SWEDEN ROCK FESTIVAL 2010

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SWEDEN ROCK FESTIVAL 2010

MARKO SYRJÄLÄ, ARTO LEHTINEN, PATRICK CLEMENT

Jävlä Swedenrock, här kommer vi igen. The annual road trip to Swedenrock by the Finnish Metal-Rules.com  team is already the tenth time in a row.  The  2010 line‑up presented a wide range of metal and hard rock. Therefore, over 70 bands offered nothing but an utter blast and a helluva experience for the attendees to enjoy metal and stone. Sweden rock has been successful during the past ten years as the festival has always been sold out. This year wasn’t any exception as the fest was sold out despite the lousy economic situation worldwide. As mentioned in the first sentence, this is the tenth time in a row when Sweden Rock has been featured on Metal‑Rules.com, so it is quite logical for us to give a really in-depth article of several bands performing at Sweden Rock. The weather wasn’t ideal compared to previous years. It either rained or was windy with a little sunshine. But we were there for bands, not for having some beach party. We cannot cover every bloody band, but hopefully, you will have a pleasant reading experience… Enjoy or die !!!

 

WEDNESDAY

ALESTORM

The Scottish band Alestorm, relying on the pirate metal theme, has gained massive success during the past years. The four-piece has crisscrossed Europe by playing at several festivals. Therefore their appearance at Swedenrock was expected. The band’s success was obvious as the whole field was entirely packed. Some maniacs had brought hilarious looking plastic swords. The band took the stage by storm and expressed happy and joyful pirate metal. That kind of joyful pirate metal sounded refreshing and great for sure. But in the long run, some songs may start sounding a little bit repetitive. However, the sense of humor and good intention on the stage is the more important.  Seriously though, if these guys are into pirate metal, they should have paid more attention to the way they look. Having stupid-looking Bermuda shorts doesn’t give an excellent impression.

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STEELWING

Steelwing is one of those Swedish true metal gems together with Enforcer, Bullet, and Wolf. The old school true metal rolled. The guys have learned the lesson by banging their heads while listening to classic metal. That pointed out Steelwing may sound like Iron Maiden on steroids. The singer’s voice is incredibly great and powerful. It will be interesting to see how long the five-piece SteelWing will fly in the future.

3/5

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MICHAEL MONROE

Former Hanoi Rocks singer Michael Monroe was the first truly interesting performer on Wednesday evening. The band headed on stage at 9:00 PM and kicked their set off with Demolition 23 classic “Nothing’s Alright,” followed by Hanoi Rock’s “Motorvatin” and another Demolition track, “Hammersmith Palais.” Michael still has tons of energy on stage, and during the show, he did all his old manners like splits and climbing on the stage pillars. Although there was still free space in the front of Sweden Stage, the band managed to get the crowd going on quite well with them, especially during old Hanoi Rocks songs. Only two tracks played from Michael’s earlier solo albums, which was a slight disappointment, but on the other hand, the three brand new songs from the upcoming album sounded really promising. Overall, Michael and his all-star band: bassist Sam Yaffa (ex- Hanoi Rocks, N.Y Dolls), Ginger (The Wildhearts), Steve Conte (N.Y Dolls), and drummer Karl Rockfist (ex-Danzig) offered us well and entertainment show with tons of energy which later on was sorely missed from many other bands performances during the festival.

4/5

Nothin’s Alright

Motorvatin’

Hammersmith Palais

You’re Next

Not Fakin’ It

Dysfunctional

Another Night In The Sun

I want to Be Loved

The Boulevard Of Broken Dreams

Love Song

Motorheaded For A Fall

Back To Mystery City

Malibu Beach Nightmare

Dead, Jail, or Rock ‘n’ Roll

Ain’t Nothin’ To Do

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THE QUIREBOYS

London’s very own Quireboys were set, for one reason or another, to play on the Dio Stage, which was the smallest of the actual stages there. There is nothing else wrong with that, but there were so many people in the crowd right from the beginning that it was tough to even get into the photo pit prior show. The band opened their performance with their debut album classic “There She Goes Again.” The lead singer and founding member Spike was in really good spirits. He did some excellent raspy vocals and rolled across the stage like a maniac while the rest of the band concentrated on playing. “It’s Seven O Clock” and “Hey You” got the best response, but there was nothing wrong with more recent material either. All in all, there was nothing special here, but if you’re a fan of a good, basic rock ‘n roll show, then Quireboys is your band.

3/5

 Intro

Bite The Hand That Feeds

Have a Little

The Finer Stuff

Tramps And Thieves

There She Goes Again

Roses and Rings

I Love This Dirty Town

Whippin’ Boy

Mona Lisa Smiled

Man on the Loose

Hey You

Sweet Mary Ann

It’s 7 O’Clock

I Don’t Love You Anymore.

Sex Party

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U.D.O

The German metal icon Udo has kept himself by touring effectively and putting albums out almost every year. Udo headlined the first day of the fest and delivered an unbelievable set of monstrous metal-sounding tunes such as “Dominator,” “Independence Day and  “Mastercutor.” The set mainly contained the more recent Udo material leaving the older ones out apart from the ANIMAL HOUSE song. Surprise surprise, what a surprise all in all eight Accept tunes belonged to the set. The five-piece back-up band sounded hard and heavy. The guitarist Stefan Kauffman is a splendid axeman alongside Udo. The rest of the guys had important roles in the stage performance in moving and singing all the chorus  Enjoyable gig and killer metal hymns. But older Udo tunes are missed for sure.

