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Sweden Rock Festival 2007 - Bigger and better

The time had finally arrived; once again, it was time to leave the dreary life behind and to indulge constantly in live-performed metal for no less than four entire days. I do not know how you feel about that, but for me it is something I like to call paradise. Especially when the festival was expanded to four days instead of the regular three as it has been the last couple of years.

Bigger is something that Sweden Rock Festival becomes every year, and this year was no exception. In fact, it turned out to be the biggest festival in Sweden this year, measured in the amount of daily spectators. A new record was set with 29.000 visitors this year, and without me having seen any official figures, Sweden Rock Festival surpassed the Hultsfred Festival that suffered from bad ticket-sales as rumor has it, despite the fact that they have a broader direction in order to please most tastes in music, where metal is just one of many genres.

Better, well, you can interpret better in two ways actually. However, what I mainly had in mind is the organization that works a as well-oiled machinery, at least as you as a spectator get to experience it. Even though there is lots of people circulating in the festival area, you have a wide variety of food, beer that is easy to get by (even if it is expensive and not of the most tasteful kind), fresh-water posts that are easy to access as well as toilets (even though they smelled literally like shit after a day in the boiling sun) and stages that kept the time schedule with perfect timing and that provided you with a great sound. The other way to see the word better is with the bands that played, but that lies mostly in the ear of the beholder. Nevertheless, with the headliners, they line up bands that surely deserve the outmost respect, and not least Heaven & Hell in my opinion. But also Aerosmith and Scorpions are bands that have their place in the history books, even if my personal opinion is that I would have liked to see another band instead of the return of Scorpions that headlined the festival only a couple of years ago.

Metal Covenant also broke a record at this festival, since no less than five members of our staff covered this addition of the festival. So read on and relive or experience the festival of 2007 for the first time as you read our reflections and how we think of the things we witnessed.

~ Thomas

|Wednesday| - |Thursday| - |Friday| - |Saturday|

Reviews by Thomas/David/Niklas/Hawk/Tommy
Pictures by Thomas/David/Niklas

Wednesday - June 06

Band: Randy Piper's Animal
Zeppelin Stage 15:30-16:15

~ By David
I like artists who know what the people want. Randy Piper kicked off the whole festival on the bigger stages and people were there to hear some old W.A.S.P. classics. No more, no less. And they got what they came for, with Hellion, Wild Child and I Wanna Be Somebody. Randy and his band seemed to enjoy what they were doing, which couldn't be said about today's W.A.S.P. earlier this year. To that Rich Lewis is almost an exact voice-alike to Blackie Lawless. So this moment in the afternoon became the perfect party rock start of a four day long musical journey.

7 chalices of 10

(sorry, no setlist)

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Band: Wolf
Zeppelin Stage 18:40-19:30

~ By Thomas
What better way to celebrate the national day of Sweden than to start off Sweden Rock Festival with some metal in true classic eighties vein? I could not think of anything better at least than to begin my festival experience with the Swedish band Wolf. Wolf have their roots in the classic eighties metal but they have their own touch in their music, and what I like about them is that there is a driving force in their music. Something that turned out well in their live performance that gave a rustic impression. What I saw was a tight performance and a band that delivered really well and they did not need to do too much to impress on me, as I was simply happy to finally be at the festival. I have never really followed Wolf that closely but it is a good band that I enjoy listening to every now and then and I do not know if they grow anything with me after seeing them live, but they are definitely a band I can see myself see again.

5 chalices of 10

Setlist: (might be slightly incorrect)
Steelwinged Savage Reaper
The Bite
Electric Raga
Wolf's Blood
I Will Kill Again
Evil Star
Black Wing Rider
Children Of The Black Flame
In The Shadow Of Steel
Demon Bell

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Band: Nocturnal Rites
Zeppelin Stage 20:00-21:15

~ By Hawk
At Gates Of Metal 2005 Nocturnal Rites floored me with a fantastic show full of energy that received a massive response from the audience. Therefore my expectations were extremely high for this concert and I looked upon it as one of the highlights of this year's festival. What first came to mind when they entered the stage was that the sound was far from perfect, a problem that ran like a red thread during the entire festival regarding the Zeppelin Stage. The guys however were in a good mood and with New World Messiah the crowd was hooked from the very beginning. Apart from the sound problems and some disappointments regarding the setlist (the new songs didn't work as good as the older ones) the Noc's put on a great show and as the cream of the crop we were treated a surprise guest in the shape of Nordman and their hit song Vandraren. A more than decent gig but they can do a lot better.

7 chalices of 10

New World Messiah
Cuts Like A Knife
Never Trust
Not The Only
The Sinner's Cross
The Iron Force
Wake Up Dead
Strong Enough
When Fire Comes To Ice
Never Again
Vandraren (feat. Nordman)
Fools Never Die
After Life

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Band: Annihilator
Zeppelin Stage 22:00-23:15

~ By Hawk
Just in time for sundown Jeff Waters and his crew entered the Zeppelin Stage to offer a riff-fest for the gods! This was the first time I saw Annihilator perform and I didn't really know what to expect. Apart from their splendid debut album they have had a long career of uneven products and the success of the show depended first and foremost on the compilation of the setlist. In this matter it was a huge success, great material from start to finish. The guitar sound was nothing but awesome and they made a fantastic and energetic performance to say the least. The singer and guitarist Dave Padden impressed me a lot; it's not an easy task to sing flawlessly at the same time as you handle those technical guitar riffs as perfect as he did. This was probably the festival's biggest surprise for me personally and I would really like to see a full scale 90 minute set with these Canucks in the future.

