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Sweden Rock Festival 2008 - Maximum Festivity

Every time I sit down to write these opening lines, I always start with how the festival keeps getting bigger and bigger, so why make an exception this year? A new record was set with the amount of spectators, as 2008 saw the number settling on 33,200 visitors at Sweden Rock Festival. Once again stating that this has become the biggest festival in Sweden when it for the second consecutive year surpassed the Hultsfred Festival, and this time being the largest festival in Sweden ever.

Someone said that being at Sweden Rock Festival is like being on a soccer game where everybody is cheering on the same team. And that is one great comparison, as Sweden Rock Festival embraces you with a feeling of belonging and companionship. The weather gods as usual showed themselves from their best side, perhaps some might say that they were to kind as the sun was scorching hot most of the time. Well, better a hot summer sun than pouring rain if you ask me, and luckily there has been extremely little of the latter during my seven consecutive years at the festival. As usual they had put together a broad mix of bands, serving practically every taste of hard rock and metal something, even if I personally was not to happy about having Def Leppard and Poison as headliners.

Metal Covenant also broke a new record this year, when six of the members from the staff attended, that is two thirds of the entire staff and practically all of the Swedish ones. Therefore, you can look forward to one of Metal Covenant's most extensive festival coverage so far, so keep on reading to relive those wonderful moments or to find out what you have missed out.

~ Thomas, June 2008

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

Reviews by Thomas/David/Niklas/Hawk/Mozzy/Tommy
Photos by David

Wednesday - June 04

Band: Astral Doors
Zeppelin Stage 18:00-19:00

~ By Hawk
Astral Doors might be a great band regarding the four albums they have recorded so far in their career. But to be honest, the two live performances I have experienced with the band before have been quite uninteresting and on the edge to boredom. The gig at Sweden Rock Festival came therefore as a big surprise as they came out as a new and vitalized band with energy and self confidence. The first half of the show was in fact brilliant and looking upon the setlist it seems like they had decided to kick start the show with only their best songs. With tracks like Cloudbreaker, New Revelation, Of The Son And The Father and Bride Of Christ they offered their highlights at once. This, however, had as a result that they couldn't maintain the quality during the entire show and the second half was a bit weaker but never dropped to the level of my previous experiences I earlier mentioned. They are still not the wildest band in the world on stage but hey, let the music do the talking!

7 chalices of 10

Fill Your Head With Rock (Time To Rock)
New Revelation
London Caves
Of The Son And The Father
Bride Of Christ
Freedom War
Hungry People
Evil Is Forever
Black Rain

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Band: Airbourne
Sweden Stage 19:00-20:00

~ By Mozzy
These Australian newcomers has had to withstand endless comparisons with their famous countrymen AC/DC (and Rose Tattoo, for that matter). Sure enough, they play a similar type of groovy boogie rock and have certainly been inspired by the Young brothers and co.; that cannot be disputed. At the same time, it can be argued that Airbourne beat their older peers when it comes to delivering an energetic live show. From start to finish, this is a high-octane performance; the songs are executed with a highly infectious groove as well as a devastating punch. The Melbourne youthful are simply on fire: front man Joel O´Keefe comes across as a full-blown madman; hazardously climbing the lightning rig and playing a guitar solo 10 feet up in the air, leaping daringly from the drum riser, and screaming his lungs out in rants between songs. Guitarist David Roads and basist Justin Street, meanwhile, are headbanging fervently, almost thrash metal-style throughout the set - an unusual sight for this kind of music. Nearly all songs from the promising debut Runnin´Wild are played, with numbers such as Stand Up For Rock N´Roll and Blackjack offering an irresistible drive and rock n' roll party feel. As I write this, I learn that the band are playing London´s Astoria in October; one can imagine the band's intensity when playing an indoor, smaller gig - count me in!

8 chalices of 10

(sorry, no setlist)

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Band: Sabaton
Sweden Stage 21:00-22:15

~ By Thomas
What an impressive live act Sabaton has become during the years, and they are surely a band acting with great confidence, obvious routine and cockiness yet with a humble attitude. In Joakim Brodén they have a splendid frontman who can make any man follow him in to war and further they are a band that is performing splendidly tight and surely looks like they are having a blast on stage. With these ingredients, it is hard as a spectator to not get captivated. Sabaton is touring with their new album The Art Of War that has received some really positive attention and the chart positions are evidence of that. In the Swedish single chart as well as in the album chart, the album has gained high positions, and it is great to see a metal band gain such success. The new material works excellent and the set opens with two new tracks that set off their performance right away with the up-tempo track Ghost Division and the march stomping title track The Art Of War. Moreover, Gutter Balle…, sorry, Cliffs Of Gallipoli and not least the mighty Panzerkampf stood well in the live set along with their older songs and the band received a massive response from the festival crowd and they appeared to be genuinely overwhelmed at more than one point.

Primo Victoria is a song that will probably haunt Sabaton into eternity, for good and for bad, but nothing bad in sight yet though, not least judging by the even more overwhelming response they got by the time they approached that song. Primo Victoria and Panzer Battalion are obvious highlights, I can never get tired of those songs and with 40-1 from the new album I have a new Sabaton live favourite, that is a future killer as well; truly a great, great song. Sabaton took another victory on the battlefield with this performance and I assume their army of followers grew even stronger after this.

7 chalices of 10

Ghost Division
The Art Of War
Into The Fire
Rise Of Evil
Panzer Battalion
The Prize Of A Mile
A Light In The Black
Primo Victoria
Cliffs Of Gallipoli
Attero Dominatus
Metal Machine/Crüe

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Band: Satyricon
Sweden Stage 23:30-02:00

~ By David
Normally, black metal is not my cup of tea. Not at all, actually. But Satyricon, especially their later material, has some rock 'n' roll-oriented songs that more than appeals to me. I refer to hits like Fuel For Hatred, Repined Bastard Nation, Now Diabolical, K.I.N.G. and The Pentagram Burns. Those five pieces, nicely spread out during this one and a half hour, were enough for me to make this one of the most personally appreciated gigs during the festival, with the whole protocol at hand. Satyr and friends also blend their darkness and mysticism with a bit of humour and party, and opposites like that have always worked for me. An extra plus for Satyr's grouse haircut, with a ton of oil in it, making him look like a mafia torpedo or something. Unfortunately, the band's greatest 'hit' Mother North got lost due to the 'Sweden Stage problem', which was a permanent error through the whole festival where the bass drum swallowed all nuances in guitars and song in the mix.

