 24 room service!
What are you waiting for? You might even need a vacation from this vacation when all is said and done! Check out www.70000tons.com for more information.
70,000 Tons is the Metal cruise for everyone. Fans from 54 nations, fans of all religions, colours and all ages are welcomed and represented. The youngest person on board was 1 year old and the oldest was 71 years old! The gender ratio was about 35% female to 65% male. There was an ancient seafaring superstition that having a female on a boat was bad luck. I’m beginning to think there was dome credibility to that theory. I’m going to formally request UMC to ban all females from future 70000 Tons cruises. Seriously. I had to tolerate people ‘sucking face’ in front of me on several occasions. If there were no women allowed the band members wouldn’t waste their time chasing tail and they could dedicate that precious time to more productive and constructive endeavours such as interviews, clinics and meet and greet sessions with the fans. For example, during the Hedievolk concert at 2:30am on Wednesday, Herman Li of Dragonforce would rather talk to the tall, beautiful, blond Swedish supermodel than talk to me about obscure Dragonforce European CD bonus tracks. I can’t imagine why.
Lastly, all the hot women in bikinis distract the male fans from the true purpose of the cruise; namely drinking, head banging and worshiping the Metal Gods. I mean, how is anyone supposed to watch a concert with these girls strutting around?
It’s virtually impossible to concentrate on the music, except for me because I’m pure Metal and all business. Honest. EDITORS NOTE: We personally think JP is crazy and Metal-Rules.com formally apologizes on his behalf for any offence he may have caused to female Metal fans.
Longest hair contest.
Speaking of Li, I think he lost the ‘Longest Hair’ contest by a hair, being beat by Ross of Immolation.
Longest Hair: Runner Up
Longest Hair-The Winner! (Immolation)
On a more serious note the Majesty Of The Seas is a fantastic ship. The staff and crew are all friendly and professional and available 24 hours a day. The food was hearty and plentiful and available around the clock, including room service. There is a wide range of choices of things to eat and drink…not to mention the dozens of stocked bars all over the ship! The alcohol prices were very reasonable. The pre-paid card system worked very smoothly. Every amenity was provided to cater to even the most discriminating cruise enthusiast.
The crew rocked!
In the final analysis, your Metal-Rules.com team of A.G., the Thrashmaster and myself ‘worked’ very hard and we brought you photos of all 41 bands and every single special event on the cruise. You’re welcome. Of the 41 bands on the cruise, I saw and wrote about 39 of them once (Apologies to Ektomorf and 3 Inches Of Blood!) and saw most of the bands twice. I also just about met my personal goal of my Must See List as I saw 19 (out of a possible 20) bands that I had never seen before.
We are proud of these facts and this report and mention it, not to brag but to help support the bands and to bring you information to help you make an educated decision for you (and your friends and/or family) if you are thinking if going on a UMC 70,000 Tons Of Metal cruise. We highly recommend it! There was always something fun and unique going on.
The Shuffleboard of Steel
A quiet, impromptu moment at the piano with Victor of Rage
It’s all about the fans…
Hot tub hooligans!
The next scheduled 70,000 Tons Of Metal cruise will be on the same vessel, Majesty Of The Seas and will run from Jan 27 to Jan 31, 2014 from Miami, Florida to an unknown destination. In a democratic move, UMC has decided to let ticket holders vote on the actual destination! There will be an on-line access code and a series of choices with descriptions of each country and port if call. Fans/Passengers will vote and the destination will be announced quite early. The organizers hinted at some big bands for 2014 so it is anticipated that tickets will go on sale early and sell out faster. Don’t delay.
Thanks for reading and we hope to see you on the cruise in the future!
It ain’t easy being a Metal journalist on a working vacation!
Despite a third night in a row with four hours sleep I was ready to face the day. If Day Four was a mini-PaganFest then certainly Day Five was the day of Black Death! I dubbed it that for two reasons. First, because of the readership of the site I had to make choices about who to cover on the first few days and Black and Death Metal are a lower priority for most of our readers. Secondly, my personal taste leans towards the Classic/Power/True/Traditional/Thrash/Viking/Pagan/Folk/Prog Metal sub genres. Accordingly, some bands got relegated to the last day. However, I do love the extreme genres and I was really looking forward to seeing a number of bands that I had not seen on their first shows on the boat such as Etecc, Sinister, Inquisition, Cryptopsy and Anaal Nathrakh.
I knew it was going to be a very busy but awesome final day with the Press Conference, Interviews, the Jeff Waters (Annihilator) Jam, the George Kolias (Nile) drum clinic, and the Belly Flop Contest and at least a dozen Metal concerts!
The day started on a very good note where we accepted an offer from our gracious host for an ‘invite only’ photo shoot with the 70000 Tons Pool Girls! We accepted the invite for purely professional reasons to support 70000 Tons, and it had nothing to do with checking out deadly Metal chicks. Honest.
The day was already in full swing, the hot sun burning away the clouds as people checked out Nightmare second show on the Pool Deck.
Next it was off to the Spectrum Lounge to see Etecc (Must See #5) What a wake up call after Nightmare! We want from uplifting Power Metal in the beautiful tropical sun to the very dark and smoky Spectrum to hear crushing Death/Thrash of Germany’s Etecc. Only a few dozen souls were brave enough at that early hour but what amazed me were the number if people already sitting in the dark smoking and drinking! Maybe they were still there from the night before! Etecc while energetic and competent, were a bit of a mis-match as their more modern, Pantera inspired,down-tuned sound was different from pretty much every other band. They even threw in a cover of Pantera’s ‘ A New Level’ to cement the comparison. A few dozen loyalists grooved to their bass heavy and shouted vocals.
Etecc take it to a new level
Back into the more pleasant environment of the outdoor stage to see Delain. Although it was very hot, I knew what kind of Canadian winter I was going back too so I wanted to spend as much time as possible outside! I feel many others had the same idea as it was very full for the Dutch quintet. Delain performed much heavier live than on record and the gorgeous voice of Charlotte held up very well. I think they had a stronger set than on Tuesday.
We attended the Press Conference and picked up a few fun facts as well. Apparently there is 4 to 5 times the alcohol consumption than the average cruise! Not surprising really. That works out to about 10,000 cans of beer a day! The big news is that 70,000 Tons Of Metal Part Four has been officially confirmed and set to sail once again on January 27-31st in 2014, on the (Metal Majesty Of The Seas) The interesting twist is that this time the passengers will have a chance to vote on the destination! Pre-paid passengers will get to vote from a number of pre-determined destinations.
