Archive for the Uncategorized Category

Sabaton @ Sportpaleis, Antwerpen, Belgium 2/2 – 20

Posted in Uncategorized on March 24, 2020 by Sara Hammerzmith

[Most of the pictures from these shows aren’t correct chronologically. During the tour my camera broke down, and I stopped taking a lot of pictures. This is why you’ll be seeing Swedish Empire song pictures as an example earlier than you should – figured these visuals are better than nothing]

And so it begins. The heavier schedule of the tour. In the beginning, after the cruise it was quite a few dead days at home in Antwerpen back and forth, but from today we were set to do quite a few shows. Having the luxury to actually live in Antwerp, we slept in and we headed over to the venue around noon only to find a rather small queue – so no major issue! Cyril and Mathieu, a guy I got to meet in Frankfurt, later joined us and our shenangians throughout the day. Befriending random people in the queue and then we were in… and seriously… this venue.

While queueing, we had gotten the impression we’d just need to run straight ahead to get to the stage. Nopety nope. We had to run around the venue, and upon entering the hall itself you had to run down, or not run, but walk, down tilted floor in a dark room. I wondered for a moment, if I had tried running it would have been a case of “They see me rollin and they hatin”. But no issue. Ivan is fast as hell and went in to claim spots for all of us in the front.

After securing our spot I headed out to the merch to pick up on the special city shirt for Ivan and then some water. I had some plans for today, some I had planned for months and months, and it was just about to become a reality. And it’d require water.

And then, Amaranthe started.

Amaranthe

The intro to “Helix” echoed out once again, and the band opened with “Maximise”. Heading straight into “Digital World” I had the feeling that the energy might just be a little bit better tonight. “Hunger” followed suit before “Amaranthine”, and at this point we’ve learned the drill enough to have Nils even pointing us out saying “Take out your mobilephones just like the people over here”. Haha! Why not?

“GG6” comes next, and a stunning performance as always and then “Helix”. I sincerely hope they never drop this song. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it 100 times again – I hope they never drop this.

Clapping time again with “That Song”. Something I forgot to mention before, is the addition of a part from “We will Rock you” later on in the song. I love the homage! It’s hard to not think about Queen when doing the routine, and paying some open tribute like this is amazing!

“Call Out My Name”, always a thrill and then wrapping up with “The Nexus” and “Drop Dead Cynical”. I have never been a major fan of “Drop Dead Cynical”, but the way it transforms live has made it quite a favorite. I hope Amaranthe one day releases a live album, just so we can have THAT version to listen to.

After this, I headed out to go to the bathroom and pick up some candies and took the time to catch up with an old friend of mine, Antoine. Been years since I last saw and talked to him, it was nice!

Apocalyptica

And then the three gentlemen with the Cellos and their drummer walked on stage starting rather doomy and with a tint of agression with “Ashes of the Modern World”. They swiftly moved into “Path” and then “En Route to Mayhem”.

After this beginning of the show they invited Elize back on stage with them to perform the Rammstein cover “Seeman” and “I Don’t Care” before going back to be instrumental in “Grace”.

They kicked off one of their all famous Metallica covers “Seek & Destroy” before playing some “real Black Metal from Norway” in “Hall of the Mountain King” with various little pranks during the song, adding a few nippets here and there.

They wrapped up their show with “Nothing Else Matters” and I swear, the entire venue (except myself) was singing with this. Or at leat it felt like it.

The band paid their thanks and then left the stage.

The soundtrack version once again started to play as the crew covered the stage in preparations. With a bit of time, the lights went out once again and “In Flanders Fields”, followed by the intro started.

Sabaton

The cover got down, explosions galore and “Ghost Division” opened the set. Quickly they moved on to “Great War” and once again pretty much setting fire to us poor creatures in the crowd. And then the history edition started… and I got ready. Bottoms up with the little soy bottle that actually didn’t contain soy, but fake blood, and on with the facecover.

“Attack of the Dead Men” started and I was ready. I have been planning this since the album came out in July, and I’ve gone over it many times in my head how it should be executed. My initial trial was supposed to be on Sabaton Cruise, but due to money I had to push it forward. And now, three shows in the tour and in Antwerpen is finally time for me to carve myself into history as “The Dead Girl”. As the chorus approached, I spat out the blood from my mouth, getting it in the facemask, bringing life to the illustrations of the song.

And needless to say, it was a success. I wasn’t sure how it’d turn out since I didn’t do a trial run whatsoever, but the security guard loved it, and the people around it said it looked great. Lets call it a success, shall we?

Oh, the song was executed great by the band too.

For the start of “Seven Pillars of Wisdom” I sat down to clean up the mess as good as I could and clean out my mouth, resulting in the now infamous images of blood stained pants. The song was all the rage once I was back in business and then they continued on with “Diary of an Unknown Soldier” and “The Lost Battalion”.

“The Red Baron” and his airplane followed and then “The Last Stand”. Joakim went to collect his own guitar, and we all who has seen Sabaton live a few times are well aware on what this means – “Resist And Bite”, which wasn’t exactly a surprise – we are in Belgium after all – Glad to see they still keep up with country assiged songs. Shows and setlist previously has been surprisingly thin with that.

On a sadder note, this meant we did not get “82nd All The Way” which is a bummer, but you can’t have it all right? “Night Witches” followed, and then it was time for the cello boys to come back.

The Apocalyptica part went on smoothly with “Angels Calling”, “Fields of Verdun”, Swedish Empire part and then it was thanks and good night.

The storming of Normandie once again aired, “Primo Victoria” started and I… jumped through the whole song again. I know I said I was not gonna do it. Whatsoever again. But here I was, doing it again. It’s like an addiction, it’s an adrenaline rush for sure.

“Bismarck” was next, and we kept on with out rowing tradition that we initiated in Zürich already and then the show was wrapped up with “Swedish Pagans” and “To Hell and Back”. The propaganda flyer frenzy continued, and I have started to collect my own little tribe on people helping with this. How amazing?