9 chalices of 10

(sorry, no setlist)

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Thursday - June 05

Band: Sister Sin
Zeppelin Stage 11:30-12:30

~ By David
Sister Sin won this spot in the Nordic Challenge competition, where fans from Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland voted for one unsigned band each to open the four days of Sweden Rock. Sister Sin were well worth the Swedish votes. Last year they toured Sweden with W.A.S.P. and basically kicked the main band's ass. Singer Liv is a charismatic appearance on stage and, unlike many of their great influences in sleaze rock, has a voice that is both strong and steady. Seldom has Live Wire sounded better, for example … She held the crowd in a tight grip during this early hour and underground hits such as Hostile / Violent made it a perfect kickstart of the day.

8 chalices of 10

(sorry, no setlist)

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Band: Black Stone Cherry
Rock Stage 12:00-13:15

~ By Tommy
Usually not my cup of tea, but I was tipped about the band prior to the festival and I liked what I heard for once when it comes to a band of this style, so I decided to check them out. Black Stone Cherry plays something that can be described as a hybrid of stoner, 70's rock and... well, I stink at describing these bands correctly so I'm going to use a phrase coined by the musical oracle Janne Stark: "a nice mixture of Gov't Mule, BLS och Allman Bros". The young guys in the band (everyone between 20 and 23 years old) showed a great joy of playing and the show was intense and enjoyable to watch. Chris Robertson is a great and charismatic vocalist and really lifts the band that extra notch that is needed to stick out. Almost all of their songs have a great groove, nice hooks and this was a perfect way to start the day. Stand out track was Hell & High Water, not surprisingly. Simply good rock delivered in a great way by great musicians. Unfortunately the show ended with a way too long jam (15-20 minutes) which grew tiresome after a while, but according to the band this was due to the fact that they had more time available than they initially thought and decided to fill it with some improvised music instead of just calling it a day. An honorable initiative but the concert ended a bit weird.

7,5 chalices of 10

Rain Wizard
Backwoods Gold
Yeah Man
Rollin' On
Hell & High Water
Soul Creek
Lonely Train
Shooting Star
Blind Man
Maybe Someday
Guitar solo: Ben Wells
Guitar solo: Chris Robertson
Instrumental Jam
Voodoo Child (Jimi Hendrix)

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Band: Pain Of Salvation
Zeppelin Stage 14:00-15:00

~ By Hawk
Last winter I saw Pain Of Salvation live at Musikens Hus in Gothenburg and that was surely a night to remember. The intensity and dedicated performance Daniel Gildenlöw and his partners in crime offered that night was nothing but spectacular. My expectations on this concert on Sweden Rock Festival was therefore huge and I expected nothing less that this was to be the highlight of the festival. However, watching Pain Of Salvation in the middle of the day with the stage bathing in sunlight isn't a perfect match. This together with a slightly disappointing setlist left me with the impression that the usual extra something was missing. Still, since Pain Of Salvation is a fantastic band in all aspects they put on a very enjoyable concert that highlighted in songs like The Perfect Element, Undertow (the band members surprised Daniel by singing the Swedish version of Happy birthday on this one), Ashes and Nightmist. I would have loved the inclusion of Beyond The Pale and a couple of other killers they have in their catalogue but despite that, Pain Of Salvation always leave you in a good mood since they don't know how to fail. Great but not as fantastic as I had hoped for.

7 chalices of 10

The Perfect Element
Diffidentia (Breaching The Core)
Disco Queen

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Band: Primal Fear
Sweden Stage 15:00-16:15

~ By Tommy
Primal Fear drew a pretty decent crowd in the sunny afternoon, and they usually deliver their classic heavy metal above average. This day it was just average, however. No more, no less. A concert with Primal Fear is a riff fest of big proportions and that is what saved them from a lower grade this time. Despite a seemingly good mood among the members of the band, it felt more or less like another day at the job. Their new swedish guitarist Magnus Karlsson (Allen/Lande, Bob Catley, Starbreaker) did very well and together with Henny Wolter, he really showed us that metal definitely is forever. Sometimes it is just not that overly exciting, just plain enjoyable for the moment.

6 chalices of 10

Sign Of Fear
Silver & Gold
Running In The Dust
Nuclear Fire
Face The Emptiness
Seven Seals
Angel In Black
Guitar-duel: Karlsson/Wolter
Under Your Spell
Demons And Angels
Fighting The Darkness
Final Embrace
Metal Is Forever

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Band: Volbeat
Zeppelin Stage 16:00-17:00

~ By Niklas
This Danish band is currently hotter than the sun that always shines on Sölvesborg during the first week of June, and judging by Volbeat's very impressive gig at this year's Sweden Rock Festival, they will only be bigger and bigger in terms of popularity. So why place them on the smallest outdoor-stage? The arrangers behind SRF seem to be only persons in the world that didn't foresee that Volbeat would draw a massive crowd, while for example Coheed & Cambria played in front of an embarrassingly small amount of people on the biggest stage at the same time. But Volbeat's brand of Elvis-meets-Metallica-metal is simply too good to make anyone care for long. The Danes have that rare ability to make an hour long set feel constantly entertaining, refreshing and varied, and even myself (who have only heard 3 or 4 tracks of the band prior to the gig) didn't even have time to look at my watch even once. The songs are overall very good, but it's the stand-out tracks Radio Girl and The Garden's Tale that gives the word "Danish dynamite" a whole new meaning.

8 chalices of 10

(sorry, no setlist)

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Band: Coheed & Cambria
Festival Stage 16:30-18:00

~ By Hawk
I discovered Coheed & Cambria with the release of their third album entitled Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness (phew…), and I hooked instantly because of their melodic and varied music performed in the best of ways. I really looked forward to this show and the question was if they could bring the magic from their recordings to the stage. The answer came to be a big YES! Claudio Sanchez isn't maybe the most entertaining front man in the business today but his performance was fantastic. I mean, considering the complicated guitar work he offers constantly during the songs it's a small wonder how he can sing with such passion and dedication at the same time. The two female singers that participated was something that really made the outcome sound even better. A brilliant move that others should follow instead of using backing tracks since it injected more life to the songs. This concert was a great surprise and without a doubt one of the highlights of this year.

8 chalices of 10

Setlist: (Might be slightly incorrect)
No World For Tomorrow
Gravemakers And Gunslingers
Ten Speed (Of God's Blood & Burial)
A Favor House Atlantic
The Hound
The Suffering
Everything Evil/The Trooper/Devil in Jersey City
Running Free
Welcome Home
Final Cut

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

~ By Thomas
You can always count on good ol' American thrash, and what better band to provide you with that other than Testament? What a performance they did, and what an excellent setlist they offered. Starting with Over The Wall and Into The Pit I felt that this could be just as good as the last time they played here, and damn me if they were not even better this time around.