4/5

    The Bogeyman

    Dominator

    Independence Day

    The Bullet And The Bomb

    Flash Rockin’ Man

    Thunderball

    Vendetta

    Princess Of The Dawn

    Midnight Mover

    Infected

    Man And Machine

    Mastercutor

    Animal House

    Metal Heart 

    Holy

    Balls To The Wall

    I’m A Rebel

    Burning

    Fast As A Shark

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 THURSDAY

STONE SOUR

Everyone knows how deeply the-editor-in-chief of Metal-Rules.Com dislikes and detests Slipknot, right?  How much are these Slipknot bashers aware of Corey Taylor’s other band Stone Sour. Presumably, most of the people not having dared to check them out. All right, Stone Sour’s stuff can be described as a mix of a modern hard rock meets the latest Anthrax stuff. Seriously the material sounded tremendous great, and above all, believe it or not, Corey Taylor is definitely a fantastic singer and has a huge stage charisma. He definitely knows how to control the audience, like making them do a really stupid looking bod or hip dance style. As a matter of fact, it looked hilarious. In general, the band sounded tight and great. Despite the sad loss of Paul Gray, both Taylor and Roots deserve great respect for getting on the tour to please the audience with Stone Sour’s material.

3,5/5

         Mission Statement

         Reborn

         Made Of Scars

         The Bitter End

         Blotter

         Your God

         Through Glass

         Idle Hands

         Digital

         Get Inside

         Hell & Consequences

         30/30-150

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TREAT

Sweden’s own hard rock heroes, Treat, returned from hiatus a few years ago, and earlier this year, they finally released a new album called COUP DE CRACE, which is their first studio album in 18 years. The band took the stage and opened their show with two new tracks, “The War Is Over” and “All in All,” before it was time to go back in time and do “Ready for the Taking” from the classic ORGANIZED CRIME album. The rest of the set was a good combination of new and old material. Singer Robert Ernlund has a good hard rock voice, and there was nothing wrong with the rest either, but maybe the band should re-think if they really want to look like Steel Panther cousins on stage?

2/5

The War Is Over

All In

Ready for the Taking

Papertiger

Changes / Rev It Up / Party All Over / Too Wild

We Own The Night

Roar

Soul Survivor

Get You On The Run

Conspiracy

Skies Of Mongolia

World Of Promises

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MOTHER’S FINEST

Mother’s Finest, the real forefathers of funk-rock, had the misfortune (as many, many other bands on this year’s festival too) to play in the pouring rain, as seen in the pictures below. But the Georgia band really managed to put on a top-notch show, caring less about the rain and opening with five straight hard rock numbers before launching into some more funk-oriented material. It seemed that many people were surprised at how hard Mother’s Finest rocked, and on top of it, there was some excellent singing by many members of the group.

3/5

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Y&T

Dave Meniketti and company returned to Swedenrock. This was the band’s third performance here within the past six years, but this time, it would be a little different, not least because there’s a brand new Y & T studio album FACEMELTER just released. Classic tune “Black Tiger” opened the game. The band sounded really tight and got an excellent and noisy response from the crowd, although it had started to rain heavily just before they started. “On with the Show” from FACEMELTER was next, and it seemed like the fans did know the newer material as well. Old MEANSTREAK classic “Lonely Side of Town” went over great before it was time for a genuine surprise – a splendid version of the old DIO classic “Rainbow In The Dark.”  That for sure was an emotional moment for many people there. Dave and co literally nailed the song with great respect for the late Ronnie (R.I.P). A couple of more FACEMELTER tracks were played later on, but the main set was based on early classics like  “Meanstreak,” “Open Fire,” “I Believe in You,” and “Forever.”  Special mention again for the excellent playing and vocals from Meniketti. Overall, the whole band put on a solid performance, and the Y&T show was definitely one of the festival highlights.

4,5/5

 Black Tiger

On with the Show

Lonely Side of Town

Rainbow in the Dark

Meanstreak

Shine on

I Believe in You

Open Fire

Eyes Of A Stranger

I’m coming home

Dirty Girl

Rescue Me

Forever

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PRETTY MAIDS

It indeed wasn’t an easy decision for Pretty Maids to step in just a few days before the festival started and replace RATT on the main stage, but fortunately, they agreed to do it. Ronnie Atkins, Ken Hammer, and the guys have played Swedenrock several times in the past. Still, always in more miniature stages, so this was perhaps a once in a lifetime opportunity not just to promote the band’s new PANDEMONIUM –album but also to reach some larger audiences here. The band headed on stage at 04:30 PM and opened up with a string of tracks from their new PANDEMONIUM –album. The title track of the band’s previous WAKE UP TO THE REAL WORLD disc followed, but it wasn’t before the fifth song, “The Scream,” before the audience started to warm up and really get into the show. Ronnie Atkins worked really hard, and the band soon launched into classics like: “We Came to Rock,” “Back To Back,” and “Rodeo” the atmosphere was perfect. One of the highlights was when he announced “Please Don’t Leave Me,” originally a Phil Lynott (R.I.P) song, a huge hit in Sweden in the ’90s. The band was smart enough to play lots of classics instead of concentrating only on more contemporary material. There were four tracks included from both FUTURE WORLD and RED HOT AND HEAVY –albums. Ronnie and Ken proved that there’s still plenty of life left on Pretty Maids and a special mention for bassist Hal Patino (King Diamond). This must have been an extraordinary situation for him to play here after joining the band a few weeks ago, and also… Pretty Maids is quite far from what he has used to play for several years with King…

3/5

Pandemonium

I.N.V.U.

Wake Up To The Real World

Little Drops Of Heaven

Scream

Queen of Dreams

Final Day Of Innocence

Walk Away

We Came To Rock

Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi [Carmina Burana]

Back To Back

Rodeo

Please Don’t Leave Me.

