Swedenrock Festival June 9-11, 2005 S?lvesborg Sweden

Spread the metal:


Black Label Society

I’m pretty sure that good old Zakk wasn’t too pleased when he heard that that BLS were supposed to play already at 1:30 PM…at least he looked VERY tired before the show. The BLS band consists of main man Zakk Wylde (who is still better known his role as a on/off guitar player for Ozzy Osbourne), bassist James Lomenzo (ex-White Lion, Pride Of Glory…who looked VERY different than he used to be in his White Lion days), drummer Craig Nunemacher, and guitarist Nick Catanese.  The band came to the stage and thus the druken musical journey was able to start. The first track called "Stoned and Drunk" opened the set and things started to roll. The band were having more beer on the stage than any other band I’ ve seen in this festival’s history. It didn’t matter because beer and this band are inseparable. Zakk?s vocals sounded really good. It must be said that occasionally I could have sworn that Ozzy himself was doing singing on stage. Zakk’s playing was amazing…as always! It was nice to hear him playing all the classic licks which are his trademarks from his Ozzy era and then adding some more heavy riffs every now and then. On the other hand, he did a couple of nice acoustic tracks that reminded us about his musical influences from the Deep South a’la Lynyrd Skynyrd and others. The whole band, who appeared more like a bunch of motorcycle guys than a rock band, did their job extremely well and they all had a great attitude. After 75 minutes of heavy riffs and beer drinking… CHEERS!!



Set List :  

Intro Crazy(Patsy Cline) Godfather Theme Tune

Stoned & Drunk

Destruction Overdrive

Been A Long Time

Guitar Intro to Iron Man

Funeral Bell

Suffering Overdue

Suicide Messiah

In This River Guitar Solo

Demise Of Sanity

Spread Your Wings

Fire It Up

Guitar Solo

Still Born


Bleed For Me

Genocide Junkies





It?s been a while since Helix last time played in Europe, it must have been in the early nineties or something? Actually I haven?t heard much about Helix since their ?heydays? in mid 80?s. I do remember that they did play in Finland with KISS back in 1983 and some years later they had a tour in Finland on their own. Before leaving to this voyage I decided to prepare carefully and listened all the classic Helix albums in my home: LONG WAY TO HEAVEN, NO REST FOR THE WICKED, WALKING THE RAZORS EDGE, and others. I was ready but how was Helix then?

Well I must say that I was a little disappointed. Today the singer Brian Vollmer is the only original member left from classic 80’s Helix and there was nothing wrong with Brian actually. His singing was as good as it has always been! He did a great job as a front man for almost any band from his era. Still something was certainly missing in the show. I do know something about this band’s history and I know that there has been a lot of bad luck. Guitarist Paul Hackmann, who was the band’s another main songwriter, unfortunately died accidentally in 1992. Other band members have come and gone and there has been trouble with record companies and managers but still ? Only one original member remaining on stage with a bunch of new nameless musicians playing behind him was not what I was waiting for from that gig. A little bit if a disappointment but ?Wild In The Streets? rocked!!! 


Set List : 

Gimme Gimme Good Lovin

No Rest For The Wicked

Heavy Metal Love

The Ballad Of Sam & Mary

Kids Are All Shakin

Six Strings Nine Lives

When the Hammer Falls

White Lace Black Leather

Wild In The Streets

Deep Cuts The Knife

Dirty Dog

Running Wild In The 21st Century

Billy Oxygen

Animal House

Rock You


Kiss Your Ass Goodbye




While the Canadian hard rock veterans were on the Rock Stage, another veteran or legendary thrash metal band, namely Overkill, were thrashing and smashing on the Sweden Stage. They punished the die hard thrash fans severely with their 90 minute old school thrash metal assault. The band has always been praised as one hell of a great live band and they definitely are! Even though the playing time wasn?t the most idealistic for Overkill, Bobby and the company didn?t mind. Instead they did the best of set list by covering the most essential ass kicking Overkill battle hymns from the first album till the new one called ReliXIV. The set list consisted of "In Union We Stand", "Hello From Gutter", "Rotten To The Core", "Old School", and a helluva lot more.