After the brief Press Conference we headed back the Spectrum Lounge to see Die Apokalyptiscchen Reiter (Must See# 4) I knew very little about this German, quintet but in my mind they were very much like Subway To Sally. Not musically but in terms of being very popular regionally with big sales with virtually no exposure, touring or sales in North America. Musically this excellent band reminded me of many quality mid-90’s bands that were on Century Media, such as Tiamat, Moonspell, Samael and they had an odd look but full and powerful sound. They drew one of the biggest crowds I had seen in the Spectrum Lounge all week. The boisterous crowd passed a girl in an inflatable rubber raft around over their heads, literally crowd surfing! I didn’t know the lyrics or songs but I am now a fan of this excellent band. The maritime influences and gothic influences added nice aural textures to the quite heavy songs. Naturally, under the circumstances, the song ‘Seeman’ (from RIDERS ON THE STORM) seemed to be a crowd favourite!
Die Apokalyptischen Reiter
Die Apokalyptischen Reiter
Die Apokalyptischen Reiter
The pre-arranged interviews were up next and we had a chance to talk to some bands.
Metal Church 1:00
After a very successful round of interviews we made a quick stop topside on the Pool Deck to check out fellow countrymen Cryptopsy. They played a selection of cuts from across their career even going all the way back to BLASPHEMY MADE FLESH. They were a technical Death Metal fans dream as they hyper blasted through their 45 minute set with minimal chit-chat.
I was going from seeing one of Metals finest drummers in the form of Flo Mourner who to use the cliche ‘put on a clinic’ to seeing an actual drum clinic by George Kolias but our interview went long and George finished early meaning we missed the entire thing.
Because of press duties I also missed Anacrusis, Steel Engraved, 3 Inches of Blood and the Belly Flop contest. I would have liked to see Steel Engraved and Anacrusis again but I never cared to watch fat sunburned guys jump in a pool. Because they are from my country, I’ve seen and interviewed 3 Inches of Blood about seven times over the years so they were one of the few casualties that I did not get too see at all on the boat.
However, here are some pics from the very popular Belly Flop event and the other bands I missed while doing my faithful press duties.
The Circle Of Champions!
Immediately following the clinic was the second round of the very, very popular Jeff Waters Jam. This was music in it’s purest form, just Metal Friends playing a tiny place, on crappy gear, no egos, no labels, no politics, no managers… just Metal. The session has expanded from a few drunken friends doing karaoke late at night to one of the most popular events on the ship. I’m sure they will have to move it to a bigger stage next year but that might be a shame as it might loose some of its intimate jam charm to organized supergroup status. It will be a tough call for the organizers to see how it will grow (or not)
These were once in a lifetime performances and the enthusiasm level was high because fans knew they were seeing something special. The set list was a follows…
1) AC/DC -Highway To Hell
Christina Scabbia (Lacuna Coil) Vocals
Michael Gilbert (Flotsam And Jetsam) Guitar
Victor Smolksi (Rage) Guitar
Jeff (Flotsam And Jetsam) Bass
Hena Habegger (Gotthard) Drums
This was a great way to kick off the jam and it was fun to see Doro trading verses with Christina and hearing the massive crowd participation on the chorus!
2) Metallica-Enter Sandman
Sami Hinkka (Ensiferum) Vocals
Heri Joensen (Tyr) Guitar
Luca Princiotta (Doro) Guitar
Jeff (Flotsam And Jetsam) Bass
George Kolias (Nile) Drums
Sami had the loudest Hawaiian shirt I have ever seen!
3) Black Sabbath War Pigs
Ronny Monroe (Metal Church) Vocals
Edward Carlson (Flotsam And Jetsam) Guitar
Felipe Andreoli (Angra) Bass
Janne Parviainen (Ensiferum) Drums
Ronny’s microphone didn’t work but his voice was powerful enough to carry the minimalist tune.
Next everyone sang happy birthday to Jeff from Flotsam and Jetsam!
4) Ozzy Crazy Train
Ronny Monroe (Metal Church) Vocals
Kiko Loureiro (Angra) Guitar
Jeff (Flotsam And Jetsam) Bass
Andre Hilgers (Rage) Drums
5) AC/DC Hells Bells
James Rivera (Helstar) Vocals
Michael Gilbert (Flotsam And Jetsam) Guitar
Kiko Loureiro (Angra) Guitar
Nick Douglas (Doro) Bass
George Kolias (Nile) Drums
James did a high pitched, power metal version while Bon Scott rolled over in his grave!
Please note..the photos for the Jeff Waters Jam are from the previous session and do not match with the set-list/players listed above.
Mille (Kreator), Victor (Rage), Doro and friends
Ronnie Munroe (Metal Church) leads an all-star jam
Christina, Jeff and co.
James Rivera (Helstar) and friends in action
At 4:00pm I had more painful choices to make. The Jeff Waters Jam overlapped both Lizzy Borden and Evergrey! I love Lizzy. I had not seen Evergrey yet and it was the last chance to this trip. However, I did not want to miss the aforementioned ‘once in a lifetime’ jam. So I bailed on the Jam after five songs and prayed my hardworking and loyal photographers A.G. and the Thrashmaster were there in the crowd taking notes and shots so I could tell our readers about what happened. We had got separated so I took my chances they were there (somewhere) so I headed up and outside to see Lizzy Borden.
The wind and clouds had taken some of the heat of the Pool Deck but Lizzy theatrical presentation did not come across as well as the other night in the small dark venue. He also played (to the best of my knowledge) almost the exact same set which is always mildly disappointing. On the plus side of the equation, the crowd was easily four times the size of the one at his last gig. I was glad because I thought everyone might be at the Jeff Waters Jam. For his last song they treated us to a different cover this time, Steppenwolf’s ‘Born To Be Wild’! After 30 years Lizzy Borden still doesn’t get enough credit for his work.
