REVIEW AND PHOTOS BY ARTO LEHTINEN, MARKO SYRJALA AND PATRICK CLEMENT
The Finnish Metal-Rules.com commando team made their annual road trip to Sweden Rock. Metal-Rules.com has covered Sweden Rock since 2001. The 2015 line up presented a wide range of metal and hard rock. Over 70 bands offered one hell of an experience for the attendees during the four day festival. Sweden Rock has been successful during the past ten years always being sold out. This year wasn’t an exception as the fest was sold out despite the lousy economic situation worldwide. It has become quite logical for us to give an in depth article of several bands performing at Sweden Rock to all the readers out there. The weather was tremendous, despite being quite windy and cold on the opening day. But we were there for bands, not for having some beach party crap. Unfortunately, we are not able to cover every bloody band, but hopefully you will have a pleasant reading experience… Rock on!
Peavy Wagner is a German heavy metal musician who is best known as the lead singer and bassist of the band Rage which he founded in 1984. The band is an important part of the German metal / power metal scene along with names such as Helloween, Running Wild and Blind Guardian. Rage enjoyed great success in the years 1988-1993 when the band released their best-known albums: SECRETS IN WEIRD WORLD, TRAPPED! and THE MISSING LINK. The line-up of this classic era Rage consisted of Peavy, guitarist Manni Schmidt, and drummer Chris Efthimiadis. Schmidt left the Rage in 1994, and Efthimiadis left in 1999, but that did not stop the band from continuing. The guitarist Victor Smolski joined the band in 1999 and drummer Andre Hilgers replaced Mike Terrana in 2007. This lineup released four studio albums until Smolski and Hilgers left the band in February 2015. Around the same time, Peavy contacted Schmidt and Efthimiadis and they decided to start playing together once again under the name of Refuge. Wagner also announced that despite the dissolution of Rage in February, the band would continue with new members that will be announced in late June. Sounds more than a bit complicated, does not it? I met Peavy at the Sweden Rock Festival in early June, and we discussed Refuge, the recent line-up changes in Rage and the future of the two bands.
You may not recognize the name, but his iconic covers are etched in the metalhead minds of millions. He was born May 19th, 1962 and has roots in Berkeley, Halifax, Manhattan, Boston, Greece and Berlin where his hardened vision caught the eyes of a young Karl Walterbach of Noise Records fame. His name is Philip Lawvere and he has a pleasure to kill! I mean, his insignia can be found on such classic album art from KREATOR, CELTIC FROST, RAGE, DEATH ROW, WARRANT, VENDETTA and HELLOWEEN!
BraveWords: You are probably most known from the Kreator material. How did you meet Mille? Were these original pieces or did Kreator commission you to create them? What happened after 1988? Opinion of Kreator art now? Have you pitched any to them lately?
Lawvere: “Fans will be surprised to learn that I have never met Mille, as with most of the bands at Noise. I dealt directly with Karl Walterbach in his office most of the time. Pleasure To Kill for example was something I had painted for myself, and which the band only chose to use later (Mille confirms that in interviews). As far as their cover art since then, they’ve reused my demon head in multiple images, even distorted it by adding things etc. That’s not really cool to do without permission of the artist… but I was hard to find, and some even thought I was dead. Just like Hieronymus Bosch, who’s art was also ‘lifted’ for their cover… but his copyright has long expired, since the law grants it ‘for the life of the author, plus 70 years’. No new covers are likely to happen either, while they are ignoring my royalties petition. People have told me to drop it, and use my association with them to get new work… but they don’t know me very well.”
70000TONS OF METAL, The World’s Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise will leave for round 3 from Miami, Florida to the beautiful, ever warm Caribbean in 199 days from today.
While they are currently steaming across the Atlantic, their German Scouts have to announce a World Premiere at Sea of new material by RAGE and the LINGUA MORTIS ORCHESTRA!
Imagine starting the year in style: In January 2013, 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!
Don’t get intimidated by copy-cats! Unlike others we remove the seats in the theater, or do you like seated Heavy Metal shows? This is 70000TONS OF METAL, The World’s Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise where you enjoy unrestricted festival access to all live shows on board, Open Mic Nights, Clinics, Work-Shops, our infamous Metal Karaoke, Bars that never 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!
The following 14 out of 40 bands have already been announced:
DIE APOKALYPTISCHEN REITER
RAGE and LINGUA MORTIS ORCHESTRA
SUBWAY TO SALLY
70000TONS 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 and will not return you to the real world for four days until Friday, February 1, 2013.
