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The opening words

The big talk for this year's edition of Metaltown was two things. First, of course, the booking of System Of A Down, a confirmation that was made at the same moment the band announced their hiatus was over. Secondly, after seven years in down town Göteborg, the festival moved to a new location, somewhere in the vicinity of Säve Airport. As it turns out, this was going to be the big thing during the festival. I did not know what to expect, other than that it would be harder to get there, but I did not expect people to have to walk for 20 minutes in a ditch right beside the highway. The fact that the area was hard to get to, and that when you got there, the design of the area was so terrible, people preferred to go home again, somewhat lowered the whole feel of the festival. But, I got there, did what I was supposed to, and left.


Reviews by Olof/Bjorn
Photos by Olof

Friday - June 17

Band: Madball
Black Stage 16:15-17:00

~ By Bjorn
Although I was surprised by the booking of hardcore band Madball, I was thrilled to finally get to see them and in no way did they disappoint me. Despite the fact that the stage is somewhat too high to stage dive from, frontman Freddy Cricien has a lot of fun onstage and seems happy by the warm reception the band gets, along with all the mosh pits going on. 45 minutes rarely is enough for a full concert experience but with this kind of discharge - full speed and maximum energy from the very first second to the last - it was perfect. 'Explosive' would be the best word to describe it.

7,5 chalices of 10

Setlist: (might be slightly incorrect)
Infiltrate The System
We The People
For My Enemies
Can't Stop, Won't Stop
Hold It Down
Look My Way
All Or Nothing
Down By Law
Get Out
Hardcore Pride
Pride (Times Are Changing)
Hardcore Still Lives

Band: Khoma
Close Up Stage 20:00-21:00

~ By Olof
Khoma is one of the more odd bands on Metaltown festival, but since the hard core metal people are enjoying Cavalera Conspiracy at the Red Stage, the half expected hecklers seem to be occupied elsewhere. I find it very good that the band was placed on the Close Up stage, which is inside a tent. This enhances the atmosphere, and the sun outside cannot spoil the club-like feeling that arises inside. The crowd is big and enthusiastic, and when the band starts of, you can tell that they are as well. Compared to the last time I saw the band, all of the members seem to be much more energetic, and they help singer Jan Jämte in his mission to reach the audience. It does not take long until he has the whole crowd in his hand (literary), and the band manages to break down the barrier that separates us. We are one.

I must say, that I doubt this band can ever do a bad gig, but I also wonder whether I will ever see them exceed this one. I can find nothing to complain about. The sound is really good, the whole band play like their lives depended on it, the passion is in the air, and we are offered "Last Call", a song the band has not played live for over six years. All this taken into account, the fact that Jämte sings a bit out of key in the first part of "Army of one" can only be seen as a testament of how he started at 100% and progressed from there. As I said, It´s hard to imagine a better gig with this band.

10 chalices of 10

Just Another Host
One Of Us Must Hang
Stop Making Speeches
Last Call
Through Walls
From The Hands Of Sinners
In It For The Fighting
Army Of One
All Like Serpents

Band: Graveyard
Close-Up Stage 18:30-19:30

~ By Bjorn
With the release of their latest album Hisingen Blues, psychedelic rock band Graveyard have really gotten their well-earned big breakthrough on a wide front, which is shown in how stuffed the small tent scene is, with at least a thousand people standing outside.

As Metaltown is located on Hisingen, it's almost a little too perfect to kick off the gig with Hisingen Blues and naturally the setlist is focused on the latest album. The crowd loves it and all the applause and cheering almost drowns out the music during some songs. What makes the gig great, however, is how the band members take the time to jam and improvise with the solos which lifts the gig above being just a mirror image of the records.