It was now sunset and actually getting cool and windy (by tropical standards) so after one last look at the sun and I was glad to go inside to the plush Chorus Line Theater to see the first gig of the night in that venue, namely Evergrey. The turnout was quite poor as Evergrey had to compete with the Jam and Arkona. Luckily there was a steady stream of people after Lizzy Borden coming to see the Swedish quintet. By the end of the gig the crowd has easily tripled in size. The band played a good selection of songs from across their career and I didn’t realize how many of their tunes start with acoustic, piano keyboard line. Evergrey’s dark, melancholic tones were a direct contrast to the frantic, shrill tones of Lizzy Borden! The bass sound was really distorted and up way to high in the live mix. Despite this I was glad to see them again. (Please note photos are from earlier show)
Back outside it was nearing dusk and on my way to Sinister (Must See #3) I dropped by to check out Tiamat again.
Sinister, the classic Dutch Death band had been a long time favourite since CROSS THE STYX and after 20 years it was good to see them live. Sinister is one of the few band that made no compromise in their style or sound over the course of 10 albums. Their brand of guttural, brutal Death Metal was not ultra fast like Cryptopsy or Nile but they still pounded the small crowd into submission with cuts like ‘Sadistic Intent’ as well as ‘Transylvania’ and ‘Blood Ecstasy’ from the new album THE CARNAGE ENDING. There were only four true Death Metal bands on the boat and Sinister represented the genre well.
Staying indoors it was time for a radical sonic shift! I left Sinister, arguably one of the heaviest bands on the boat to go see Gotthard again, arguably the mellowest band on the boat! The bulk of the ‘work’ of the day was mostly done so I just enjoyed a drink and their warm, melodic Metal sound even if it was a virtually identical set.
An hour later it was right back upstairs to witness one of the more cult bands in the boat, Inquisition. On each 70,000 Tons cruise there has been one or maybe two Black Metal bands in the line-up and frankly they stick out like a sore thumb. In 2011 it was Marduk and in 2012 it was Dark Funeral and in 2013 it was Inquisition. I imagine being the most underground band on the entire cruise must be odd but I was thankful for the opportunity to see this two man band from Columbia.
Inquisition is about a pure Black Metal band as you can get. Inquisition was certainly minimalist, not at all theatrical other than the corpse paint, and had extremely limited presentation, stage show, lights, just music. I don’t know if it was a favourable time slot, or many curiosity seekers but there were quite a few people to see the band which struck me as odd. Maybe on Barge To Hell (UMC’s heavier extreme music sister cruise) I would expect more Inquisition fans but perhaps there are regular fans like me who enjoy all genres of Metal. I really enjoyed Dagon as his vocals were not the normal higher pitched Black Metal hiss or shriek but more of a gruesome croak. They wrapped up the 45 minute set with ‘Ancient Monumental Warhymn’ from NEFARIOUS DISMAL ORATIONS .
Now it was time to unwind for a while. With 74 concerts of the 82 covered, photographed and completed, there was a string of bigger name bands playing their second show for the next six hours; Dragonforce, Rage (with the Lingua Mortis Orchestra), In Flames, Kreator and Sabaton and Flotsam & Jetsam. Here are a few pictures and some notes from these shows.
Dragonforce: The band was firing on all cylinders outside.
During the final moments of ‘Fury of the Storm’ in a moment of sheer inspiration guitarist Herman Li and keyboardist Vadim Pruzhanov both left the stage waded into the crowd AND each performer waded into the already packed 6 person hot tubs and finished the closing (blazing) solos surrounded by ecstatic fans! Timing and luck are everything when getting those rare shots! Herman Li’s hands must of been burning from all the high fives he got on the long wet walk to the backstage! That will go down as a legendary Dragonforce moment. Lots of performers jump up on amplifiers, walk out in the crowd on the shoulder of a burly roadie, or climb the stage rigging…. but getting in a packed hot tub with fans while playing? Brilliant!
Rage: Once again the large Theater was utterly packed as Rage and the LMO ran in an unopposed timeslot and for once due to the complex nature of the arrangements I did not mind seeing the very similar setlist again. The whole Francis Norman Violin vs. Victor Smolski Guitar trade-off battle was subtle and sublime, the whole audience was mesmerized in silence. Rage and the LMO added one new song to close out the set, ‘Higher Than The Sky’ from END OF ALL DAYS. Another triumph.
Guitar vs. violin
I passed by the packed Pool Stage to catch a glimpse of In Flames. The modern influences in three sound have garnered them massive popularity among mainstream Metalheads but their sound is not to my taste any longer. There is a reason why we at Metal-Rules call them ‘N Flaymz!
Back inside in the Theater it was Kreator second show. The sound sound problems that marred the first show were thankfully eliminated although they still started 10 minutes late. The set was significantly different from the first one and it was littered with old songs like ‘Under The Guillotine’ and the rare ‘Riot of Violence’. The band brought a dude named Bram (who was dressed in a bright pink dress) on stage as a birthday present and he got to usher in the last song by holding the ‘Flag Of Hate’ which culminated into ‘Tormentor’. Thrash at its finest!
It seemed bittersweet as I proceeded to the small lounge to see the last band on my Must See list. I’m talking about England’s Anaal Nathrakh (Must See #2). I had almost met my goal of watching 20 bands I had never seen before. This also meant it was nearing the end of the journey.
I’m quite fond of Anaal Nathrakh. I’m not the world’s largest fan but I do have about five of their nine or so albums and I was also impressed by their progressive elements mixed in with their Black Metal. What struck me most was how young they looked. For a band that has been around since 1999 I thought they would be older. Next thing I noticed was their image (or lack of) and the lack if stage charisma. I suppose I was expecting a more theatrical presentation. In addition, the songs I recognized seemed to lack the sophistication and nuances of the studio work. That is expected that bands are a bit heavier and streamlined live but those missing elements are what makes the bands albums,in my mind, stand out from the pack. They played to the smallest crowd I had seen all week having the poor fortune to have a time-slot that conflicted with both Sabaton and Kreator. Accordingly, I was disappointed with my first live experience with the band but still pleased to check them off my list.
The final big show of the night was Sabaton on the final Pool Deck show of the cruise as the technical crew had to start dismantling the stage right away and work overnight in order to have it ready for unloading when we were scheduled to arrive in Miami at 7:00am.
Sabaton was a good choice to finish the night as they ran through their punchy fun songs. Near the end they invited Andy Piller, founder of the 70000 Tons of Metal cruise, onstage where he spent a moment thanking the various people, crew, staff, sponsors and organizations that helped make the third cruise such a success.
