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Fill Your Head With Rock

The early days of June mean that it is time for Sweden Rock Festival. The festival that started many years ago was now returning for the fifteenth time (even if it was not called Sweden Rock Festival initially) and once again, the festival was sold out. 21000 hardrockers and metalheads with a thirst for live music filled the area and those of you that have been there before know that the atmosphere is nothing but great. And what would Sweden Rock Festival be without the coverage from Metal Covenant, and this year we had no less than four of our staff members at the site.

The quality of the line-up this year has been discussed and even if it for my personal taste was not the strongest line-up I believe that variety of the bands was rather good for the festival in whole and I believe that it did offer something for everyone no matter if you have a taste for rock, hardrock or metal. With 60 something bands playing in three days on five stages you are left with a lot to choose from. Each day is ended with a headliner giving the last performance for the day, and this years the honour was given to; Deep Purple, Def Leppard and finally Whitesnake that was ending Sweden Rock Festival in 2006.
~ Thomas

Thursday - 8th of June

Band: Bullet
Zeppelin Stage 13.20-14.00

~ By David
Bullet has been around for some four years now and built up a strong foundation of underground fans. They have also warmed up for U.D.O. But this was their first appearance on the even bigger stages. Some nerves was in the air, but the band members were soon triggered by the great crowd that appeared in front of Zeppelin Stage under the heating early afternoon sun. Some problems with the sound put Erik Almströms guitar out of the picture for a while. Maybe some more inspired peptalk from frontman Hell Hofer in the silent pauses (when Erik tried to get his guitar work) would have been at its place. But a really solid gig anyway.

7 chalices of 10

Midnight Riders (Riding Free)
Hard Luck Lady
Heading For The Top
One Deal With The Devil
Speeding In The Night
Turn It Up Loud
Rambling Man
Leather Love
Bang Your Head

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Band: Krokus
Rock Stage 15.00-16.15

~ By David
Marc Storace and his fellows did a stable performance, but nothing spectacular. A bunch of new songs, Hellraiser, Spirit Of The Night and Angel Of My Dreams sounded promising for the new record to come. But maybe it is overkill to play three yet unreleased songs on a festival gig. New drummer Stefan Schwarzmann (ex. U.D.O., ex. Running Wild, ex. Helloween etc.) did a great job. Maybe he finally has found a band that suits him? Classics like Long Stick Goes Boom, Screaming In The Night and Rock City still holds a grip on the audience.

7 chalices of 10

Night Wolf
Long Stick Goes Boom
American Woman
Screaming In The Night
Spirit Of The Night
Angel Of My Dreams
Easy Rocker
Mad World
Rock City
Rock 'n' Roll Tonight
Bedside Radio

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Band: Dragonforce
Sweden Stage 15:00-16:15

~ By Hawk
Last time Dragonforce played at Sweden Rock Festival was a huge setback for them. The fact that they had to bring a new drummer, that actually was a fan of the band, just one day before the show destroyed all their possibilities. I wasn't there to witness the show myself but I've been told that it was a small catastrophe. A year later when they played at Gates Of Metal guitarist and band leader Herman Li didn't make it to Sweden due to airline problems and yet again a replacement had to be found. The lust for revenge was therefore quite big in the band and when the show was over they actually looked quite relieved considering all went well this time. Their speedy power metal worked quite well but the lack of variation and the long and not so enjoyable guitar solos lowered the final judgement on an otherwise flawless concert. The crazy keyboard solo must also be mentioned because it really proved that humour can make instrumental solos on concerts quite bearable.

