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ennlfrdeitrues
Sölvesborg, Sweden
3rd to 6th June 2009
Sweden Rock Day 3: Jon Oliva’s Pain, Deströyer 666, Marillion, Voivod, Lita Ford, Demon, Kamelot, Foreigner, Cucified Barbara, Motörhead, In Flames

For me, Friday started with Jon Oliva’s Pain at Festival Stage and Deströyer 666 at Zeppelin Stage, both playing concurrently. Weather was really gonna suck that day – but that’s festival life, nothing you can do about it - but this day’s band billing was totally gonna make up for it.


Jon Oliva’s Pain

JOP is Ex-Savatage mastermind/ front man Jon Oliva’s solo project, founded in 2003 after the dissolution of his former band. The music is to be considered the legacy of what was started by Savatage, meaning it is dark and has piano interludes and distinctive guitar parts in most of the songs.

Music & Performance
Oliva once again put all his energy into his show, making the audience shiver from all the emotion and passion. “Through the Eye of the King”, “Chance”, “Gutter Ballet”, “Tonight he grins again”, the epic “Believe” and “Hall of the Mountain King” were to be found among the set list. In my opinion the band deserved to be put in later slot on the billing, yet the whole gig was still amazing. “Intense” would probably the best word to describe it.

Rating
Music: 8
Performance: 8
Sound: 8
Light: - (daylight)
Total: 8 / 10




Deströyer 666

Australian Black/Thrash metal outfit Deströyer had caused some controversy about whether or not they sympathized with NSBM, having used lyrics like “I’m not ashamed to be white […]”. However, the band refrained from any usage of such lyrics in future records and tried to set things straight, stating that they were in now way affiliated with NSBM.

Music & Performance
Being not a big fan of Black Metal myself and with Jon Oliva playing at the same time, I decided not to spend too much time on Deströyer 666. They proofed to be some contrast to the rest of the bands on the festival (with maybe the exception of Immortal), putting on an utterly extreme Metal show. The Wolfcult-Command had hardcore fans bang their heads easily, yet they didn’t impress me that much.

Rating
Music: 7
Performance: 6
Sound: 6
Light: - (daylight)
Total: 6.4 / 10


Marillion

Progressive Rock super group Marillion was to be spotted playing the Rock Stage. The band is currently on their “Happiness Is The Road Tour 2009”, promoting their latest album by the same name.

Music & Performance
It was three o’clock straight when Neo-Prog veterans Marillion started spreading good vibes. Steve Hogharth, lead vocalist, was in a remarkably good mood, and he knew how to get the audience excited. During a couple of songs he would sit at the edge of the stage, holding his rattle, just to be a little closer to his fans. It was a highly atmospheric show, which sadly I couldn’t watch to the end because Voivod was playing also.

Rating
Music: 8
Performance: 7
Sound: 8
Light: - (daylight)
Total: 7.7 / 10


Voivod

Quebec metal innovators Voivod, currently touring Europe, Canada and Mexico, announced that they will release what can be considered their last album by the name of “Infini” in the end of June. The band was founded in 1982 and has released 11 albums so far.

Music & Performance
The Franco-Canadians played in front of rather small but very ecstatic crowd. With a set list across their whole career, they sounded like hybrid between old Black Sabbath and better Annihilator. My favorite songs that show were “Brain Scan” and the ’83 classic “Nuclear War”. Not the best music for a hangover day but definitely worth checking out.

Rating
Music: 7
Performance: 7
Sound: 7
Light: - (daylight)
Total: 7 / 10


Lita Ford

Once one of the biggest and most hyped female rock vocalists/ guitarist in the 80ies, she seemed to have vanished from the face of the earth for more than ten years. She stated that she was living on a lonely island with husband Jim Gillette (former lead vocalist of Tuff and Nitro), raising their kids. A new album is due in the end of 2009.

Music & Performance
Lita wasn’t able to make for a good show. Being heavily supported by backing vocals, the whole thing seemed rather boring. It didn’t feel like she was doing what really wanted to do. Probably due to the lack of stage practice, the whole show developed to another example of why you shouldn’t try a comeback as an 80ies star when you’re not dedicated enough. Being a Lita fan myself, I was hugely disappointed.

Rating
Music: 6
Performance: 6
Sound: 7
Light: - (daylight)
Total: 6.2 / 10


Demon

English NWOBHM veterans Demon have been around for a while, yet the big breakthrough has never come for them. They have released 11 studio albums in their 28 years of band history, still they’re fairly unknown and being considered an inside tip among rock and metal enthusiasts.

Music & Performance
Demon played on Zeppelin Stage, the smallest of the four main stages. Since the English band has always been always hearty welcome here, quite an audience had gathered. The fans mood quickly spread over to the band, which played one hit after another, never being disappointing. First song on the menu was “Night Of The Demon”, “Blackheath”, “Commercial Dynamite”, “Wonderland”, “Don’t Break the Circle” and “One helluva Night” were featured as well and kicked some serious ass. Singer Dave Hill was barely moving as usual, though during the second half he looked more energetic. Sound and choice of songs was superb, just the lack of stage acting was a little downer.