Horns for Metal
Sabaton giving the fans the finger…
Then it was back to Sabaton for one last song, fan favourite, ‘Metal Machine’ which culminated in the crowd carrying singer Joacim over to the pool and throwing him in! He was joined in the final splashdown by several drunk fans and eventually the entire band came down and jumped in and everyone had an impromptu photo-shoot to the delight if the aforementioned drunk fans.
Despite the grand finale, our night was not quite over. We made our way back to the Theater for the final show in that location to catch Flotsam & Jetsam for the third time in five days. They mixed the set up nicely from the last couple of shows. There were a few hundred faithful hanging in until the bitter end.
Eric A. K.
Speaking of the bitter end, we were down to one last performance, Threat Signal from Hamilton, Canada. I knew this gig could go one if two ways. Everyone could cram in for the final show and a big, fun blowout but my gut told me that the crowd would be sparse because Sabaton seemed to be the final wrap-up.
Threat Signal were playing at 2:15am in the small lounge upstairs. We took a few pictures of this popular and respected band who played to, as predicted a very small crowd of younger fans. I’m not a huge fan of their modern Metalcore sound so to end the concert portion of our trip on a high-note (thanks to Flotsam &Jetsam’s excellent gig) we called it a night at 2:30am not really looking forward to our 7:00am debarkation call. The last song I heard Threat Signal play was ‘Comatose’ from their self-titled debut album. Comatose in my bunk is where I needed to be after having a total of 12 hours sleep since Monday. The self-inflicted exercise of sleep deprivation was totally worth it!
Heading back to my room I passed by the Metal Karaoke in one of the nearby lounges. It was just jammed with people socializing! As much as Threat Signal was not my favourite band, I was disappointed that hundreds of people were gathered watching random fans belt out drunken Karaoke versions of Pantera, instead if checking out a perfectly good, heavy band just a few feet away.
However the atmosphere was in high party mood as the booze and tongues flowed freely as no one really wanted the cruise to end. However end it must…
We woke up as we were pulling into the island of Grand Turk, the capital of the Turks & Caico’s Islands Nation. It was a lovely day in paradise.
It was -25oC where we live (and snowing!) a full 50oC degree difference to our day on the island. After a few hours of sightseeing, we had the pleasure of bumping into Peavy from Rage, Sy from Onslaught and saw Delain taking a moment for a photo-shoot on the beach. It was amusing to see the drunks head banging to Manowar in the swimming pool (with swim up bar) at a bar called Jimmy Buffet’s Margeritaville. The local DJ was quite amused at the crowd and did his best to play as many Metal requests as possible as the Black Horde took over the bar, much like we did at South Beach in Miami a mere four days ago!
Looking South from the Southern tip of Grand Turk
The (Metal) Majesty Of The Seas
After a very relaxing time on the island of Grand Turk we were ready to start the second and final leg of our journey home. We boarded MAJESTY OF THE SEAS and the first formal ‘Metal related’ event of the day was Vika Goes Wild at 4:00pm in the piano lounge.
Vika goes wild!
View from the main foyer
Vika, a young pianist played metal songs on the grand piano in the lounge on the first day and the main concourse on the second day. She drew a surprisingly large crowd but I did not instantly recognize the songs which are so radically different in their piano form. Probably the most instantly recognizable was ‘Master of Puppets’ by Metallica. Her performance was a touch of class.
Back into the sunshine of the pool deck for the first electric concert of the day, we got to discover Subway To Sally. (Must see # 7)
This band is absolute huge in Europe, specifically Germany with many albums and hits but they are virtually unheard of in North America. To the best of my knowledge they have never played in North America nor have they ever released an album in North America. In fact, I think in 19 years since they released their debut in 1994 I have never seen a Subway To Sally CD in a store, and yet in Germany they are on Nuclear Blast! The indisputable fact that have one of the most stupid band names in all Metal has likely hurt their global credibility. The crowd was surprisingly small considering they were the only band playing at the time and I know everyone was on board because we had left shore!
Subway To Sally
The fact that the singer sung in German and addressed the crowd mostly in German didn’t help. At one point he asked the crowd if there was anyone from Germany and almost everyone in front of the stage was! Fans from Germany made up the largest percentage of people on the cruise so it was not shocking that they were all there to enjoy their countrymen. Despite being a regional anomaly of a band, I really enjoyed their folk/pagan/viking sound and they should probably get more credit for their pioneering work in this field. All seven of the band members performed admirably including Frau Schmidt the violinist and Bodenski who played some sort if cool, black, electric hurdy gurdy.
The Metal Hurdy Gurdy
Simon plays the Electric Tromba Marina
I enjoyed their music which seemed to be a mellower,more rock oriented version of Blind Guardian mixed with Orden Ogan. I left thinking it might be good to track down an import copy of a Subway To Sally Greatest Hits CD for my collection.
Subway To Sally
My curiosity satisfied with that pleasant surprise, I headed inside from the windy pool deck to see Fatal Smile (Must See #6). This band was a very late addition to the cruise, or at least a late announcement on the last day. Despite having three albums, I had not yet heard this Swedish quartet on several occasions I had seen these four tall, young good looking guys always hanging around in a pack who were obviously a band looking like rock stars. They were not acting like rock stars but they just looked like a band. When Fatal Smile hit the stage in the Spectrum Lounge I made the connection and from the minute the singer opened his mouth I knew I liked these guys. They look good (like a cross between Mötley Crüe and the Black Veil Brides) and their stripped down sleazy 80’s inspired Metal was delivered with fire. Their sound was certainly not the norm on the cruise but I certainly enjoyed their sound made a note to hit the merch boot to grab an album of theirs.
Rock star action!
After Fatal Smile I enjoyed some Turisas for the second time in the large Theater. They had a much better time slot than before (and no conflicting concert either) and as the sun slipped below the stormy horizon, the viking crusaders got the ample crowd going with songs of drinking and piracy, both perfect themes for the cruise.
Now I had come to my largest conflict of the entire trip; Angra vs. Ektomorf. One one hand I really like Angra and have almost all their albums. I don’t like Ektomorf nearly as much, their uninspired sound is largely derived from mid-years (CHAOS A.D., ROOTS) Sepultura, which is my least favourite era of Sepultura. On the other hand, I had seen Angra at their first show on the boat and I had never seen Ektomorf as they were on my Must See list. The chance of seeing either band ever again is extremely slim as Angra is from Brazil and Ektomorf is from Hungary and doesn’t really tour Canada ever. What to do? In the end you have to follow your heart and while it bothered me to pass up a chance to see a band I had never seen (Ektomorf) and see a band I love (Angra) again. So there is is no write up on Ektomorf (sorry guys!) but here are some pictures of the band performing.