This leaves only one question: What will be the destination? Well, you know they like to keep you guessing, so they’re not telling until… SOON!
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 room service!
What are you waiting for? You might even need a vacation from this vacation when all is said and done! Check out http://www.70000tons.com/ for more information.
Long-running German metallers RAGE will release their new album, 21, on February 24th via Nuclear Blast. The band recently shot a video for the track, ‘Twenty One’, at a casino in the Czech Republic. Check out the premiere below:
Rage - 21
The material for 21 was recorded with Charlie Bauerfeind (BLIND GUARDIAN, HALFORD, HAMMERFALL) at Twilight Hall studios in Grefrath. 21 will feature the following tracks:
‘Feel My Pain’
‘Black And White’
Rage have announced dates on their Metal Firestorm 2012 tour which will feature special guests TÝR and COMMUNIC. Shows include:
German metal trio RAGE were one of the many bands to successfully blow fans away on the first ever 70,000 Tons Of Metal in January, as dozens of bands and over 2100 fans rocked the Gulf Of Mexico on a massive cruise ship for three days. RAGE tore the place apart with their energetic live act, not only giving fans an incredible live experience, but also having an amazing time themselves. “The 70,000 Tons Of Metal Boat cruise was one of the coolest experiences in Rage’s career,” says RAGE bassist/vocalist Peavy Wagner. “All on board witnessed a making of history in the metal world. We are proud about the fantastic reactions to our live sets! Let’s go do it again.”
Check out footage of the band playing “Highway To Hell” on the 70,000 Tons cruise with special guest Steve Smyth of Forbidden on second guitar and more at this location now. Peavy Wagner will also be available for interviews to North American writers this coming Thursday, February 17, from 1- 4pm EST. Please get in touch right away to schedule an interview with the RAGE frontman!
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Since 1985, German’s RAGE have delivered their style of classic heavy metal with absolute class. Their new album Strings To A Web is a varied release, showcasing the different faces of the band; pure heavy metal thunder, classical and progressive landscapes, and powerful thrash anthems. Recorded at Twilight Hall Studio (Blind Guardian, Saxon) and produced by Victor Smolski and their longtime friend Charlie Bauerfeind (Hammerfall, Helloween and more), Strings To A Web is like a journey through the history of the band, who celebrated their 25th anniversary in 2010. Over the past quarter century, RAGE went through many changes, but always kept to their roots and developed their incomparable style, and there is no doubt that their current lineup is the strongest yet. Peavy Wagner’s voice is the main trademark, along with the guitar wizard Victor Smolski and power drummer André Hilgers, who round out the magical trio.
RAGE continues to be busy touring in Europe, with tours of Spain and Italy confirmed for March and April respectively. Stay up to date on all live actions on the band’s websites and social network sites, and stay tuned for more updates on RAGE throughout the coming months.
As always, the top albums are for releases from 2010 that are full albums (no EP’s or demos). They also have to be new studio albums for 2010, not re-recordings, re-releases, cover songs, or live material. Below the combined TOP 30 are links to each staff members personal "best of" lists which besides the top albums contains such things as best new band, best DVD/Blu-Ray, disappointments of 2010, greatest hopes for 2011, personal metal discovery of 2010, and various other metal-related categories. Enjoy!
The Top 30 Heavy Metal Albums of 2010
(Click the album cover to read our review.
If no review is available the link it to the band’s MySpace page.)
1. Accept – Blood of the Nations
Wolf Hoffman’s reaction to the band’s #1 placement in our list was:
"Sensational!!! We are so happy about this reaction by the fans. This last year has been nothing short of phenomenal for Accept."
BLOOD OF THE NATIONS is a fantastic album, so fantastic that it very easily came out on top when we compiled our best of 2010 list! In the media, producer Andy Sneap said when he worked with the band he made them go back and listen to the 80’s albums, and it worked. Accept have delivered the album they needed to make. Accept reformed with a vocalist who is just as good as Udo Dirkschneider. Vocalist Mark Tornillo rages through the songs with power and charisma, without being a clone. Accept have proven to the world in 2010 they are still relevant, powerful, uncompromising and most of all entertaining. Welcome back!
2. Blind Guardian – At the Edge of Time
Easily the best and strongest Blind Guardian album since NIGHTFALL IN MIDDLE-EARTH with a maximum of variety and everything that has turned these guys from Krefeld into what they are today: one of Germany’s most successful and influential metal bands. With AT THE EDGE OF TIME, Blind Guardian returned to the fold in total triumph. This is an album to be enjoyed for numerous repeat listens. Newer fans should eat it up, and older fans should be appeased with the band’s renewed emphasis on their thrashy roots.