DD Verni deserves credit for being an ultra cool looking man on the stage and for looking damn mean with his evil mustache and ponytail style whereas Bobby Blitz banged his head and acted like a real maniac with the mic and micstand. Once again, Overkill had undergone a minor line-up change before arriving at the Swedenrock as long time drummer Tim Mallare pulled out of the band to pursue other things on the eve of the beginning of the tour. He was replaced by the former Hades drummer named Rob Lipnicki. Dream Theater?s skinman Mike Portnoy did a special guest behind the battery by playing "Elimination"! Basically, it wasn?t that big surprise as Dream Theater had to be in the festival area during the same day. It was quite a logical choice to have Portnoy as so called a special guest. But however the audience went completely beserk.

To conclude the set, the NY thrashers did the legendary "Fuck You!" whose shouts echoed all around in the Swedish landscape even the Canadian hard rockers (Helix) must have wondered if their own audience yelled that at them. The old classic AC/DC song "Dirty Deeds" had been added to the middle of the lines of "Fuck You". Yes, after seeing Overkill on the stage it can be figured out why they still kick ass.



Dream Theater

Dream Theater….well franky Dream Theater ain?t the most idealistic choice for huge outdoor festivals because of technical and even complicated structure of their songs. Secondly the running time of their songs are damn long, occasionally reaching 10mins. However, the set list had been created by having an equal set of songs from other albums beside their new album OCTAVARIUM from which three songs were played. Especially "The Root Of All Evil" sounded damn good for the opening song. Vocalist LaBrie walked all around the stage quite restlessly, but when guitarist Petrucci and bass player Myung took control by playing their complicated tunes, LaBrie took steps back or aside and stayed there following the playing of Petrucci and Myong. Even though LaBrie showed smiles on his face, it has been told he was extremely mad at the DT crew for the sound. Dream Theater is a like music for musicians and normal metalheads don?t get too many kicks from their music. To sum their set up – Well played in general, but in a long run it was boring.


Set List : 


The Root Of All Evil

A Fortune In Lies

Just Let Me Breathe

Panic Attack

Peruvian Skies

Pull Me Under

Never Enough

Endless Sacrifice

The Spirit Carries On

As I Am


Metropolis – part 1



Wow, Hammerfall had been given a great privilege of being on the main stage of the festival. To be honest it wasn?t that big of a surprise to witness that as Hammerfall happens to sell quite a few albums in their own native country. They are the leading power/melodic -whatever metal name- at the moment. Obviously, Hammerfall was more than honoured by being in front of the huge sea of people as they lost more or less the grip as well the control while being on the stage as Joacim Cans happened to talk all kinds of nonsense in order to entertain the audience for quite a long time and even parts of "Enter Sandman" got played!? Despite those hassles, or extra numbers, the Swedish power metal squad handled the set in a professional way by doing plenty of their mandatory songs like "Let The Hammer Fall" and a whole bunch of songs off from their newer album CHAPTER V. Joacim Cans did get some negative response about his singing skills, but however he did quite a routine job without failing that badly. All in all, Hammerfall was pretty relaxing and enjoyable on the stage, but next time guys drop those extra things, please?.

It will be very interesting when two leading melodic power metal of North Europe HammerFall and Strarovarius team up together for a long European tour! 


Diamond Head

I remember having seen Diamond Head at Wacken a couple of years ago with an entire weird and eccentric line-up consisting a few session members hired from Tygers Of The Pang Tang and it was? Well nevermind? Of course it was kinda curious to go to take a glance at the renewed line-up of Diamond Head still including the original guitarist Brian Tatler in the rank. The band has seen up and down hills since the formation, hopefully they will be able to maintain some kind of success to have gigs and tours booked in the future. Their gig at Swedenrock is evidence that people are still keen on Diamond Head. Their immortal status is intact for being one of the classic NWOBHM names. The new vocalist handled his job well and Brian Tatler seemed to enjoy being on the stage in Sweden again. Unfortunately, Diamond Head is mostly known for a couple of songs, namely "Am I Evil?" and "Helpless" as some middle aged pop rock group of nowadays once covered these songs back in their own in their heyday in the 80?s. It could be witnessed that the reaction of the audience when both the tracks were played as an encore. Well hopefully Diamond Head still have several years ahead to spread their Evil. 