Love Games

Future World

Red, Hot, and Heavy

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DEATH ANGEL

The long time Bay Area thrashers traveled all the way from Say Francisco for two European festival dates. The first stop was at the Swedenrock fest, where the five-piece unleashed a fiery old thrash metal gig. The frontman raged and spun his dreadlocks with intensive drive-thru the whole gig. The set fairly balanced the old songs from the older albums and the more recent material. Death Angel is known for being an ultimate kickass band on the stage. They didn’t make any exceptions for that. The guitarist Rob Cavestany and Ted Aguilar sounded extremely ripping lethal.  The newly recruited member, the bassist Damien Sisson, looked like the young Cliff Burton. The drummer Will Carroll has become a permanent member of Death Angel, giving a new level to the thrash of what Death Angel stands for. As for the audience, the Swedish audience truly sometimes sucks for sure. They did absolutely nothing, just staring at the band and eating junk food and drinking beer. Whenever Death Angel or any other thrash band visits Finland, there are always wild pits and kids going crazy in the audience. The Swedish crowd is eccentric for sure.

4 / 5

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BLACKBERRY SMOKE

This southern rock band hailing from Atlanta, Georgia has a promising future ahead of them, it seems. Their second album, LITTLE PIECE OF DIXIE, was released just last year, and now they played SRF for the first time. A rather large crowd gathered to witness their show on the DIO stage. The set included songs from both their albums, with the new songs going down just as good as those from the first album BAD LUCK AIN’T NO CRIME. It can be mentioned that their friend Chris Robinson (of The Black Crowes) actually came up with their band name for a fun fact.

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SLAYER

Slayer had to cancel the gig a day before the Swedenrock fest. However, the spokesman of Swedenrock rushed to announced the Slayer gig would happen as planned in the first place. Obviously, Tom Araya had suffered from serious throat problems resulting in the cancellation.  The aftermath caused by the surgery was apparent. He didn’t spin his head at all, even though he was about to start the helicopter headbanging during “Raining The Blood.” For one reason or another, Slayer made some mistakes playing. Apparently, the sounds on the stage weren’t very good. All in all, Slayer wasn’t in top form even though the Swedish press praised the gig afterward. As for the audience, the audience was nothing but utter lazy and dull, no pits, no chaos, and mayhem. Instead, just starring at, eating pizza, and drinking beer. Talk about a dead crowd. The set had been created to cover both the new and, of course, the old classic songs such as “Hell Awaits.” Hopefully, Slayer won’t face these problems when playing in Finland in August.

2 / 5

    World Painted Blood

    Hate Worldwide

    Cult

    Disciple

    War Ensemble

    Expendable Youth

    Jihad

    Beauty Through Order

    Seasons in the Abyss

    Hell Awaits

    Mandatory Suicide

    Chemical Warfare

    Raining Blood

    Aggressive Perfector 

    South of Heaven

    Silent Scream

    Angel of Death

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   ‘

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JORN

Jorn Lande and his JORN released their 6th studio album SPIRIT BLACK this year, an excellent album. Jorn also released with Masterplan their comeback album a few weeks before this years’ festival. A tour from them can be expected in the fall at the earliest. Tonight though, the focus was 100% on JORN and nothing else. A really tight and visually perfect set was seen. Jorn has sometimes been accused of having a tad too many covers in his set. This was absolutely not the case here. The sole cover song tonight was “Are You Ready” from Thin Lizzy, featured on the DUKE album from 2006. During the last song of the set, “War of the world, “ a few lines were sung from “Man on the silver mountain” as a fitting tribute to the late and great Ronnie James Dio. Most of the set’s songs were taken from their most recent albums, including the excellent LONELY ARE THE BRAVE from 2008. JORN got the ‘headlining’ slot at the Sweden stage, which suited them perfectly. This was, by the way, their first appearance at SRF, way overdue!

4/5

Road of the Cross

Shadow People

Below

We Brought The Angels Down

Stormcrow

Spirit Black

The Inner Road

Man of the Dark

Blackstone

Guitar solo (Tore Moren)

Tungur Knivur

Guitar solo (Tor Erik Myhre)

Rock and Roll Angel

Drum solo (Willy Bendiksen)

Soul of the Wind

Are You Ready

War of The World

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DANZIG

Danzig hasn’t been too active during the past years. It had taken app. six years since CIRCLE OF SNAKES saw the light of day. The latest opus, DETH RED SABAOTH, kind of made Glen Danzig return to the limelight. Metal-Rules.Com was supposed to interview Glen Danzig, but surprisingly it got canceled by the delayed schedule. However, Danzig wasn’t late when getting on the stage. The legend was indeed in good shape. His voice was amazing, having no weak parts or moments. The night’s set was definitely godly as it covered a wide range of all-time Danzig classics as well as the newer material off the newest album. Glen Danzig moved with raging passion on the stage and enjoyed chatting with the audience a little bit. As for these good old as “Dirty Black Summer,” “Long Way Back From Hell,” “Twist Of Cain,” “Tired Of Being Alive,” Danzig was excellent from the beginning to the end. Hopefully, he will launch a major European tour to support the new album.

 4,5/5

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MAYHEM

Black Metal has got more and more space on the roster of the Swedenrock fest. For example, Watain, Behemoth, and Mayhem presented the more extreme section at the fest. Mayhem deserved to have a slot at Swedenrock as their reputation for being one of the pioneers of that genre is known. The singer Attila stepped on the stage with the obscure bloody mask and a rope in his hand. Even though the band has changed, however, both Morfeus and Silmaeth created the ultimate nihilistic soundscape. Hellhammer’s drummer was as massive and clear as usual at the Mayhem gigs. Musically the gig was totally pure mayhem and nihilism from the beginning to the end with Attila’s brutal and deep growling.