Vocalist Chuck Billy is a man that inspires respect as a frontman and when he sings you listen, period. I wonder if he ever has had such a dynamic voice? Whether he sings calmly or is screaming his lungs out he surely possesses the know how and to make it sound great. The band was simply performing in a most excellent manner and handed out one classic song after the other. Apart from Paul Bostaph on drums, this is the 'as close to the original line-up you can come' of Testament, and even after these many years you can easily see that they are having a blast on stage and totally enjoyed performing in front of the festival crowd. To see and hear the dynamic duo on guitar in Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson was truly delightful and everything seemed to work perfectly for the band this evening.

After nine years of wait, Testament have delivered one helluva album with The Formation Of Damnation and now it was time to see how well these new songs held up in their live set. The crowd already knew how to sing along in the melodic parts of More Than Meets The Eye, so there were no problems there. Moreover, Henchmen Ride which was the second and the only other new song they played is a real thrash-killer well suited to be part of the Testament live set, so you can safely say that Testament still know how to deliver new material that holds, if anyone ever should have worried, I know I did not.

Sadly, the sound was not the best at all time, in general there were no problems but the vocal sound did suffer quite a bit partly, although not enough to drag the grade down, but enough to be a little disturbing. The best was saved to last as the encore offered a really mighty discharge, first song out was D.N.R. from The Gathering, and hopefully they will never remove that one from the live set. The fury and thrash-aggression in that one is nothing but stunning. Alone In The Dark is another personal favourite that on their previous festival apperance (2004) featured a guest appearance from Steve Souza and even if it never reached that level this time it still was a highlight. Well, you just have to surrender, there is no such music that works so well for me live as thrash does, so there is no surprise that once again a thrash band stands for the best performance at the festival in my opinion.

9,5 chalices of 10

Over The Wall
Into The Pit
Apocalyptic City
Practice What You Preach
The New Order
Electric Crown
More Than Meets The Eye
Trail Of Tears
Henchmen Ride
Souls Of Black
The Preacher
3 Days in Darkness
Alone In The Dark
Disciples Of The Watch

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

~ By Thomas
"This is where you get your moneys worth". David Draiman was not shy when he told the audience what they had coming, and even if I think Disturbed did well, I would not say that they did that well. This was one of the performances that I had the highest expectations on before the festival, and sadly Disturbed did not quite manage to completely live up to them. There lies no doubt in that Disturbed know their way around the stage and that David Draiman knows how to control and captivate the audience with a cocky manor.

Even though there is nothing wrong with the confidence in the band it started a bit roughly and the vocals appeared to be far from any top shape, and it was not until they unleashed Prayer as fourth song that things started to stir and their performance began to fall in place. Draiman has a staccato way of singing, as he is pushing himself along with the singing, which is something that became even more obvious when he performed live and the songs seemed to suffer from this. However, with a professional manner they grew as time went by but it never really took off until they played their Genesis cover, Land Of Confusion. The songs from the new album stood well against the older ones in their set, but it was with Ten Thousand Fists it all came together, and this one was truly great to experience live. Another real highlight towards the end came with Inside The Fire and Stricken, and if they had started in the grand manner they ended, this would have been much more memorable.

6 chalices of 10

Perfect Insanity
Just Stop
Land Of Confusion
Ten Thousand Fists
The Game
Inside The Fire
Down With The Sickness

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

~ By David
The Irish veterans stand for soft and laid-back music. Nothing for the ones that only seek kick ass rock 'n' roll. But beautiful melodies and a bunch of great songs sometimes can stand out of the regular AOR-swamp. The occasional folk music vibe that Dare uses gives it an extra touch, although I wish it would have been live instruments rather than pre-recorded and/or keyboard-generated sounds. This gig was like an oasis in the metal desert, a refreshing break. But I left to see At The Gates when the sloppy old Thin Lizzy guitarist Brian Robertson entered to take over the show during the last two songs.

6 chalices of 10

Silent Thunder
Dreams On fire
Sea Of Roses
Where Darkness Ends
Beneath The Shining Water
Into The Fire
The Raindance
King Of Spades

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Band: At The Gates
Sweden Stage 21:45-23:15

~ By Thomas
The past became the present as At The Gates have risen from the ashes since they disbanded in 1996 and the members went on to bands like The Haunted, The Crown, Cradle Of Filth, etc. I missed out on them when they where around since they were active in a period before I was hooked on the death metal music to any greater extent. But as I discovered In Flames and Dark Tranquillity, I realised that the origin of the now renowned Gothenburg sound could be said to have started with At The Gates. Therefore, this was no other than a historical moment.

They still know their way around and it was amusing to see the joy on stage as they performed the brutal classics. Perhaps this was not the tightest performance at the festival but nevertheless the band was in good shape, but then the guys have hardly been inactive the last twelve years. However, to their defence it must be said that this was also the grand premiere of the reunion if I got it correctly. My knowledge of the band is, as I am ashamed to say, not what it should be, but to hear songs like Suicide Nation, Blinded By Fear and not least Under A Serpent Sun felt huge, and almost overwhelming. At The Gates received a good response from the audience and it was obvious that the band enjoyed being back together on stage again after the long period of time that had passed.

Tomas Lindberg might be monotonous as a vocalist to some, but I enjoyed the hell out of it to see him perform the old songs, and I give you that he might not be the best vocalist, but surely good enough and not least dedicated to the task. On the downside, this was sadly another concert where the sound was not good, I spent the beginning of their set in the front rows and it was hard to hear anything but bass and drums. How At The Gates sounds anno 2008 does not feel as important as that they are in fact resurrected, if only for a tour, and I am sure that this will create a stir in likeness with that people will later say with a proud voice; I was there, I have seen At The Gates.