After the show we caught up with some friends before heading home earlier than we would have liked, but once the metro stops going it just stops going, you know?

Thank you Sabaton for yet an unforgettable show, and let the tourmadness begin.

// Sara

 

 

Sabaton @ Festhalle, Frankfurt, Germany 31/1 – 20

Posted in Concerts, Music, The Great Tour 2020, Uncategorized with tags , , , on March 23, 2020 by Sara Hammerzmith

[These blogs has been long in the making. And with everything coming to a complete halt at the moment, I’m taking the time to revive it all. Perhaps it’ll even help you all cope? Who knows. Only issue, this particular show I have no photos from as far as I know. And I apologize beforehand for the extreme lack of photos.]

So, it was time for yet another show of this amazing band, or perhaps more this amazing tour. For this day, I gently hopped on the bus in my other homecity of Antwerp to head over to Frankfurt. And the thing is… I have this kind of hate-love relationship with FlixBus. It’s like 50/50. Sometimes its fine, sometimes it’s not. And so far in this tour, I had been in no rush and everything worked smoothly.

But of course, since I was in a rush today – scheduled to arrive approx two hours before door opening, the bus was delayed. Because why not right? So, half an hour delay, I meet up with Daniel at the busstation and then pass by my hotel to check in where I ran into MORE issues because, lets face it, I have a shitty handwriting. But, at the end all was cool.

We headed over to a sushirestaurant for some dinner and light catch up before continuing on to the venue. Seeing that Amaranthe, as mentioned before, is the opening band and it’s a favorite band of both of us we had to make it in time. Which we did!

Amaranthe

Exactly on time they started, “Helix” intro rolling first shortly into “Maximize” intro and the show was a fact. For tonight, we had decided to stay back a bit so we didn’t exactly have the perfect view,or may that be exactly what we did have?

“Digital World” was next song on the list, with an evergreat energy in the crowd as well as on stage! “Hunger” followed suit and then “Amaranthine” before it was time for Henrik to have his little moment in “GG6”. This song has grown so incredibly much on me after seeing more and more live.

My own personal favorite in “Helix” – this song will never ever stop being the BOMB. Seriously. It’s massive. Anyway, this song was next, perfect executiom, what else, and then Nils comes out to ask for some audience participation and it’s time for “That Song”.

The show is later wrapped up with “Call Out My Name”, “The Nexus” and lastly “Drop Dead Cynical”.

After the show, I headed out for the bathroom and then had quite an interesting time to find my way back to Daniel, but gladly so I did!

As far as Apocalyptica goes, we only stayed for the songs where Elize sang before going outside to grab some merch as well as taking a little walk for my restless legs. Was handy as hell!

Making our way back into the venue we are at the complete end of the venue, and to be honest I don’t mind in the slightest. Sometimes, the most fun you can have is at the end. And I tend to say to people – if you are always at the front, it means you aren’t touring enough, or doing it the right way.

Sabaton

As the soundtrack version worked its way through the list and later landing in “In Flanders Fields” when the lights went out, the longawaited show was finally about to begin. The new intro for “Ghost Division” echoed and then the show was at large.

“Great War” is shouted out from stage as the pyro set the arena on fire… not literally, but almost.

A gasmask appears on the screen behind them, and the band comes out clad in gasmasks through the green smoke that has been sent out on stage and Joakim comes out in his complete costume ready to gas some Germans… Oh wait.

After we’re done with THAT part, we head over to “Seven Pillars of Wisdom” which is ever such a delight, and then “Diary of an Unknown Soldier” and then it was time yet again for “The Lost Battalion”

The little airplane was yet again rolled out on stage with Joakim singing the beautiful little IKEA song for us before letting the actual Red Baron on stage to excute “The Red Baron” for us.

“The Last Stand” followed suit together with “82nd All The Way”. If those two songs aren’t all the rage, I don’t know which songs are. The intro with the redlights and sirens started off, alerting us of the “Night Witches”.

Apocalyptica came on stage and they started off their part with “Angels Calling”. I have probably said it before, and I will say it again – the song has gotten quite a facelift with these fellas. “Fields of Verdun” was next on the list before moving onto “The Price of a Mile”.

“Dominium Maris Baltici” was executed next with the cello guys and the two songs – “Lion from the North” as well as “Carolus Rex” from the Swedish Empire era was ripped off before it was time for the band to say thanks and good night.

After a little whiles wait the storming of Normandie showed up on the screens, and “Primo Victoria” was fired off. And for the first time in my life – I have practiced my whole life for this – I jumped through the entire song. 40 shows later, I finally achieved what I’ve been training my whole.. well life as a Sabaton fan for. And I did it.

And I will never do it again.

The water started flowing on the screen and we embarked the “Bismarck” once again for the battle. “Swedish Pagans” followed suit and then the show was wrapped up with “To Hell and Back”.

Amazing show. Nothing but an amazing show. After the show, I darted toward the crowd to start collecting propaganda flyers. People even helped me, complete strangers. Daniel managed to meet up with Cyril who had apparently forgotten I was gonna be there and exclaimed excitedly “YOU ARE HERE!!!”.

As I crawled around collecting flyers around the soundguys booth, I hear someone faintly say “Hey”. As I look up, I see one of the guys working handing me a setlist. I thank him the best I can, but in hindsight I can’t decide – did he give it to me because he decided I was a dedicated fan, or did he just think I was pathetic? No matter the reason – I am so thankful.

After all was said and done, we said our good byes and retreated home. I had quite an early bus tomorrow.. And trust me, I was not excited for that.

// Sara

Sabaton @ Papp László Sportaréna, Budapest, Hungary 22/1 – 20

Posted in Concerts, Music, Uncategorized with tags , on January 30, 2020 by Sara Hammerzmith

So, on it again we were! Time for another show on this amazing tour. But this time around, I had landed in Budapest at my dear friend Szilvi’s place. For the occasion, Marci had gotten us early entrance tickets (at least me and her) so, about an hour before the doors opened with decided to go wait in line. We might have early entrance, doesn’t mean we’ll be first in unless we wait in line.