8 chalices of 10

Crystall Ann (Intro)
Operation Annihilation
Clown Parade
King Of The Kill
Maximum Satan
Like Father, Like Gun
Set The World On Fire
The Fun Palace
Never, Neverland
Refresh The Demon
Alison Hell

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Band: The Australian Pink Floyd Show
Sweden Stage 23:30-01:30

~ By Niklas
If you by any chance missed Roger Waters' acclaimed concert in Stockholm earlier this summer (like I did), The Australian Pink Floyd Show offered the chance to set things right. These Aussies have made themselves a name duplicating concerts played by the real Pink Floyd over the years, and if you close your eyes and just listen, it's easy to visualize Gilmour, Waters, Barret, et al standing on the stage in front of you. The anonymous replicants hardly say anything in-between songs, something that would probably just shatter the illusion. Instead they let the astonishing songs speak for themselves. If you've seen Pink Floyd's P*U*L*S*E-dvd you know what to expect. It all begins with the long and hypnotic Shine On You Crazy Diamond and ends with the thumping encore Run Like Hell - with lots of classics in-between. To name a few, we get a deeply psychedelic version of Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun, a glittering Us And Them, the rockier piece Learning To Fly, a fragile Wish You Were Here and best of all; One Of These Days, which feels equivalent to being run over by a bulldozer. If only High Hopes had been played my evening would truly have been perfect. Since this after all is a cover band and everything is rather small-scale (except for the inflatable kangaroo!) I choose to hold back on the chalices slightly, but as a whole this was still a perfect warm-up for the coming three days of Sweden Rock Festival.

7 chalices of 10

Shine On You Crazy Diamond
What Do You Want From Me
Us And Them
On The Turning Away
The Great Gig In The Sky
Nobody Home
Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun
Learning To Fly
Wish You Were Here
One Of These Days
The Happiest Days Of Our Lives/Another Brick In The Wall part 2
Comfortably Numb
Run Like Hell

Related links:

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Thursday - June 07

Band: Dark Tranquillity
Rock Stage 12.00-13.15

~ By Thomas
Despite the early time (the second most strange thing in the running order this year; why did Dark Tranquillity play so early?), the guys from Gothenburg unleashed hell on stage. Even though it was only noon and the sun was high in the sky the melodic death metal surely woke me up and when Mikael Stanne started to sing the words in the opening song, the band had my full attention. His voice and charisma is extraordinary and my fears that the early concert could become a bit stale was totally in vain, the band was definitely on the sharp edge and looked determined to do their best to my delight. Dark Tranquillity has quite a few songs to choose from from their career by now, and personally, I found this selection to be a great set of songs that mostly worked brilliant live. And regarding the new songs from the album Fiction, they work just as good as the songs from the albums before that one, although they lost some momentum in the middle of their set with Inside The Particle Storm for instance, that brought down the tempo. Dark Tranquillity are surely holding the banner high when it comes to intelligent and melodic death metal and their experience of playing live is obvious, this band knows how to make the best out of things. If I should bitch about something it is that I missed some older songs and mostly I would have wanted to hear Empty Me from the new album, but it is indeed the later sound of Dark Tranquillity I favour the most and it was mostly songs from that period they played, so who am I to complain? For my own part, the obvious highlight was Punish My Heaven, what a great song, and how great they once again performed it live. This was one of the top concerts I saw this year at Sweden Rock Festival.

8 chalices of 10

(sorry, no setlist)

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Band: Thunder
Festival Stage 13.30-14.45

~ By Thomas
I have never been a huge fan of Thunder, but I listened a little bit to them back in the days of the Backstreet Symphony and Laughing On Judgement Day albums, and I have always kept them somewhat with me during the years. And to hear the songs from that era was a trip down nostalgia-lane for me and to also hear that the band was still vital and did a surprisingly gushing performance made me really get in a good mood. Thunder is not by the looks of them a young band but they surely have maintained a sharp edge and their basic hard rock still works great with me. This was a perfect afternoon-show to mellow out to and just feel fine in the sun by while hearing songs like River Of Pain, Higher Ground and Love Walked In. Even if they played early in the day and it wasn't overly crowded in front of the biggest stage at the festival, Thunder did a good job of creating a great feeling that spread over the field.

6,5 chalices of 10

River Of Pain
Higher Ground
Low Life In High Places
Robert Johnson's Tombstone
You Can't Keep A Good Man Down
The Devil Made Me Do It
Back Street Symphony
Love Walked In
I Love You More Than Rock And Roll
Dirty Love

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Band: Eldritch
Zeppelin Stage 14:00-15:00

~ By Hawk
Eldritch was, apart from a couple of songs, a new acquaintance for me at Sweden Rock Festival 2007. After the show I was quite certain that further investigations wouldn't be needed in that matter. The songs were without personality, the performance very lame and when the vocalist made some embarrassing speeches between the songs I lost my interest completely. At the end of the show they however made up for some of their errors and the fittingly entitled Save Me rescued Eldritch from a lower grade.

4 chalices of 10

(sorry, no setlist)

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Band: Amon Amarth
Sweden Stage 15:00-16:15

~ By Hawk
The heat was intense when the Vikings arrived to Sweden Rock Festival with their horns raised. With a voice that presumably still echoes around in the southern parts of Sweden Johan Hägg welcomed us to an hour and a half of brutal yet catchy metal that always makes your head bang. It was quite clear that they aimed to knock the crowd off their feet from the very beginning. I mean, just tale a look at the setlist! Due to severe sound problems the success wasn't however quite as big as expected. They struggled with this problem during the entire show even if it got much better towards the end. The masters of headbanging however always fills me with extra energy and this was not an exception, and we all know that the victory always comes in time for The Pursuit Of Vikings. Amon Amarth delivered a great show but the sound problems made the experience not as mighty as expected.

7,5 chalices of 10

Valhall Awaits Me
Runes To My Memory
Death In Fire
With Oden On Our Side
Cry Of The Blackbirds
Fate Of Norns
For The Stabwounds In Our Backs
The Pursuit Of Vikings
Bleed For Ancient Gods
An Ancient Sign Of A Coming Storm

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Band: Lion's Share
Zeppelin Stage 16:00-17:00

~ By Thomas
Perhaps not the most intriguing band to watch on stage, but who cares when the music is as good as it is? Even though Lion's Share have done some great things in the past, I must say that I prefer the songs from their newly released come back album Emotional Coma. The new material is stronger and the songs are more direct with some more bite to them. The newly awaken lion is based around only remaining original member and guitarist Lars Chriss, and now has Patrik Johansson (Astral Doors, Wuthering Heights) behind the microphone, now that is an excellent vocalist. Lion's Share delivered a set with mostly new material which to my delight turned out to work splendidly live and the older songs actually sounded even better. The band appeared to look a bit rusty on stage, but I would not want to complain any bit on the performance. When they get some more shows down the road, I think they will be even better. A song like the powerful Cult Of Denial was one of those that worked out the best in my opinion, and also the slower Bloodstained Soil, that was delivered with some good power in the vocals, turned out great. A classic Lion's Share song is Sins Of A Father and until now I never really grasped that one but with this new setting and sound, it became a highlight.