3. Ratt– Infestation
Ratt is Metal. Always have been and likely always will be. From their appearance on the very first Metal Massacre compilation in 1981 alongside the likes of Metallica, Malice, and Bitch, to the new 2010 album, Ratt have always been among the heaviest of the so-called "hair metal" bands. So despite what the revisionists may think, Ratt have a firm spot in the development and evolution of the Heavy Metal genre and have earned their spot in this year’s list. Sonically the Ratt Pack is back! The band had stated they wanted a real up-tempo record and distinctly aimed for the classic sound. They nailed it. It’s all there, the swagger and slight sneer of Pearcy voice, the fluid and fiery soloing of DeMartini’s axe-work, the complimentary work of Cavazo…it’s a beautiful thing to behold!
4. Triptykon – Eparistera Daimones
Thomas Gabriel Fischer (AKA Tom G. Warrior) has nothing to prove to anyone. As the principal architect behind Hellhammer and Celtic Frost, Fischer’s body of work is the reason that many bands exist today. Two years since Celtic Frost’s very public dissolution, Fischer could have easily opted to rest on his laurels and bask in the afterglow of his evil legacy, but nooooo. To the contrary, Fischer has assembled a new band and recorded an album of new material that’s arguably some of the best in his career. Triptykon is the band, EPARISTERA DAIMONES is the album, and yes – it’s as good as Fischer has promised it to be!
5. Melechesh – The Epigenesis
Black/Death/Middle Eastern "Mesopotamian Metal" extremists made a big impact this year. Originally from IsraHELL and now based out of the Netherlands, the band has been around in some form since 1993. That Melechesh are able to maintain the album’s early momentum through to the record’s dying moments makes what they have achieved with THE EPIGENESIS that much more remarkable. Unlike so much of what passes for modern-day extremity, every one of this disc’s eleven tracks bristles with its own identity and design. It will demand a lot of attention – this definitely isn’t the record to whip out at your next kegger – but the rewards far outweigh the investment. Absolutely superb in every way.
6. Helloween – 7 Sinners
Helloween are very comfortable right now. They are back on a major label, the line-up has been stable for probably the longest stretch in the bands history, and they have fallen into a great pattern of releasing a studio album every couple of years (right around Halloween naturally). Relaxed, confident and mature the band have nothing to prove but instead of delivering a complacent record, the band have delivered the fastest, heaviest album of their career. It’s their 26th release over and 13th full-length studio album of all-new, original material. Lucky #13 for the band sees a crowning achievement with 13 killer cuts spread across the hour. Helloween have delivered a masterpiece. It will quickly silence all the fans who couldn’t stomach UNARMED from earlier this year.
7. OverKill – Ironbound
The veteran New Jersey boys return with a compelling slab of unmistakeably old school thrash that is tinged with a fine mix of groove, progressiveness and melody that separates Overkill from the multitudes of carbon-copy thrashers out there. This is modern thrash the way it should be played: roots in the 80s but with its direction and ambition befitting a metal scene on the cusp of its 30-year anniversary. It’s a beautiful thing to behold: while most of their contemporaries have split up or sold out, Overkill are still doing their thing, updating and improving but never forgetting where they came from.
8. Nevermore – The Obsidian Conspiracy
Five years – that’s how long Nevermore made us wait for a sequel to the still awe-inspiring THIS GODLESS ENDEAVOUR. By modern-day standards that’s an absolute eternity, the length of which only the likes of Slayer or Metallica could reasonably be expected to get away with. Regardless of delay, the album is a perfect example of heavy metal in its purest, most intelligent and provocative form. As always the band defies classification with elements of power, thrash, prog, blended together into a mixture that is uniquely Nevermore.
9. Sabaton – Coat of Arms
Sweden’s war metallers, Sabaton, have been consistently moving to the forefront of the power metal movement in the last few years. COAT OF ARMS continues Sabaton’s fine tradition of power metal with bite. The band is in fine form throughout and do not disappoint. You listen to a Sabaton album for the pounding marches (“Uprising”) the fast assaults (“Midway”, “Screaming Eagles”), and the catchy hooks and choruses (every damn song!) and COAT OF ARMS has it all!