5 chalices of 10

Terminal Spirit Disease
Suicide Nation
Raped By The Light Of Christ
Under A Serpent Sun
World Of Lies
The Burning Darkness
Forever Blind
The Beautiful Wound
All Life Ends
Blinded By Fear
Kingdom Come

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Band: Judas Priest
Festival Stage 23:30-02:00

~ By David
This was almost embarrassing for all parts. Last time on Sweden Rock (2004) was the first Judas Priest show for me and it all had the magic aura and excitement of the never seen before legendary act that one could expect. Therefore I naturally held that gig higher than perhaps an old fan would do. So sure, this time I was harder to please. But yet. KK. Downing, Glenn Tipton and Ian Hill stood as three rocks back at the drum podium all night long. They even had their personal monitors put out in a small half circle at the back centre of the stage and rarely dared to go outside this line. Rob Halford did go out a couple of times, but not further than a couple of meters, just in case. And we are talking a giant stage here, reportedly one of the largest in Europe, with ramps going out on the sides and in front, to get the artists closer to the crowd. Because even if I stood up at the very front, just a bit to the left of the stage, the distance to the centre is far enough so that all details in face expressions for example got lost.

Most of the time Halford stood in the half circle as well, bent down over a stick, watching the floor. I guess you all have heard the rumours that he has a teleprompter there, feeding him the lyrics. Well, that might as well be true from what you can see. I can have a bit patience with the man's voice. I don't expect it to be as in the good old days anymore. But why can't he just learn the lyrics and be able to move and act on stage? The setlist was based on the not yet released record Nostradamus. Although in this time of internet leaks, it is a bit sad that most of the audience probably have not had the chance to hear the record before watching the show. As of the rest, I welcome the choice of a few more obscure numbers, rather than the worn out crowd pleasers such as Living After Midnight. Although these songs may not have been the ones I would have chosen. Well you can't please them all, after 30+ years, 14 records (not counting the Ripper era) and countless of classics. But if I had to pick one song from Angel of Retribution for example, it would certainly not be Angel.

It started out pretty okay though. Rob theatrically moved down the stairs of the stage dressed as the 17th Century prophet Nostradamus. But the spell broke at the same time as the second song Metal Gods started. Now he suddenly looked just silly, still trying to bend over like a crippled man. Then followed remarkably slow and dull versions of classics like Eat Me Alive and Between The Hammer And The Anvil. Painkiller and Hell Bend For Leather marked the strongest part of the show, but not enough to repair for the rest. The band seemed to perform a professional 'heavy duty' rather than enjoying the fun on stage. That feeling passed on to the crowd.

3 chalices of 10

~ By Thomas
This was the only headliner I bothered to witness this year, but on the other hand, nothing could have stopped me from seeing The Metal God and the rest of Judas Priest. Judas Priest opened the whole shebang with one of the two new songs from their forthcoming pretentious effort Nostradamus, yet to be released at the time of writing this. Prophecy is a mighty mid-tempo track that promises well of the new album and Halford performed the song in a Gandalf like cowl shining in silver, and this served well as an opener in my opinion. It is fresh to hear them opening with something new instead of taking the safe path and open with The Hellion for instance. The other new song, Death, did not work too well on the other hand, a slow doomish track that made them lose the momentum. By judging after hearing that track, your hope sinks about the new album.

Apart from the new songs in the setlist, well, can a Judas Priest setlist consist of anything other than sheer classics? Breaking The Law, you all know this one to boredom, but come live it becomes the life of the party and makes every single one in the crowd sing along. Classics or not, Devils' Child and the lame Rock Hard, Ride Free could have been left out if you ask me as they did not really add anything. The guys in Judas Priest are getting old, and it becomes obvious when you see that they are acting stiff on stage, Halford especially. Nevertheless, for some bands it doesn't take too much to satisfy me, and Judas Priest is definitely one of them, although I sincerely think this was a solid and straight-through impressive performance.

Judas Priest gets stuck in a lot of clichés in their performance, although it does not feel cliché, simply natural. Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing proved that they are still on the edge when it comes to play guitar in harmony parts and, old or not, Tipton's skill and great feeling for good solo-parts is something that not many can live up to. Rob Halford's voice is not as dynamic as it used to be, but he sings flawlessly apart from the high-pitch notes you can hear he has difficulties with reaching. The set did not offer the best mix of songs, but personal favourites like Dissident Aggressor, Hell Patrol and the ever so magnificent Painkiller came out great leaving me in a state of euphoria.

7,5 chalices of 10

Dawn Of Creation
Metal Gods
Eat Me Alive
Between The Hammer And The Anvil
Devil's Child
Breaking The Law
Hell Patrol
Dissident Aggressor
The Hellion
Electric Eye
Rock Hard, Ride Free
Hell Bent For Leather
Green Manalishi (With The Two-Pronged Crown)
You've Got Another Thing Coming

Related links:

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Friday - June 06

Band: Birth Control
Rock Stage 12:00-13:15

~ By David
Not one of the most visited gigs on the festival, at least not at first, but that is seldom an indication of quality. Birth Control is often labelled as kraut rock, but falls not far from regular 70s hard rock. I will not try to hide that my first encounter with anything related to the band was Gamma Ray's cover of the song Gamma Ray. Of course, time has changed and there are only one original member left in the band, the drummer/singer Bernd Noske, together with some younger fellows. But on the other hand Noske certainly is the centre of the band with this unusual combination of talents. With a singing drummer there are some visual limitations on stage. He just can't run around and play the clown. And the 'new guys' were actually quite stiff on stage. But the music do the talking sometimes, and Birth Control still rocked.

7 chalices of 10

(sorry, no setlist)

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Band: Tesla
Festival Stage 13:30-14:45

~ By Hawk
Ever since I heard Cumin' Atcha Live on Swedish radio in 1986 I have awaited this moment. Tesla made a great impact on me back in the days, mainly with their first two albums Mechanical Resonance and The Great Radio Controversy. My expectations were high but I really didn't know in which shape they were nowadays. When they opened with my all-time-favourite Cumin' Atcha Live my happiness was complete and the overwhelming sensation I felt almost moved me to tears. What instantly came to my notice was that they are a fantastic live band and really love what they are doing. Jeff Keith is still a marvellous singer and his interaction with the audience makes them feel special in a way only the best front men are capable of. With an almost perfect setlist perfectly balanced from now and then this is one of the best shows I have ever seen and I still sit here with a smile on my face thinking about it. The only criticism I have is that the show ended too early, they could have stayed on the stage forever if you ask me. A classic show and definitely the best I have ever seen on Sweden Rock Festival!