A few people were in front of us, and quite a few decided to queue jump – next time I’ll kill you just so you know – but at the end of the day, we all made it. We secured the same kind of spots infront of Tommy as I had in Zürich, so at the end of the day -all was well.

Cyril got to join us a little later and we convinced him to try to join us, because you never know once the crowd starts moving right?

And then, the lights went out and it was time for Amaranthe to start.

Amaranthe

The “Helix” intro rolled out in the crowd and the band started off with “Maximize”. Elize as regal as always entering in her large cape taking the space on top of the stage like the actual queen she is.

“Digital World” followed suit, and it was just as epic as the show before. Not much to complain about when it comes to this band, they are pro’s. “Hunger” followed suit before it was time to dial it down a bit with “Amaranthine” again. Yet again an amazing performance from Nils and Elize, true royals!

“GG6” and Henriks own little moment followed up later, and then my personal favorite once again in “Helix”. And after this, however, it was time for a little change.

Instead of doing “Endlessly”, as they did in Zürich, it was now time for “That Song” instead. Which.. was a downpoint for me. I reallt don’t like this song. But oh well, what can you do right?

“Call out my Name” was next on the list before the show was wrapped up elegantly with “The Nexus” and the party song “Drop Dead Cynical”.

Another amazing show by the band, well enjoyable and amazing. So happy to have seen them again, even though I can sometimes.. Lose it for them, it is always instantly made up once you get to a show.

After a little bit of wait, it was time for Apocalyptica. And speaking of that. The girls standing next to us actually left, giving Cyril a front row spot. Like I said, you never know right?

Apocalyptica

Again the men got on stage and started off their set. It was yet again a pleasureable set, even though I find myself hard to enjoy it to the fullest, except when Elize joins them on stage and turns everything into pure perfection. But with that said, thank you again Apocalyptica!

The mood went down once again and got a bit epic with the symphonic sountrack echoing again, and it really does set the mood, doesn’t it? And with that, “In Flanders Fields” echoed everywhere, and the show was on..

Sabaton

The intro for “Ghost Division” started and another bombastic start to a grand show was on. “Great War” followed suit as per usual, and then it was time for “Attack of the Dead Men”.

And.. It’s possible I didn’t pay attention enough in Zürich, but for this time around, ALL of the bandmembers came out on stage in gasmasks. They threw them off by the second verse, but holy hell! That was pretty wild.

“Seven Pillars of Widsom” followed suit and then “Diary of the Unknown Soldier” announced the appearance of “The Lost Battalion”. The energy in the venue was pretty good actually, a bit better than in Zürich. Maybe because I stood right next to a knucklehead who was dedicated and into it, but for some reason always held out a flag right infront of me and my friends eyesights. Sigh.

“The Red Baron” came up next and I STILL THINK THAT JOAKIM DESTROYS THIS BY TALKING. Just let Richthoven enter and let him just start the intro without so much talking. If you wanna talk about the organ, do it AFTER. Please? But still, this part is amazingly lit and it’s probably my favorite part of the shows.

The bells for “The Last Stand” appeared on the screen and another amazing execution of that was made, followed by “82nd All The Way”.

The stage went dark, and sirens and red lights appeared as “Nightwitches” was about to be played, with another amazing execution, can’t really complain here. But I will come to later…

Apocalyptica joined forces on stage, and it was time for “That part” of the show, starting off with “Angels Calling”. While, like I think I mentioned before, it has never been a major favorite for me, I’m still SO HAPPY that these older, REAL OLDER, songs are making their way back into the setlist.

They kept the boys on stage, and “Fields of Verdun” followed suit, then “Price of a Mile”.

As the Apocalyptica boys were doing “Dominium Maris Baltici”, the whole band left the stage and much to my surprise, they all came back clad in a caroleans officer jacket, and this time much more detailed than the one Jocke’s had before, and “The Lion From The North” was next.

And then, it was time for “Carolus Rex”. Normally, as a swede, this part of the show is my jam right. There might be moments where I’m like.. This part is the best or that is the best, BUT, this is my jam. And I’m unforgiving.

So when Joakim starts “Carolus Rex” by singing “Proved in battle…” I was just like… EXCUSE ME.

WHAT. ARE. YOU. FUCKING. SINGING?

And I remain unimpressed for a real long time, even though gladly he got on the right track. I’m really so unforgiving, aren’t I?

The band left the stage after this (SERVES THEM RIGHT) and the intro video for “Primo Victoria” showed its face, and the band came back to whipout the last few songs – “Bismarck”, “Swedish Pagans” and lastly “To Hell And Back”. WITH PROPAGANDA FLYERS. I was unreasonably happy when these were sent out. It’s not even okay. But I just love them okay?

After the show, we stayed by the barrier just a little longer time, and gladly we did! I got handed a setlist by one of the crewguys thanks to it. Thank you! Love you!

After the show, we hung around, caught up with some other friends and then we headed home.. for like… three hours of sleep.

Thank you everyone involved in this, Szilvi, Marci, Cyril – you are the best.

// Sara

Brothers of Metal @ Z7, Pratteln, Switzerland 18/1-20

Posted in Concerts, Music, The Great Tour 2020, Uncategorized with tags , on January 28, 2020 by Sara Hammerzmith

So, off from Zürich I went around 12, having Monika accompanying me halfway. I was starting to get sick due to the long queueing that went on yesterday in the cold rain, but what am I if not a warrior and keep going despite whatever illness I have. OK, if I had a superbad illness that would be incredibly contagious, then perhaps but a common cold? Never.

Arrived alive and well in Pratteln, I head over to my hotel and then out and about to catch something to eat. I heard it can be good to eat. Got back to the hotel, got ready for the show and walked down to the venue. I’ve been here before, so it’s relatively easy for me to just find my way around.