6 chalices of 10

Setlist: (Might be slightly incorrect)
Unholy Rites
The Arsonist
The Edge Of The Razor
Cult Of Denial
Shotgun Messiah
Bloodstained Soil
Toxication Rave
Sins Of A Father

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Band: Those We Don't Speak Of
Zeppelin Stage 17:30-18:30

~ By Niklas
On a place like Sweden Rock Festival, having participated in TV-shows like Fame Factory and Melodifestivalen doesn't really count as merits. But that is exactly what Sara Löfgren, the singer of the recently formed constellation Those We Don't Speak Of, has done. However, she declared early on that she was a rocker at heart and spoke warmly about Iron Maiden's The Trooper - which explains why it doesn't come as a total shock to see her performing here. I myself was most curious about the guitarists Robert Vintervind and Manne Engström's involvement in TWDSO, since they were the driving forces behind Beseech, the band that disbanded earlier this year. The sound is best described as a hybrid between Evanescence and Linkin Park - radio friendly metal with cocky vocals and gothic elements in the background. The start is trembling; the music isn't very convincing and Sara seems nervous. Just when she seems to have gained confidence, she leaves the stage to take a break. In comes, for reasons unknown, Lost Horizon's former vocalist Daniel Heiman and delivers what is possibly the weakest song on the whole festival. A nice version of Sara's own track Faller almost makes up for the debacle, but just almost. In the end it is promising tracks like The Cradle and Glorify Me that hopefully mean that this is a band that we will speak of in the future.

5 chalices of 10

(sorry, no setlist)

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Band: Symphony X
Rock Stage 18:15-19:45

~ By Thomas
I was bummed out last year when they cancelled and was thrilled to see them on the bill this time again. The new album hasn't yet caught me as much as their older one have, but to have new and old material mixed in their live set turned out to work really well. Symphony X turned out to be a better live band than what I expected since I had doubts that their music would not do to well at a festival, but man was I wrong. However, what first struck me was what an amazing voice Russell Allen has, sure I knew that he sings damn great on the albums, but that he would grab my attention so hard when I got to hear him live, I would never had guessed. As it was the first time that I finally got to see Symphony X, there were so many songs I would have wanted to hear, and I surely missed Out Of The Ashes from The Divine Wings Of Tragedy album. And to throw in a song that is nearly twenty-five minutes long is risky business if you ask me, but with The Odyssey they managed to keep up my level of interest really high throughout the song, even though it is not exactly easy listening or a festival friendly song. If Russell Allen impressed me with how good his voice came out live, the same goes for the rest of the band as well. Without showing off, the band showed their high level of musicianship within the songs and if the setlist had been more to my personal taste this would have been one of the better concerts at the festival.

7 chalices of 10

Setlist: (Might be slightly incorrect)
Of Sins And Shadows
Inferno (Unleash The Fire)
Communion And The Oracle
Smoke And Mirrors
Set The World On Fire (The Lie Of Lies)
The Serpent's Kiss
Sea Of Lies
The Odyssey

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

~ By David
Pretentious is just not a strong enough word to describe Meat Loafs music. Just look at the titles. No-one less than a small essay long. And most of it built up as a tiny musical, as it once started with Jim Steinman and Bat Out Of Hell. Add to that, on stage delivered with a theatrical show with all the self-distance the man seems to lack as a person off stage. Probably the biggest show on this festival, besides the giant Aerosmith of course. Even a tolerant person as I thought that it was a little too much "old man, making out and touching his young female singing partner all over". But besides from that Meat Loaf and friends worked themselves sweaty for the amusement of the audience. That is basically what I crave at a festival, to get my attention among 30 or so bands. Meat Loaf may look old and worn out, but he can still sing with full force and ran around stage like a mad bull. Impressive. I guess that the rumour that he got treated with oxygen right after the show was not far fetched. But the ending was a great disappointment. After having survived all the swollen endless musical songs, I expected some straight forward rock 'n' roll hits at the end, like Dead Ringer, Rock 'n' Roll Dreams Come Through or Running For The Red Light. But, no, the man starts doing covers… With an own career over 30 years long, that should not be necessary.

8 chalices of 10

If It Ain't Broke Break It
Paradise By The Dashboard Light
You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth
Out Of The Frying Pan (And Into The Fire)
Life Is A Lemon (And I Want My Money Back)
In The Land Of The Pigs (The Butcher Is King)
I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)
Bat Out Of Hell
Black Betty (Ram Jam)
Mercury Blues (C.C. Douglas)
Gimme Shelter (Rolling Stones)

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Band: Dimmu Borgir
Rock Stage 21.45-23.15

~ By Thomas
With Dimmu Borgir it was time for some Norwegian darkness. They are not exactly the blackest of black metal band, but they perform with a gruesome appearance, and it looks awesome as well as it sounds great. Complete with corpse-paint they did a solid performance and delivered a set with furious aggression and with a good maintained momentum straight through their show. Their epic black metal is full of nuances and even if there are complex pieces, it transgresses well live and it creates a grand feeling even though the aggression level is set high. I can have a hard time with trying to separate one song from the other at times with Dimmu Borgir, but that Progenies Of The Great Apocalypse and The Serpentine Offering were two definite highlights, there are no doubts about with me. Two great examples on how complex and epic black metal should be performed. Shagrath is a great leader for this band, a fearsome voice and he moves around with a really suiting character, although ICS Vortex playing with the bass standing straight up resting on his thigh made a rather awesome impression as well. It was great to see that the entire band seemed to have their minds set on doing a great job on stage as they tried to get the crowd going, and they didn't have to wait for the response. Personally, I find it a bit strange that such extreme band as Dimmu Borgir has that amount of popularity, but at the same time, I am glad that they get the recognition they deserve.

