26-27/6 – 2009
Review and live pictures by: Anders Sandvall
This years annual edition of the Metaltown Festival I Gothenburg was held in the middle of June. The festival was thrown by Live Nation together with PK Music in Gothenburg and Kulturbolaget in Malmoe. Last year the festival gathered about 15000 headbangers to the harbour area in Gothenburg where the festival has been held for the past few years. The day before the festival kicked off it was again time for the annual hardcore/punk one day festival called West Coast Riot where bands like Social Distortion, Pennywise, Sick Of It All and Suicidal Tendencies performed. Band that was represented at Metaltown this year was were, Napalm Death, Children Of Bodom, Volbeat, Disturbed, Marilyn Manson and Slipknot. I could only attend the festival the first day so therefore have I only reviewed most of the bands on day one.
When the clock struck noon I arrived at Gothenburg and walked the long and hot way to the area where the festival was held. It was me and a caravan of folk that crossed the bridge and it went fast and easy into the festival. There were three stages: the Black stage, Red stage, and the smaller Close-Up tent where the smaller acts performed. The bigger acts performed on the bigger stages with about 15 minutes in between bands. I didn’t have much time to take a closer look at the area, I had to move to the photo pit straight away to try to catch the first band of the day for me which was Dead By April.
Dead by April is a Swedish act that have grown pretty large in Sweden this year. Perhaps that’s mostly because they had done the theme song to the Swedish version of Survivor (crap reality TV show). I haven’t heard a lot of the band besides for the Survivor theme song called “Losing You” and to be honest the song didn’t impress me much. Dead by April plays a kind of Mallcore mixed with rock. However, it seemed like the audience loved every minute of the performance and when the guys time was up, after 45 minutes, they had forgot or missed to play their huge hit “Losing You”. Really strange.
Well, after a short break it was time for another Swedish act to enter the Red Stage. It was time for pain.
The mastermind and bandleader of Pain, Peter Tägtgren, performed with a completely new act and the band is out promoting the new Pain album CYNIC PARADISE that came out last year. The backdrop portrayed the cover art-work of the album and the show kicked off with “It’s Only Them” which transcended into “I’m Going In” taken from CYNIC PARADISE. It looked like Tägtgren was a little tired or maybe a bit hungover because he wasn’t his usual self. The wind blew a lot so it was hard to get good pictures of Tägtgren behind his long black hair that blew into his face. After black confetti rain followed “Zombie Slam” which began with the launch of several rockets. Both me and the rest of the photographers and guards below the stage jumped in the air when the rockets were fired off. “End Of The Line” and “Follow Me” continued the show and I have to say that the live version of Pain sounds a lot harder and rawer compared to the music on the albums.
Even though the band had quite a lot of space to move around on stage, they mostly stood still and head banged on the spot. To be honest, the magic didn’t happen and it felt like Tägtgren only wanted the show to end. “Nailed To The Ground”, “Dancing With The Dead” and “Suicide Machine” followed before Tägtgren thanked everyone for being there this warm and hot day. “Bitch” and the mega-hit “Shut Your Mouth” ended the show. The entire audience sang along in the last song where more fire and sparks were fired off. The show ended after 40 minutes and I have to say that I have experienced several shows where Tägtgren had been more committed. I also question the fact that he chose to focus on material from CYNIC PARADISE and PSALMS OF EXTINCTION tather than any of his earlier albums. Since Pain only do a few shows in Sweden each year, I thought he should be more generous with the set list. The set list is not in order but these are the songs that were performed.
It’s Only Them
I’m Going In
End Of The Line
Nailed To The Ground
Dancing With The Dead
Shut Your Mouth
The line to the different food tents, the beer tent, and to the toilets was long this really hot day. The festival felt well organized and I could always see security guards patrolling the area. After a shorter break, which for me included drinking a bottle of water, it was time to once again see the grandfathers of grind-core in action, and of course I’m talking about Napalm Death!