3/5

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AEROSMITH

Aerosmith has lately been in headlines for other than musical reasons. In August of 2009, singer Steven Tyler accidentally fell off the stage and broke his shoulder, and the band had to cancel the rest of their tour. Since there have been many rumors and speculations about the band’s future. At one point, Steven was going to leave for a solo career while the rest of the band announced that they were seeking a new frontman. There was also speculation about Steven’s possible drug use, and the list goes on and on but after all, in March of 2010 band announced their recent world tour under the banner: COCKED, LOADED, READY TO ROCK.  Aerosmith now returned to Swedenrock after a three-year break, and for sure, there were tens of thousands of pairs of eyes following how the band is currently doing after facing all those problems.

“Love in an Elevator” opened the show, followed by “Back in the Saddle.” A cover version of Thomas Rufus’s classic “Walkin’ the Dog” followed and worked fine as well. Next, the band did a string of the band’s 90’s hits: “Falling in Love (Is Hard on the Knees,” “Livin’ on the Edge,” and “Jaded which made especially younger fans happy. The band sounded overall good there, although all songs were played a little slower than usual. What was good to notice here was that Steven Tyler was still his typical himself. He was jumping across the stage and posing for photographers. He wore his typical clothing: big sun classes, a big hat, and tons of silk crafts tied in the microphone stand. There was nothing wrong with his vocals, either. He mostly sounded pretty good there. Guitarist Joe Perry was looking very classy, and his playing was as perfect as always. There was a hilarious new part included in the show after “Lord of the Things” when Joe was playing against his Guitar Hero character. Of course, everybody knows who won that “battle”…  Tom Hamilton and Joey Kramer haven’t changed at all over the years, but what on earth has happened to Brad Whitford? He was wearing a full-length brown leather jacket with high collars, huge face covering sunglasses, and some kind of head covering hat. He succeeds in covering because the audience could only see part of his chin and cheeks during the show. On performing wise, he stood like a mummy on his side on stage for the whole show. Some people did speculate if it even was him on stage?

After all those speculations, this was still a good and enjoyable show. There was some perceptible tiredness there, but how much more you can expect from men in their 60’s. The setlist included all the best-known hits and some gems like: “Kings and Queens” and “Lord of the Things.”  It was great to see that Tyler and Perry did fine with each other after all those problems, but it has to be said that at times there was a kind of “freezing” atmosphere on stage between those two. They have had serious problems between them in the past for many occasions, but hopefully, they can work things out once again, and we’ll see still another Aerosmith album get released someday?

 3,5/5

Love in an Elevator

Back in the Saddle

Walkin’ the Dog

Falling in Love (is Hard on the Knees)

Livin’ on the Edge

Jaded

Kings And Queens

Cryin’

Drum Solo

Lord Of The Thighs

Joe Perry Guitar Battle

Stop Messin’ Around

I Don’t Want To Miss a Thing

Sweet Emotion

Baby, Please Don’t Go

Draw the Line

Dream On

Walk This Way

Toys in the Attic

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FRIDAY

 

MSG

With this tour, Michael Schenker Group is celebrating their 30’th anniversary so that it would be interesting. The show kicked off with the classic “Armed and Ready” followed with “Cry for the Nations,” Unlike MSG did last time in Swedenrock in 2006, Michael and his band truly rocket out. (In 2006, it was a completely different band, different singer, different setlist, and Michael didn’t have his best day…).” Let Sleeping Dogs Lie” and “Ready to Rock” continued that era before it was a time of tonight’s only exception. “I Want You” from MSG album THE MIDST OF BEAUTY, which sounded as good as anything else on tonight’s set. Maybe it becomes a future classic. Who knows? Returning classic MSG era singer, Gary Barden sounded the same as he used to do in the ’80s. Actually, he now sounded way better than he did a year ago on THE MIDST OF BEAUTY –tour. He’s definitely the voice of MSG, and hopefully, he and Michael will carry on working together for a long time. Like mentioned before, Michael now had his good day. His playing was excellent and accurate without any problems there. He seemed to have a good time and clearly enjoyed being on stage. Besides MSG classics band also did a string of old Michael-era UFO classics. You can’t go wrong with “Rock Bottom” or “Doctor Doctor,” right? Unfortunately, the band’s showtime was already as early as 01:30 PM. Partly for that reason, but it was also raining, there wasn’t too huge a crowd seeing this good show. This line up with Michael, Gary, drummer Chris Slade (AC/DC, Uriah Heep, Asia), bassist Chris Glenn (MSG, Alex Harvey Sensational Band), and longtime MSG member guitarist/keyboardist Wayne Findley should have deserved some better here.

4/5

Armed And Ready

Cry For The Nations

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

Ready To Rock

I Want You

Into The Arena

Lost Horizons

Rock My Nights Away

On And On

Lights Out

Attack of The Mad Axeman

Rock Bottom

Doctor Doctor

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  CONNY BLOOM

Former Hanoi Rocks member and current solo artist / Electric Boys –singer and guitarist performed in the Classic Rock –tent and did a string of songs from his past career, including songs from his solo albums, Electric Boys, and some well-known rock classics as well.  This intimate, stripped-down acoustic set seemed to work really well for Conny, and he managed to attract such a large crowd to see his performance. All in all, this was really refreshing and enjoyable show in every aspect.

4/5

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 NAZARETH

The legendary Nazareth appeared on the festival stage at a relatively early hour at 13:30 and played for a  little over an hour. A couple of new good additions had been made to the setlist since we last saw them, for example, the excellent hard-rocking ‘The Gathering’ from their latest 2009 album, THE NEWZ. We were also treated to the rather brilliant album track ‘Miss Misery’ rather early on, this one of course of their HAIR OF THE DOG album. The endless touring of Nazareth didn’t show at all in their performance. On the contrary, they seemed to be enjoying themselves, despite the way too early performance time. The last time they played Swedenrock at the smaller Sweden stage in the late evening, they better suited them.