6 chalices of 10

Black Fire
Fury Of The Storm
Operation Ground And Pound
Storming The Burning Fields
Dawn Of A New World
Soldiers Of The Wasteland
Through The Fire And Flames
My Spirit Will Go On
Valley Of The Damned

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Band: Porcupine Tree
Festival Stage 16:30-18:00

~ By Hawk
When Sweden Rock Festival presented the news that Steven Wilson and his clan was confirmed for this year's festival I literally screamed out loud. I would have travelled a long way to see Porcupine Tree perform alone and therefore my expectations were high as Pete Doherty. For my personal health it was good that they played already on the festival's first day since the wait otherwise would have been unbearable. Right on time Steven and the boys hit the first chord of Open Car, one of the stand out tracks on Deadwing, and then there was no escape. Right from the very beginning I was stuck and totally mesmerised by the fantastic and intricate song structures Porcupine Tree are known for and this with a performance out of this world. The members of Porcupine Tree are all something special but I must admit that I was mostly impressed by Gavin Harrison, what an awesome drummer ladies and gentlemen! The setlist was splendid, even if I missed out killers like The Sound Of Muzak or Futile I can't figure out which songsone they should have been replaced with really. The show's absolute highlight was no surprise though, Arriving Somewhere But Not Here wasn't just as amazing as I had expected, it was even better. I could go on rambling about this forever but I would like to conclude this with saying that this was the best concert I've seen, ever! Maybe not better than Metallica in Globen/Stockholm 1996 but at least on par, and that should speak for itself. Magical!

10 chalices of 10

Open Car
Blackest Eyes
Don't Hate Me
Mother And Child Divided
Arriving Somewhere But Not Here
So Called Friend
Even Less
The Start Of Something Beautiful

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Band: Raise Hell
Zeppelin Stage 19:00-20:00

~ By Thomas
Raise Hell has as a band gone from the death metal they started out with to a more thrash oriented metal, and by the time of their latest album a new vocalist has been recruited in Jimmy Fjällendal. To be honest I haven't heard much of their older stuff but I really enjoy their latest album City Of The Damned with Exodus smelling thrash combined with the darker metal of Morgana Lefay. Raise Hell is a band that deserves a proper break-through, not least with the convincing performance they gave at Sweden Rock Festival and hopefully more people got their eyes opened for them now. Their concert felt a bit short and I would have wanted to hear more of them, especially since they kicked some serious riffing grooves into action that was delivered perfectly. With Jimmy Fjällendal they have got a great front-man that not only can sing well but also act with authority on stage and without knowing how good Raise Hell has been live earlier I don't think they could have been any better. Raise Hell provided a perfect dose of thrash metal to be warmed up with before it was time for the next concert at the same stage with Grave.

7 chalices of 10

(sorry, no setlist)

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Band: Grave
Zeppelin Stage 20:45-21:45

~ By Thomas
Grave is among the pioneers in Swedish death metal, formed in 1986 they have been around for quite a while now and after a little break they are back. I can't recall that I have heard anything with Grave earlier so I went there with an open mind and realised that I have been missing out on something. Old-school Swedish death metal without any fuzz delivered by a band that acted confident and tight on stage made it really nice to stand and listen to them for an hour. The songs did sound a bit monotonous sometimes and the music felt a bit repetitive between the great grinding, but that can have something to do with me not being that familiar with the band. But that will probably change now since it might be very well worth checking out their forthcoming album As Rapture Comes which is going to be released in July.

6,5 chalices of 10

(sorry, no setlist)

Related links:

See also: interview with Grave the following day »»

Band: Nevermore
Sweden Stage 21:45-23:15

~ By Thomas
With Steve Smyth left home with kidney failure, Nevermore were back to their early days as a four-piece band in their original setting. Vocalist Warrel Dane seemed to be in a fascinating good mood compared to the other times I have seen Nevermore and the performance from the band was a real energizer. Despite the lack of one guitar it sounded really well, and Jeff Loomis did a brilliant job of filling the gap and surely did a fine job of being the sole guitarist. Although, the Nevermore progressive metal is technical and requires two guitars in many parts and it did shine through at some occasions that the second guitar wasn't there to back up the solo parts. Nevertheless, they delivered killer versions of most songs where The Heart Collector, Born and not least the mighty Dead Heart In A Dead World came out really at the top of the line and created magical moments. Everything seemed to work perfectly for Nevermore this evening and already on the first day, this was to be the definite highlight of the festival for me. Warrel's voice is unique and it is great how it can create an emotional touch to the music even though it is harsh and the metal might be raw. Nevermore is brilliant on the albums but when they get a little rawer and harder with the music live it becomes great. So how will I rank this? To make it easy I will hand out two chalices for each member on stage, so if only Steve Smyth had been there with his guitar it is very well possible the grade would have been a perfect ten. As it was now I will knock one chalice off for the lack of a guitar and another one for not including any songs from their debut album.