7,5 chalices of 10

Setlist: (Might be slightly incorrect)
Progenies Of The Great Apocalypse
Cataclysm Children
Kings Of The Carnival Creation
Sorgens Kammer - Del II
A Succubus in Rapture
-drum solo-
The Serpentine Offering
The Chosen Legacy
The Insight and the Catharsis
Spellbound (by the Devil)
Mourning Palace

Related links:

Band: Heaven & Hell
Festival Stage 23:30-02:00

~ By Thomas
Heaven & Hell, or the Mob Rules-era Black Sabbath if you like - this was a huge moment for me. Truly a piece of metal history displayed in real life and you could feel the legendary winds sweeping by, or perhaps it was just me being overwhelmed by actually looking at the legends, or gods even. The songs came from the classic Sabbath albums Mob Rules, Heaven And Hell from the early eighties and from Dehumanizer that was released in the early nineties plus a new song, Shadow Of The Wind. And with the opening song Mob Rules it couldn't had started better, and every time I see Ronnie James Dio I become dazzled by that the he still can sing so great as he does. Even if the songs were picked from different eras, they melted together really well, and to hear Falling Of The Edge Of The World next to Computer God did not feel the least strange. You have heard the crowd sing along to Iron Maiden's song Fear Of The Dark, imagine the same thing in the song Heaven & Hell, it was one of those magic moments for me, it almost brought a tear to my eye as the goose bumps appeared. That song alone would have made this trip worthwhile, even if the rest of the festival would have sucked (luckily it did not though). The song Heaven & Hell was probably prolonged a bit too much with the jamming from Iommi's guitar, but I loved every single note of it, and it was played by Iommi for fuck's sake. Let the man play as much as he wants, and you should shut up and pay attention, dammit, when he puts his fingers on the guitar. I was in trance, this was god damn Heaven & Hell, playing live in front of me, and it sounded awesome. I would not have wanted to miss this for the world. Although I have the outmost respect for Vinnie Appice, the drum solo didn't really add anything in my opinion, If they could have skipped that and played Country Girl instead this would have been a perfect ten. It is hard to pick out highlights from this concert, Geezer's pounding bass, Iommi's mighty riffs, Dio's mighty singing or Appice's determined drumming were all highlights in a way, especially when combined. Although the ultra-heavy I, the title track Heaven & Hell, and the magnificent ending with Neon Knights stand pretty tall as well, but I might as well pick any song.

9 chalices of 10

The Mob Rules
Children Of The Sea
The Sign Of The Southern Cross
Drum Solo
Computer God
Falling Of The Edge Of The World
Shadow Of The Wind
Guitar Solo
Die Young
Heaven & Hell
Neon Knights

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Friday - June 08

Band: Anekdoten
Sweden Stage 12:00-13:15

~ By Niklas
I knew little about Anekdoten before Sweden Rock Festival, except that they were a Swedish progressive rock band and that video game music composer Nobuo Uematsu is one of their biggest fans. The plan was to see the whole show, but I got held up since the Danish has-beens in Pretty Maids on another stage proved to be rather good, unexpectedly. This made me miss the first twenty minutes of Anekdoten, something I regretted for the rest of the festival. I will never get those twenty minutes back, but on the other hand I will remember the remaining 45 minutes of the show for a very long time, since Anekdoten's absorbing songs caught me completely off-guard. For those of you who are old enough to remember King Crimson, Jethro Tull or early Genesis, finding something to like about Anekdoten won't be a problem at all. As for contemporary references, Opeth-fans should also find plenty to care for in the diligent using of mellotron, while the vocalist Niclas Barker's shrill voice reminds of Jan Jämte from Khoma. That the audience is of the fewer kind or that the original guitarist Jan Erik Liljeström is absent matters little, especially when you have the majestic soundscapes of songs like Ricochet, Hole or Gravity with you. A mesmerizing performance!

8 chalices of 10

The Great Unknown
From Within
In For A Ride
Kiss Of Life
The Sun Absolute

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Band: Memfis
Zeppelin Stage 13:00-14:00

~ By Niklas
Since I decided to stay till the end of Anekdoten's superb gig, I had to sacrifice the first fifteen minutes of Memfis. Which unfortunately meant that I missed what I think is their best song - The Wind-Up. Bummer! But luckily this didn't matter terribly much, since this young Stockholm-quartet have more aces up their sleeves from their debut album. While most fans of modern and innovative metal obviously is still knocked out after the Thursday's festivities, Memfis makes the best of the situation in front of the small by numbers audience. The band has been described as a younger Opeth, although Memfis doesn't use the same amount of progressive elements, and instead goes for parts that have more in common with hardcore, like Mattias Engström's vocals for example. Songs like Eternal Failure and Breathless are just a fraction of their repertoire that have the ability to sound both melancholic, progressive and, most of all, aggressive at the same time - a combination I am looking forward to hearing more of during the upcoming years. Watch out for these guys.

7 chalices of 10

(sorry, no setlist)

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Band: All Ends
Zeppelin Stage 14:30-15:30

~ By Niklas
This was something that I had anticipated for a long, long time to see live. All Ends was announced as sort of a side-project for In Flames' guitarists Jesper Strömblad and Björn Gelotte almost two years ago, but it isn't until recently that the band has showed themselves out on the roads. However, the In Flames-guys merely writes some of the material that All Ends performs - the line-up itself is rather untried in these contexts. Among them are the two singers: Tinna Karlsdotter and Emma Gelotte (Björn's sister). This is what makes All Ends stand out, that they have two female vocalists that duet with each other to modern metal-cuts that slightly resemble In Flames of later years. This concept sometimes works splendid, the music is enjoyable and Karlsdotter and Gelotte have good rock-voices and also hold the ability to get the crowd up on their feet. The major problem is that the material is rather uneven, and you can mostly tell which songs that haven't been penned by the song writing team of Strömblad/Gelotte. The overall impression is still positive, especially when the girls manage to squeeze out the most of the song material - like Walk Away, Leaving You and the closer Wasting Life. The upcoming album will definitely be given a closer look.