3,5/5

Telegram

Turn On Your Receiver

Miss Misery

Dream On

Bad Bad Boy

The Gathering

My White Bicycle

Shanghai’d In Shanghai

Hair Of The Dog

Holiday

Love Hurts

Razamanaz

This Flight Tonight

 

MAGNUM

British rockers Magnum appeared again at SRF. The previous time was in 2005. This time the band relied rather heavily on new material from their latest IN THE VALLEY ON THE MOON KING album, as seen in the setlist below. While the new material was overall solid but somewhat slow at times, the place really lifted when the band launched into the beautiful ‘Les Morts Dansant,’ one of the set’s definite highlights. This was really singer Bob Catley’s moment to shine. The main set was closed with “Vigilante,” and after a short break, the band returned for the encore,e and the crowd got treated to two more classics in the form of “Don’t Wake the Lion” and “Kingdom of Madness.” All in all, this was a fine afternoon for Magnum. On top of it, all Magnum are already writing and recording a new album for release in early 2011.

3,5/5

Cry To Yourself

Take Me To The Edge

Brand New Morning

The Moonking

When We Were Younger

No One Knows His Name

Dragons Are Real

We All Run

Les Morts Dansant

All My Bridges

All England’s Eyes

Vigilante

Don’t Wake the Lion (Too Old to Die Young)

Kingdom Of Madness

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 PRAYING MANTIS

Classic NWOBHM band Praying Mantis finally made its way to Sweden rock –festival. The Troy brothers, Chris and Tony, have carried on bands’ long legacy since the early ’70s but there’s not too much left from bands glory days, which has once included such names as Dennis Stratton, Clive Burr, Paul Di’Anno, and Gary Barden… just to name few. The latest Praying Mantis release SANCTUARY is an altogether high-quality album, but somehow band can’t reach the same level in a live situation. There’s no denying that Praying Mantis does still sound good, especially with vocals and harmonies. Still, somehow they now resemble any other long-term amateurish group who once could have made it big time, but which did never happen. That time has gone by a long time ago for Praying Mantis, but for sure, they still managed to offer a good nostalgia trip for some old-school fans.

2/5

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STEEL PANTHER

The glam-rock parody band Steel Panther has made the audience laugh all around the planet. The reputation of the band is definitely overwhelming. As a result, the third stage’s whole area was quite packed when the glam rock stand-up comedians got on the stage. These guys are absolutely aware of how to catch the attention of the audience. The songs are simple as hell, but catchy ones for sure. Songs like: “Asian Hooker,” “Fat Girl,” and the anthemic “Death To All But Metal,” all with hilarious lyrics, proved that band’s sense of humor is amusing and truly enjoyable. Make-ups, tight spandex, naked tits, and big hairs are the name of Steel Panther’s game. Though being a die-hard metal fan with the death to posers attitude, these kinds of humor bands with a good attitude are always fun to watch and have good laughs.  In a way, it’s hard to admit, but it’s a fact that Steel Panther was one of the best and definitely the most entertaining performers of the whole festival.

5/5

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CINDERELLA

Philadelphia based Cinderella has been one of the most requested bands for Swedenrock for years, and now they finally made their way here. In a way, this is really a strange band. Cinderella has only released four studio albums in their career, the latest STILL CLIMBING came out in 1994, but they are still such a big name in the U.S playing sold-out package tours. Because of vocalist Tom Keifer’s vocals/throat problems, it’s now been three years since they’ve done an actual tour. Fortunately, things got solved early this year, and since then, there’s been a few gigs every but now back to the show itself. The band kicked their set off with “Second Wind” from LONG COLD WINTER. The rocking “Push Push” followed before it was time to turn it down a little bit with HEARTBREAK STATION –album ballad “Last Mile,” which really sounded like Aerosmith in many ways.  There was no sight of any vocal problems, which was really positive to notice. Guitarist Jeff LaBar played some great solos, and the whole band was performing very strongly. But as the show continued, there was some kind of tiredness noticeable. Especially Tom looked quite bored at times. Perhaps it was because of jetlag, who knows, but it looked like he wanted to be somewhere else but on stage. Anyway, despite having only four albums under their belt, the material is all solid. It was a pleasure for the audience to finally hear live classic hard rock songs like: “Shelter Me,” Gypsy Road,” “Nobody’s Fool,” and significantly “Shake Me,” which was their first MTV hit back in 1986. Great band, great material, but this just wasn’t their best night after all?

3/5

Second Wind

Push Push

Somebody Save Me

The Last Mile

Night Songs

Bad Seamstress Blues/Falling Apart At The Seams

Heartbreak Station

Coming Home

Shelter Me

Nobody’s Fool

Gypsy Road

Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)

Shake Me

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SUICIDAL TENDENCIES

“War Inside my Head” was echoing in the catacombs of my mind when arriving at the fourth stage to check out Suicidal Tendencies. Mike Muir and the company arranged one hell of a gig at Tuska last year. There was no weak moment at Swedenrock at all. Muir raged like a maniac on the stage running from one side to another side of the stage. Occasionally he was about fall when stumbling in wires. The band was indeed in flames on the stage. Besides, Suicidal is known for being nothing but utter energy and wild on the stage. The set basically consisted of the old Suicidal classics like: “Possessed To Skate,” “How Will I Laugh Tomorrow… etc. Even though the band was extremely vital and wild on the stage, that can’t be repeated about the Swedish audience. I can’t believe it at all. Obviously, some kind of little pushing happened in the front row, but that’s it.

3 / 5

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BEHEMOTH

The Polish extreme metallers Behemoth made their second visit to Swedenrock and once again on the fourth stage. As a matter of fact, the masked four-piece would have deserved to have a bigger stage. Whatever as Behemoth stormed with the menace and delivered an ultimate neck-breaking brutal slap to the audience. The band’s tight playing and controlled performance have created the accurate well-oiled death metal artillery on the stage. Nergal’s dominating voice and speaks between voice when introducing songs literally nailed the audience. Behemoth is always a killer, vicious, and uncompromising live act whose lives are never disappointed at all.