I arrived around half an hour before Elvenking hit the stage. From what I understood, this is a co-headline tour and they take turns being the “headline” band, so for this evening, of course, Elvenking was first. I had kind of hoped – and no offence to them – that Brothers of Metal would be first in case the sickness got worse. But oh well, I survived worse stuff.

Elvenking

So, right on scheduled time they started, and came out with a raging energy. I’ll admit that I don’t know much about this band prior and never found the time to properly check them out, so I regret to inform that I can’t do a proper rundown of them, BUT, I did, however really enjoy them!

They put on a good and energetic show, although you could relatively early tell this was a primarily Brothers of Metal kind of audience. Thank you, Elvenking!

And then the wait began, and soon enough, the intro started to roll…

Brothers of Metal

They all came on stage, and announced “The Death of the God of Light” and they all rushed on stage and opened up this show in the most energetic way possible.

Straight up after this intro, the thunder and flutes came out of the speakers, witnessing that “Njord” was about to be next on the list, so from one death straight into an adventure we went. Very well recieved, and a perfect execution from the band themselves. The audience was, as already stated, clearly a Brothers of Metal oriented one, and then “Prophecy of Ragnarök” came on. This song is all the rage, isn’t it?

And I say it again – if one can windmill through the entire song of that, one truly is a metal warrior, am I right or what.

“Tyr” was next on the list, letting us pay tribute to one of our Gods, before paying tribute to ALL of them in “Gods of War”. And this song too, is all the rage. This band is all the rage, I’d say. “Brothers Unite” from the new album followed tune, and I just love how they switch to Swedish in the midst of it.

And again, the flawless and energetic execution always gets me. These are some well talented and skilled musician, nailing everything from start to finish without even backing down on the energy they radiate, which reflects back onto them from the crowd. Without energy on stage, it’s hard to get it from the crowd as well, you know?

Everyone on stage sat down except from the speaker, who started to go over the tales of “Concerning Norns” before they played probably their most popular song “Yggdrasil”. And this song still gets to me, every time. It really is, the best metal song ever written. At least that’s my current feeling anyway.

“Chain Breaker”, the little odd one on their recent album “Emblas Saga” came next. It surprised me a bit, but I don’t even complain. They asked prior if we knew how wolves sounded, and it took some time for the audience to get it, but they became quite the wolfpack!

Party time is up as “The Mead Song” was next on the list, and sitting down and jumping up NEVER gets old. Ever. Party through and through. The primary speaker on stage made some jokes about it being only one song left, when in reality, he meant the song “One”. And you know..

There are many songs were Ylva shines, and she always does. But she shines just a little extra in this song, and if she isn’t just the greatest, I don’t know who is.

Party time again as “Defenders of Valhalla” came next on the list, and the whole room was in one giant party. Sadly, all of it was about to come to an end with “Siblings of Metal” and “Fire, Blood and Steel”.

And this show was nothing but PURE amazingness. Seriously. This was perfection beyond anything else, and I’m so happy that I fit all of this into my tourschedule. So far, this might actually be the highlight of the tour. And it can be hard to beat that.

After the show, I headed back to the hotel and pretty much just crashed.

Tomorrow, back to Zürich and onward to other endavours.

// Sara

Sabaton @ Hallenstadion, Zürich, Switzerland 17/1 – 20

Posted in Concerts, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , on January 27, 2020 by Sara Hammerzmith

And here it is at last. The tourstart for The Great Tour. At first, I wasn’t exactly pumped for it, BUT, one day, when walking down the Promenade on deck 5 on the boat, hearing them blast “The Lost Battalion” really made me want this part of my gigantic tour to come.

And then yet, once home in Belgium I lost the will for it again, but this time I blame the jetlag for that. But, inevitably, the time was here now, and I was actually pretty excited. We headed over to the venue to start lining at 12-13 somewhere between there, and there wasn’t a lot of people, but some.

Later on, I found Cyril and met Océane, which was pleasant! Once it was time for us to be let in.. it kind of became chaos. I think people don’t really have much of respect for who was there first and not, and the venue itself was complicated too. First inside and then try to find the hall for the standings. But teaming up with Cyril and Océane helped getting into somewhat the spots we wanted, so at the end of the day, getting sick as a chyte would be worth it.

We took a bit of turns going to the bathroom and quickly checking out the merch before the wait for Amaranthe began, and precisely at 19, it started.

Amaranthe

With the intro of Helix, slowly emerging into the intro of “Maximise” Amaranthe one by one entered the stage and hit it off with aforementioned song. Elize comes out on stage like a regal goddess in her new stage attire, the biggest piece a regal cape. Absolutely stunning.

Surprisingly, the crowd didn’t seem to feel Amaranthe at all. Which.. surprises me. I always took them for being pretty popular in most places, but I guess not here? Well well, more for me!

After this rather grand opening, the band went straight into “Digital World” which is pretty much anyones headbang jam, if they really are headbangers that is, and then into “Hunger” which holds pretty much the same position.

They slowed it down a notch with the next song, “Amaranthine” and we had yet another beautiful moment with this song. This song really is grand, isn’t it? And she executes it so perfectly.  From this, straight into my own personal favorite “Helix” (I’m so happy this one made the cut, I was really worried, haha!) and it was time for Henrik to have his little moment in “GG6” as he and Elize battle it out together.

Elize is in my eyes always the winner, and she showed exactly why in the next song, “Endlessly” where she pretty much put everyone who ever tried to hate on her to shame. Time for some more upbeat following next in “Call Out My Name” before they wrapped up an amazing “tourstart” with “The Nexus” and “Drop Dead Cynical”.

Thank you so much for an amazing start. This was way too short, and I can’t wait to see them more times on this tour, and then their little headline show later.

And with that, the wait for Apocalyptica began. Which, gladly, wasn’t too long.

Apocalyptica

So, I regret to inform you all that I’m not too familiar with Apocalyptica. I’m very familiar with their concept, and saw them live before, BUT – I am not familiar with their own stuff, so it won’t be a very detailed rundown sadly on their show.