9,5 chalices of 10

Cumin' Atcha Live
Into The Now
Hang Tough
Heaven's Trail (No Way Out)
Miles Away
Love Song
What You Give
Rock Botton
Little Suzi
Modern Day Cowboy
Edison's Medicine

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Band: Ace Frehley
Festival Stage 16:40-18:10

~ By Mozzy
When Ace Frehley played the Astoria in London in April, it was a happening which resulted in quite a large number of Swedes travelling to the English capital. Therefore, the booking of the former Kiss guitarist to Sweden's premier festival was great news. However, the magic from the night in London does not appear this time, Ace and his young band producing a bit less enthusiastic, albeit solid and entertaining, performance. Having said that, being treated to tunes like Rock Soldiers and Breakout (which Ace dedicates to the late Eric Carr), is still very enjoyable on a sunny afternoon with a beer in your hand, of course. The same applies for Kiss staples like Shout It Out Loud, Love Gun and Cold Gin. Ten days ago, Kiss played a sold-out Stockholm Stadium, but today almost the same spark seems to be generated among the crowd as were the songs played by Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley and crew. Other than the fact that these are revered classics, this is also a sign of the esteem that is held for Frehley - an essential part of Kiss which just cannot be replaced. The main man's singing and playing is rather sloppy at times, but it would not be Ace otherwise, would it? Most importantly, it is nice to see an old favourite back in the limelight; sober and enjoying himself (his characteristic, cackling laughter is always great to hear). After the performance, the legendary, affable rocker even took the time to personally thank the festival organisers. Undoubtedly, a future return would see him being welcomed with open arms by everyone in attendance today.

7,5 chalices of 10

Rip It Out
I Want You (short snippet)
Rock Soldiers
Into The Void
Strange Ways
Shout It Out Loud
New York Groove
2000 Man
Shock Me
Guitar solo
Rocket Ride
Love Gun
Cold Gin
Black Diamond (outro)

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Band: Carcass
Sweden Stage 18:15-19:45

~ By Tommy
One of a handful pretty exclusive concerts on the festival this year (together with Triumph, At The Gates, Avantasia), and this was the one I personally had anticipated the most. Alas, it became the one I was disappointed of the most. The sound was really lousy on this stage at this time of the day and that combined with the fact that Jeff Walker did not look or act especially enthusiastic made it quite a dull hour and a half. The guys were as tight as you could expect after these years, and Bill Steer's outfit and body posture- and language was a humoristic item in itself. The original drummer Ken Owen is incapable of playing drums on gigs nowadays, due to suffering from a brain haemorrhage in 1999, but this night the band called him up on stage to play a short drum solo, and it was a very touching moment as he stumbled across stage and took place behind the kit with his reunited band, which he was one of the founding members of. He received warm ovations from the audience for this and Jeff Walker even called him up again for an encore, but I assume he was too tired or too much in pain for that.

Carcass songs usually have the inclusion of mid sections which I think are pretty non saying and boring, and mainly serve as a transport to next riff, and in a context like this when the concert is pretty boring already as it is, it just became too much, close to unbearable. No real flow, no highlights, not much energy. I believed I yawned even during Corporal Jigsore Quandary, and that pretty much says it all.

4 chalices of 10

(sorry, no setlist)

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

~ By David
This was the third time I saw Whitesnake, and the third time on Sweden Rock. It's just one of those bands you probably would not care about if they came to a town not really that near you - but that you just would not miss when they are at the same festival. However, I have not been totally aroused by the previous occasions. But a new and actually pretty good record (finally) brought new expectations. It all stood up for about 40 minutes. David Coverdale was in a nice mood and used the giant stage in it's entirety to socialise with the fans. His voice was also okay so far. But then started the most outdrawn tempo killer during the whole festival. First a guitar duel, then half of a song and then a drum solo and on top of it all an outstretched presentation of the band. Twenty minutes… of practically nothing. That is not acceptable. I don't care if Coverdale needed to rest his voice. Then rather play a shorter set! A few soft songs later I found myself eating pasta in the back of the area, listening with half an ear. A couple of hits in the last minutes could not win back the lost ground. And no Judgement Day this time either. Whitesnake doomed themselves once again.

5 chalices of 10

Best Years
Fool For Your Loving
Can You Hear The Wind Blow
All I Want, All I Need
Love Ain't No Stranger
Lay Down Your Love
Is This Love
(guitar Solo)
A Fool In Love
(drum Solo)
Ain't Gonna Cry No More
Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City
Give Me All Your Love
Here I Go Again
Still Of The Night

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

~ By David
Saxon is one of those bands (together with Motörhead, Dio and U.D.O.) that always return to Sweden Rock regularly. They kind of represent the core of the whole concept. But unlike many other bands from the early 80's these bands are still developing and releasing really great records from time to time (well, Dio not included here). Inner Sanctum was one of last year's best albums, and I was really looking forward to hear some tunes from it. My prayers were heard at once. The kick off with Attilla The Hun was just a blast in every possible way. To that we got I've Got To Rock (To Stay Alive) and a couple of other fresh things. Even the songs from the Lionheart album, which I consider to be a parenthesis, got better in the live format. But I really missed the title track from that one. But most important with Saxon, the old ones still stand tall. Crusader, Heavy Metal Thunder and Wheels Of Steel are still among the best and hardest heavy metal songs around. Biff Byford still sings like a monster and drummer Nigel Glockler keeps up well with the rough, slightly modernised metal sound of the band. To crown the whole evening the Eagle lighting rig was brought. But to use it and not play The Eagle Has Landed was just strange … Great show, but I've seen Saxon even better.

7 chalices of 10

Attila The Hun
Motorcycle Man
Let Me Feel Your Power
747 (Strangers In The Night)
Dogs Of War
To Hell And Back Again
Man And Machine
Strong Arm Of The Law
Witchfinder General
Heavy Metal Thunder
I've Got To Rock (To Stay Alive)
Wheels Of Steel
Denim & Leather
Ashes To Ashes
Princess Of The Night

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

~ By Thomas
Al Jourgenson is taking his Ministry on a farewell tour, since when this tour is done, so is Al with Ministry. In addition, along with the performances from Avantasia and the reuniting acts Carcass and At The Gates, this concert was one with great historic value for me. I've never been a die-hard Ministry fan but along with so many others, the Psalm 69 album got me hooked and the band has had a place with me ever since. I was gripped by a feeling of The Blues Brothers as I approached the stage, you know the scene when they are about to play at a country joint and discover that the stage is fenced in by chicken wire. Well, in the case with Ministry it was not chicken wire, but the stage was at least fenced in, at least I got a laugh from it. Ministry is surely the masters of monotony, and that is meant in a positive sense as the monotony is often based in superb riffing that never seems to end, and as the set started it was a massacre of endless and sweet riffing from the tight performing band.

