70000tons of METAL



January 24 – 28, 2011
Miami FL – Cozumel MEXICO – Miami FL

Daily updates from Metal-Rules.com‘s own JP


DAY FIVE-Land Ho!!

Again morning came waaay too soon, even if it was Manowar on the alarm clock.  We knew it was going to be another 18 hour day as we found out that after our initial requests for interviews had been declined, we discovered late Wednesday that we were going to interview Agent Steel, Destruction, and Rage!!  The agenda was to try to see at least half of the 28 scheduled concerts, do photos of the last dozen bands we hadn’t shot yet, the daily press conference, the guitar clinics and the interviews, never mind the belly-flop contest and table-hockey with Sabaton in the bar!  A very fast breakfast and we were ready for the pirate hi-jinks of Swashbuckle.

Swashbuckle: These guys were genetically designed for this trip and naturally played ‘Cruise Ship Terror’ to the amusement of the few hundred hungover fans poolside squinting in the bright sun. Of course the shark, the giant parrot, fake palm trees and rubber cutlasses were out in full force and at the end of ribald, profanity laced gig they whipped a pineapple into the crowd.

Arsis: It was not the time or place for Arsis (or The Absence) as they really seemed out of place. It was a lousy time slot and although their newer brand of Metal was well-received by the couple dozen early risers, it wasn’t their best effort.

Sanctuary: Back to the poolside again for the second Sanctuary gig closing in on noon and the legions were crawling out into the sunlight. The gig attracted the likes of Gary Holt (Exodus) and Mark Osegueda (Death Angel) to the crowd. They mixed it up playing basically most of the songs they didn’t play the first gig including, ‘Termination Force’ and ‘White Rabbit’. Another legendary gig that will go down in history.

The middle of the day was busy with press, but of the best kind, as we got to talk to Peavy and Victor from Rage, Schmier from Destruction, Juan from Agent Steel and a couple of impromptu interviews with Rob from Exodus and all of Duskmachine!!  The media team of Wolfgang, Jan and Carol were great and all the interviews went off without a hitch. Watch for the full interviews (plus the previous days interviews with Trouble, Death Angel and Forbidden) on this site in the very near future.  Despite all this craziness and ‘literally’ running across the ship to get from end to end, we managed to catch bits of the Victor Smolski guitar clinic, Dark Tranquillity, Obituary and Sonata Arctica.  With the vast majority of the ‘work’ done it was about 4:00pm and time to enjoy some drinks, (conducting an interview while you are drunk is apparently a journalistic faux-pas…who knew?) take some pictures of the last few bands we hadn’t managed to catch yet, AND watch some more of our favorites.  The Thrashmaster opted for Death Angel and I headed over to see Raven again.

Raven: The concert despite being in a smaller venue was at at a much better time with way more people in attendance and better yet, many other musicians on the cruise attended the see the NWOBHM legends in action. I saw members of Voi-Vod, Exodus, Destruction and Trouble in the audience actually watching the show. Jon was as manic as ever, he actually climbed up on the rigging over the stage and was hanging by one arm, swinging like a monkey, playing his bass AND still singing the song!  Another medley and extended jam added flair and fun to the dynamic and energetic show.

Death Angel: Another excellent showing from these thrash veterans. They announced that the song ‘Voracious Souls’ would not be played on their upcoming tour, and was a boat exclusive. The set was heavy on older material, and they closed the set with an old favorite in ‘Thrashers’.

Testament: After another quick look at Sabaton rocking the outdoor stage it was off to see Testament on the big stage. It was packed! They had advertised they were going to play ‘The New Order’ in it’s entirety but they did drop a couple of songs including the Aerosmith cover ‘Nobody’s Fault’ which I was hoping to hear. It was a great gig.

Malevolent Creation: Moments later on the smaller stage I finally got see one the few original era, Death Metal bands that I had not seen yet. As one of the only truly heavy bands on the boat they put on a skull-crushingly heavy and fast set. They played my second favorite tune of the debut album, ‘Multiple Stab Wounds’ and it was great to see a no nonsense, heads down, balls out, Death Metal show of brutality.

Sodom: A much better time slot than before and Uncle Tom and the guys played a similar set but mixed it up slightly changing up a few songs. They played ‘The Voice Of Killing’ from CODE RED, which was cool because I’d forgotten how good that song is. Sodom blessed the crowd with ‘Napalm In The Morning’ and a number of old favorites like ‘Outbreak Of Evil’ and ‘Sodomy And Lust’. Another triumph.

Moonspell: It was good to see the guys from Portugal again as they played a set largely composed of their heavier (less gothic) material and the big hits from the first few albums. Fernando sounded great and the band was washed in colored lights, smoke and sea-spray for a cool visual effect.

Blind Guardian: I caught all of BG’s hour and a half set and like most other bands they mixed up the set list quite a bit. A highlight came near the end of the show when Kai Hansen of Gamma Ray joined them onstage during ‘Valhalla’ because, of course, he sang on the original studio version just over 20 years ago.  Speaking of 20 years ago, near the very end a very drunk (and happy) Jon Schaffer of Iced Earth jumped on stage and informed the crowd how he and BG have been friends for 20 years and gave the guys in the band hugs and told them he loved them!  Then the band, Kai and Jon finished the night with a sloppy but raging version of ‘Barbara-Ann’ and everyone left happy.

Amon Amarth / Nevermore: Once again the party was in full gear all over the boat, it was well past midnight and no one noticed despite an early debarkation time. I passed by the pool stage and the viking warriors of Amon Amarth were conquering everyone and I’m sure all of Miami shivered in fear as the invaders heralded our dragon-ship to their shores. Again set overlaps made for tough choices so splitting my time I joined Nevermore in full progress. I’ve seen Nevermore many times over the years and one thing that struck me, as I listened to Dane’s clear, powerful voice, is how good the lyrics of Nevermore consistently are.

It was tough to top and thus finishing on a high note, and dreading an another painfully early morning we did a last round of the vessel before heading back to the brig. On our way we passed (yet again) the Metal Karaoke in full swing and watched in amusement as Alex Skolnik (Testament), Tom Hunting (Exodus) and Damien Caroll (Death Angel) all singing some country song and doing a square-dance!  Rumour has it that alcohol may have been involved. The bar was packed and everyone was loving every minute.

And so it ended. We survived. Barely.  Exhausted and happy, but we survived. We made it ashore just in time, because we were running out of merchandise and worse yet, running low on beer!!  The rumour circulating among the ship is that we set the all-time record for alcohol consumed on a cruise….on the first day. It’s a good thing we didn’t run out of beer, there would have been a mutiny and someone would have walked the plank. However, we, your loyal pair of Metal Rules seafarers, survived to tell the tale of….

-4 days

-42 bands

-2038 fans from 48 nations

-3 stages

-3 press meetings

-8 band interviews

-12 fan interviews

-41 live concert photo shoots

-60+ concerts

-18 hours of sleep

-1 damaged liver

-70,000 Tons of HEAVY FUCKING METAL!!!!

Can I sleep now?


Read on for interviews and the photo gallery!

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