8 chalices of 10

Setlist: (not in the right order)
The Seven Tongues Of God
This Sacrament
Inside Four Walls
The River Dragon Has Come
The Heart Collector
Engines Of Hate
Dead Heart In A Dead World
Enemies Of Reality
Never Purify
I, Voyager
Final Product
This Godless Endeavour

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Band: Deep Purple
Festival Stage 23.30-01.00

~ By David
Deep Purple were a bunch of old fogies at Sweden Rock 1999. Therefore it was with a bit of surprise that I felt that they actually were acting younger now, seven years later. In one case it is true, since last time Jon Lord has been replaced by Don Airey. But otherwise it was supposed to be the same band. Ian Paice delivered one of the heaviest drum sounds on the whole festival. Roger Glover seemed to have fun. Ian Gillan might not sound at all as in the 70s, but still much better than what rumors tell these days. What we got was a best of set, with many of the great classics: Highway Star, When A Blind Man Cries, Black Night, Lazy and of course Smoke On The Water. I almost missed some of the new songs, but at least we got the title track Rapture Of The Deep. The jamming parts were there of course, but not as outstretched and boring as last time. A great band, a great concert, but all too short setlist to be a headline act.

8 chalices of 10

Pictures Of Home
Things I Never Said
Rapture Of The Deep
Strange Kind Of Woman
When A Blind Man Cries
Perfect Strangers
Space Truckin'
Highway Star
Smoke On The Water
No No No (Jam)
Black Night

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Friday - 9th of June

Band: Cloudscape
Zeppelin Stage 11:50-12:30

~ By Hawk
Just before lunchtime (or maybe breakfast would be more appropriate to say) the melodic progsters Cloudscape entered the stage that bathed in sunshine. The audience wasn't too big however; the competition from Arch Enemy and Victory that played at the same was too strong I'm afraid. Too bad for them because Cloudscape made a fantastic performance that was extremely tight and they proved that they are just as good live as in the studio. Mike Anderson is a splendid frontman and worked hard during the entire show. The setlist was very well balanced and the biggest highlights were found in Everyday Is Up To You and Breach In My Sanity. What a perfect way to start a long day full of hard rocking music!

8 chalices of 10

As The Light Leads The Way
Aqua 275
Will We Remain
Everyday Is Up To You
In These Walls
Breach In My Sanity
Under Fire

See also: interview with Mike Andersson after the gig »»

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Band: Arch Enemy
Rock Stage 12:00-13:15

~ By Thomas
Arch Enemy playing as one of the first bands at the second day of the festival felt wrong, melodic death metal should be performed closer to midnight rather than at noon, isn't it so? However, this band has proven that they are professionals before and once again they did what they came for and despite the warmth under the bright and hot burning sun, they came and raised some hell for us. I must admit that I was a bit tired when Arch Enemy entered the stage but when they kicked into gear with Nemesis it didn't take long before the energy from Angela Gossow had a positive effect on me. Her vocals worked just fine and despite the early hour the entire band really seemed to be on the edge and gave us a perfect start of the day. The sound, as at most concerts this year, was good and to hear Michael Amott and the newcomer in the band; Fredrik Åkesson, nailing the guitar harmonies was most enjoyable. You can tell that Arch Enemy during the years has gathered some serious routine on stage as they act with a great deal of authority and comes out as a highly professional band. And according to the setlist they seem to have found a good mixture of old and new stuff with a nice balance in the material. So far so very good but the ending was even better, with Ravenous as last song in the ordinary set and We Will Rise as first song of the encore they certainly hammered in the last nail perfectly at its place. You could not find a better band to start the day with, bloody awesome.