My choice was the right one (in my mind anyway) as Angra played a similar set from their previous show. Fabio epitomizes the classical, operatic performing style so well, it was a pleasure to see him and hear him sing. As a treat they brought a guest on stage to do a cover if Iron Maiden’s ‘Wasted Years’, namely Courtney from the popular, all-female, Iron Maiden tribute band, the Iron Maidens. I was disappointed that they choose not to play anything from the debut album ANGELS CRY as were many in the crowd.
After Angra, I dropped in on Metal Church who were treating the enthusiastic crowd in the packed theatre to the debut album in it’s entirety. I know it is kind of a trendy thing to do (play a whole album live) but it was nice to hear some of the songs that had probably not been played live in decades. Vocalist Monroe did his very best David Wayne impression and it was impressive to say the least!
Bad Boys of Metal?
It was a real treat for the die-hard fans and I hated to leave early to catch Tyr, but I wanted to see Tyr at least once because I had missed them the first time around. Tyr had been on the boat the first time in 2011 and were still massively entertaining.
Despite having a tough break running up against the reunited Metal Church who were playing downstairs, Tyr performed admirably. They included the fan favourite ‘The Wild Rover’, which is always fun. It was good to hear Tyr break away from their usual lyrical theme and play ‘Shadow Of The Swastika’ from their last album, THE LAY OF TYRM. After Tyr I could relax just a bit because I had already seen the next four bands (Doro, Ensiferum, Onslaught, and Helloween) on their first concerts, so instead of another write-up on each artist, I made a few notes for each show.
Doro: Doro held court on the Pool Deck and mixed in a bunch of newer songs into the set including ‘Running From The Devil’ from FEAR NO EVIL, the title track from her new album and the very rare song, ‘We Are The Metalheads’, which has never been released on a Doro album. She also thanked fans in about five languages!
Ensiferum: As much as I hate to admit it, Ensiferum (who were overlapping with Onslaught) are the younger, more charismatic, more fan-friendly band of the pair and so while Onslaught was grinding it out in the trenches upstairs in the small room, Ensiferum entertained a crowd three times the size in the larger Theater. I felt they were a little subdued compared to some of the times I have seen them live but that could just be my perception as the crowd was into it.
Onslaught: The only British band on the cruise played their 1986 album THE FORCE in it’s entirety and I had almost forgotten how relentless that album really is! They also shot some footage for their upcoming 30th Anniversary DVD!
Helloween: The sound problems and long delays that plagued the last Helloween set were eliminated as the headliners ran unopposed on the pool deck at prime time for another one hour fifteen minute set. The same four songs opened the show, the same choreographed stage moves, the same stage rap, the same sing-along parts…even the same drum solo! Not much changed from the previous gig. Fortunately, the band offered some good song variation in the set. I feel Helloween may be suffering from an undiagnosed case of ‘Iron Maiden Syndrome’. This is a scientifically true, factual and medically documented affliction of Metal deficiency. It is known to strike when a band is legendary and brilliant but is getting old and suffers from any number of symptoms, such as a lack of imagination in song selection, no live spontaneity and limited innovation. I feel blasphemous slagging one if my favourite bands but I felt they could do better. Then they busted out ‘I’m Alive’ and all my grumbling got swept away on the the warm tropical wind. Eventually, Andi Deris relaxed, chatted with the crowd and all was well. Long live Helloween.
I was pretty satisfied after seeing one of my favourite bands (Helloween) again and that took us up to midnight and time for Lacuna Coil the last show of the night in the large Theater. On our way to the show we needed to conduct some business. Co-ordinating press duties for Day Five with the friendly and helpful UMC staff (Allison and Andy) took a bit longer than we thought, so we had to miss Lacuna Coil. I had seen them before and the photography and interview arrangements we made were well worth missing Lacuna Coil. No offense to that excellent band intended but wait until you are what we cooked up for Day Five!
UMC President, Andy Pillar, holds a press conference earlier in the day.
It was now 1:00am and I had a big choice to make. Do I do the ‘responsible’ thing and go to bed and get some sleep or…do I stay up until 5:00am, drinking and see Nile (again), Heidevolk (again), Helstar (again) and catch a chance to see Holy Grail and Immolation for the first time on the trip even though I have seen them both before? Naturally, I did what any true Metal warrior would do… stay up late and drink!
My photographer bought me a drink called an ‘Italian Tea’ which consists of 2 shots of vodka, 2 shots of rum, amaretto and a slice of lime to ward off the scurvy. My liver took one for the team as my drink fortified me for a 1:00am, hour long attack of Death Metal delivered with bludgeoning heaviness on the pool deck. I love Nile, I have all their albums and even bought the Ramses EP on cassette back in 1996 but for some reason, sitting in the warm, tropical breeze by the pool sipping on my ‘Italian Tea’, Nile’s skull fracturing tales of Ancient Egypt didn’t have the same impact as the earlier gig in the Theater. The crowd was getting a bit thin but the few hundred in attendance loved every crushing note.
Back in the crowded and lively/drunken Spectrum Lounge Heidevolk entertained the moderately inebriated crowd. When the fans did not cheer loud enough during ‘Saksenland’, the vocalist, Boris asked the crowd if this was a Disney Cruise or a Metal cruise!! He reminded the fans at 2:00am that they could cheer loud as they wanted and not worry about the neighbours! The large drunk Viking fan in chain-mail drinking out of a horn and the dude dressed as the Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtle seemed to take it to heart!
Heidevolk shows us a fine example of ‘The Claw’!
The clock was creeping towards 3:00am as Helstar hit the Pool Deck in full flight. It was the third time in about 72 hours I had seen the band and they didn’t really change their set at all which was disappointing. The crowd was getting thin maybe a few hundred diehards and a dozen or so fans asleep (or passed out) on deck chairs in the warm air. But live James Rivera said, ‘No sleep allowed!’ However, it was great to hear cuts from NOSFERATU and REMNANTS OF WAR again as they did their best to wake the dead. Somewhere along the way, between Heidevolk and Helstar, I lost my photographer so I was last man standing… again.
