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Rockstad Falun 2011

I was going to Rockstad: Falun for the first time and didn't know what to expect. After a couple of hours I could see that this was going to be a festival remembered. About 5000 tickets were sold and festivals this size are usually the best, since there's a lot of space and the lines are short. The weather was perfect. Friday was sunny with temperatures up to 28°C (83°F) and Saturday was partly cloudy with temperatures in the mid twenties (high seventies).

~ Tobbe

|Friday| - |Saturday|

Reviews and photos by Tobbe

Friday - June 03

Band: Freedom Call
Main Stage 18:58-20:01, 63 minutes

Freedom Call has gone through several lineup changes in the last couple of years, but without losing any quality. Drummer Daniel Zimmermann is now out of the band permanently, but they have a great replacement in Klaus Sperling. Eternity is of course still their best release up to date, but the new work is right up there with their older albums and tonight they were going to show us what they are made of.

This show starts a pair of minutes early, which tells us that the band is focused and ready to do one hell of a show. Some problems with Lars Rettkowitz's guitar during the first couple of songs does not stop this band tonight. After a pair of songs they play three songs in a row from their latest release, Legend Of The Shadowking, which is a brave move considering that a lot of people at festivals only wants to hear the classics and the hits. Those songs however go down well.

Hits like Metal Invasion and Land Of Light are eventually played and I think that almost everyone who attended this gig left with a smile. Lead singer Chris Bay calls their music happy metal and that's just what it is. When they end this show with the song Freedom Call, at least I got goosebumps.

8 chalices of 10

We Are One
United Alliance
Tears Of Babylon
Thunder God
Out Of The Ruins
Metal Invasion
Far Away
Mr. Evil
Land Of Light
Freedom Call

See also: interview with Chris Bay the same night

Band: Sabaton
Main Stage 23:28-00:57, 89 minutes

Sabaton's own festival in their own small town was announced as something extraordinary. At this time at night all the people with tickets seemed to be in front of the main stage. Earlier some of the bands had a hard time getting people to see them, since many came from the vicinity and probably were finishing their jobs before leaving for the festival area.

We were promised a lot of pyro technique and guest appearances and we got it. The pyro was significant from the very start when Ghost Division was played. One of the guests at this gig were Frédéric Leclercq of DragonForce, who actually played guitar with Sabaton during their spring tour when Rikard Sundén were at home with his wife and kid. We got a couple of well known Germans too, Udo Dirkschneider of U.D.O. and Chris Boltendahl of Grave Digger. The band Van Canto even got to play one song alone later in the set, so we were getting Primo Victoria twice. Van Canto's version however was more a special thing, than good.

A lot of favourites were played, like The Price Of A Mile and Cliffs Of Gallipoli and this gig could have been higher rated by me if they had changed their setlist. Way too many songs were played from their latest release, Coat Of Arms. The guys however performed well and lead singer Joakim is always on top.

7 chalices of 10

The Final Countdown (intro)
Ghost Division
White Death
Cliffs Of Gallipoli
The Art Of War
The Final Solution
Into The Fire
The Price Of A Mile
Screaming Eagles
Primo Victoria (Van Canto alone)
Aces In Exile
Coat Of Arms
Primo Victoria
Metal Machine/Metal Crüe

To the top

Saturday - June 04

Band: Grave Digger
Main Stage 19:02-20:00, 58 minutes

Grave Digger never had a solid fan base in Sweden for some reason. The only time they play in Sweden is at festivals, which is a bit annoying, since their set almost always becomes as short as an hour or so. One hour is just what they get here in Falun this Saturday night.

The Grim Reaper enters the stage and the intro is played with a bagpipe. He takes his place behind the keyboard and the great Paid In Blood, from their latest album The Clans Will Rise Again, is the first song tonight. They play a couple of new songs and then it's all a hit cavalcade with songs like Ballad Of A Hangman, Knights Of The Cross and Rebellion. Lead singer Chris Boltendahl seems to enjoy this to the full and is giving everything he got to give the crowd the best heavy metal they got.

Due to their short set we get a medley which this time works out very well. Songs like The Last Supper and Excalibur are well received by the fans and it must be hard to choose a setlist when you have so many good songs to pick from. Van Canto is doing another guest appearance during Rebellion (The Clans Are Marching) and as always, Grave Digger close the set with Heavy Metal Breakdown. A great song, however predictable as well.