8 chalices of 10

Enemy Within
Dead Eyes See No Future
My Apocalypse
Burning Angel
I Am Legend/Out for blood
Skeleton Dance
Bury Me An Angel
Dead Bury Their Dead
Guitar solo-(Mike/Fred)
We Will Rise
Bridge Of Destiny

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Band: Gotthard
Rock Stage 12:00-13:15

~ By David
Gotthard replaced a fake version of Asia on short notice, and no one seemed unhappy about that. The melodic Swiss rockers have with Lipservice done the album that Def Leppard has failed to do for many years now. And for once on this festival it was the new songs that the crowd wanted to hear and which got the most response. All We Are, Lift U Up and Anytime Anywhere brought the party to Norje. In spite of the burning sun, people were really enjoying themselves to Gotthard.

8 chalices of 10

All We Are
Dream On
Mountain Mama
Top Of The World
I Wonder
Said And Done
Let It Be
Sister Moon
Ride On
Make My Day
Mighty Quinn
Lift U Up
Anytime Anywhere
Immigrant Song

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Band: Gamma Ray
Rock Stage 15:00-16:15

~ By Hawk
The last time Gamma Ray played at Sweden Rock Festival (2002) they were one of the festival's highlights. Despite this my expectations weren't that high this time, partly because I think their latest album Majestic is a bit lukewarm and partlys because I've lost a bit of my interest for them lately. When Kai started to sing you could hear that his vocals were in a fantastic shape, something that is ever so important with this band. After the first three songs I was floored by the fantastic delivery and my faith definitely was back with the Rays. The Helloween-medley made the crowd go crazy and must be considered as the shows highlight. The only setback was that they ended the show with the highly overrated Send Me A Sign, Valley Of The Kings would be a much better closer I think. Apart from that minor complaint Gamma Ray delivered an awesome show.

8,5 chalices of 10

Gardens Of The Sinner
Man On A Mission
New World Order
Blood Religion
Heavy Metal Universe
Ride The Sky/Future World/I Want Out
Rebellion In Dreamland
Land Of The Free
Send Me A Sign

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Band: Queensrÿche
Festival Stage 16:30-18:00

~ By Thomas
Ever heard of a little something called Operation: Mindcrime? In my opinion it is one of the, if not the best conceptual album of all time. The album was released in 1988 and now eighteen years later the eagerly awaited follow up has arrived. Therefore, it is no surprise that the concert is basically based on the Mindcrime theme, and it is not exactly a disappointment either. To play both albums from start to end would take up more time than what Queensrÿche had at their possession so instead we get the shortened version of the story of Nikki, Mary and Doctor X. It was off to a great start with the first half that gave us songs from the original Operation: Mindcrime album. It was surely wonderful to hear those classics live and not least when Pamela Moore, who sings the female parts on the album, also was along on stage with Queensrÿche. Vocalist Geoff Tate and Pamela Moore were also acting out the story on stage to make an even bigger experience, unfortunately that did not help the second half from becoming less good than the first. When they carried on with the songs from the second part of Operation: Mindcrime it became obvious that the songs are not as good as the old classics, still good but not really playing in the same league. With the encore they made a glorious ending with a couple of songs from the Empire album, first Jet City Woman and then the title track Empire. So after a great beginning and a less good second half, the ending made you leave the concert in great mood feeling satisfied. My conclusion is that it is the older crimes that work the best and to fully enjoy the whole Operation: Mindcrime story I think an indoor venue and a more full-scale version of the acting would make this double concept story totally magical. However, on an outdoor stage in broad daylight, the real magic never appeared.

7 chalices of 10

~By Hawk
The information we got before the show was that Queensrÿche was about to perform the entire Operation Mindcrime album from start to finish, a fact that made me feel like a child on Christmas since I consider that record to be one of the best albums in rock history. The band entered the stage just as promised to the tones of the earlier mentioned album's intro and when the show reached halftime with the magnificent tunes Breaking The Silence and I Don't Believe In Love my smile stretched from ear to ear. After this however the show took a new turn because the second half of the show was based on Operation Mindcrime 2. This lowered the quality a great deal and actually I noticed that a lot of people in the audience dropped off. Personally I wouldn't have left the show for anything in the world but to be frank, only The Hands of the new songs could compete with the splendid beginning. With the last song before the encores they returned to the first Mindcrime in the shape of their classic Eyes Of A Stranger and the two encores with songs from Empire was magnificent, especially the title track that closed the show. I must also mention that Pamela Moore participated as Sister Mary almost during the entire concert and Geoff also proved that he can be an actor as well. The theatrical moments were a nice addition to the show and coloured the lyrical context of Operation Mindcrime in a nice way. But in the end, this was a small disappointment due to the fact that I had expected the entire Operation Mindcrime but only got half.