10. Halford – IV – Made of Metal
Finally! Halford was really overdue. Despite having a skeleton of a catalog, Halford really needed to put some meat on the bones of his solo career. MADE OF METAL is really only the third studio album of all new material in over 10 years. Sure the catalog looks impressive but in reality, live albums, demo albums, EP’s, digital only live albums and novelty Christmas albums are just filler. Halford needed to deliver the goods and we’re pleased to say he is still made of Metal. The album clocks in at a whopping 14 tracks at over an hour it is his longest solo album to date.
Number 11 to 20
11. Crazy Lixx – New Religion
12. Iron Maiden – The Final Frontier
13. Scorpions – Sting In The Tail
14. Immolation – Majesty and Decay
15. Avantasia – The Wicked Symphony / Angel Of Babylon
PRIMAL FEAR vocalist RALF SCHEEPERS is working on his first solo album. An update from Primal Fear states:
“Today, two fantastic lead guitar solos from none other than Victor Smolski (RAGE) arrived in the recording studio for Ralf’s solo album – thx Victor, killer job!
Achim Koehler has already started to mix the tracks at his Indiscreet Audio Studios in Stuttgart, Germany – more updates on the progress of the music – soon!
Don’t forget, Primal Fear Spain Tour – mid-November – check out the dates!”
Other artists to appear on Scheepers solo release include “Metal” Mike Chlasciak (ROB HALFORD, SABASTIAN BACH), Tim “Ripper” Owens (HAIL!, YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, BEYOND FEAR, ex-JUDAS PRIEST, ICED EARTH), Sander Gommans (AFTER FOREVER/HDK), and Snowy Shaw (DREAM EVIL, THERION, KING DIAMOND, MERCYFUL FATE, NOTRE DAME.
About the style of the solo effort, Primal Fear and SINNER bassist Mat Sinner – who is playing bass on the entire record and producing – told BraveWords.com recently: “In part it’s very metal. Very metal. So it will not be Ralf’s ballad album. There were some ballads where Ralf was showing a different kind of music, his talent in music, because he’s playing all the instruments on one song, for example. So you hear him playing guitar, keyboards, so it’s very interesting. But overall I will say it’s a very tough metal album.”
While they are cruising North along the Swedish East Coast they got word from one of our scouting parties in Germany. When they made it to the city of Herne, they were greeted by three men that are filled with RAGE! 70000TONS OF METAL: The World’s Biggest Floating Heavy Metal Festival! 24 out of 40 on board and counting…
70000TONS OF METAL will sail Monday, January 24, 2011 aboard the Royal Caribbean “Majesty of the Seas” from Miami FL to Cozumel, Mexico and will not return you to the real world for four days until Friday, January 28, 2011.
Make no mistake, 70000TONS OF METAL is not your grandma’s cruise. It’s also not one of the cruises that share the ship with normal cruise guests. This is an all heavy metal cruise! Can you imagine that? A whole luxury cruise ship full of metalheads? And since there is no backstage area you will have the opportunity to mingle side-by-side with the artists in this incredibly fan-friendly scenario that has no comparison. It’s like everyone has a backstage pass!
Ticket prices start at US$666 plus US$249 taxes and fees per person and include all on-board entertainment, all meals, non-alcoholic and non-carbonated beverages at the dining rooms, most on-board restaurants and 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 http://www.70000tons.com/ for more information and book your cabin NOW!
German power metallers RAGE have extended their deal with Nuclear Blast Records.
“We are happy that our common history will continue,” the band said in a statement. “At Nuclear Blast we really feel at home and we look forward to all upcoming projects. After the great success of the last RAGE album ‘Strings To A Web’, we are even more motivated and we saw the same energy in Nuclear Blast as well.”
“Strings To A Web” entered the Media Control chart in the band’s home country at position No. 27. Released on February 5 via Nuclear Blast Records, the CD was recorded at Twilight Hall Studio and was produced by Charlie Bauerfeind (BLIND GUARDIAN, HAMMERFALL). The cover artwork was created by Thomas Ewerhard (AVANTASIA, THERION), and it shows the soundchaser as a spider, caught in a web.
The special two-track single, “Into The Light / Purified”, was released on January 15.
The limited-edition digibook version of “Strings To A Web” includes a high-quality DVD including 15 live clips. The main portion of the DVD consists of the “best-of” show RAGE played at the Wacken Open Air festival in 2009, including guest appearances by Hansi Kürsch (BLIND GUARDIAN), Schmier (DESTRUCTION) and Jen Majura (BLACK THUNDER LADIES).