They did however play a very good show, and the few songs performed with Elize was nothing but pure perfection. The show was more enjoyable than I thought it would be, so that is also a huge plus. Thank you so much Apocalyptica!

Throughout the venue, the soundtrack to the Great War started echoing out, as per usual by now I suppose – I don’t mean to sound rude, it’s just that, if you attend one show then you just know how the routine works now, am I right?

As the stage was being set, the album continued before the volume was upped a few notches the “In Flanders Fields” echoes.

Sabaton

After this sweet serenade intro, the newmade intro for “Ghost Division” went on and off they went opening with.. “Ghost Division”. I had hopes. I had hopes. But no more. A bombastic and energetic intro as per usual, not much has changed.

“Great War” was next song on the list, and I don’t think song as well as the execution will ever stop to be as epic as it is. For the next song, Joakim briefly left the stage and let the band start off “The Attack of the Dead Men” themselves, and then he comes back out and he is clad from head to toe in a gasmask and uniform, walking around with a gas dispenser. Wow, what an upgrade! Slowly but surely, the performance is starting to live up to the songs!

He left the stage again to get “undressed” and soon came back to announce that the next song would be “Seven Pillars of Wisdom”. And if this song isn’t all the rage, I don’t know what is. The band left the stage momentarily and “Diary of an Unknown Soldier” and set off with “The Lost Battalion”.

A very interesting looking piano, or apparently organ, was brought on stage. The organ has the shape of Richthovfen’s Albatross plane, or at least some parts of it built like it. Joakim joked around a bit with “Swedish Pagans” and then introduced an organplayer dressed up as Manfred and off they went with “The Red Baron”.

And YES. I just say YES. This is a step in the right direction. This is somewhat something I actually always pictured they’d do. The only thing I personally wish they did was to cut the talking and just shut down the lights and let this dude do his thing amongst blinking red lights… Skip the talk, really!

“The Last Stand”, pretty much my personal highlight on the entire show came next, although these days I can’t really hear it the same way anymore. I’m not sure if that is a good thing or a sad thing, but oh well right?

“82nd All The Way” was next on the list, and then “Nightwitches” which actually came as a surprise for me, that it comes THIS early in the setlist. But oh well?

From here on, some familiar faces in the forms of Apocalyptica joined the stage, and the band set off to perform “Angels Calling”. While I never really enjoyed this song, ever, I’m still happy to see some old songs make their way back into their setlist, if they were ever on it from the start.

Joakim figured it’d be a great idea to keep Apocalyptica for a few more songs, and so they did “Fields of Verdun”, “The Price of a Mile” as well as “Lion from the North” and “Carolus Rex” was all performed together with Apocalyptica.

After Carolus, they left the stage and the introvideo to “Primo Victoria” started rolling, and the encores were set ablaze.. literally.

“Bismarck” followed suit and then finally “Swedish Pagans”. Although, I sense that the crowd here didn’t really ask that much for it. It’s finally dying! The whole hype is finally dying!

After this, they wrapped up the set with “To Hell and Back” and the show was over.

It was an amazing show, although sans propaganda flyers for us front rowers? What? Well, anyway. It is what it is, right? After the show I headed over to the merch and bought the posters, and I’ll look into more merch on later shows.

So, once again. An amazing tourstart. Finally things are starting to happen. It’s becoming something. Finally!

// Sara

 

70.000 Tons of Metal: Day 4

Posted in 70000 tons of metal, Concerts, Music, Uncategorized on January 21, 2020 by Sara Hammerzmith

Despite witnessing that Trollfest show so late, we got up early enough to catch the second set of Archon Angel. Since stupid little me managed to forget my earplugs in the stateroom, I decided to stay further away from the stage. This being an open air venue, at least the sound wouldn’t reflect back to my ears too much. The set was more or less the same as previous, and it was again a really good set with some Savatage goodies at the end.

After the show, we again, grabbed something to eat, then off to play some Mini golf. USually we START our cruise with this, but apparently we end it with it. Then took in some more Vitamin D and securing great spots for the Bellyflop Contest with was amazing as usual. It’s such a funny concept, you know?

After this we just kept roaming around the boat. Skipped out on a lot of shows to partly pack, but also to just roam around the boat. Play in the pools, swim around, take in the sun and as the sun was setting we played some ping pong at one of the tables. Once sundown, we headed into the arcade for some last minute gaming before getting into costume and watching a few Cruachan songs before making our way up to pool deck for Epica’s “Design Your Universe” set.

Epica

Pretty obviously, since this is a “Design Your Universe” set, they started off the show with the intro of “Samadhi” before unleashing straight into “Resign to Surrender”. It was an extremely windy show, and I honestly salute Simone for going through with this show in the stiletto heels she was wearing. Kudos to her. I could barely stand up straight in my flats!

“Unleashed” was next on the setlist tightly followed by one of my own personal favorites, “Martyr of the Free World”, and right into “Our Destiny”. This show was really something else, and while I understand it might be cut a little short due to stage time, it was magical getting to witness this.

“Kingdom of Heaven” came up next on the list and the wind had no mercy on any of us today, damn. Some times you know. “Burn to a Cinder” followed up and then they wrapped the whole set up with ” Tides of Time” and “Design Your Universe”.

Obviously as you can tell on this setlist, it was a bit cut, BUT, nonetheless was it an amazing show. Thank you so much!

After this we did a pitstop in the Theater to catch most of Haggards second set inbetween Epica and Kissin’ Dynamite which was our next band, and it was just as magical this time as it was before.

And then, from the Theater down to the Ice Rink for Dynamites second set.

Kissin’ Dynamite

So, just as Bloodbound, Kissin’ Dynamite stuck to the same setlist as they had had previously on the cruise,  which wasn’t a particularly bad one. They opened pretty damn strong with “I’ve Got The Fire” and headed straight into “Somebody’s Gotta Do It”.