7 chalices of 10

Revolution Calling
Operation: Mindcrime
Spreading The Disease
Suite Sister Mary
The Needle Lies
Breaking The Silence
I Don't Believe In Love
I'm American
One Foot In Hell
The Hands
Signs Say Go
A Murderer
If I Could Change It All
An Intentional Confrontation
Eyes Of A Stranger
Jet City Woman

Related links:

Band: Kamelot
Rock Stage 18:15-19:45

~ By Hawk
Accompanied by fire, the Norwegian Roy Kahn and his American band members arrived with the perfect opener When The Lights Are Down. Since Kamelot's four latest albums all are full of killer songs they have the possibility in composing a fantastic setlist and with a few exceptions they did just that on this summer's night in the south of Sweden. My only complaints really are that Roy on a couple of songs hade some small problems finding the right key with his voice, that the band presentation and talk between the songs were a bit too long and the bad idea of including Moonlight in the setlist which I consider as the poorest composition on The Black Halo. Apart from that Kamelot delivered a bombastic show with a couple of sing-a-long masterpieces such as Center Of The Universe, Forever, Karma and The Haunting (Somewhere In Time). There were quite many in the audience and considering how many of them that actually knew the lyrics I believe that Kamelot's fan base really has grown big in the last couple of years. Not as good as their DVD show in Oslo this winter but close enough, there's no doubt that they have evolved to a high class act by now!

7,5 chalices of 10

When The Lights Are Down
Soul Society
The Edge Of Paradise
Center Of The Universe
The Spell
The Haunting (Somewhere In Time)
The Black Halo
Memento Mori
March Of Mephisto

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Band: Venom
Festival Stage 20:00-21:30

~ By Hawk
Venom was, apart from the headliners, promoted as the biggest happening for this year's festival and we we're promised an extraordinary show. Half an hour late Cronos entered the stage looking as grim and ugly as he could. That his expression was a premonition of how my own face soon would look wasn't something I expected at that time. What we heard this night must go down in history as one of the worst concerts in Sweden Rock Festival's history, even if the staff of Metal Covenant only could stand the first three songs. The chance of succeeding with a great performance is much easier if the band members:
a) are playing the same song
b) are playing the song at the same time
c) have the talent or gift to do the earlier mentioned
This wasn't the case with Venom however; at least not as long as we we're there to witness the show. Speaking of which, I don't know what Cronos preferences are but I don't think of tiny fire crackers that go "poof" as an extraordinary show. Embarrassing to say the least!

-- chalices of 10

(sorry, no setlist)

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Band: Evergrey
Sweden Stage 21:45-23:15

~ By Hawk
I had big difficulties in deciding if I should attend the Evergrey concert on this year's festival. The fact that W.A.S.P. played at the same time was the reason for this. Despite the fact that I've seen Evergrey live four times before and W.A.S.P. just once I finally decided to watch the Swedes. Evergrey has grown to be a fantastic live act that is extremely well-oiled and pure joy for both your eye as well as your ear. Even if I missed out some of the best tracks from the fantastic latest album Monday Morning Apocalypse (such as At Loss For Words and In Remembrance) we got to see and hear a fantastic show with absolutely nothing to complain about. There are not many bands out there that can compete with Evergreys tight and dynamic live performances. The headbanging from Henrik Danhage och Michael Håkansson is also something that you remember from a show with Evergrey, extremely powerful and efficient! Yet again Evergrey proved that they are one of the best live acts around today, thumbs up!