6 chalices of 10

(sorry, no setlist)

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Band: Kreator
Rock Stage 15:00-16:15

~ By Tommy
In a festival lineup that to me looked a bit weak on beforehand (but later showed to be fully adequate), Kreator and U.D.O. were the anticipated highlights for me. And as it happened, they both delivered above and beyond expectations and in fact represented the best concerts of the festival. This was my first concert with Kreator and I've always had the suspicion that they would be a pretty boring live band with Mille standing as a hunchback in the middle and not much of a show to speak of. Very soon after the gig started, I found myself standing corrected. Kreator bombarded out a great set with hit after hit and the band was radiating, much due to the great response from the crowd. Just as it should be, the atmosphere was really thick with aggression, and mr. Petrozza certainly took his time between songs to fire us all up. Before the song Flag Of Hate, he spent nearly 5 minutes grunting and gnarling while dedicating it to the G8 meeting in europe that same day. It was on the verge of being too much but it was quite charming and he got away with it. Sound- and performance wise it was top notch and a delight to behold. I can not think of anything I would have liked to see or hear differently. The only negative remark I have is regarding the walls of smoke they put out during a few songs. It was way too much, too long and too often. During one specific song it covered the whole stage plus the first rows completely, so all you could do was listen to the song from start to finish. Pretty useless. One, or half a song, would have been acceptable but when there were three of them more or less like this, it became an annoyance. But overlooking this, it was a brilliant gig, very close to reaching the level of U.D.O's the same day.

8,5 chalices of 10

(sorry, no setlist)

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Band: After Forever
Zeppelin Stage 17:30-18:30

~ By Niklas
This Dutch sextet was something of the festival's dark horse for me. After Forever's self-titled fifth album was released earlier this spring and became a great surprise with its string of effective and powerful songs. But there were still some concerns to be had; it would take a rather spectacular performance by the band to attract many viewers and maintain them in the middle of the scorching afternoon sun. This is where Floor Jansen comes into the picture. The 26 year old front woman delivers a vocal performance that on Sweden Rock Festival is only matched by the mighty Dio of Heaven & Hell - it's that good. Her voice is strong and versatile, easily shifting from operatic pitches a la Tarja Turunen to more emotional vocals in the vein of Amy Lee of Evanescence. She's also a joy to watch - not just because she is an 11 on a scale from 1-10, but also because she works so hard, both with her headbanging and how she constantly seeks contact with the spectators. The best cuts from the latest album are all played, with Evoke, Equally Destructive and Withering Time being the stand out-tracks. The only drawback is that De-Energized is rejected in favour of the Doro Pesch-duet Who I Am, which becomes rather pointless since Doro isn't present. However, these new songs fit nicely together with the classy old material, which makes me want to seek out the band's back catalogue. This was the very first performance ever by After Forever on Swedish soil, but since the big breakthrough lurks around the corner, it surely won't be the last.

8 chalices of 10

(sorry, no setlist)

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Band: U.D.O.
Rock Stage 18:15-19:45

~ By Tommy
I cried. Yes, you read correctly. I am 35 years old and I cried during a concert with U.D.O. and it was not even my first, it was my fourth so far. Only for a few seconds, however, but nevertheless. At that very moment I experienced what I can only describe as complete and utter happiness. It was a few days into a perfect festival, close to tropical weather, the perfect amount of belgian beer in my belly, I was surrounded by good friends and then and there, there was no other place I wished to be, including any situation or position involving a person of the female gender. But musically then, you wonder? Of course it was a smashing set. Nothing of the above matters much if the band does not deliver above expected. It was a massive audience and it was triggered to the max which in turn reflected back to the band, who showed great joy of playing. The sound was brilliant - fat and heavy, yet clear and crisp. The singalong factor was immense which helped creating the overwhelming mood. The setlist was very good with a couple of minor flaws in form of a useless but luckily short guitar solo and the mediocre song We Do - For You from the new album. The rest was a good mix of mainly U.D.O. songs and the necessary Accept evergreens. Nothing spectacular really, but this afternoon everything just clicked. It was a magic and intense hour and definitely one of the best, or rather happiest, moments of my life so far.

9 chalices of 10

(sorry, no setlist)

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Band: Talisman
Zeppelin Stage 20:30-21:45

~ By Thomas
Even though Talisman was one of the bands that I looked forward most to see, it felt a bit sad when it was finally time for them to hit the stage (and this was the most strange thing in the running order this year, why was Talisman banished to play on the smallest of the regular stages?). This was supposedly to be the last performance from Talisman on Swedish ground ever, or nearly on any ground for that matter since they have decided to put the band to rest after these last couple of dates. This was nothing but a top-notch performance that screamed of professionalism straight through the entire concert, but what else could you expect from these guys? Jeff Scott Soto stood for one of the absolute best vocal performances on the festival and seldom do you get to hear someone that sings this good, regardless if it is live or on an album. The band all seemed to be in a real good and determined mood and there where plenty of sing-along moments when they lined up hit song after hit song from their early albums. It started with a great intensity and the first half was nothing but absolutely excellent, and definitely some of the better moments of the festival were to be found there. But when Jeff Scott Soto is left alone on stage with a piano and it is time for ballads, it looses intensity and the band need to work their way back before I am satisfied again. Talisman made some great cover versions of Madonna's Frozen and Seal's Crazy, far better than the original versions, and in all this was probably the best concert for me this year along with Heaven & Hell and Kreator. Thanx for all these years Talisman, it has been a pleasure.

9 chalices of 10

(sorry, no setlist)

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Band: Tiamat
Sweden Stage 21:45-23.15

~ By Niklas
This was a concert that I would have looked forward to extremely much, if I hadn't already seen Tiamat a few months ago at a boat on the dark seas outside of Stockholm. But the conditions on Sweden Rock Festival proves to be just as good; the band has been given plenty of space in the shape of Sweden Stage, and the darkness has just started to engulf the festival grounds. It's just a shame that so relatively few people have gathered, even if the numbers increase as the concert goes on. The set list is pretty much identical to the one from the Close Up-boat, but since Tiamat recently signed with Nuclear Blast there should soon be one or two new potential classics to be heard in the Tiamat-repertoire. As of now, I could easily refer to my review from the Close Up-boat for you all to get the picture. Tiamat still isn't the most exciting live performers, but their back-catalogue is so strong that the show rarely looses momentum. I have two things to add, though. 1) Cold Seed is a stunning up-tempo (!) track that speaks to all kinds of festivalgoers, not just the goth-fans. 2) Tiamat's magnum opus Gaia - the Pink Floyd-inspired song that ends the set with an epic guitar solo and a firecracker - felt right there, at that particular moment, as the best song ever written.