Al Jourgenson is obviously a man with an agenda and if you ask me the political anti-Bush propaganda was almost drenching and became a bit too much. Personally I like when the focus maintains on the music instead of the message. Once again the importance to bare witness felt greater than the performance itself, just like it did with At The Gates, and it almost became too much of the monotony at times. Although, the ending was nothing but totally brilliant with two songs that knocked out everything else, Just One Fix and New World Order. Both songs are from the Psalm 69 album and they are a proof of how great songs can be if you only have a killer riff to build them on. As this was the first time I witnessed Ministry, and most likely my last as well, I feel rather disappointed to have left without hearing the song which is the sole reason I got hooked to the band in the first place: Jesus Built My Hotrod.

5 chalices of 10

Lets Go
The Dick Song
Watch Yourself
Life Is Good
The Last Sucker
No W
Rio Grande Blood
Senor Peligro
Lies Lies Lies
Khyber Pass
So What
Just One Fix

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

~ By Mozzy
There have been some critical voices regarding the fact that Def Leppard (and Whitesnake) played the festival just two years ago. But judging from the masses attending Friday's last showing (at least as many as during Judas Priest the day before), their position as headliners is still very much justified. The Brits kick off their concert in style with two of the hits from the 1987 mega-seller Hysteria; Rocket and Animal; setting the tone for what's to come. Three numbers from the latest release Songs From The Sparkle Lounge are played, but it is the classic material that goes down best, obviously. They even dig out an old gem like Mirror Mirror - more unexpected choices would be advisable, actually. It is also notable that Love Bites is the sole ballad in the set; most certainly a wise move. Joe Elliot is not in top shape tonight singing-wise, but he receives good support by the backing vocals so characteristic of the Sheffield band's compositions. The stage decoration is modest, the Lepps choosing to let the music do the talking. And with such an arsenal of quality songs at their disposal, it is hard not to succeed in delivering an engaging show.

Liking Def Leppard has never been hip, with critics pointing at a poppy and over-produced sound, but so what? If you have any fondness for melodic, catchy hard rock, the likes of Photograph; with its simplistic but absolutely delightful chorus; and the evergreen Pour Some Sugar On Me are impossible to overlook. I must also mention a personal favourite; the title track from Hysteria - what a wonderful tune. While they most likely won't achieve the same enormous heights of their former success, Mousseurs Elliot, Savage, Collen, Campbell and Allen look perfectly comfortable and happy playing their music for their devotees. They don't need to worry about ending up playing pubs, that is for sure. Class is permanent; trends are not.

7,5 chalices of 10

Intro - AC/DC: For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)
C'mon C'mon
Mirror,Mirror (Look Into My Eyes)
Make Love Like A Man
Nine Lives
Bad Actress
Love Bites
Bass Solo
Rock On
Armageddon It
Pour Some Sugar On Me
Rock Of Ages
Let's Get Rocked

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To the top

Saturday - June 07

Band: 45 Degree Woman
Zeppelin Stage 11:30-12:30

~ By Niklas
One wonders where all those who voted for 45 Degree Woman in the music contest Nordic Challenge (and thereby made them Finland's contribution to Zeppelin Stage on SRF) were doing this Saturday morning - sleeping in their tents, hiding in the shadows or perhaps stayed at home? In any case, it's a shame that they didn't show up in larger numbers, because this sextet's melancholic industrial metal deserves a bigger audience. 45 Degree Woman seems eager to make a name for themselves by revealing as little as possible about the band and keeping themselves within a mystical aura; all band members have black clothes, vocalist Mikko Viman wears sunglasses and I have no idea what the puzzling band name means (if anyone does, feel free to e-mail me). A more audience-friendly attitude might have attracted more people to the show, and when listening to their uneven repertoire it becomes apparent that their prime time is ahead of them, not in their past. Because you see, the two best tracks I Don't Live Today and Bugs are namely from their upcoming album, which I'm eagerly awaiting.

6 chalices of 10

(sorry, no setlist)

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Band: Stormwarrior (with Kai Hansen)
Sweden Stage 12:00-13:15

~ By Tommy
Looking at the lineup on beforehand this was the highlight of the festival for me. Despite the worst play time possible (at noon on the last festival day) they drew a decent audience, who filled up as the gig went on, and they lined up a good set of hits (Heading Northe, Signe Of The Warlorde, Thunderer, Iron Prayers, Odinn's Warriors). Lars Ramcke didn't quite hit all high notes and the sound on the Sweden Stage is as usual a bit shaky from time to time, but overall it was a very solid performance. I especially would like to mention the fat and significant bass sound from Yenz Leonhardt. I just love it and it came out great even live. The gig was called "Stormwarrior with Kai Hansen" and I must admit I was initially slightly disappointed when what I had feared actually did happen: after only 6 songs they declared the Stormwarrior set over in order to fill the rest with Helloween classics with grandmaster Hansen behind the microphone. I did not think that the setlist would be interesting enough, and I was of course there to see as much Stormwarrior as possible, but immediatly I was convinced of the opposite.

A Hansen in good mood and vocally in good shape was happy to conduct his heirs during a stellar set of Ride The Sky, Murderer, Judas, Victim Of Fate and Heavy Metal (Is The Law). A great choice of songs, which were delivered flawlessly, and needless to say, the audience loved it. A bit awkward for Stormwarrior perhaps, that a thing like this gets so much of a bigger and louder attention than what their own songs do, but I guess they know what they are doing and are fine with it. The concert ended in a slight anticlimax, however, since they rounded the Helloween block off with I Want Out, which is a song that is good, but I don't see it really fit in this context. After a break and a teaser in form of lowering the backdrop to make it look like they were about to pack up only to raise it again, Stormwarrior played one more song, Into The Battle. Not the song I would have chosen myself since it felt a bit weak and slow after an hour of sparkling intensity. Good on album, but not really as a closer.

7,5 chalices of 10

(sorry, no setlist)

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Band: Gotthard
Festival Stage 13:30-14:45

~ By Mozzy
When the bouncy Lift U Up and the catchy All We Are finish Swiss Gotthard's set, the atmosphere in front of the Festival stage is one of collective joy; people swinging their bodies while sporting fulfilled grins. What we're witnessing this afternoon is a professional performance by an increasingly popular outfit - despite the early time slot, a large crowd have gathered. The band members feed off the response: Guitarist Leo Leoni and the Italian basist filling in for Marc Lynn make good use of the stage, sprinting from flank to flank, seemingly loving every minute.

The undisputed star of the show, though, is Steve Lee. The moustached vocalist possesses a strong, expressive and versatile voice; also with an appealing, rasping touch to it. In addition, he proves that he is a highly competent front man, displaying a natural, laid-back poise which would be worthy of a Coverdale or an Elliot, to refer to household names earlier gracing the same stage. Particularly passionate during the harmonious I Wonder, it is delightful to watch how he connects with the crowd, and the mutual affection that transpires.