9 chalices of 10

More Than Ever
She Speaks To The Dead
Still In The Water
Monday Morning Apocalypse
Rulers Of The Mind
Mark Of The Triangle
When The Walls Go Down
Recreation Day
I'm Sorry
A Touch Of Blessing
The Masterplan

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Band: W.A.S.P.
Rock Stage 21:45-23:15

~ By Thomas
W.A.S.P. main-man Blackie Lawless is about to become a half of a decade in age but on stage you cannot tell that he is getting older. He, as well as the band, was very vital and gave a really good show and with On Your Knees and Chainsaw Charlie (Murders In The New Morgue) as openers you were brought in a good spirit immediately. W.A.S.P. delivered a great deal of classic "hits" and it was no doubt that it was those that got the biggest response from the crowd. And for my own part I just love to hear them live and hear the crowd shouting along, those parts of the concert were absolutely sparkling. So far the concert had started great but lost the momentum with the slower track Widowmaker and the following Sleeping (In The Fire). Unfortunately it took a couple of songs to repair that but with I Wanna Be Somebody they were certainly back on track again. The encore was not that much to cheer about as What I'll Never Find holds a long and boring guitar part in a song that is slow from the beginning. I do not know if it was an extended version of the guitar part or if it was my aching feet that made it feel soooo long and boring. And the ending song Blind In Texas is simply an ok track and in my opinion an overrated song that can easily be changed by many songs that are much better. Moreover, to leave out Animal (Fuck Like A Beast) - what the hell is up with that? And yeah, the cool microphone-stand Blackie usually has on stage unfortunately was lost in the shipping, courtesy of an airline company that I will leave unmentioned, but listen to the audio from the press conference to hear more about it.

6 chalices of 10

On Your Knees
Chainsaw Charlie (Murders In The New Morgue)
Hate To Love Me
L.O.V.E. machine
Wild Child
Sleeping (In The Fire)
The Real Me
The Idol
I Wanna Be Somebody
What I´ll Never Find
Blind In Texas

Related links:

Band: Def Leppard
Festival Stage 23:30-02:00

~ By Hawk
Actually I didn't know what to expect when it was time for what I consider as this year's most interesting headliner. I love Def Leppard's earlier albums that stretch from the debut until the classic Hysteria (even if I think Pyromania is their absolute highlight). After Hysteria however they have, apart from a couple of songs, not produced anything interesting really. Quite surprisingly they started the show with three songs from the golden era but despite that I felt that something was missing. The performance was flawless but it felt that the dedication for what they were doing was missing, just doing their job and nothing more. I am glad that I stayed until the end of the show though, when they played songs from their new cover album I almost decided to leave, but when they played Rock Of Ages and Wasted something happened. Suddenly the show got the energy that was missing before and this is what I mostly will remember from the show. Too late to save the overall judgement but as I said, I got rewarded for staying. And why the hell did they choose not to play their two best songs and masterpieces Foolin' and Gods Of War?

6 chalices of 10

Let It Go
Rock! Rock! ('Til You Drop)
Saturday Night (High 'n Dry)
Let's Get Rocked
Make Love Like A Man
20th Century Boy
Rock On
Armageddon It
Pour Some Sugar On Me
Rock Of Ages
Love Bites

Related links:

See also: press conference with Def Leppard the same day »»

Saturday - 10th of June

Band: MSG
Sweden Stage 15:00-16:15

~ By David
No one has ever claimed Michael Schenker to be a sparkling personality on stage. But couldn't he at least have delivered a smile, a move, a fart… something to get the thing going? The new singer Jari Tiura was not that fun to look at either, although he did a great job with his vocals. Instead it was the (also new) bass player Rev Jones who entertained the crowd with his play and his giant plait with which he conducted an impressive headbanging. With the classic material Schenker could deliver from UFO and MSG, and with a great new record in the luggage, this halfhearted gig could not be seen as anything other than a great disappointment.