7 chalices of 10

Vote For Love
Children Of The Underworld
Brighter Than The Sun
Whatever That Hurts
I Am In Love With Myself
To Have And Have Not
In A Dream
Wings Of Heaven
Cold Seed
As Long As You Are Mine
The Sleeping Beauty

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Band: Skid Row
Zeppelin Stage 21:45-23:15

~ By Thomas
First of all, Solinger ain't no Bach, and Skid Row is not that big of a deal with most of their new material. But let me tell you, I was all psyched out when they were done. I do not know when I have sung along as much as I did here, the nostalgia-factor was awesome. Skid Row with the new material work ok, no more, no less. And you can't overlook that this band lives on old merits and that can be seen as sad or pathetic, but I would not nearly like to count them out as a live band, they still know how to kick ass. The new voice of Skid Row is Johnny Solinger who's high-pitch vocals can not really compete with Bach's as you are used to hear the songs in the original versions, and at times it didn't sound good at all, but with more aggressive songs like Monkey Business, Slave To The Grind and Get The Fuck Out, it was just as good as the original. Skid Row mixed new songs with older ones, and I suppose I do not need to tell which ones that got the best response, now do I? They played songs from all of their albums and most of the classics where there; I Remember You, 18 And Life, Slave To The Grind, the Ramones cover Psychotherapy and so on. Even if the reworked I Remember You Two actually works better in my opinion, nothing worked as great as the ending Youth Gone Wild, and by now my throat was starting to feel sore.

8 chalices of 10

(sorry, no setlist)

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Band: Aerosmith
Festival Stage 23:30-01:15

~ By David
Aerosmith had a heavy burden on their shoulders before this gig. They were supposed to be the most expensive and fantastic sight ever on Sweden Rock Festival. That meant that they not only had to beat reunion shows like Mötley Crüe and Judas Priest, and other legendary bands like Def Leppard, Europe, Deep Purple, Ted Nugent and Alice Cooper, but also two highly appreciated and expensive acts from the day before: Heaven & Hell and Meat Loaf. Initially they nailed it. On the biggest stage ever on Sweden Rock, Steve Tyler and fellows ran around delivering hits in an even row. If they only had continued that way, and perhaps added more of the old stuff that the Sweden Rock audience favour, it could have been magic. But about halfway Steve and Joe Perry insisted on an acoustic blues jam, sitting on deck chairs. The blues continued, now re-plugged, and started to bore people off. Tired after a long, hot day, there need to be tempo in a two hour gig to keep up the attention. Personally I love blues - at the local pub, in a comfortable chair, with a beer in my hand. But a cold, dark festival night I prefer party rock to keep me warm and going and keep my thoughts away from my hurting back, headache and tired legs and feet. Overall, Aerosmith more than passed, but not with the extreme distinction we all expected.

8 chalices of 10

Love In An Elevator
Dude (Looks Like A Lady)
Falling In Love (Is Hard On The Knees)
Eat The Rich
I Don't Want To Miss A Thing
What It Takes
Baby, Please Don't Go
Hangman Jury (Acoustic)
Seasons of Wither
Dream On
Last Child
Livin' On The Edge
Stop Messin' Around
Sweet Emotion
Draw The Line
Walk This Way

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To the top

Saturday - June 09

Band: Falconer
Zeppelin Stage 11:30-12:30

~ By Hawk
This was something I had waited for a long, long time. Falconer has had a special place in my heart ever since they knocked me down with their magnificent debut album. I was pleased to be given the opportunity to witness them live at Sweden Rock just in time for the comeback of the fantastic vocalist Mathias Blad. Right from the very beginning it was quite clear that this machine isn't as well-oiled as many of their colleagues since they never have done much touring and this was Mathias Blad's first show with Falconer in five years. This was however a minor problem this morning (yep, they entered the stage just in time for breakfast, well almost anyway) since it was pure joy to hear these fantastic songs with Blad on vocals again. The static show was saved by a great setlist that was executed flawlessly and at the end of The Clarion Call my throat started to ache, just as expected…

7 chalices of 10

Upon The Grave Of Guilt
Catch The Shadows
Spirit Of The Hawk
A Quest For The Crown
Perjury And Sanctity
Enter The Glade
Child Of The Wild
Himmel Så Trind
The Clarion Call
Ridom, Ridom

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Band: Manimal
Gibson Stage 12:30-13:00

~ By Thomas
This is a band with the future ahead of them, although they did not impress on me as much as a year ago when I saw them at the Metaltown festival. Nevertheless, I wanted to mention them here since this is a band I think highly of and I believe that this is a band that can go far. With a mix of early Queensrÿche, Judas Priest and eighties metal as well as progressive metal, they show a great skill, song writing as well as performance wise. Perhaps the vocals sounded a bit too strained this time, as if he wanted too much, but does this guy have some amazing vocal-capabilities or what? With only a half an hour on their hands it is not really enough for me to put a grade on their performance, and especially not since I arrived late. I do not know how much I missed in the beginning, but I do hope they played their great song Spinegrinder for those who where there early, as I missed that one in their set. That song is simply too good to be left out. Manimal is on their way with their debut album, due to be released this fall if I remembers correctly, and that is an album you should definitely keep an eye open for when it arrives, I know I will.

-- chalices of 10 (did not play long enough to grade)

(sorry, no setlist)

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Band: Bloodbound
Zeppelin Stage 14:00-15:00

~ By Hawk
My expectations for this show were quite high. With a fantastic debut album and a more than decent follow-up they had all chances in compiling a great setlist and the news that Urban Breed (vocalist on Nosferatu) was back for this show didn't make me sad either. Urban is a hell of a front man but always on the edge to be goofy and much too egocentric. In fact, on Sweden Rock I thought he was both funny and embarrassing but either way, it's quite entertaining watching a show like that. The performance of the boys were top notch but I don't know if it was the hellish sun's impact on me or just the disappointing setlist that gave me the feeling that something was missing. It felt like a wake-up call when the fantastic last two songs arrived but that was a bit too late. Good of course but nothing out of the ordinary I'm afraid.