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BILLY IDOL

It’s been over four years since Billy Idol last time toured over here in Europe, but now he’s finally back with his renewed band. Along with his long-time guitarist Steve Stevens, there’s now a group of top musicians: Derek Sherinian (Yngwie Malmsteen, Dream Theater) on keyboards, drummer Jeremy Colson (Steve Vai, MSG), second guitarist Billy Morrison (The Cult, Camp Freddy) and bassist Stephen McGrath. Billy and the boys took the Rock stage at 09:45 PM. The surprising opening track, “Ready Steady Go,” from Billy’s old band Generation X opened the game with a storm. It was immediately followed by the old Idol classic “Dancing With Myself.” Although it started to rain really heavily in the middle of the song, it didn’t seem to bother Billy at all. He was bravely singing in the rain, although for sure he became wet all around. Although everyone could now see the wrinkles in Billy’s face, there was still no sight of any kind of tiredness there. Instead, he was still in top shape, both vocal-wise and physically. The new band did sound just as good and tight as expected. Special mention goes to Steve Stevens, who is one of the most handsome guitarists around. The show was all very entertaining, but perhaps the setlist let did leave something to be desired? Three Generation X songs, The Doors cover “L.A Woman” and Eddie Cochran’s classic “Twenty Flight Rock” were now played instead of classics like “Cradle of Love” or “Sweet Sixteen.” Also, there was only one track, “Scream,” from Billy’s latest album DEVILS PLAYGROUND and that’s a pity because there are many great songs in that album. But anyway, you can’t always please everyone, and this for sure was a great 90-minute show what Billy now offered for us.

4/5

Ready Steady Go

Dancing With Myself

Love Is Strange

Scream

White Wedding, Part 1

Cool Operator

Prodigal Blues

Bitter Pill

Twenty Flight Rock

To Be a Lover

Eyes Without A Face

Kings And Queens Of The Underground

Don’t Shoot The Messenger.

Kiss Me Deadly

King Rocker

Running With the Boss Sound

Rebel Yell

L.A. Woman

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GARY MOORE

Back in the heyday of the 80’s Gary Moore used to be one of the leading names on the map of the hard rock. Above all, “Over The Hills And Far Away” literally hit the jackpot and was played everywhere. As a matter of fact, Moore’s gig at Swedenrock was advertised as a return to the hard rock approach. The gig was started surprisingly with that 80’s hit and followed by “Thunder Rising,” “Military Man,” etc. Seriously, Moore’s motivation to return to the old hard rock material as he has abandoned to venture more into the blues. This gig was one of his first gigs playing the older material after all these years. The gig didn’t give that good impression of his passion for returning in time to the hard rock approach. Of course, there were some of the famous songs included like:  “Out In The Fields,” “Empty Rooms,” and “Parisienne Walkways,” but a lot of classic material from albums AFTER THE WAR, DIRTY FINGERS, or CORRIDORS OF POWER was still missing. Some of the tunes have now been rearranged to have a more blues-oriented approach instead of an original hard rock vibe. Frankly, it will be interesting if Moore continues with the hard rock approach in the future?

2/5

         Dunluce

         Over the Hills and Far Away

         Thunder Rising

         Military Man

         Days Of Heroes

         Where are you know

         So far away

         Empty Rooms

         Old Wild One

         Blood of Emeralds

         Out in the Fields

         Still Got the Blues

         Walking by Myself

         Parisienne Walkways
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SATURDAY

FATES WARNING

Legendary LA prog metallers Fates Warning has gone several changes thru the years and reached a more cult following amongst the progressive metal fans. With the PARALLEL album line-up, Fates Warning visited Swedenrock for the first time and performed on the main stage. The band’s solid and melodic prog metal got swallowed by the festival crowd very well. As this was a special gig with the Parallel line-up, it was obvious the whole album was played thru and, of course, other songs such as “Through Different Eyes” off PERFECT SYMMETRY and even the more recent material “Another Perfect Day” off FWX being the latest FW album, by the way, got played. Fates Warning just proved by being one of the greatest progressive metal bands, but unfortunately, they haven’t managed to get into the big league. According to the bassist Joe DiBiase, who left the band after the tour with Dream Theater in the mid of the ’90s, told he enjoys playing now and the future shall show.

Leave the Past Behind

Life In Still Water

Eye to Eye

The Eleventh Hour

Point of View

We Only Say Goodbye

Don’t Follow Me

Face the Fear

One Play

A Pleasant Shade of Gray Part III

Another Perfect Day

Through Different Eyes

Monument

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UNISONIC

The name Unisonic doesn’t say anything for average music fans, but the name Michael Kiske for sure does. The former Helloween singer from the band’s golden era, KEEPER OF THE KEYS –albums and more, is finally back on stage. There’s no saying that Michael hasn’t done anything with the music business during the past seventeen years when he’s been off stage. He’s been involved with tons of various projects and albums, including Tobias Sammet’s Avantasia –albums, Revolution Renaissance with Timo Tolkki, Supared, four KISKE albums, and last but not least, the Place Vendome –project, which in a way was in a key role for Michael’s decision to return. Place Vendome –line up also includes current Unisonic members: bassist Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69) and drummer Kosta Zafiriou (Pink Cream 69). Unisonic line-up is completed with former Krokus and Asia guitarist Mandy Mayer. The show started with three Place Vendome tracks: “Cross the Line,” “I’ll Gone,” and “Set Me Free.” It’s a fact that at first, Michael seemed to be a little confused on stage, but it got better fast, and what’s important, his recognizable voice was still as good as ever. The rest of the band did a good performance and provided some great backing vocals as well. Unfortunately, which was already obvious before the show, the audience didn’t seem to know Place Vendome material too well. It’s anyway such a small marginal project with not too much visibility, at least yet. The band did perform one brand new track called “Souls Alive,” written by Mandy. It was such a heavy song with some good melodies. In a way, it reminded some of his work with Krokus, but it was still different material and really promising. After a couple of more Place Vendome tracks, the band finally went into songs that most old Helloween fans were here waiting for. “Kids of the Century” and especially “A Little Time” proved for everybody that Michael can still easily nail that old material. It’s a pity that the band hasn’t had time to finish their new album before this show, but anyway, it’s great to see Michael back where he belongs, on stage.