4 chalices of 10

Assault Attack
Ready To Rock
Let It Roll
Dust To Dust
Love Trade
Shadow Lady
Angel Of Avalon
Lights Out
Into The Arena
But I Want More
Too Hot To Handle
On And On
Only You Can Rock Me
Armed And Ready
Attack Of The Mad Axeman
Doctor Doctor

Related links:

Band: Sodom
Sweden Stage 15:00-16:15

~ By David
I was expecting a massive nuclear explosion from Sodom, of the same kind as Exodus and Overkill had delivered the previous years on SRF. Therefore it was half of a disappointment to just get a great concert. It had moments of pure brutal intensity as Napalm In The Morning and Ausgebombt, but the magic feeling did not last. The set was also shorter than announced, which can be a matter of frustration.

7 chalices of 10

(sorry, no setlist)

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Band: Onslaught
Zeppelin Stage 16.20-17.00

~ By David
Onslaught are the thrashers from UK who sound like something from Bay Area. They seemed inspired to be back in business and mixed some old classics from The Force with songs from the coming album. A refreshing experience after a quite dull performance from Sodom.

8 chalices of 10

(sorry, no setlist)

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Band: Ted Nugent
Festival Stage 20.00-21.30

~ By David
I have never been a fan of Ted Nugents music. But he can play guitar almost as fast as he talks and know how to deliver a show. A must see if you happen to attend a festival where he plays. The back drop spoke for itself - a giant American flag. The first thing Ted said between the songs was (something like) that he loves to see terrorists in Iraq die a bloody death and those who do not agree can fuck off. That is the uncompromising attitude that builds up the whole Nuge-man and which he also uses to rock the crowd. He did one of the most energetic appearances on this year's festival and of course we got classics like Stormtroopin', Free-For-All, Cat Scratch Fever, Motor City Madhouse mixed with Klstrphnky and Rawdogs & Warhogs from his latest album Craveman. We also got a brand new track, Still Raising Hell, for the forthcoming album, which sounded very promising. I missed my favorite, Just What The Doctor Ordered though. Unfortunately I had to leave early to catch a glimpse of Treat, before Alice Cooper was on.

9 chalices of 10

Wango Tango
Snakeskin Cowboys
Wang Dang Sweet Poontang
Rawdogs & Warhogs
Soul Man
Hey Baby
Dog Eat Dog
Still Raising Hell
Motorcity Madhouse
Cat Scratch Fever
Great White Buffalo

Related links:

Band: Obituary
Sweden Stage 20:45-21:45

~ By Tommy
Obituary is a band that normally would just need to step up on stage and serve their arsenal of mighty riffs in order to get a minumum of six points. Their performance at Sweden Rock Festival reached that level, but unfortunatly also stayed there. The riffs were brilliant and the selection of songs good, but not great. When the tempo is brought up and the killer riffs set in then it is world class, but I lacked the energy they radiated when I saw them last year, and this was pretty slow at times. There were long pauses between almost every song so the real good flow never came and it seems like the guys were not really dedicated to the task. The sound was overall decent but a little bit blurry from time to time which was an exception on an otherwise sonically very good festival. Good, and I enjoyed the whole concert, but I had expected much more. And please....a drumsolo during a death metal concert?!?

6 chalices of 10

(sorry, no setlist)

Related links:

Band: Treat
The Rock Classic Tent 21:00-22:15

~ By Hawk
Man, this was something that I had been waiting for. Treat has since my childhood had a special place in my heart. In my teens they were one of the bands that I listened to the most and I consider their first four albums all to be labelled as classics, well almost anyway. Just as expected we were served a show full of hits and the heat in the tent was intense. On songs like We Are One, Get You On The Run and World Of Promises the crowd took over Robert Ernlund's vocal duties and the sing-a-long factor was high during the entire show. Actually I'm having big difficulties looking back at the show objectively since the nostalgia factor had a big impact on me. Maybe they sounded too perfect (a lot of backing tracks maybe?) but in the end I had a great time in the tent and it for sure was a worthy ending of Sweden Rock Festival since this was the last show I witnessed this year.