8,5 chalices of 10

Days Of Revenge (Intro)
Paid In Blood
The Dark Of The Sun
Hammer Of The Scots
Highland Farewell
Ballad Of A Hangman
Twilight Of The Gods/Circle Of Witches/The Grave Dancer/Twilight Of The Gods
The Last Supper
Knights Of The Cross
Rebellion (The Clans Are Marching)
Heavy Metal Breakdown

Band: Dream Evil
Bandit Stage 19:59-20:57, 58 minutes

Dream Evil has many times released solid to great albums, but can have a hard time to reach perfection during their gigs. They perform well, but the stage presence, I think, is suffering from that four fifths of the band has short hair. Metal should be played live with a lot of movement and the hair is visually important. Kerry King of Slayer even uses some plastic chains to make it more visual now when has shaved off his hair.

Once again the performance is solid, but still were missing that visual thing. Lead singer Niklas is in a great mood though and is entertaining the audience between the songs. They have chosen to play a best of- set tonight and the people down on the ground seems pleased with their choice. Heavy Metal In The Night should not have been in the setlist though, I think. Probably their worst song, but that's another story and my opinion.

The Book Of Heavy Metal (March Of The Metallians) is however their best song and this gig ends with a bang. That song is just a perfect closer of the set and I walk away with a smile, thinking how on earth a gig actually could be better just because of some movement.

6 chalices of 10

In Flames You Burn
Crusaders' Anthem
Fire! Battle! In Metal!
Made Of Metal
Heavy Metal In The Night
Bang Your Head
The Chosen Ones
Children Of The Night
Chasing The Dragon
The Book Of Heavy Metal (March Of The Metallians)

Band: Hell
Bandit Stage 22:17-23:11, 54 minutes

The story about Hell has been on every metal site the last months, so I'm not even going to bother about writing about it. Search Wikipedia if there still is any interest in this matter.

With only one album released, every song, but one is played and almost in the same order as on the album, Human Remains. Hell has got great stage presence and is trying hard to make this gig something special. Lead singer David Bower is very theatrical and has the crowd in his hands. In fact, all guys are doing good jobs up on stage and are really trying to get people their money's worth. They deserved a better crowd than the one they got this night, but let's face it, only the die hard fans knew who Hell were one year ago.

For being a band that has only released one album they are doing a great show, but to get one or two chalices more, the songs will have to be a bit stronger, which they sure will be if Hell is releasing another album. Maybe it will take another 25 years?

6,5 chalices of 10

Let Battle Commence
On Earth As It Is In Hell
Plague And Fyre
The Oppressors
Blasphemy And The Master
The Devil's Deadly Weapon
The Quest
Save Us From Those Who Would Save Us

Band: Helloween
Main Stage 23:32-00:48, 76 minutes

The last Main Stage band was no less than Germany's own Helloween. A worthy headliner at this festival. With a set length of only 75 minutes I knew that this was going to be intense.

Are You Metal started tonight's show and sets the pace for the rest of the gig. At festivals, Helloween knows what to play to please the fans on the grass. A couple of new songs to please themselves and then loads of songs from the Keeper Of The Seven Keys albums. Tonight we get a total of eight songs, out of twelve, from Keeper 1 and 2.

Andi Deris has got total control of the audience and with his renewed voice, which is better than ever, Helloween could continue at the top for a long time. Just as on their world tour last year they play a medley of all the three long Keeper songs, which was totally awesome then and is now. A brave move on a festival, but the crowd went insane, so the decision to play those three songs was correct.

Tonight's first encore is I Want Out, which felt like fifteen minutes long. Andi never wanted the crowd to stop shouting that word Out and I became bored, so when the first riffs of the closer, Dr. Stein, started it took me a minute to get me in the right rocking mood again.

7,5 chalices of 10

Are You Metal?
Eagle Fly Free
March Of Time
Where The Sinners Go
I'm Alive
Keeper Of The Seven Keys/The King For A 1000 Years/Halloween
Steel Tormentor
Future World
I Want Out
Dr. Stein

To the top

The closing words

This time I am going to make this short. See you next year, Falun!

~ Tobbe

Related links: www.rockstadfalun.net