“Strings To A Web” includes melodic and anthemic tracks such as “Into The Light” and “The Beggar’s Last Dime”, as well as powerful thrashers like “Purified” and “Tomorrow Never Comes”. But the heart of the record comes in the shape of the 16-minute masterpiece “Empty Hollow”, a progressive fairytale that unites everything RAGE is about.
The new RAGE album, Strings To A Web, was released in Europe on February 5th via Nuclear Blast Records, immediately entering the German pop charts at number 27, and has been receiving rave reviews from all major European press. The brilliant album will now see official North American release and distribution via Canada’s Sonic Unyon Metal on June 22nd, 2010.
The North American version of the album will be released in a special two-disc set that includes a high quality bonus DVD bearing 15 live RAGE clips and more. The main part is the “Best Of” show RAGE played at the Wacken Open Air festival 2009, including guest performances by Hansi Kürsch (Blind Guardian), Schmier (Destruction) and Jen Majura (Black Thunder Ladies). The DVD also includes four more live clips taken from Masters Of Rock 2009 Festival and a 2009 concert in Sofia, Hungary. View the full track listing for the combo and more below.
Since 1985, German metal trio RAGE have brought their crafted style of classic heavy metal with class. Their new album Strings To A Web is a varied release, showcasing the different faces of the band; pure heavy metal thunder, classical and progressive landscapes, and powerful thrash anthems. Recorded at Twilight Hall Studio (Blind Guardian, Saxon) and produced by Victor Smolski and their long term friend Charlie Bauerfeind (Hammerfall, Helloween and more), Strings To A Web is like a journey through the history of the band, who celebrated their 25th anniversary this year. Over the past quarter century, RAGE went through many changes, but always kept to their roots and developed their incomparable style, and there is no doubt that their current lineup is the strongest yet. Peavy Wagner’s voice is the main trademark, along with the guitar wizard Victor Smolski and power drummer André Hilgers, who round out the magical trio.
Strings To A Web Track Listing:
01. ‘The Edge Of Darkness’
02. ‘Hunter And Prey’
03. ‘Into The Light’
04. ‘The Beggar´s Last Dime’
05. ‘Empty Hollow’
06. ‘Strings To A Web’
07. ‘Fatal Grace’
09. ‘Empty Hollow (Reprise)’
10. ‘Saviour Of The Dead’
13. ‘Through Ages’
14. ‘Tomorrow Never Comes’
‘Carved In Stone’
‘Higher Than The Sky’
‘Set This World On Fire’ (featuring Hansi Kürsch)
‘All I Want’ (featuring Hansi Kürsch)
‘Invisible Horizons’ (featuring Hansi Kürsch)
‘Lord Of The Flies’ (featuring Jen Majura)
‘From The Cradle To The Grave’ (featuring Jen Majura)
‘Prayers Of Steel’ (featuring Schmier)
‘Suicide’ (featuring Schmier)
‘Down’ (featuring Schmier)
‘Set This World On Fire’ (Live at the Masters of Rock 2009)
The Jalometalli Open Air Metal festival has gained its status as well as place on the Finnish festival map. Although there are plenty of metal oriented festivals arranged all around in Finland, the Jalometalli festival has found its own style and approach in the metal festival offering in Finland. It doesn’t rely on the current hot names on the market like Volbeat and so on, instead the festival offers a more interesting line-up mostly consisting of old school thrash metal and of course death and black metal by having bands which have either never or rarely visited Finland. Especially several 80s thrash metal legends such as Whiplash, Agent Steel have never been seen on the soil of Finland. Now it is about time. Therefore the Metal-Rules.com team made a real assault at Jalometalli by witnessing plenty of killer bands and seeing the general atmosphere and here is the result.
Article by Niko Karppinen, Arto Lehtinen, Luxi Lahtinen
Wacken is a blessed mecca of the whole metal world. Again this year it was entirely sold out when ten thousands of metal manics travelled from all around the world to gather and witness plenty of ass kicking bands. The weather forecast for Wacken didn’t look that promising. The chaotic and muddy mess caused by long and heavy rains rampaged the ground during the whole summer. The festival often provides a survival test to every visitor with its mud and crap. But but gods of metal had seen the light and blessed the whole three day metal inferno with tremendous extreme heat and a sunny weekend. Things could not be better…sun, metal and beer. That combination is nothing but an utter perfect way to enjoy the metallic mayhem at Wacken.
As usual, the true metal commando team from Metal-Rules.Com was there again witnessing a helluva lot of great bands and above all an unexpected huge fire in the main area. Feel, see and enjoy this article.