8 chalices of 10

Ready For The Taking
Too Wild
I Burn For You
Ride Me High
Home Is Where Your Heart Is
You're The One I Want
Strike Without A Warning
We Are One
Mr Heartache
Get You On The Run
World Of Promises
Sole Survivor
Rev It Up

Related links:

Band: Alice Cooper
Rock Stage 21.45-23.15

~ By David
I missed the first half an hour because of Treat waiting to play Rev It Up until the absolute end of their show. The crowd in front of Rock Stage when Alice played must have been among the largest ever, just as was the case with Dio last year and W.A.S.P. the day before. With so many people in front of this stage it is almost impossible to properly catch a detailed show as Alice's. Why didn't he headline, or at least played at an earlier time on Festival Stage, so that the large screen came to use? Anyway, after a diverting maneuver I managed to sneak in to the front from the left flank. I immediately noticed that Alice seemed to be in much better shape than a couple of years ago at Metaltown. Also the full show was back this time with guillotine and everything. He even played a song from the 80s, Feed My Frankenstein, besides Poison. A true master is back.

8 chalices of 10

Department Of Youth
No More Mr. Nice Guy
Dirty Diamonds
Billion Dollar Babies
Be My Lover
Lost In America
I Never Cry
Woman Of Mass Distraction
I'm Eighteen
You Drive Me Nervous
Is It My Body
Go To Hell
The Black Widow
Feed My Frankenstein
Medley: Welcome To My Nightmare, The Awakening, Steven, Only Women Bleed, Steven (reprise), Ballad Of Dwight Fry, Killer, I Love The Dead
School's Out
I Wish I Was Born In Beverly Hills
Under My Wheels

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Band: Whitesnake
Festival Stage 23.30-01.00

~ By David
Whitesnake had the almost thankless mission to play last on the festival. That means that most visitors will go and see them, but most will also be tired after three intense days and stand apathetic with their arms crossed, waiting to be entertained. Also, Whitesnake headlined the festival in 2003 and have not delivered anything new since then. Therefore many where skeptical against them closing the festival. David Coverdale and his men did a great job to begin with. But as time went, David's voice became more and more strained. In the middle of the show he had to take a break and left his guitarists performing the longest guitar solo I have ever witnessed. Then David returned and sang half of Crying In The Rain before leaving place for the longest drum solo I have ever witnessed. People were yawning or even leaving. After leaving this handicap in tempo in a concert, there is no way that a band will ever be able repair the damage. Not with this sun dazed festival audience. A great set though.

7 chalices of 10

Slide It In
Love Ain't No Stranger
Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues
Slow An' Easy
Is This Love
Ready An' Willing
(guitar solo)
Crying In The Rain
(drum solo)
Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City
Give Me All Your Love
Here I Go Again
Take Me With You
Still Of The Night

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The festival has grown over the years and so has the organisation, and considering how well Sweden Rock is organised I luckily find it very hard to find things to complain about. The most obvious improvement for this year was the big-screen at the largest stage, Festival Stage, that made it lot easier for people further back from the stage to see what was going on. As it tends to be many people attending the headlining gigs it might be hard to actually see the stage, so to include the big-screen was a brilliant move. And it must also be said that the guys handling the cameras did a really good job. Perhaps a big screen is something to consider including at the second largest stage, Rock Stage, as well? I think most would agree if you'd seen the massive crowds W.A.S.P. and Alice Cooper drew. Otherwise, it is just things that some bands should have had a larger stage while some others perhaps could have been better off with a smaller one that you can find to bitch about if you do have to complain.

For my own personal part, I had a blast at the festival as usual, with the line-up for this year it was not as many "has to see" bands but a more relaxed festival with more of hanging out than what is normal for me. Moreover, the concerts I did see surely gave me value for the money spent during the weekend. 2006 was also the first, and hopefully the first among many to come, when a Camp Covenant was held, where some of us stayed together at the Tredenborgs camping. And it was great to see that the guys you only have known from the internet turned out to be such nice persons in real life as well.

A big thanks to the people responsible for Sweden Rock Festival and the people working there for making it what it is. Extra special thanks to the ones who fixed the great weather. The three warm and sunny days were perfect for the festival.

See you all next year.
~ Thomas

Pictures by Thomas/David/Tommy

Related links: www.swedenrock.com