Simply put, Gotthard's material oozes class, whether it´s tasteful ballads like Let It Be or bluesy rockers like Mountain Mama, and the choruses are memorable - see Anytime, Anywhere or The Oscar Goes To You. The gentlemen from Switzerland deliver their hard rock with an appealing melodic groove which makes you feel good inside. Suffering from the common phenomenon known as last day festival fatigue, I feel energised after this brilliant display and head for the beer tent.

8,5 chalices of 10

Master Of Illusion
Gone Too Far
Top Of The World
The Call
I Wonder
Guitar solo
Sister Moon
Anytime Anywhere
Let It Be
Mountain Mama
The Oscar Goes To…
Lift 'U' Up
All We Are

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

~ By Tommy
Several thousand people at a rock concert staring at four finnish guys only hammering on nothing but cellos with no vocals whatsoever. Can that work? Apocalyptica are well known nowadays and have rightfully earned a good reputation among metal and rock fans, of course much due to their incorporation of Metallica and Slayer songs in their repertoar. The sound was good and apart from session cellolist Antero Manninen who always does his best (and succeeds) to impersonate a statue, the other members were going absolutely wild. An incredible energy and action while still playing the hard stuff they flawlessly do - nothing but amazing and admirable. The reception from the crowd was good and the band truly looked happy and overwhelmed. I never saw the smile on Paavo Lötjönen's face disappear for one single second during the gig and that reflected back on at least myself, and judging by many people in the audience, I was not alone.

7 chalices of 10

(sorry, no setlist)

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Band: Blue Öyster Cult
Festival Stage 16:30-18:00

~ By Hawk
Blue Öyster Cult is renowned to be a great live band, a fact that they also proved on this festival. The setlist however left me a bit disappointed since a lot of my personal favourites were missing. The first half of the show also felt like a-day-at-the-job performance without dedication and passion. Maybe they needed some time to warm up since the second half was something completely different. Then Came The Last Days Of May for instance was completely mind blowing and proved what a fantastic band Blue Öyster Cult can be when they are in their prime. Not as good as expected but nevertheless more than worth watching!

6,5 chalices of 10

The Red And The Black
Before The Kiss, A Redcap
Burnin' For You
E.T.I. (Extra Terrestrial Intelligence)
Harvest Moon
ME 262
Cities On Flame With Rock & Roll
Buck's Boogie
Harvester Of Eyes
Black Blade
Then Came The Last Days Of May
(Don't Fear) The Reaper

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Band: Hensley/Lawton & Live Fire
Sweden Stage 18:15-19:45

~ By David
I left Ratt after just a few songs to go and see if the grass perhaps was greener on the other side. It was. Finally a positive surprise at this year's Sweden Rock. I didn't have any enormous expectations on this, just to hear some old Uriah Heep classics. Singer John Lawton feels like a parenthesis in the history of the band, but Ken Hensley is the man, behind many of the great old ones. And to that I got to see another old favourite, Eirikur Hauksson, from the legendary (hm… well) Artch. Both singers however did a splendid job and completed each other perfectly. Ken Hensley himself was in a great mood, shifting between his Hammond organ, acoustic and electric guitar and finally singing as well. And classics we got! July Morning, The Wizard, Easy Livin' and Gypsy (which actually is not a credited Hensley song), to name a few. Although Lawtons hockey haircut was the ugliest I've ever seen in the business, the fellows rocked the hell out of most younger bands.

7 chalices of 10

(sorry, no setlist)

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

~ By Hawk
Let's take a trip down memory lane! Ratt was a musical companion of mine in the eighties and I still return to their records from time to time. When I saw the big crowd that awaited the Ratt show in front of Rock Stage I realised that I wasn't the only one that expected a nostalgic evening deluxe. When the Ratt Pack finally entered the stage they surprised me by playing the entire self titled EP from 1983 in its entirety (with the exception of Back For More that arrived later in the set). Stephen Pearcy isn't maybe the most dynamic singer in the world but the band sounded surprisingly vital and the crowd loved it from the beginning. Even if the start of the show was quite cool the concert really lifted off when they began playing the tracks from Out Of The Cellar and Invasion Of Your Privacy (You're In Love was of course a big highlight). I couldn't stop myself from singing along with almost every song and I loved every minute of it, the flaws regarding the performance was therefore of minor importance. It also was quite evident that the band members were immensely surprised by the great reception they got from the audience. The fantastic setlist made this a splendid evening in the sign of nostalgia!

8 chalices of 10

Tell The World
Sweet Cheater
Walkin' The Dog
U Got It
You Think You're Tough
The Morning After
Back For More
Wanted Man
I'm Insane
Lack Of Communication
Lay It Down
You're In Love
Slip Of The Lip
Dangerous But Worth The Risk
Nobody Rides For Free
Way Cool Jr.
City To City
Lovin' You Is A Dirty Job
Body Talk
Givin' Yourself Away
Round And Round

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Band: Triumph
Festival Stage 20:15-21:30

~ By Hawk
This was going to be a big happening. When the original members of Triumph returned to the stage together for the first time in almost 20 years they decided to do it at Sweden Rock Festival. The expectations on this show were huge but a sane question to ask was if their long hiatus had affected them as a live act? Surprisingly not, they started out a bit nervous and the performance wasn't perfect in any way, a fact that was most evident regarding drummer/singer Gil Moore. However, they improved for every song and when it was time for Magic Power I could sense the arrival of goose bumps on my body. The ending three songs were nothing but brilliant but in the end I felt a bit disappointed. The setlist lacked some of my personal favourites and the performance wasn't as passionate and tight as I had expected or hoped for. However, the Rock 'n Roll Machine is alive and with some minor improvements it will be kicking as well.

6 chalices of 10

When The Lights Go Down
Lay It On The Line
Allied Forces
Never Surrender
I Live For The Weekend
Binding Light Show/Moonchild
Rocky Mountain Way
Magic Power
Rock & Roll Machine
Fight The Good Fight

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Band: Avantasia
Rock Stage 21:30-22:30

~ By Thomas
Once again a performance at Sweden Rock Festival that appeared to have some historical importance, at least to me. The feeling before the actual performance was that the all-star filled project could either become a success or a failure, there was not any in-between. Luckily this was more then a success, this was mighty, powerful and further something you will tell your future grandchildren about.