Napalm Death was one of the main reason why I chose to visit Metaltown this year. And it was full speed ahead right from the beginning. The band consists of:
Mark Barney Greenway – lead vocals
Mitch Harris – guitar
Shane Embury – bass
Danny Herrera – drums
Napalm Death ran onto the stage and kicked off the afternoon with “Strong Arm”. The band celebrates 22 years in the business and as everyone knows these guys played a huge part in the invention of the grindcore. Greenway ran around like a maniac on stage while Embury and Harris stood beside and headbanged like hell. The show continued with “Unchallenged Hate” before Greenway introduced the band. He said "We have been around for a really long time now, probably longer than most of you in the crowd who weren’t even born when we first started out" he said with a smile. Then he announced a song from their new studio album TIME WAITS FOR NO SLAVE called “Life And Limb” which was followed by another new song “Diktat”. He thanked everyone for being at the festival and checking out Napalm Death and then the band carried on with “Silence Is Deafening”.
Greenway introduced the next song saying that it doesn’t matter who we are, if we’re black, white or yellow or what sexual preference we have no one can stop us from doing what we want to do or what we want to achieve in life. But unfortunately “It’s A Man’s World”. Then followed “When All Is Said And Done”, “The Kill” and “Scum” that went straight into “Life?”.
Then Greenway introduced a cover of the Dead Kennedys song “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” and do I have to say that the audience went totally crazy when that song came on. Greenway said that no one in the band or on this festival likes Nazis and luckily it’s just a phase that you grow out of. That song transcended into “Mass Appeal” before it was time for another brand new track in “Time Waits For No Slave”. Greenway ended the show with saying that even though a band like Napalm Death really maybe didn’t fit into the festival line up it had been a blast playing in Gothenburg and he thanked again everyone for being there. The last song for Napalm Death was “Siege Of Power”. I saw Napalm Death the day before in Denmark and I have to say that they delivered another strong and solid show in Sweden just as they did in Denmark. The main difference between this gig and the gig previous night in Copenhagen was that this show was shorter and that the set list didn’t look exactly the same. I’m really impressed that these middle age men have the stamina to still go out and deliver hard, raw, furious and important music.
Suffer The Children
Life And Limb
Silence If Deafening
It’s A Man’s World
when All Is Said And Done
Nazi Punks Fuck Off
Time Waits For No Slave
Siege Of Power
With the final words of “Siege Of Power” I slowly strolled over to the other side of the Red Stage and to the photo pit. Many photographers had already began queuing at the Red Stage and I noticed that there were both A and B photo passes available. The photographers that had A passes were the first ones to get into the pit while we with the B passes had to wait in line to get in. No one had informed us about this and it was a source of irritation amongst us with the B passes.
It seemed that many people had come just so see Trivium. The line-up:
Matt Heafy – lead vocals, guitar
Travis Smith – drums
Corey Beaulieu – guitar
Paolo Gregoletto – bass
When Trivium entered the stage I swear that if the area had a roof it would of been blown away by the cheers and the noise as the crowd welcomed Trivium. Heafy stood in the middle of the stage with Gregoletto and Beaulieu on each side. When I stood in the pit I thought that the performance was tight and that the guys had a pretty good time on stage. Later on I went into the crowd I rather felt that the guys weren’t that into the show. It rather felt that this was another day on the job and that they actually didn’t have such a good time.
The band is out supporting their latest studio album SHOGUN but when I realised that this show wasn’t going to make it on to my top 5 list of shows this evening I left the show and focused to get ready for the next show on my agenda. While I at a bit and drank more water I glanced at Meshuggah doing their thing on the Black Stage. At this moment it was really hard to walk around on the area because of the large amount of people that now had turned up. Just beside the Red Stage were the VIP bar located and I could see many of the hardrock/metal elite over there having a beer or three.
The afternoon had now turned into night and even more photographers had turned up in order to see the next attraction which was the Finnish act Children Of Bodom.