This time around, for their show in the Rink, a whole lot more people had shown up. That wasn’t much of a surprise if you ask me, considering this venue is firstly a whole lot better, and secondly, perhaps, or hopefully, people had finally gotten their eyes up on how amazing they are.

“Love Me, Hate Me” followed suit before “Sex is War” and “Waging War”. I’m honestly not sure how much point there is to get into detail as it’s the exact same set, but it was amazing nonetheless. The feeling in the venue was vibrating, and Hannes is such a vibrant front man. He makes the room light up as he walks in, you know? That kind of front man.

After the show, we headed up to Pooldeck to listen to Skippers speech, which didn’t really include more than a destination for next year. Jamaica, apparently. How great, huh?

After this, we headed back down toward the Theater, found ourselves some nice seats and let Carach Angren be the last show we saw on the cruise before hitting our cabin and drifting off to sleep, getting ready for getting off the ship…

// Sara

 

 

70.000 Tons of Metal: Day 3

Posted in 70000 tons of metal, Concerts, Music, The Great Tour 2020, Uncategorized with tags on January 21, 2020 by Sara Hammerzmith

Ah Mexico!

It really was a crime comitted upon all of us cruisegoers to not have Alestorm perform on this years cruise considering out point of destination. We got up around 9 and then headed to the Windjammer for some breakfast before it was time to pack up our beachbag and hit Mexico, ready for a day at the beach.

But, upon walking ashore… It started raining. Of. Fucking. Course. Had brilliant weather in both Cockburn Town and Haiti, so why should I have it in Cozumel? Of course not, am I right?

Well, we started our day off with hitting pretty much every single tourist shop there was in the city before grabbing a cab out to one of the beach resorts. The rain stopped, and we figured that it might break up. Which it did, we had a nice couple of hours at the beach before taking a cab over to a museum of Mexican arts and culture and a Mini-Mexico kind of thing! Similar to Mini-Europa in Brussels.

Since I’m a Scaredy Squirrel and also want to wash my hair in time, we went on board the boat again about an hour before call time, and we felt pretty finished anyway so. Got washed up, and then hit the Ice Rink to catch a few songs of Ereb Altor, you know that band I missed out on earlier before heading to the Theater to see Leaves’ Eyes.

Leaves’ Eyes

Again, sadly, not a huge turnout but that can again have several reasons, but yeah, more space for me am I right? Again, the folk intro started and “Sign of the Dragonhead” set off this show as well, and again moved on with “Serkland” and “Across The Sea”, which still is like the best song for this cruise (since we don’t have Alestorm).

They then continued with “Edge of Steel” and there is something I always kind of felt that I don’t really.. Haven’t adressed before. How needy sometimes Alexander can be. He always, constantly, asks for the audience to clap their hands and it’s like ok, that is amazing, but all the time? Throughout the entire songs? Nein.

“Edge of Steel” followed suit, and then.. Elina left the stage and reappeared with an outfit best described as something similar to the Black Swan, and it was time for them to play “Black Butterfly”… And that was such a beautiful moment! And with her dressed up like that. Wow. What a moment.

Just as I thought, just like two years ago, “Jomsborg” is assigned to the Theater show, and I really love this song though so I don’t mind at all! “Swords in Rock” followed suit and then again wrapping it all up with “Beowulf” and “Blazing Waters”. We also participated in a real nice rowpit for this one. Amazing.

Another amazing show amazingly executed, if I may use those kind of words, and thank you for this time, Leaves’ Eyes!

After this, we took to the cabin to rest, wandered about the ship and caught a few songs of Michael Schenker Fest before making our way down to the Ice Rink to catch another set of Bloodbounds!

Bloodbound

So, I don’t know exactly how much detail I’ll go into it here, as it was exactly the same setlist as previous, but I’ll talk about it overall at least!

The band came onto the stage to the intro and opened strongly once again, with “Battle in the Sky” as the opening song, straight into “In The Name of Metal”. The show was really good this time around. It had been flawless last time around, but something in the energy was just mindblowing here. Maybe it’s because of the slightly smaller venue gave everything a more intimate feeling and crowd felt bigger giving it an over all better feeling, I do not know for sure. But damn, what a good set it was. Absolutely amazing! Thank you, once again, Bloodbound! And yes, this time I stuck around to see “Nosferatu” which as normal was the closing song.

Thank you for this cruise, Bloodbound. You were truly amazing, both times!

After this show, we headed straight to bed, so we could get up in time to attend Trollfest’s 3am show. That’s the thing with this boat you know. You gotta kind of sleep when you can.

So, 2.45 the clock rang, and off we were to the show. Gladly for us, the Ice Rink is just around the corner from our stateroom. Just making everything so much easier, you know?

And… When the singer entered the stage with a balloon crown I realized righ away. He’s setting the bar for this years dress up extremely high. Higher than anyone. And it was another party and fun set, and this time instead of one long congaline, we had as many as possible. Still a survivor of that!

After their maniac, back to bed and prepare for the last day.

// Sara

70.000 Tons of Metal: Day 2

Posted in 70000 tons of metal, Concerts, Music, The Great Tour 2020, Travels, Uncategorized with tags , , , on January 19, 2020 by Sara Hammerzmith

So it was upon us! The second day of the cruise was upon us, and it started pretty early with a merch sleepover. Thankfully, it was all worth it as we got all the merch we wanted.. How great, huh? And then, Trollfest already starting at 10. But you gotta go hard, not at all, am I right?

They put on a real fun show, and I’m officially a survivor of the worlds longest congaline! Or at least this cruise longest congaline. After the show, we decided to go grab something to eat and work out a little bit before getting ready for the highlight for us on this cruise, or at least the first thing for us: Bloodbound

Bloodbound

They opened up strongly (as always, am I right?) with “Battle in the Sky” and then quickly continued on with “In The Name of Metal”. Amazing as always. I have a feeling I dont see this band even half as often as I hope to. After having a little chat with the audience we continued on with “The Warlocks Trail” which is a song they live premiered on Sabaton Open Air last year, and I’m SO. SO. SO. happy that they continue to have this song in their live roster! It’s fucking amazing, and probably even the best song on the album, despite what I might have said before, and the crowd seemed to love it as much as I did.