7,5 chalices of 10

Setlist: (might be slightly incorrect)
Hisingen Blues
Satan's Finest
No Good, Mr Holden
Uncomfortably Numb
Buying Truth (Tack & Förlåt)
Thin Line
Ain't Fit To Live Here
The Siren
Evil Ways

Band: Cavalera Conspiracy
Red Stage 19:30-20:30

~ By Bjorn
A somewhat uninspired start with poor sound perhaps wasn't the best way to kick off Cavalera Conspiracy's concert, but as the band became more focused and the sound improved, it all eventually turned out pretty good. Seeing Max and Iggor reunited is great and they really seem to enjoy playing together. However, since Max mostly strums an open E on his guitar, he is lucky to have such a phenomenal lead guitarist as Marc Rizzo by his side, who single-handedly takes care of almost all of the guitar work.

In the end it all turns into a big Cavalera-family gathering, with four of Max's and Iggor's sons joining the band onstage during the show. I have to admit that Max's son Igor (who can't be more than 15 years old) did a Hell of a job behind the drums during Cockroaches. Furthermore, closing the show with Roots Bloody Roots is a clever move but it's a shame that Inflikted wasn't saved to the end considering how much better everything sounded by the end of the concert.

6 chalices of 10

Refuse/Resist (Sepultura cover)
Territory (Sepultura cover)
The Doom Of All Fires
Killing Inside
Blunt Force Trauma
Black Ark
Cockroaches (Nailbomb cover)
Roots Bloody Roots (Sepultura cover)

Band: At The Gates
Red Stage 22:00-23:00

~ By Olof
It was supposed to be over three years ago, but for some reason, the classic godfathers of the Gothenburg Sound decided that it was a good idea to reinvent the idea of a farewell tour. I don´t know about that, but nevertheless, here we are. I saw At The Gates at their first last tour at Sweden Rock Festival 2008, and was struck by the quality of that gig. So I now stand before the Red Stage with high expectations, and think to myself "Come on, blow me away!". And I think they would have, if I did not expect them to. Lindbergs voice is better than ever before (again), the band is as tight as Tom Cruise´s wallet (again), and the songs are still as good as they used to be.

Even though every gig with this band is special (they are not common), this one is something more. Not only is it their last gig in Sweden (?), but they make it feel like it. Not only do we get all our favourite songs nicely delivered, but also, a few guests are invited on stage. First of is the one and only Andy LaRoque, playing his famous solo in "Cold". I don´t think anyone saw that one coming! Next, Jesper Jarold playing his violin solo from "The red in the sky is ours" before "Windows", and finally, towards the end, Mikael Stanne from Dark Tranquillity joins in a little duet in "World of lies".

All this is of course fun, and it feels like you´ve witnessed something truly exclusive. But there is a downside to this, which is that just because of the sensation of being one of the select few to be here this evening, you cannot help but feel it could have been better. It´s not magical, as you would have wished for. But is that to be expected? Maybe, I´ll leave that up to you.

7 chalices of 10

Slaughter Of The Soul
The Swarm
Terminal Spirit Disease
Suicide Nation
Raped By The Light Of Christ
Under A Serpent Sun
World Of Lies
Unto Others
The Burning Darkness
Blinded By Fear
Kingdom Gone

Band: System Of A Down
Black Stage 23:15-00:45

~ By Olof
When the, without doubt, biggest band in Metaltown´s history enter the stage, the sun has set, and the cold winds blow. Standing a bit back, with nothing but a t-shirt and a leather jacket, it is not easy to shield oneself from getting a bit cold. As I shiver my way through the gig I sadly realize something: The band I´ve been longing to see live for many years, disappoint me.
It´s hard to point out exactly what it is, but I remember watching live videos with this band from before the hiatus, which awoke my lust to catch a gig. It seems as if all that is gone now, at least for me.

Granted, Shavo is goofing around just like in the old days, and Daron is crazy, just as it should be, but it feels like just another day at work. I was watching the live stream from Rock Am Ring a few days earlier, and got the same sensation then. I was bored, and started playing tetris instead.

I remember Serj to be an energetic front man who had the power to engage the audience in the lunacy springing from these twisted musical minds, but nowadays his connection with his audience is down to the level of an occasional "how are you doing?". Maybe my expectations where to high, and maybe if I´d been in the front, moshing around, I´d thought of it differently. But I didn´t. And as I leave the area in front of Black Stage (to enter the tent and see Ghost), I do it with an anticlimactic feeling. "If only I took the chance six years ago..."