Before I had a chance to recover from Helstar it was time to see the young and energetic power/thrash of Holy Grail for the first time on the cruise. Not the best time slot but they have it everything they had for the die-hards at 3:30am in the Spectrum Lounge. The 70,000 Tons tradition of the lounge chair mosh pit continued on as drunken Metallions rolled the wheeled lounge chairs around the floor in some sort of evil (but fun) Metal bumper car ride. The band finished the ripping set with ‘Fight To Kill’ from their debut album.
I must admit I was fading by the time Immolation hit the Pool Deck at 4:00am. Maybe it was the sun, the booze, the lack of sleep but I almost packed it in. However, I felt that if the band could stay up and perform for the fans I should support them. I feel the band got a bit of the shaft playing at 2:00am on Tuesday and 4:00am on Thursday. As a proud owner of the first half-dozen Immolation albums on CD (including the rare STEPPING ON ANGELS) I felt I owed it to the band to support them. To me Ross Dolan ranks up there with the other US, East coast Death Metal titans such as Glenn Benton, Chris Barnes, and John Tardy. The last 100 survivors were running on alcohol fuelled adrenaline at that point as Immolation delivered a minimalist set of spine-grinding, classic Death Metal. I was looking forward to seeing them on tour in North America with Cannibal Corpse in Canada in a few months. The fans were in for a special treat as the band did the World Premier of not one, but two songs! For the first time ever the band played ‘A Spectacle Of Lies’ from the (at the time of writing) forthcoming, new album KINGDOM OF CONSPIRACY and ‘Swallow The Fear’ from the PROVIDENCE EP.
The New York Death dealers were the perfect prologue to Day Five and the Day of Black Death! As Day Four came to a close it occurred to me that in past few hours we had seen five of the biggest Pagan/Folk/Viking bands from across the globe: Subway To Sally (Germany), Turisas (Finland), Tyr (Faroe Islands), Ensiferum (Finland) and Heidevolk (Netherlands) it was as if Day Four on 70,000 Tons of Metal was a mini PaganFest. Tomorrow promised to be much heavier!
We had now photographed almost every artist, covered 34 of the 41 bands and knocked a few more bands off my Must See list. After being up for 22 hours it was a working holiday indeed and time to hit our cabin for a few precious hours of Viking dreams of home.
We awoke early to a beautiful day and Death Angel programmed into the alarm. What a great way to wake up on the highseas! After a quick morning routine Day Three was underway. The merchandise sales opened at 8:10am and by 10:00am the lineup was incredible. Fortunately, there were two merchants areas, one for band merchants in a larger concourse and a smaller one who just wanted a 70,000 Tons Shirt or ball cap.
I always feel sorry for the band that had to start first on the pool deck on the second day. This honour fell to Unexpect one of the few bands from Canada. There were a couple hundred curious souls in the bright sunshine on the breezy deck and a surprisingly large number of women, likely there to check out the power and charismatic performance of vocalist Leilindel. Her voice is so good that if they were based in Europe I’m sure they would be huge.
Leilandi of Unexpect
As it stands the quirky avante-garde, progressive, death-jazz fusion (with backing tracks of violin, piano and sound effects instead of touring musicians) worked hard to wake up the crowd with their jarring, angular musical attack. My highlight was hearing ‘ in Velvet Coffins We Sleep’. I was proud of my fellow Canadians! I’d seen them a number of times so it was off to tackle the merch booth to get my ‘Tour’ shirt and make my way to see Steel Engraved.
Probably only a hundred people made it to the Spectrum Lounge to hear this American classic Power Metal quintet however they were very appreciative of the early supporters and gave a surprisingly energetic show. Steel Engraved (Must See #15) was one of the only bands I did not have any CD’s of bit after hearing their powerful Maiden/Priest inspired sound, I realized to track down their albums. Vocalist Marco Schober has a classic high powerful voice in the Halford/Dickinson vein. I think his mighty scream at the beginning of ‘Solitary Mission’ woke up everyone on the boat who was still asleep!
Steel Engraved – Marco Schober
Their sweet Power Metal was music to my ears (literally!) even at 11:00am. I especially enjoy checking out brand new (to me) bands. I found it amusing when the band sang happy birthday to the guy who came on stage dressed in some sort of pink French Maids outfit with a pink pirate hat and sandals, probably the result of some drunken bet that he lost from the night before!
Happy Birthday Galaxie!
Both bands at opposite ends of the ship had started on time so yesterday’s logistical delays were avoided, so far. A fresh start!
One of Russia’s biggest bands, Arkona, took the pool stage and we started to see quite a few more breakfast beers in the hands of the faithful. The pool deck was pretty crowded by lunch time. It is sort of odd to see corpulent, sunburned Germans suntanning, heavily tattooed girls in bikinis frolicking in the pool and well groomed servers in flowery Hawaiian shirts served tall, fruity drinks with umbrellas to skinny, pale Black Metal fans while the heavy folk infused melodies of Arkona entertained the crowd the hot sun.
Fun in the Sun
We had to miss the set of Etecc but it was a good trade off because we got to interview Victor Smolslki of Rage.
We woke up to a beautiful day. After breakfast we made our way to the Seaport. At about noon people started trickling in. While in-line to board, we could see members of In Flames, Angra, Dragonforce and Anacrusis. Spirits were high.
Prepare For Boarding!
There were the occasional bemused looks from the staff at the freakshow on parade but as this was the fourth Metal themed cruise run by UMC in three years (the most recent being Barge From Hell, a mere 6 weeks ago at time of sailing) the staff seemed to be more relaxed and accustomed to seeing the black horde preparing to board. After getting our boarding passes, we boarded and checked our stateroom. The TV in the room showed Metal Videos in the rooms including a documentary about the three previous cruises. Sweet!
It was time to reacquaint ourselves with the Metal Majesty of the Seas. As we toured around we could hear Metal on the intercom through the ship. Brilliant!
Here are some facts about the cruise and some shots of the boat
Name: Majesty Of The Seas
Operator: Royal Carribean
Speed: Full Speed or No Speed
Gambling with The Devil
Ready To Leave
Ready To Leave-2
The Freak Parade!
Age Range: 1 to 71!
We visited the Chorus Theater, the Spectrum Lounge and watched the crew building the pool stage. We picked up our media passes and chatted with journalists and fans from around the world, the photographers compared cameras, lenses, shooting tips and so on.
After a rowdy (but mandatory) evacuation drill, including a chanting call for the ‘Wall Of Death’, the festivities were ready to begin at 5:30 with Helstar in the Spectrum Lounge.