“Stand and Fight” was next song on the list, tightly followed by a common crowdpleaser in “Moria”. I love the fact that they’ve “chaged” the lyrics to “Show me the HORNS of Moria” instead of Roads. Loving it.

For whatever reasons, Daniel Sjögren couldn’t attend for this show, so instead former Follow The Cipher drummer Karl Löfgren filled his shoes, which is kind of half ironic considering Daniel is the new drummer in Follow The Cipher (as well as Bloodbound).  He was doing an AMAZING job filling in, don’t believe anything else!

“Dragons are Forever” was the next song they ripped off before diving into the epicness that is the titletrack of the latest album, “Rise of the Dragon Empire”. And what a RAGE this song is live? It’s the absolute bomb. More of this please!

At this point, sadly, I had to leave as Leaves’ Eyes were starting the same time Bloodbound was set to end, and them being on the Pooldeck, which is you know, 8 floors up from where Bloodbound played, it’d be quite the run. But, I made it just as the intro started rolling.

Leaves’ Eyes

The epic nordic folk kind of intro rolled as the band then headed straight into “Sign of the Dragonhead”. It was quite a small turnout, but I’m guessing this could have to do with the Liv drama, or early in the day, or Bloodbound. Either of the ones, but I don’t exactly complain, more place for me to be honest!

They continued on with the new single “Serkland” which I’m assuming will be on the upcoming album before continuing on the previous path with “Across The Sea” which simply just is the perfect song for this cruise, am I right or what?

And also, can we talk about how perfect Elina Siirala is? Seriously. It’s such a shame for her that this bands suffers so from the drama, she doesn’t deserve that because she is AMAZING.

“Swords in Rock” was the next song on the list, before staying on the same album and doing “Edge of Steel”. A part of me had hoped Simone would join them, but that was hoping for too much I guess.

And.. You know it’s funny. Besides the addition of “Serkland” I can swear this must be pretty much the same setlist they had when they played the boat two years ago as I could even predict them playing “Riders of the Wind” on the pool deck, much like they did then. But I don’t mind, that song is just a party.

“Hell to the Heavens” followed afterwards, before wrapping up with “Beowulf” and “Blazing Waters”. Another amazing set was made by this amazing line up, and I am so happy that I got to see them again. So far, highlight.

After Leaves’ Eyes we headed down toward the Playmakers sportsbar again to attend some signing sessions. I was really lucky actually, all of the bands not only me but both of us wanted to attend happened to be on the same time, or at least closely related. Lucky, huh?

So, we went down for the first signing, which was Epica. It was a bit of a line when we arrived, but much to my surprised they worked very quickly through the line, and after a mere 20 minutes it was my turn actually. Was relatively uneventful, except from the bandmembers complimenting my collection of festivalbracelets as well as Mark greeting me by name which he knew from reading my stateroom card which happened to be placed in a very visible way.

Right after this, we started lining up for Bloodbound, and it was just like, one person ahead of us, so no problems. Ivan had a clinic he wanted to attend, so he was a bit stressed. But it turned out to be no issue, as the signing moves along quickly. So, quickly grabbing the autographs of Bloodbound and Edenbridge before hitting up pool deck.

A lot of running back and forth yeah. Haggard was a band I had gotten a little hooked on when listening for the bands before the cruise, so I figured I’d grab a few songs with them before Leaves’ Eyes signing at 17.

They experiences some issues and were late with the soundcheck and had to redo the first song twice, but such things happen you know? The little timeI did watch them though, was pure magic. I remember especially the moment when they played “Awakening the Centuries”. THAT, was NOTHING but pure magic. I was really sad that I had to leave relatively early to attend the signing of Leaves’ Eyes, but it is what happens.

So imagine how disappointed I am… to see that the band, or more to be exact, Alexander, arrives late. First and foremost, there was barely any line. There was technically no one before me but I let someone pass because I’m shy as hell. And then Alexander was like 10-15 minutes late. Which means that I could have easily seen all of Haggard, and still had my signed vinyl in a reasonable time. Goddamnit.

But that aside, it was nice meeting the band and getting the signatures! After this, back to the cabin for a quick clothing change, you know, it’s getting late and colder, and then off to the Theater for Epica’s first set.

Epica

We made it there pretty good on time, not too early and not too late. Perfect timing, if you like. The intro rolled and they started off with “Sensorium”. I can tell that is has been what at least feels like ages since I saw them, and I guess more importantly since I saw them in this kind of intimate setting.

The band delievered as they always do, and the crowd was just as much on fire as the band continued on with “The Obsessive Devotion” which is really, and excuse me for overusing the word, but the bomb. “Storm the Sorrow” was next before it was time for the ever beautiful “Cry for the Moon”, and it’s about this time I realize how much I missed seeing this band live.

“In All Conscience” was next on the list, before Coen came upfront and started off “Sancta Terra” with his amazing keyintro, and seriously, nothing but perfection.

My personal favorite off “The Holographic Principle” ” Beyond the Matrix” followed and then they wrapped it all up with “Consign to Oblivion”, with a wall of death and everything.

Another amazing show by this amazing band, left us tired enough to drift away to sleep, preparing for the adventures in Mexico… But.. with a little stop in the night, as I just HAD to witness the biggest pillowfight to Origin. Which was epic. I tell you.

// Sara

 

70.000 Tons of Metal: Day 1

Posted in 70000 tons of metal, Concerts, Music, Uncategorized with tags on January 16, 2020 by Sara Hammerzmith

So, embarkation day! Yay! Finally time for this. It’s my third time doing the cruise, so this was not exactly any news to me. Since we, for once, arrived pretty early in the day, the line wasn’t humongous. So we made it on the cruise relatively early, and just hung around outside the dining room playing some games waiting for our stateroom to open. I wasn’t superkeen on going eating with all of our luggage, but just a little after 13, finally the staterooms were opened and we could ditch our bags and EAT.