3/5

Cross The Line

I’ll Be Gone

Set Me Free

Souls Alive

Sign Of The Times

Streets of Fire

The Setting Sun

My Guardian Angel

Kids of the Century

A Little Time

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POINT BLANK

Point Blank last played at SRF in 2004, a welcome return for this Texas-based southern rock band. The band recently released their comeback album FIGHT ON! In 2009, the first in 27 years. Original bassist Phillip Petty sadly passed away a couple of days before this gig, but Rusty Burns, John O’Daniel, and the company still put on an excellent performance. Among many others, “Mean to Your Queenie” was heard and a cover of Deep Purple’s “Highway Star. “ Point Blank performed on the aptly renamed DIO Stage, normally named Zeppelin stage.

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WINGER

This was Winger’s first time at SRF and right away at the biggest festival stage and in the sunshine! The band performed a really rocking set, including all the hits from the early ’90s, for example,” Seventeen’, ”Easy Come Easy Go,” and ”Can’t Get Enuff.” Three new hard-rocking songs from the new ’back-to-basics’ album KARMA were also heard. Winger are really skillful musicians, not the least heard and seen during their respective solos.

Pull Me Under

Blind Revolution Mad

Easy Come Easy Go

Stone Cold Killer

Rainbow in the Rose

Deal With The Devil

Down Incognito

Guitar solo (John Roth)

Your Great Escape

Guitar Solo (Reb Beach)

You Are the Saint, I Am the Sinner

Drum Solo (Rod Morgenstein)

Headed for a Heartbreak

Can’t Get Enuff

Seventeen

Madelaine

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RAVEN

Raven is one of these 80’s metal bands that didn’t manage to rise to the upper league and remained to enjoy the cult following thru these bands. The band has experienced a rough time; for example, Mark Gallagher smashed his leg. Anyway, Raven has returned and made a debut gig at Swedenrock. Due to the guitar’s unexpected technical problems, the beginning of the set suffered quite a bit. Despite the problems, the three-piece soldiered on. The band stormed the essential Raven classic ones such as: “All For One,” “Break the Chain,” and “Rock Until You Drop.” The Gallagher brothers gave the demonstration by crossing their instruments. Raven rocked and showed the old metal still lives and breathes well and, above all, never surrender.

2,5/5

Take Control

Live At The Inferno

All For One

Breaking You Down

Rock Until You Drop

Speed Of The Reflex / Mind Over Metal

Walk Through Fire

Crash, Bang, Wallop

On And On

Break The Chain

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NITZINGER

John Nitzinger played an electrifying set at SRF 2001, and now he finally returned. This time was very different because now John was here to play without his backing band, and the show was going to be all acoustic. After some problems (by SRF) with getting his guitar to work, he played material from his whole career, including songs from that classic blues album, one FOOT IN HISTORY, and the first self-titled album 1972. Once again, John let his charisma and persona come through, and he put on a terrific show. It was a really good idea to turn the Rock Klassiker tent into an all “unplugged” environment. The tent could perhaps be a little bit bigger next time so all (willing) people could fit in when some of the bigger artists play there, or then just in case of awful weather?

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OPETH

Opeth is either adored or disliked. Opeth has a tremendous fanbase at the domestic soil as the second party’s area was totally packed when the prog masters entered the stage. Even though the band had the playing time quite enough, each song’s running time is extended, eating most of the time. It is occasionally hard to figure out why Opeth is such popular as they are dead boring. Whatever as people seem to dig them, and Opeth has deserved and gained all the success. Mikael Åkerbelt definitely loves speaking and communicating with the audience. Opeth definitely fits smaller clubs than big open-air festivals.

Windowpane

The Grand Conjuration

The Lotus Eater

The Drapery Falls

Advent

Demon of the Fall

Deliverance

Blackwater Park

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ANVIL

The Canadian cult metallers Anvil having great success in their DVDs, pulled a massive crowd to bang their heads. The frontman, Lips, was truly excited about having a chance to play at the European metal and rock festivals. The set was kicked off by the instrumental song “March of The Crabs,” followed by the new and old songs.  Lips, appeared to be in an excellent mood during the whole gig. Why not ?! The three-piece lives their glorious years again. Besides, the band had pulled a tremendous large of an audience. The Canadian three-piece truly deserves to have a second chance in their career.

    March of the Crabs

    666

    School Love

    Winged Assassins

    This Is Thirteen

    Mothra

    Flying Blind

    Thumb Hang

    White Rhino

    Mad Dog

    Forged in Fire

    Metal on Metal 

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 WATAIN

Watain’s set was advertised as a special Bathory set in advance. The stage was full of different sizes of pyrostands and all kinds of pentagrams looking symbols. The Watain set had been divided into two separate sections. The first one consisted of Watains’s own material, and the second had been dedicated to Bathory. Watain’s own set featured the most recent single, “Reaping Death,” and of course the older ones such as “Sworn to the Dark.” As for the Bathory, after a break, the father of the last Quorthon, Peter Boss Forsberg, entered the stage with the torch in his hand and welcomed to the Bathory world. After the “Odens Ride Over Nordland” intro followed by “ A fine day to die” and from the other older Bathory albums. Frankly, Watain did an outstanding performance and interpretation of those Bathory classics. Even though the set had been focused on the more brutal blackish stuff of Bathory, it would have been interesting and curious to hear how Watain would have done the Viking era of Bathory. But in general, absolutely great tribute.