There were a few hundred faithful for the opening show while many other enjoyed the last rays of the sun and a quiet refined, pre-diner cocktail (ie. slamming buckets of Corona) above the pool deck as the Pool stage continued to take shape.
Building Pool Stage
Building the stage-2
Helstar took the stage as more and more loyalists filtered in. The sound was surprisingly good. I never cease to be amazed at the power and range of James Rivera as he sounded remarkably fresh considering he had just left the stage at the pre-party less than 17 hours previously! His voice is indestructible.
James Rivera at full power
The boat left on time and I actually spent some time watching as we sailed away, because last time on the inaugural cruise in 2011, I was busy watching a show and didn’t even notice we had left until we were out to sea. It is that smooth. Helstar played a compressed set from night before and James suggesting to the ‘Metal Family of the world’ that we should start our own country and that he would be president! A highlight cut for me was to see ‘Good Day To Die’ again. There was a slight bit of crossover and since I had just seen Helstar (as mentioned less that 24 hours ago) I headed to see Sabaton in the main theater.
Unlike Helstar who just walked on with no fanfare, plugged in and started to play, Sabaton played Europe’s ‘The Final Countdown’ to the packed theater with the entire crowd singing enthusiastically along, proving in my mind that the song is not as hated by Metalheads as some suggest! The show started (on time!) as the band, who also played the first cruise, entered the arena of battle like conquering heroes. They opened with Ghost Division and never looked back. As much as I love the band have all their albums I must admit that I didn’t really notice the fact the whole band (except the singer) had changed since the last time I saw them, especially since they all dress the same in the grey cammo pants and black shirts. Robban (drums), Thobbe (guitar) and Chris (guitar) are just as competent and entertaining as Daniel (drums) Oskar (guitar) and Rikard (guitar) were. Joakim had his patented sense of humour by saying ‘Hello Boat!’ (To save time, because saying ‘Hello 70000 tons of Metal’ in between songs in one concert takes too long to say) and then he promised a very different set before launching into the ‘Cliffs of Gallipoli’ with the crowd singing along.
I took a quick break to check out Metal Team trivia in one the lounges but it was cancelled due to lack of interest. As a trivia fan myself I was disappointed but it is fully understandable because people would rather be watching a show than playing games so back to Sabaton for the end of their hour long set.
After the one-two punch of Helstar and Sabaton I was worried that the progressive, gothic keyboard laden tones of Delain (Must See #20), arguably one of the mellower bands on the boat, would not sit well but the juxtaposition of sound worked very well. Delain was the first band of the cruise I had not seen so my anticipation was high. The oceanic turbulence was the most I’d ever felt up to that point on both cruises but it just added to the fun of the dark and crowded Spectrum Lounge.
Vocalist, Charlotte sounded just as sweet live as in person, a tribute to her talent and skill. The guitar tone seemed much heavier live than on the albums.
One of the major drawbacks of the cruise is the agonizing decision of when to eat. No matter when you choose to eat (because the restaurants are only open at certain times) you will miss something, unless you can go 24 hours without eating! Knowing we would be up until at least 3:00 or 4:00am we had to sacrifice a few Delain songs to go eat, because it had been 9+ hours since breakfast and would be another 13 hours until breakfast. We made a very quick enroute stop to see the progress of the pool stage which was scheduled to host Metal Church at 12:30. It was coming along nicely. We wolfed down some decent food in 15 minutes. At times it felt a bit rushed but the Metal is the priority and so we rushed back to the Spectrum to catch the last couple songs including finishing off with ‘The Gathering’.
Charlotte belting it out!
Speaking of spectrum, next up on the opposite end if the musical spectrum was the crushing brutality of the technical Death Metal band Nile. (Must See #19) While the Chorus Line theater was not nearly as packed as for Sabaton (I think people were getting hungry) I was excited to see this unique veteran who will not play in Canada for various reasons.
It was great to hear their crushing death add some weight to the lineup which was admittedly top heavy with Power Metal. Watching the fluid mastery of Kolias behind the kit for the first time as I checked Nile off my ‘Must See’ list (I don’t like the term bucket list, it seems lame), I was now even more excited to see his drum clinic on Tuesday. The show highlight for me was ‘The Black Flame’ with its atmospheric opening, and transitions between super fast and slow ominous conclusion. They finished their exceedingly loud set with ‘Black Seeds of Vengeance’.
Up next was Flotsam and Jetsam again. I hadn’t seen them in 14 years and now I was seeing them perform three times in 72 hours! Much like Helstar from the night before the played a truncated set. I was glad to see they didn’t cut the songs from the new album like ‘Ugly Noise’ and ‘Motherfuckery’. I could not get over how good the sound was upstairs in the Spectrum Lounge compared to last time in 2011!
Flotsam & Jetsam
Up next was a huge highlight for me, one of my favourite bands of all time, Helloween. With their new album STRAIGHT OUT OF HELL just being released on the Tuesday before the cruise I was hopeful they would debut some new material and I was not disappointed as ‘Burning Sun’ made it into the setlist. However I was disappointed because of the massive 40-minute delay that messed up the rest of the night which had been running like clockwork.
Now, because of technical delays with the drum set up painful compromises would have to be made. They finally hit the stage opening with ‘Are You Metal?’ from SEVEN SINNERS.
Andi of Helloween
Informally, one of the headliners allotted more than one hour on the biggest stage at one of the best time slots, they lived up to their reputation as one of the worlds longest running, best selling, most prolific Metal bands of all time now with 16 albums under their belt. Running a set of career spanning hits the show went from highlight to highlight including, ‘Eagle Fly Free’ and ‘If I Could Fly’.
Although it almost caused me physical pain to leave Helloween early it was a calculated risk because the chance if seeing Helloween again was higher than ever seeing Lizzy Borden again who I hadn’t seen since 1989 on the Master of Disguise tour! Helloween will extensively tour the world to support their new album starting in March whereas Lizzy Borden will probably not ever make it to Canada again. I love drum solos at concerts. It is the epitomize of the over the top indulgence that is a hallmark of Heavy Metal. However, when you are playing a one hour and 15 minute set AND are running 45 minutes late, Helloween should have opted to drop the drum solo. It was at that point I made my break to see Lizzy.