Children Of Bodom is still out promoting last years studio album BLOODDRUNK and on command the guys ran out on stage and kicked off the show with “Sixpounder” and “Needled 24/7”. The band consists of:
Alexi “Wildchild” Laiho – lead vocals, guitar
Janne Warman – keyboards
Henkka T Blacksmith – bass
Roope Latvala – guitar
Jaska W. Raatikainen – drums
The guys had only brought with them a huge backdrop and a gigantic drum-kit. The band felt really hungry and eager to be on stage in Gothenburg this night. And the audience did their best to welcome their Finnish neighbours to Sweden. Laiho talked English in between the songs and he thanked everyone for being there and he asked if we were ready for Children Of Bodom. “This song I have written by myself and it’s up to you how you chose to interpret it” he continued and introduced the song “Hate Me”.
Latvala and Blacksmith ran around on stage and did their best to get the crowd going and together with drummer Raatikainen had Blacksmith a solid groove going on. It’s hard to categorise the music of Children Of Bodom but a mix heavy metal/melodic death metal with ordinary metal then you have a clue to what their music sounds like. Laiho is a genius frontman and he had the audience in the palm of his hands during the entire show. He also took on most of the lead guitar parts which I felt was really impressive because there are not many singers that also plays lead guitar.
Again, the guys had a really great time on stage and soon Laiho started to joke around with keyboardist Warman and said that he should start to play and contribute to the music. Warman responded with playing the intro to the Europe song “Final Countdown” while the crowd sang the lyrics. Then came “Hellhounds On My Trail” and that song continued on the show instead of “Final Countdown”. Then followed “Banned From Heaven” before Laiho once again took on the mic and said thanked the crowd for giving the band such a warm welcome in Sweden. And then it was time for more fun and games between the members, Laiho said that he just heard that Michael Jackson had past away and said that Jackson had been such an influence for the pop-culture and that Jackson actually had made the pop music into what it is today. Meanwhile Warman played a Jackson song but soon he thought Laiho should stop talking about Jackson and start a new song instead. The next song for the evening was “Ghostriders In The Sky” in which Laiho wanted everyone in the crowd to raise their hands and the final song for the evening was Children Of Bodom’s trade mark song “Hate Crew Deathroll” which made everyone on the crowd go completely nuts. By then I literally could feel the ground moving and shaking beneath my feet. One hour went really fast and before you knew it it was time to say goodbye to the Finnish warriors of metal. This show was certainly one of the days highlights.
After the show it was time for one of my personal reasons why I even went to Metaltown. It was once again time to see the Danish dynamite.
On each side of the drum podium were there huge amps with the cover of Volbeat’s latest studio album GUITAR GANGSTERS & CADILLAC BLOOD on them. It seemed that many, myself included, were there too see Volbeat. They’ve became really successful with the release of their second album ROCK THE REBEL/METAL THE DEVIL a few years ago. When the intro started did band leader and singer Michael Poulsen come out with sunglasses on and a bottle of Jack Daniels in his hand. The band is:
Michael Poulsen – lead vocals, guitar
Jon Larsen – drums
Anders Kjolholm – bass, b-vox
Thomas Bredahl – guitar
When the intro had faded it was time to kick off the show with the amazing song and the title track from the new album “Guitar Gangster & Cadillac Blood” that went straight into the next song which was “A Moment Forever”. Shortly followed “Caroline Leaving” and right from the start Poulsen had the audience in the palm of his hand. Poulsen encouraged everyone to scream and to pay tribute to his father that recently passed away in the song “Sad Man’s Tongue”. All of the three front-men did all they could to get the crowd going and all of the guys were soaked in sweat already after the third song. Poulsen thanked everyone for the huge support the band have received in Sweden and introduced the excellent song “Mr and Mrs Ness” taken from the second album with Volbeat. All of the people in the audience jumped around to the music and again it felt like an earth shake was coming on.
“Pool Of Booze, Booze, Booze” followed and Poulsen said that there were a VIP tent behind the stage and that neither of the band members were fans of any VIP treatment, he said that the really important people are the fans, you, that are ready to buy our albums and stuff. Then he said that the band was gonna go out and meet the fans after the show. That little speech brought down tremendous of applauds and cheers from the fans. And that’s just how Volbeat are, I have seen many shows with the guys now and they have always gone out and talking to the fans after their shows. Humble rockstars doesn’t grow on trees and Volbeat are one-of-a-kind-band.