I had a fear that the songs from the new album The Scarecrow, which has failed to impress me on album, would drag the performance down, but damn was I the fool. On this "once in a lifetime tour" the vocal guests were André Matos (ex-Angra, ex-Shaman), Bob Catley (Magnum), Amanda Somerville (Aina), Jörn Lande, Kai Hansen (Gamma Ray). From beginning to end this was a great party with sparkling performances from all of the guests, sad though that the microphone that Andre Matos had did not seem to work so his vocals couldn't be heard in most of the parts he did, and it looked rather silly actually. After Tobias Sammet's intense start with Twisted Mind, Jörn Lande was the first guest out and with The Scarecrow and Another Angel Down the intensity became even higher. This was simply put the start of a straight way to victory!.

I am no fan of either Magnum or the voice of Bob Catley, but the joy of his appearance did spread and it was hard to resist when you saw how much fun they had on stage. The highlights was (perhaps with no surprise) Avantasia, that in my opinion came rather early in the set and Reach Out For The Light, even though André Matos voice could barely be heard in that one. Further, The Toy Master where Kai Hansen successfully did Alice Cooper's part complete with a high hat and a cane and with a striking resemblance in the poses was a great moment, and of course the grand finale, Sign Of The Cross with all the supporting vocalists. Holy cow, what a magnificent ending to the festival for me this year. After the show was over, I felt there is no way I am ever going to hang around to see Poison that was the last band of the festival. This was how I wanted myself to remember Sweden Rock Festival 2008, and there was no way in hell that I would let Poison spoil that impression.

9 chalices of 10

Twisted Mind
The Scarecrow
Another Angel Down
Reach Out For The Light
The Story Ain't Over
Shelter From The Rain
Serpents In Paradise
Promised Land
The Toy Master
Sign Of The Cross (including: The Seven Angels)

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

~ By Niklas
This is actually the first time I've seen Mustasch perform live, which is quite remarkable considering how long they have been around and how much time they have spent on the roads of Sweden. By now they are arguably the third most known Swedish metal-band (after Hammerfall and In Flames) among the common man, and the latest album The Latest Version Of The Truth and its two hit-singles Double Nature and Bring Me Everyone is certainly a big reason to their recent success. This is hardly a flawless gig, mostly because of the poor sound on Sweden Stage, which ruins the first couple of songs before the volume is attended to. I also miss a few favourites (Black City, anyone?), and front man Ralf Gyllenhammar's constant babbling about Jack Daniels (which happens to be the band's sponsors) gets annoying after a while. Other than that: top-notch. With great songs, a good connection with the audience throughout the show and with a charismatic vocalist there is little that stops this quartet from kicking the whole festival's ass. Special mentioning must go to the showpiece Double Nature, which is performed with the help of pyrotechnics, smoke and a downright euphoric crowd.

7 chalices of 10

(sorry, no setlist)

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Band: Poison
Festival Stage 23:30-02:00

~ By Mozzy
17 years after their last visit in Sweden - and 15 years since touring in Europe at all - the time has come for one of the seminal glam rock bands of the 80´s and early 90´s; Poison; to take to the stage at Sweden Rock Festival. Typically, we have to endure an irritating wait of 25 minutes after the scheduled stage time (rumour has it that an argument between two band members was the reason for the delay). Finally, a sharp version of Look What The Cat Dragged In kicks off proceedings, followed by I Want Action and the fine ballad I Won't Forget You; also from the debut album; among other familiar tunes. The sound is crisp and the stage show is good, with the screen projecting various images and video clips related to the band's career, as well as some pyrotechnics being used to good effect. The band put in a lot of effort, especially front man Bret Michaels, who is constantly in motion and appreciative towards the fans. Nonetheless, much of the spotlight is on one of the notorious bad boys of the genre: CC Deville (Michaels also takes the opportunity to introduce his friend to the audience several times). The blonde guitarist is not known as one of the most clinical and skilful axemen out there, but is a whirlwind on stage, frequently running onto the ramp in the middle, and seems happy to be back on stage with his old buddies.

Unfortunately, Deville's guitar solo, appearing a mere 20 minutes into the set, destroys the momentum - an inconvenience made even worse when, for some reason, drummer Rikki Rocket fail to re-appear on time which means that Deville has to apply some improvised playing. Then, a moving rendition of Something To Believe In is a highlight before a boring and pointless drum solo ruins the flow once more. The finale though, with the hummable classics Fallen Angel, Talk Dirty To Me and the encore Nothin But A Good Time, impresses. However, considering that a guitar solo and drum solo is included in the set, as well as two average numbers from the cover album Poison´d, playing for 75 minutes is a bit lame for a band returning to a turf they haven't played in ages. Overall though, this is a pleasantly rocking conclusion to the heaven sent event that is Sweden Rock Festival.

7 chalices of 10

Look What The Cat Dragged In
I Want Action
Ride The Wind
I Won't Forget You
What I Like About You
Guitar solo
Cry Tough
Something To Believe In
Your Mama Don't Dance
I Need To Know
Drum solo
Unskinny Bop
Every Rose Has Its Thorn
Fallen Angel
Talk Dirty To Me
Nothin' But A Good Time (encore)

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To the top

Rock Hard, Ride Free

Once again the reports say that it has been a calm festival without too much of disturbance. Rumours about one lunatic running around with a machete and another one concerning an attempted rape is the most extreme I have heard, as far as I know the later has not been confirmed though, luckily. However, apart from minor events this has been one giant party as usual.

The organisers of the festival cannot be praised enough for their efforts making this an absolutely perfect festival, everything runs so well, and every year enhancements are being made to serve to the comfort of the visitors. And even though there was a massive amount of spectators walking around the festival area everything seems to have clutched as planned, at least that is what you as a visitor experienced.

One downside though, was that the sound at some stages at some times was not as good as we are usually spoiled with, especially the Sweden Stage had to suffer from this. Moreover, an entrance was closed located near the major stage, the Festival Stage, making life, well not miserable, but surely harder, for those who lived at the camping-sites next to where that entrance used to be earlier years.

The cancellation of the performance from Sebastian Bach was of course out of the festival's hands, and sadly it was the first time in many years one of the major acts had to cancel with short notice. A problem with a delayed flight was the cause given for the cancellation, and sadly that was one concert that I had looked forward to quite a bit. Shit happens, no use crying about what I missed when there was so much that I saw that I can be happy about instead.

In conclusion, one thing is for sure - see you all at Sweden Rock Festival 2009!

~ Thomas

Related links: www.swedenrock.com