6,5 chalices of 10

Behind The Moon
Into The Dark
The Tempter
Black Heart
Bless The Unholy
Metal Monster
Book Of The Dead

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Band: Magic Pie
Zeppelin Stage 16:00-17:00

~ By Hawk
I discovered this Norwegian progressive rock band just a couple of months before the festival. Their debut album, entitled Motions Of Desire, received great reviews but my first serious encounter with the band was with this years release; Circus Of Life. The album has slowly but surely grown to be one of the best albums released so far this year. The problem was however that my old time favourite band Blind Guardian started their show just 30 minutes after Magic Pie's so my plan was to leave at half time in favour for the German bards. When Magic Pie entered the stage however I knew instantly that I had to change my plans and stay until the very end. Despite the fact that they played on the Zeppelin Stage (known for its poor sound) this was probably the show that impressed me the most sound wise. These Norwegians surely know how to handle their instruments but they never do it just to show off, it's always with stile and melody. In fact, the goose bumps were intact during the entire show. Absolutely brilliant!

9 chalices of 10

Circus Of Life Pt. 4 - Trick Of The Mind
Without Knowing Why
Pointless Masquerade

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Band: Blind Guardian
Festival Stage 16:30-18:00

~ By Thomas
Blind Guardian have a special place in my heart, and they always will. But truth be told, they are not the most exciting band to watch on stage, but do they ever have some magic treasure-chest of brilliant songs to choose from. Although the setlist did not offer any surprises, it worked out rather well even I could easily see positively on some changes in it. Hansi Kürsch is sadly not the singer he used to be anymore, as he cannot reach as high with his voice anymore and is forced to hold back. But luckily Blind Guardian has some songs that are made for the audience to sing along in, Nightfall and The Bard's Song (In The Forest) always produces some great sing-along moments, and this time brought no exception. And with a song like Valhalla nothing can go wrong, and when the crowd took over the singing at the end of the song the band look sincerely overwhelmed by the reception they got. Why stubbornly retaining And Then There Was Silence in the Blind Guardian setlist? In whole that is just a fifteen-minute momentum loss, even if it has bits and pieces that are splendid. I would rather see that they use that time to do a medley of the Somewhere Far Beyond album as it contains so many great songs. Nevertheless, Blind Guardian is always Blind Guardian and they can never let me down. Intensity and joy on stage and killers like A Script For My Requiem and Mirror Mirror made it all more than worthwhile. However, it disturbs me a little to know that they with small measures can create something so much better live.

7 chalices of 10

Into The Storm
Born In A Mourning Hall
A Script For My Requiem
I'm Alive
Welcome To Dying
This Will Never End
And Then There Was Silence
Imaginations From The Other Side
The Bard's Song (In The Forest)
Mirror Mirror

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Band: BC & The Heartkeys feat. Loffe
Gibson Stage 17:30-18:30

~ By David
Ok, I actually dropped in somewhere in the middle of the set, because I was going to review Blind Guardian and had to yawn myself through their whole set. And I probably would have missed BC & The Heartkeys not being for them having Janne "Loffe" Carlsson on drums. Though a legendary drummer from Hansson & Karlsson during the 60s, still most famous for his movie appearances and TV-shows in the 80s. Nevertheless a bit of blues as a contrast to all the metal going on in my schedule was perfect, and although hot as hell, there were at least shadow in the Gibson Tent. Sure, Loffe was there playing the drums. A bit old and grey nowadays. But the star of the show was neither him, nor young 'BC' (Björn Clern). It was singer/mouth organ-player Bill Öhrström, 64. Bill has a long blues/prog career to look back on. But he still becomes happy like a child on stage. He danced, sweated, sang, sweated some more, played mouth organ, danced again and finally had to sit down to grasp some air in the heat. But it was pure joy all the way.

7 chalices of 10

(sorry, no setlist)

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Band: Iced Earth
Rock Stage 18:15-19:45

~ By Thomas
Somewhere within me, I was hoping for some song from Demons & Wizards, which is the band Hansi Kürsch from Blind Guardian and Jon Schaffer from Iced Earth have done two albums with. And as Jon did not appear with Blind Guardian, perhaps Hansi would join Iced Earth, I though to myself before they went on stage. But as soon as they started with Burning Times, that thought quickly escaped my mind as I was knocked to the ground, holy shit, how magnificent this was. Finally I got to see Iced Earth again, and for the first time with Ripper behind the microphone. To hear him sing out and make good use of his voice turned out to be really impressive, far more impressive than what I expected, even though I have seen him live before with his own band Beyond Fear. He felt more suited for the older Iced Earth material then what I would think and he pulled it of greatly, but then it was no surprise that he could sing in the first place. I enjoyed every moment of the set that mostly consisted of older songs and even if there where a lot of more songs I would have wanted to hear, the mix of songs was perfect. The band looked psyched and determined to deliver one helluva show, and they sure did, and it was great to see Jon Schaffer on stage, an impressive man and his signature riffing made me warm with delight. I was on my way to pronounce this performance with Iced Earth as the best of the entire festival, but it ended far too quickly and left me with a massive anti-climax. After about fifty minutes, they left the stage, and my first thought was that it was a bit early to leave for the encore. But apparently this was it, no more songs and by the looks of it, I was not the only one left confused. Apparently, Schaffer is still not well and with the new members they had no more than fifty minutes rehearsed, as that was the time Iced Earth thought they had at their disposal while they actually had 1,5 hour scheduled. But seriously, with the re-recorded Something Wicked trilogy recently released as an EP along with the track Ten Thousand Strong, surely they must have been able to play that? I for one took it for granted that I would get to hear those songs, so even if I am pleased with what I saw, I am equally disappointed with what I did not get to see.