Poulsen introduced the Misfit cover “Ain’t Your Fault” after which “Garden’s Tale” followed. It wasn’t hard to tell that many of the people had been waiting for that song. The song is a duet sung both in English and in Danish and Poulsen let the audience sing some of the Danish parts in the song, the rest sang Bredahl. Poulsen wondered if any in the crowd were familiar with something called ‘The wall of death’ and everyone screamed yes. “Well I want you to do that but when you ran into each other you instead of hurting each other, hug the one you bump into and we’ll call this the wall of love….and while you do that we up here promise to play something by Cannibal Corpse”. And believe it or not, the wall of love is executed.
Then it was time for more music and “A Broken Man And The Dawn” and “BOA” was performed. One of my personal favourite songs then followed with the magical “Still Counting”. The crowd sang a long in the next song which was “I Only Wanna Be With You” where Poulsen sang without a guitar strapped to him. “We” was the last song for the evening and Poulsen repeated his promise to get him and the band out to the floor after the show.
As always Volbeat brought a magic show and they sure proved that they are able to pull of both smaller intimate club gigs as well as larger outdoor gigs. The set-list was excellent and it was a great mix of older and newer songs. But I think it’s now time for the band to head into the studio to record a new album. Volbeat delivered one hour of pure magic in Gothenburg.
Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood
A Moment Forever
Sad Man’s Tongue
Mr. And Mrs. Ness
Pool Of Booze, Booze, Booze
Ain’t Your Fault
The Gardens Tale
A Broken Man And The Dawn
I Only Wanna Be With You
After the sweaty show it was time to hit the press tent to lurk a little in the shadow and to fill up with some water. The second to last band was Disturbed but because I’ve never heard them I didn’t pay much attention to them. I also needed to sit down and rest for a while, therefore I didn’t cover Disturbed. The last band for the day was Slipknot but when I came to the stage a guy from the backstage area came out and starting to hand out special photo passes to photographers from the bigger paper magazines that were there. I turned out that in order to take pics of Slipknot you had to get in touch with the bands management before the show. Many photographers left the area quite disappointed. One can think that Metaltown could have enlightened us about that matter before the festival started. Since I didn’t take any photos, or better put wasn’t allowed to do so, I’m not gonna write about Slipknot at all. Slipknot also only played for 70 minutes when they had 90 minutes to play for, cheap.
I and the rest of the people at the festival left the area about midnight to the notes of “Beat It” by Michael Jackson. I followed the stream of hardrockers and metalheads over the bridge to the central station and to the buses that were gonna take us home.
I thought that Metaltown as a festival felt more organized this year compared to last year. More toilets and a bigger beer tent was a plus and the mix of people attending the festival was also a positive thing but it’s hard to the feet to walk on concrete for almost 24 hours. A new thing this year was a huge TV-screen beside the Black Stage so all bands was filmed. This was great for all that did not wanna be in front of the stage.
I saw people of all ages coming together in the name of music. Because of so many mallcore bands that played at the festival there was quite a lot of very young people in the audiences to say the least. Next day bands like Evergrey, The Haunted, Dragonforce, Dir En Grey and Marilyn Manson to name some of them performed. All together it was about 22.000 people that was attending the festival. So it has soon become one of the biggest festivals here in Sweden. That means that metal and hardrock have a strong hold of Sweden which is very nice to see I think.
The most negative thing about the festival was surprisingly, at least in my opinion, the bands. I thought there were too many mallcore-smelling acts and it hadn’t hurt if the bookers had taken in a little more pure metal bands!!!! As last year, there were too many photographers at the same time in the pit. However, I had a great day in Gothenburg with sun, metal and great performances, what more can you ask for. Thank you Metaltown for a pretty great organisation and I hope I’ll see you in 2010.
Thanks so much to the head of press for Kulturbolaget Kristian Kornhage for help with press/photo-pass to this day.
More info about the festival
More info about the organisers of this festival
More info about the bands in order of appearance