5 chalices of 10

Prison Song
Soldier Side (Intro)
Deer Dance
Chop Suey!
Lonely Day
Kill Rock´n Roll
Lost In Hollywood
Sultans Of Swing
Holy Mountains

Band: Ghost
Close-Up Stage 01:00-01:50

~ By Bjorn
The last band out for the day is Ghost, the probably most hyped rock band in Sweden right now, with a quickly growing following abroad as well. As everyone should know by now, the identities of all band members are secret and they all wear black robes, save for frontman Papa Emeritus I in his pope-like garment.

Overall, their gig was the best one on the entire festival, in my opinion. I couldn't possibly have anything to complain about regarding the setlist as they performed their entire album plus their cover of The Beatles' Here Comes The Sun, which was a personal highlight along with Death Knell and the instrumental masterpiece Genesis. Apart from that the song volume could have been higher; the gig was fantastic, showing that all the hype around Ghost is well deserved.

8,5 chalices of 10

Con Clavi Con Dio
Death Knell
Satan Prayer
Stand By Him
Prime Mover
Here Comes The Sun (The Beatles cover)

Saturday - June 18

Band: Arch Enemy
Black Stage 16:15-17:00

~ By Olof
How can so much power be held in such a small body? Not only does Angela Gossow have more balls than most of her male companions, but she is also half their size, and double their attitude. As soon as Arch Enemy invades Black Stage in their uniforms, one is blown away. It feels, I imagine, like being hit by a car (saving the bulldozer metaphor for Meshuggah) doing 200 mph on a wet summers day. For it is a wet summers day. The rain is drizzling down over an audience not looking very metal in their pink, green and yellow rain ponchos. But they know to appreciate the band on stage, and the band knows to appreciate the crowd.

The energetic singer shows that she can take in the crowd and get them warmed up. She also shows us that her voice, which can be a bit too much overdubbed on the albums, is probably even better live. It´s easy to imagine that the bands powerful start would somewhat disappear as we go along, but it´s full speed ahead for the entire 50 minutes (too short, of course). I almost get exhausted just from watching it.

One thing that makes this band a lot better live is that they can cut away the filler-songs, and focus on the good ones. Let´s face it: this band has a few hits, and a bunch of songs you don´t really care for. It´s like an audio roller-coaster. Not many bands can deliver "No Gods, No Masters", "We Will Rise" and "Nemesis" in a row, without having emptied their bag of hits. But Arch Enemy can, and they do. Overall, it feels like this is a jump start needed to endure a day of rain and cold. A boost of energy that can get you through this with your mind intact. Maybe.

8 chalices of 10

Khaos Overture
Yesterday Is Dead And Gone
Revolution Begins
Bloodstained Cross
My Apocalypse
No Gods, No Masters
We Will Rise
Fields Of Desolation
Enter The Machine

Band: Meshuggah
Red Stage 17:15-18:15

~ By Olof
I've seen these northern maniacs before, both in a small, sweaty, club, and on a big festival stage in the middle of a sunny day. I thought I had covered the different conditions, but I obviously missed out on one: Rain. And it also seems as if I was a bit to fast in judging the band as a pretty lame live act. These northern trailblazers are known to be pretty sparse in their performance, but this time they appear to do what they can to change that. Do they do anything differently, you might ask? No. They just do it better, and more.

I think it´s something created in the mix between the conditions, the surprisingly large crowd (most of whom would probably never pay to see a headline gig with the band), and the band´s way of seeming to be, well...alive. From the synchronized headbanging in the opener "Rational Gaze" they set the standard for what they can do, if they want to. It is no longer a machine we see on stage, it is in fact a band. A band that is capable of being dynamic and alive, even in the most non-dynamic and machine like moments of their music. Jens Kidman´s infamous speech in between songs is better than usual, and slightly more restrained. The band uses the stage to the full, and shortly, it´s a good gig. I´m surprised.