Lizzy Borden-The Master Of Disguise
Lizzy is another really under-rated and talented vocalist, his voice still having all the force and range despite being in the business for 30 years. I’m still not sure if I’m used to straight black haired Lizzy compared to 80’s ‘classic’ Lizzy with the frizzy, blond hair. His show was extremely theatrical with multiple costume changes and I lost count how many masks he wore. From smearing blood from a skull (carried by a guy in a hockey mask) on himself and the crowd to biting the throat of a willing buxom blond victim, to wielding his traditional axe (and baseball bat with spike) Lizzy was by far the most visually entertaining of the night. Despite being around for 30 years Lizzy only has six albums to pick from so the song selection was a bit predictable although the inclusion of a version of ‘ Rebel Yell’ and closing with Tomorrow Never Comes’ was nice.
His new guitarist Dario was separated at birth from Hammerfall guitarist Oscar Dronak. It was (just) worth leaving Helloween for.
Dario (Lizzy Borden) VS. Oscar (Hammerfall)
Separated at Birth?
Because everything was being pushed back the smooth transitions between sets fell apart and then there would be long breaks when no one was playing and then two bands would be playing at exactly the same time. I had to choose between Dragonforce and Threat Signal, which was a no brainer for me, but then Dragonforce was overlapping with Metal Church…or so I thought . I left Dragonforce, more on them in a minute, because I had see them five times in the past few years but had not seen Metal Church since 1989. However, Metal Church was late on the pool deck (backed up to accommodate Helloween) so it was not their fault naturally but I was not thrilled to be standing outside in the rain on the slippery pool deck when I could have watched most of Dragonforce.
Dragonforce opened with ‘Holding On’ and never looked back! Vocalist Mark Hudson instantly silenced all cynics and critics (who had suggested he could not do it live) as he nailed the opening scream in the aforementioned opening song from the new album THE POWER WITHIN. Herman and Sam demonstrated why the term ‘Dragonforce level’ (meaning exceedingly difficult) has seeped into popular culture.
Although I hated to leave, I could not miss the Metal Church reunion. On July 7th, 2009 the band announced they were breaking up partly because of lack of interest in the new material. So a mere three years later they have returned to give (most) people what they wanted. Ronny Monroe was in fine form as a light rain fell as the (THIS PRESENT WASTELAND) lineup ran through a set that was voted for by the fans on the 70,000 Tons site before the cruise. Although it was fantastic to hear the classics from the first three albums I was disappointed in the retro feel of the set. Prior to sailing the band announced they were going to perform all of the debut album in its entirety so that meant the band ignored six of their nine albums completely. Of course the (so called) ‘fans’ voted for the old stuff so the people had spoken but personally I liked the last three Metal Church albums and would have line to hear some songs from each.
The scheduling delays and overlaps meant I missed Immolation completely as well as I hurried cold and wet back to the Chorus Line Theater to see Tiamat (Must See #18).
While I am only familiar with about half of their deep catalogue they were exactly what I needed to see. Finally, warmed up and sitting for the first time I hours I enjoyed the deep baritone of as he delivered one if the more unique sets on the cruise. The heavy keyboard laden gothic sound of the minimalist band was a perfect antidote to the blitzkrieg of the previous four bands. The crowd at 2:30 am was small but loyal and more European in makeup than the crowd at Metal Church. Minimal talking, minimal stage set, subdued lighting, no theatrics, or showboating, Tiamat just rocked the barge with excellent songs a highlight being ‘Wings of Heaven’. The slower pace and tone of Tiamat was a welcome change to recharge before getting fired up for Turisas (Must See #16).
I rounded out my day seeing the Finnish Viking sextet and they did not fail to live up to my expectations. I decided to pace myself on Day One (on the boat) and hit the sack at the not unreasonable hour of 4:00am.
Review By JP
Photos by Randy ‘Thrashmaster’ Benoit & A.G. Babin
Metal-Rules.com is proud to present our feature on one of the most unique interesting Metal events of 2013, the 70000 Tons Of Metal Cruise. Staff member JP was on the cruise and with him two special-guest photographers, A.G. Babin and Randy ‘Thrashmaster’ Benoit.
Our plan was, much like last year, to see and photograph every band at least once. My personal goal was to knock off 20 bands (of the 41) that I had never seen before. By ‘knock off’ I don’t mean it is a contest, but it is really fun to enjoy the live performances of bands I had listened to for over 20 years but never seen such as Angra and Doro. I was also anticipating seeing veteran European bands that have very little exposure in North America like Gotthard, Die Apokalyptischen Reiter and Subway To Sally. In addition I was looking forward to seeing some newer bands live for the first time that I have not heard their music, such as Fatal Smile and Etecc. Lastly, I was looking forward see bands that I had not seen in 20 years like Metal Church and Lizzy Borden. The lineup was a perfect blend of old and new for me.
THREAT SIGNAL, ANAAL NATHRAKH, NIGHTMARE, FATAL SMILE, ETECC and STEEL ENGRAVED are the final acts confirmed for 70000 Tons Of Metal. The World’s Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise will sail Monday, January 28, 2013 aboard the Royal Caribbean Majesty Of The Seas from Miami, FL to Cockburn Town on Grand Turk Island, and will not return to the real world for four days until Friday, February 1, 2013.
The following line-up has now been announced: 3 INCHES OF BLOOD, ANAAL NATHRAKH, ANACRUSIS, ANGRA, ARKONA, DELAIN, DIE APOKALYPTISCHEN REITER, DORO, DRAGONFORCE, EKTOMORF, ENSIFERUM, ETECC, EVERGREY, FATAL SMILE, FLOTSAM AND JETSAM, GOTTHARD, HEIDEVOLK, HELLOWEEN, HELSTAR, HOLY GRAIL, IMMOLATION, IN FLAMES, INQUISITION, KREATOR, LACUNA COIL, LIZZY BORDEN, METAL CHURCH, NIGHTMARE, NILE, ONSLAUGHT, RAGE and LINGUA MORTIS ORCHESTRA, SABATON, SINISTER, SUBWAY TO SALLY, THREAT SIGNAL, TIAMAT, TURISAS, TÝR, UNEXPECT.
Ticket prices start at US$666 plus US$299 taxes and fees per person and include all on-board entertainment, non-alcoholic and non-carbonated beverages, all meals at the dining rooms, most on-board restaurants and even 24 hour room service!
What are you waiting for? You might even need a vacation from this vacation when all is said and done! Check out 70000tons.com for more information.