4/5

Malfeitor Play

Sworn to the Dark

I Am The Earth

Wolves Curse

Reaping Death

Stellarvore

On Horns Impaled

A Fine Day to Die (Bathory cover)

The Return of Darkness and Evil (Bathory cover)

Reaper (Bathory cover)

Enter the Eternal Fire (Bathory cover)

Sacrifice (Bathory cover)

Born For Burning (Bathory cover)

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W.A.S.P

W.A.S.P seems to have a never ending success amongst the Swedish hard rockers. When Blackie with the back-up bands got on the stage, every corner on the field was totally blocked. However, the gig was advertised to consist of the material of the first two albums. That definitely made one wonder how he could play some of those tunes as these particular songs’ lyrics are against his belief. The set was kicked off by “On Your Knees” and followed by “Torture Never Stops.” All in all, the set mainly consisted of the material from those albums mentioned earlier, but there was one new song from BABYLON and, of course, “Chainsaw Charlie.” The gig itself was a brutal lesson of real heavy metal with the killer sounds and raging performance. WASP is always a killer live as back in the day. WASP stands for Heavy Metal with the real meaning.

4,5/5

 

On Your Knees

The Torture Never Stops

L.O.V.E. Machine

Wild Child

The Last Command

Crazy

Hellion

Widowmaker

Sleeping (In The Fire)

Chainsaw Charlie (Murders in the New Morgue

Babylon’s Burning

The Idol

I want to Be Somebody

Blind In Texas

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STRATOVARIUS

While Guns And Roses were welcoming the audience to the jungle on the main stage, the Finnish power metal combo Stratovarius was on the fourth stage. It is ironic how the mighty power metal band has fallen from the hunting high to the hunting low as the band would have been on the second stage years earlier. They managed to pull fewer people than, for example, Anvil and Mayhem. Hmmm. Obviously, the timing was not that perfect for the band. The five-piece went thru the essential so-called Strato classics such as: “Black Diamond,” “Hunting High and Low,” and “Speed OF Light.” The current guitar wizard Matias Kupiainen definitely stepped in to fill large shoes left by Timo Tolkki. Still, in the live situation, Kupiainen handled the playing of these older songs fine. All in all, Stratovarius did quite a routine gig at Swedenrock, offering no surprises.

3/5

Hunting High and Low

Speed of Light

The Kiss of Judas

Deep Unknown

Phoenix

Winter Skies

A Million Light Years Away

Forever

Visions (Southern Cross)

Eagleheart

S.O.S.

Paradise

Black Diamond

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GUNS ‘N ROSES

For sure, Axl Rose is one of the most controversial and interesting persons in the world of rock history. After Guns ‘n Roses finally released its long-awaited comeback album CHINESE DEMOCRACY last year, which was in the making for over 16 years, the band has now returned on tour with its renewed lineup. With Axl and keyboardist Dizzy Reed being the only members left from bands classic USE YOUR ILLUSION era, the current version now includes bassist Tommy Stinson, drummer Frank Ferrer, another keyboardist Chris Pitman and guitarists Ron “Bumblefoot” Thai, Richard Fortus, and  DJ Ashba.

Axl and his (hired) guns are well known for having a habit of starting their shows late, sometimes less and sometimes more, and Swedenrock -performance wasn’t any exception here.  DJ Ashba opened up the show with the main riff of “Chinese Democracy” about 45 minutes later than originally announced (which was such an acceptable from this band, which is sometimes delaying their shows for hours.) The whole band soon appeared on stage, and the long-awaited performance finally started with tons of explosives used. With Guns’n Roses, it’s always a little mystery how Axl is doing “today,” but today, he did seem to have a good day. The vocals worked out really well, and although everyone could now see him getting older, Axl was still running and dancing across the stage like in the old days. Axl was wearing the same clothing style, including a bandana and giant sunglasses, which he was famous for in the band’s glory days, and it was a good choice for sure. A string of APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION classics: “Welcome to the Jungle,” “It’s So Easy” and “Mr. Brownstone” worked out great, you can’t go wrong with such strong material as that, but unfortunately, things went little down when band next headed into new album track “Sorry.” “Live and Let Die” did help a lot, but another new track, slow and dragging “This I Love,” killed the atmosphere almost immediately.

The same effect was repeated many times during the show. It must be admitted that although there is some excellent material on CHINESE DEMOCRACY, like “Street of Dreams and “Better,” those songs are still far from the quality of the early material on APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION. Also, the band didn’t play much material from the USE YOUR ILLUSION albums for some strange reason. Altogether only four tracks were performed, and that’s not much when you have 30 songs on those two excellent albums to choose from. But with the setlist, you can’t ever please everyone. Axl himself was even in surprisingly good shape in every way, and there was nothing wrong with the current band either. The band’s latest addition DJ Ashba (Sixx A.M, ex-Beautiful Creatures) and Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal, presented some excellent playing. At the same time, the rest of the guys stayed more in the background.

As a whole, the show was impressive with some cool effects, pyro and explosives used. This current band incarnation might not be even close to the original version of Guns ‘n Roses, but it did prove that there’s still plenty of life left within this band, no matter if it’s just Axl and his hired Guns.

3,5/5

Chinese Democracy

Welcome To The Jungle

It’s So Easy

Mr. Brownstone

Sorry

Richard Fortus Guitar Solo

Live And Let Die

This I Love

Rocket Queen

Dizzy Reed Piano Solo

Street Of Dreams

You Could Be Mine

DJ Ashba Guitar Solo

Sweet Child O’ Mine

Axl Rose Piano Solo

November Rain

Bumblefoot Guitar Solo

Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door

Nightrain

Madagascar

Better

Paradise City

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