It helps the band, of course, to actually have some kind of hit to play. When "Bleed" starts, large parts of the audience, long way back starts screaming, jumping and putting the horns in the air. It reminds me of the response to "Blinded by fear" by At The Gates the night before. If a band like Meshuggah can achieve that, any band can.

7 chalices of 10

Rational Gaze
Perpetual Black Second
Straws Pulled at random
Future Breed Machine

Band: Deicide
Close-Up Stage 20:25-21:25

~ By Bjorn
The booking of Deicide is somewhat of a risky move for a festival, considering the amount of gigs and tours they've cancelled throughout the years. This time it paid off, though, and actually witnessing Glen Benton onstage with Deicide is nothing less than a surreal experience. However, after preparing myself mentally for disappointments, the gig actually turned out great - full speed from the first second to the last. Glen has an undeniable stage presence and lead guitarist Ralph Santolla does a Hell of a job, no pun intended, really showing off his skills during How Can You Call Yourself A God from the latest album.

Sure, the setlist is identical with every single gig since the release of To Hell With God but admittedly it's a pretty solid setlist. And sure, there is nearly no talk between the songs but Glen seems to be in a good mood and the scarce pauses intensify the aural assault. Some questions remain unanswered, though: How did Glen proceed in celebrating his birthday? Why was there a stuffed toy duck in front of Glen during the entire gig? And finally, did Steve Asheim actually play the drums in his underwear?

7 chalices of 10

Homage For Satan
Dead By Dawn
Once Upon The Cross
Scars Of The Crucifix
When Satan Rules His World
Serpents Of The Light
Hang In Agony Until You're Dead
They Are The Children Of The Underworld
Death To Jesus
Dead But Dreaming
Witness Of Death
Into The Darkness You Go
How Can You Call Yourself A God
Kill The Christian
Lunatic Of God's Creation
Sacrificial Suicide

Band: Watain
Close-Up Stage 22:30-23:45

~ By Bjorn
With a phenomenal scene décor and the smell of rotten blood spreading throughout the venue, the mood is quickly set for some high-qualitative black metal. It is no wonder that six of nine songs tonight are from Lawless Darkness, as Watain's big breakthrough has come with this album. Although I did miss Legions Of The Black Light, Satan's Hunger and Stellarvore, I'm too happy to have heard Wolves Curse, Total Funeral and Waters Of Ain live to whine about anything. Except that they should have gotten more time, even though they exceeded their scheduled time with fifteen minutes.

8 chalices of 10

Death's Cold Dark
Storm Of The Antichrist
Devil's Blood
Reaping Death
Wolves Curse
Sworn To The Dark
Total Funeral
Waters Of Ain

Band: Torture Division
Close-Up Stage 00:25-00:55

~ By Bjorn
Torture Division is what you could call a death metal all-star band, featuring Kenta Philipson, Tobias Gustafsson and Jörgen Sandström from bands such as The Project Hate MCMXCIX, Vomitory, Grave and Entombed. A small but dedicated crowd remains when they enter the stage to perform the last gig of the festival for my part.

As Jörgen Sandström in my opinion has one of the most powerful voices in death metal, and with such competent band members by his side, it's no wonder that it all turns out really great. They are joined onstage by the guys from F.K.Ü. for one song and everybody seems to have a great time, giving it all they've got.

7,5 chalices of 10

Setlist: (might be slightly incorrect)
End This Rotten World
Through The Eyes Of A Dead
The Axe Murderer
We Bring Upon Thee
Ravishing Rampage Sluts
Traumatic Inhuman Severance
Double Barrel Remedy
Invoking The Knifer

The closing words

I must say, that with the line up this festival had (and usually has), it is a mystery how they can make you feel it was not worth it. But I think if you make people have to pass THROUGH the audience in front of Red Stage to get into the actual area, and if the area in front of the two big stages of a festival with 25.000 tickets sold can only hold 15.000 people, then there´s something wrong. The number of people on Saturday was lower than Friday, simply because people did not want to go back! This is a testimony of the most dreadfully arranged festival I´ve been to. A lot of people agree. So bad I think I got cancer.


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