Hmm if Dave Mustaine had known in advance that Christians are thrown to lions at Swederock, he would have probably have cancelled or postponed the whole festival. However, the Polish extreme metallers were absolutely the most brutal and rawest act booked Swedenrock when compared to other names. The older generation of hard rock diggers may have problems getting into their stuff. However, it was time for a real extreme metal blast. The Polish metal tornado was definitely one hell of a live band, having trained their stage manners to match the perfect timing with ultimate headbanging and razorsharp playing skills. The guitarist and the bassist always took a step backward in the wake of the lead person of the outfit, Nergal. They started tremendous hair spinning and kept going  although the vocalist started growling. All the stage performance, manners, and steps had been well taken and planned in every aspect. Nergal?s short, but intense speeches were carefully thought beforehand. Behemoth is damn vicious and brutal on stage. Their touring commitments around the globe have brought tightness and brutality to their stage performance. As for the setlist, most of it consists of material off from their mighty DEMIGOD album but also from their older albums like PANDEMONIC INCANTATION. Before pulling the plug the band celebrarated Nergal?s 28th birthday. 



With the only original band member remaining (Jan Kuehnemund on guitar) it?s questionable if this band should be called Vixen anymore. The current line up of Vixen consists of Jan, singer Jenna Sanz-Agero, drummer Kat Kraft and bass player Lynn Louise Lowery. At least for me they (new members) all are completely unknown….so how did they sound then? Well let?s say that they were surprisingly good. Jenna has a strong voice with a large range capacity and she really nailed old ?classics? like ?How Much Love? and ?Edge Of A Broken Heart?. Jan was playing her guitar with passion and the rhythm session did their job well. On stage there was also a guy called Chris A who did keyboards and some guitars every now and then. Even they mostly played tracks from the first two Vixen albums they also did a bunch of new tracks from the forthcoming album. New material sounded heavier and more complicated than the old stuff and it was quite promising. Well, there aren?t too many all female bands around playing this kind of hard rock anywhere so let?s say that they were okay?


Set List : 

Rev It Up

Streets In Paradise

Live & Learn

How Much love

Love Made Me


Love Is A Killer


Little Voice

Not A Minute Too Soon

A Little Angry


I Want You To Rock Me (Inc We Will Rock You)

Love Song


You Wish

Edge Of A Broken Heart

Bad Reputation

Suffragette City



Sammy Hagar

Booking the former(?) Van Halen frontman as the headliner of the second day was a letdown for several people. It was thought there would have been some bigger names. But however Sammy Hagar came and rocked hard with his solo band and played a number of songs from his own solo album and a couple of Van Halen songs as well. The set list wasn’t bad, but why did Van Halen classic "Right Now" get an amusing reggae arrangement? Some other Van Halen songs "Why Can?t This be Love? and "Top Of The World" were well performed but still the highlight of the show was Sammy?s own solo tune ?Stand Up? which sounded phenomenal. Some damn good looking chick had been hired to bring drinks to Hagar during the show whom Sammy openly praised. A couple of dozen lucky winners had the great privilege to be on the stage in the background construction during the whole show and with a red background it looked visually very good. I must also admit that Sammy Hagar can still shred like a maniac when he wants to and female bassist Mona?s slappin’ and tappin’ was fun to watch but the playing time of Hagar could have been something else and he?s definitely not any headliner for god?s sake! That was a serious ju-ju…


Set List :

Bad Motor Scooter

Shaka Doobie

There`s Only One Way To Rock

Serious Juju

When The Hammer Falls

Give To Live

I Can`t Drive 55

Right Now

Top Of The Wolrd

Why Can`t This Be Love


Heavy Metal

Mas Tequila

Rainy Day Women 12 & 35

Stand Up

High & Dry Again

Three Lock Box

Cabo Wabo (acapella)

Let Me Take You There




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