7 chalices of 10

Burning Times
Declaration Day
Vengeance Is Mine
Pure Evil
The Reckoning
The Hunter
Ten Thousand Strong
My Own Savior
Iced Earth

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Band: Krux
Zeppelin Stage 20:30-21:45

~ By David
I just love Mats Levéns voice. Whether he does melodic metal, neo-classic metal, power metal or as with Krux doom/stoner he seem to has the voice perfectly fitted for it. Add to that one of Sweden's most talented songwriters in the heavier genres, Leif Edling, and Krux becomes as much of a dream team as a side-project. With the smallest backdrop on the festival (namely a t-shirt hung up in the stage roof) Krux gave us an hour of intense doom, straight from the heart. In spite of the depressing lyrics the band seemed to have fun on stage and the crowd enjoyed every minute.

8 chalices of 10

(sorry, no setlist)

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Band: Quireboys
Gibson Stage 21:30-22:30

~ By Hawk
Quireboys debut album A Bit Of What You Fancy was probably one of the most frequent visitor in my record player in 1990. But when the lame follow-up Bitter Sweet & Twisted arrived three years later I was massively disappointed and dropped the band. The signing of Quireboys for Sweden Rock Festival 2007 made me pick up the fantastic debut again and despite the fact that the shape Quireboys of today was unknown to me my expectations were quite high. The band had been given the slot to play in the Gibson tent and the heat was intense inside just before the show. When they entered the stage accompanied by a massive roar I knew that this was about to be a show to remember. When they played songs from the debut album, which were quite a few, the sing-along from the audience almost blew the tent away. This was nothing but a BIG party and when they finished the show with my personal favourite Sex Party I was more than satisfied. This was the last concert I witnessed in its entirety on Sweden Rock Festival 2007, a splendid end of a fantastic festival!

8 chalices of 10

(sorry, no setlist)

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Band: Motörhead
Rock Stage 21:45-23:15

~ By David
Ninth time I saw Motörhead. And basically it's impossible to get tired. Or is it? Actually, for the first time I felt like I may get bored if they not put together a decent setlist in the near future. Sure, they change a few songs every other year, but it seems like it's never for the better. Why leave out new monster hits like Sucker and God Was Never On Your Side, although they played three new songs? Or why leave out guaranteed party songs like Born To Raise Hell and Orgasmatron, just to play Killer and In The Name Of Tragedy yet another time? Or to play a lame version of I Got Mine and a worn out Over The Top? But as we reached the second half I melted nevertheless. The Chase Is Better Than The Catch marks the take off. Then we got Sacrifice, Just Coz You Got The Power, Going To Brazil and Killed By Death. That was even before the golden trinity Bomber, Ace Of Spades and Overkill. And of course no one left disappointed at the end. There were some more energy added when Fast Eddie Clarke joined the band for old time's sake. Maybe not because Eddie himself is that energizing, but because Phil Campbell is not. Campbell's dullness on stage just gets worse with the years. And of course we got the bomber plane. Fantastic piece of lighting, but we saw it just a couple of years ago, so I guess no one became totally breathless.

7 chalices of 10

Stay Clean
Be My Baby
Over The Top
One Night Stand
I Got Mine
In The Name of Tragedy
Sword Of Glory
The Chase Is Better Than The Catch
Just 'Coz You Got The Power
Going To Brazil
Killed By Death
Whorehouse Blues
Bomber *
Ace Of Spades *
Overkill *

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Band: Scorpions w/ Uli Jon Roth
Festival Stage 23:30-02:00

~ By Niklas
One of my worst memories from Sweden Rock Festival is hands down these German dinosaurs' headlining gig in 2004. Very little old material, crappy new songs and a running time that seemed to go on for ages… I had little interest to give Scorpions a second chance, but my friends persuaded me to come along since the old guitar hippie Uli Jon Roth (who was part of the band in the 70s) would participate in a few songs. Fair enough. It soon becomes apparent that little has changed, though. If the arrangers had placed Klaus Meine & Co on, say, Rock Stage in the middle of the day, the gig would probably feel rather mediocre, but not awful. However, when giants like Heaven & Hell and Aerosmith have come before you, people should have the right to expect something. And by "something" I don't mean lousy drum solos, anonymous new tracks or Wind Of Change. Come on, if you're going to perform a cheesy ballad, at least go with Send Me An Angel! A small spark of hope is lightened when Uli Jon Roth appears with the superb track Pictured Life, but when he disappears almost as quickly as he came on, all hope is lost. The little fun that is had during the rest of the evening doesn't come from any of the songs, but rather at the expense of either Klaus Meine and his uninspired talking in-between songs, or Rudolf Schenker - perhaps the stiffest guitarist this planet has to offer. After two hours a feeling of déjà vu from 2004 appears, as Scorpions saves the biggest hits for the end of the ordinary set. The difference is that these are not only predictable but also tired - Still Loving You feels tamer than a kitten and Rock You Like A Hurricane just blows. Just like three years ago, we decided to leave before the encores, to get rid of the biggest gatherings of people. However, there were no gatherings, the festival area was practically empty already. But the band didn't seem to notice, and played on. And on.

3 chalices of 10

(sorry, no setlist)

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And then there was silence…

One thing that I especially like, apart from all the great music of course, is the atmosphere. There is a feeling of belonging and brotherhood at the festival, and there is more of a familiar feeling rather then a hostile one. During my six years at Sweden Rock Festival there has not been any fights or criminality as far as I have seen. Of course it exists, but in general, it is way more less of those things here compared to other festivals where rapes and sexual abuses create frequent headlines in the tabloids. I heard something about the police describing this festival as being calm as a regular Saturday night in the neighbor town and that there only had been a few interventions from the strong arm of the law during the whole four days.

Never have I encountered such split feelings for leaving the festival as this year. On one hand I was tired and wanted to go home, but on the other hand the time at the festival had been so great that I never wanted it to end. However, all good things has to end, as so even Sweden Rock Festival of 2007. Although, one thing that did not end was the constant shining sun. Yet the weather is perhaps the only thing that could have been better, as it was hotter than hell at times. Well, at least it did not rain, but the constant burning sun gave me a sunburn that still looks hilarious on my arms and shoulders.

Note to myself; it can be wise to remove the sunglasses at times to avoid funny panda-looking pale marks around the eyes.

~ Thomas

Related links: www.swedenrock.com