Rating
Music: 9
Performance: 6
Sound: 9
Light: - (daylight)
Total: 8 / 10


Kamelot

Kamelot is a rather untypical American Melodic-Power-Metal band, having progressive and orchestral influences. They have release 8 albums so far, with the last one (“Ghost Opera”) being re-released in 2007 with a slightly different name. They currently tour.



Music & Performance
Kamelot were powerful as usual. Charismatic singer Kahn and his bunch performed a couple of songs from their “Ghost Opera” album, for “The Haunting” they had German female vocalist Anne Catrin Märzke to support them. No one in the audience cared about the bad weather, and at least the first couple of meters in front of the stage were steadily warmed by the pyros. The only downside was that Kahn was standing a little statically and that he had troubles reaching the high notes in his singing.

Rating
Music: 8
Performance: 7
Sound: 8
Total: 7.5 / 10






Foreigner

A British / American rock legend that had its high in the late 1970ies / early 80ies. They haven’t released an album in more than ten years, thus there’s no new material that they could perform.

Music & Performance
When the band stepped onto stage at 8 o’clock, they didn’t look that fresh. Only as of the second half they seemed to loosen up, playing songs such as “Urgent”, “Jukebox Hero” and the schmaltzy evergreen “I Wanna Know What Love Is” (even gate securities were seen singing along). In between they would cover Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” before they ended their gig with “Hot Blooded” in the encore.

Rating
Music: 8
Performance: 7
Sound: 7
Light: - (daylight)
Total: 7.4 / 10


Crucified Barbara

Crucified Barbara is a four piece, all female band, founded in Stockholm. They started as a punk rock band in 1998 but quickly changed their style to Hard Rock / Heavy Metal, subsequently landing a record deal with label GMR in 2003. They now tour to promote their second album “Til Death Do Us Party”.

Music & Performance
As Crucified Barbara were playing concurrently to Foreigner, I went over to see a couple of their songs throughout the first half of Foreigner. The girls created quite a sensation on the Zeppelin-Stage, they seemed to have a lot of energy. The very attractive livewire chicks vigorously rocked the crowd and, to the delight of numerous male fans, guitarist Klara Force’s top was slipping down on a regular basis. Songs like the harder edge “Sex Action” (from their latest album) and “Losing The Game” proofed to be real crowd pleasers. A real contrast to the elder Foreigner, I wish I could’ve seen the whole show.

Rating
Music: 8
Performace: 8
Sound: 8
Light: - (daylight)
Total: 8 / 10


Motörhead

Despite the fact that this band has been around so long and has toured so excessively, even my granny knows them, here’s some short facts:
Singer Lemmy used to be a roadie for Jimmi Hendrix before he formed Motörhead in ‘75. Their latest album “Motörizer”, released in 2008, was their 20th album. The umlaut (‘ö’) in the band name was a creation of the guy who made the cover for their first album; the band kept it but it’s pronounced like a regular ‘o’ in English.



Music & Performance
When Motörhead got on stage, Mikkey Dee immediately started thrashing his drum kit like there was no tomorrow. Contrary to his promises earlier, the rain didn’t stop but surprisingly almost nobody left the show during hefty ten minute shower. Lemmy was in great shape, and the band played so ecstatically, even bottles of beer started pogo dancing in the nearby beer tent. “Rock Out”, “Ace of Spades” (in the encore as usual) and “Killed By Death” sweetened the crowd’s evening. Total awesomeness - nothing less was to be expected.

Rating
Music: 9
Performance: 9
Sound: 8
Light: - (daylight)
Total: 8.8 / 10






In Flames

The band was founded in 1990 and is considered one of the founders of the Swedish/ Gothenburg style Melodic Metal. They have released 9 albums, the last one was titled “A Sense Of Purpose” (2008). Also, they’re considered the most successful Swedish Metal band ever.

Music & Performance
Being a big fan of this band for years, I was looking forward to seeing them again, hoping they would perform better than the last shows I had seen (Wacken ’07 to name one). That being said, you might fast forward to my rating to see how awesome this show proofed to be. From the meticulous staged light show, the La-Linea video that was accompanying the song “The Chosen Pessimist”, up to the great fireworks closing their set, it all added up to one big happy. Singer Anders Friden was in a good mood, put on a ridiculous hat for a song or two (which had been thrown onstage from somewhere in the audience) and joked around.

Twenty songs made for a 2+ hour set, which I’d like to list here entirely: „Delight And Angers“, „Touch Of Red“, „Trigger“, „Coerced Coexistence“, „Bottled“, „Pinball Map“, „Come Clarity“, „Dead End“ (for the first time live and with Lisa Miskovsky on vocals), „The Hive”, “Cloud Connected“, „Disconnected“, „Only For The Weak“, „Embody The Invisible”, “Square Nothing”, “Alias”, “The Chosen Pessimist”, “The Mirror's Truth”, “The Quiet Place” and “Take This Life” and “My Sweet Shadow” (w/ fireworks) in the encore. In Flames were not only worthy headlining, they pretty much outshone every other show on the fest. Epic!

Rating
Music: 10
Performance: 10
Sound: 9
Light: 10
Total: 9.8 / 10

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