I was hungry as hell. And as you might have known from previous years, this is not only 70.000 Tons of Metal, this is also 70.000 Tons of Food. Being back in Windjammer and the buffet again was a blessing. I know Windjammer isn’t exactly everyone’s cup of tea, however, considering what my tourdiet normally consists of, when not luxurying it up with sushi, Windjammer is heaven.

After passing by Windjammer we hit our cabin for a short while before I started showing Ivan around the ship. This being my third time on the Independence, it has made me relatively sure of where most things are.

And then, we retreated to the Alhambra, now known as Royal Theatre, for the first show of the cruise, which was Archon Angel.

Archon Angel

Archon Angel is one of those new supergroups, and I’ll admit it was rather Ivan who wanted to see them more than me, but it could never hurt right? And surely it couldn’t as they wrapped up their set by playing some of my personal Savatage favorites. This cruise is off to one great start, huh?

Straight after this, we headed over to where Edenbridge were at, however, Pyramide Lounge, now Star Lounge isn’t exactly ideal for shows… Sounded great, but didn’t see shit.

After listening to a bit of Edenbridge we roamed about the boat again, checking out views, taking something to eat, resting a little bit before heading over quickly to the Star Lounge again to aquire front row spots for Kissin’ Dynamite. They were, obviously, one of my must see bands this year so naturally it was important to be front in order to see shit.

Kissin’ Dynamite

They opened with “I’ve Got The Fire”, which wasn’t a superbig surprise seeing them on Metalfest earlier last year, but still a great opener. They followed up rather quickly with “Somebody’s gotta do it” and later on “Love Me, Hate Me”.

Remembering all the hate they got when they were announced, I was a bit surprised by the amazing turn out they got! The place was packed. “Sex is War” was next on the list before it was time for “Waging War”.

Hannes left the stage, and returned with his amazing outfit and it was time to fire off “I Will Be King”. I still think this is so funny – I was never big on the “Money, Sex and Power” album, yet I think this song is the bomb and all the rage, at least live.

Latest single “You’re Not Alone” together with “Flying Colours” wrapped up their first set on the boat, and it was probably some of the greatest things I’ve witnessed, so far. I loved it. Hannes even jumped out for a little crowdsurf, like I said before – it’s a lawless land.

After this, I left Ivan at the barricade as he wanted to see the next couple of bands, and me myself went back to the cabin to rest. I don’t know if I’m getting older or if it’s the jetlag or all the traveling, but I was finished for sure. And I fell dead asleep.

My idea was to get up to watch Cruachan at 3 and later Ereb Altor at 3.45, but Yeah… I woke up when the clock was 4.30. Way to go, right? But after this, I actually got in the merchline… Becasue, nothing like 70.000 Tons of Merch Sleepover!

And with that, day 1 is a wrap!

70.000 Tons of Metal: Arrival and Heavy Metal Beach Party

Posted in The Great Tour 2020, Travels, Uncategorized on January 15, 2020 by Sara Hammerzmith

So! Early on enough, it was time for the BOAT again. This year, the boat was laid almost a month earlier than normal, but I guess that was all for the better in the end, considering the normal dates for the cruise would have been midst Sabaton tour, and that would.. THAT would be one for the ages of tour hopping, that is for sure.

Anyway. Off we went. First off to the airport by the shuttle who came when it came, kind of thing, then a loong line to check in, and then finally – finally – on the plane. I love flying Norwegians Dreamliner. Like, we literally traveled from Paris specifically because I wanted the Dreamliner. It’s kind of… haha, I don’t know, obsessive, but I got the obsessive devotion I guess for that (bonus points to anyone who gets that reference, by the way). We had a nice flight. Tried to sleep a bit and I think I did as I made my way through “Toy Story 4” as well as half of “Endgame”. I still haven’t seen “Infinity Wars”, sue me.

And then, we arrived in the states, again, good old Florida. What I didn’t expect this time… Was the long process of the bordercontroll. We supposed it was since we arrived earlier than usual, but we spent a good 2,5 hours in there. I’ve never spent THAT long in a bordercontrol before. But oh well, we survived. Then awaited another long wait for the shuttle to the hotel, and.. finally there.

It was late. I was excited we were gonna arrive early this year, so we could do something. But by the time we were checked in, it was closing in on 21. So we just hit up some fancy restaurant and then went home to go to bed. After all, tomorrow was the day for the beach party so.

But. A disturbing thing was noticed. I had left my little bag of emergency stuff. Like, toothbrush, toothpaste, ALL MY MEDICATION… decided that I liked the dreamliner of Norwegian so much it didn’t even want to leave the plane. Because, it’s not like I needed the meds right? Before people worry too much, it was “only” painkillers and motion illness pills. But I get easy motion ill, so yeah. Great. Great start.

The next day, we went up relatively early, got to the bus station.. earlier than I though. Greyhound apparently lists BOARDING TIME, and not departure time. So we came 40 mins. Beore Boarding time. I wanted to smash my head against a wall. It’s like, not even the first time I go by Greyhound. How have I not learned this?

The busride was relatively uneventful. Gladly, I didn’t get motion ill like I thought I would. From the busstation we made it down to the Clevelander where we could reunite with our heavy metal family, have a nice meal and then the massive groupshot on the beach.

After the photo though, we departed the party and took to the shopping streets of Miami to enjoy our day a little bit more. A little bit of shopping was done, a pair of sunglasses, shorts and leggings. So, not a lot but a little. And a lot of Pokemon.

Busride home was also pretty uneventful, except that we had the most charming busdriver ever. She was amazing. I wish Flixbuses, or Europes, drivers were like her.

Once back, we packed everything up and got to bed. Tomorrow, we embark!

// Sara