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

 

Burst

Posted in The Great Tour 2020, Travels, Uncategorized on January 4, 2020 by Sara Hammerzmith

And with that, The Great Tour has begun.

This has been long in the making, and a few hiccups here and there has shaped this tour a bit different from what was originally planned, but improvise, adapt, overcome, am I right?

As I’m writing this I’m currently on a bus toward Paris. Two days ago I landed in Belgium as a first pitstop and getting stuff organized.

The flight here was relatively uneventful to be honest. I checked in my two bags (a month and a half long tour, together with a festival in the carribbean requires a bit of a closet) and had a snack before take off. Slept through most of the flight, and then arrived.

Headed home to Antwerpen where I had a few couple of calm days, mostly consisting of me repacking stuff. Stuff necessary for the tour here in Europe aren’t necessary in the US and so on. Looked like something exploded in the apartment.

Today has been slow and stressful, both of it. I had all the day to pack, but exceeding weightlimits is what I do best, but after a few ifs and buts I got it done. I made sure to take everything downstairs and noticed my bag can even slide of the carpeted stairs. PROFIT!

Then.. Going to Antwerp Central Station seemed to be a bit of a difficulty though. For some reasons we ended up on several detours, but gladly made the train in time.

What awaits in Paris, is one good nights rest and Sushi!

// Sara

REVIEW: Brothers of Metal – Emblas Saga

Posted in CDs, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , on January 3, 2020 by Sara Hammerzmith

So, the time has come. The Falu-based eight-piece band Brothers of Metal is finally, after some long-awaited time, releasing their sophomore album. For me personally, this has been a long time coming, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. With songs like “Yggdrasil” and “Fire, Blood and Steel” they spellbound the audience, and managed to grow themselves a following. And now, it’s time for “Emblas Saga”.

The album opens up with a simple yet intriguing spoken intro which tells us the tales of a brother who was so upset with his own kind that he initiated the “Ragnarök” and are directly thrown into “Powersnake” which is a slower, more doomy kind of epic anthem which is a relatively epic, yet not as bombastic as the song following, “Hel” which on the other hand takes it all to a whole new level as far as epicness and speed goes, and not to mention the harmonies in the chorus.

“Chainbreaker” serves as a party tune which has a very interesting build up in the chorus bringing the thoughts back to the 80’s almost in a way, with a more dramatic take on the song rather than epic, with a rock-out chorus.

Ylva’s enchanting voice opens up the next song, which is more of a hymn in the vein “Defenders of Valhalla” which is pretty nice, even though it’s relatively lowkey.

In “Theft of the Hammer” we finally see their sense of humor with, especially in the line “Or else I’ll tell my dad!”. I’m pretty sure most of us who are in them have at some level fallen for their humours approaches at certain stuff, such as “Loki is my brother, he has no sex appeal” from “Son of Odin”.

The mood is slowed down a bit in “Weaver of Fate” which is a beautiful power-ballad that grows more and more epis as the song proceeds, and then straight into probably one of the more epic tracks on this album – “Njord”. It has everything. I guess it was chosen as a single for a reason, am I right? It’s Brothers of Metal just as we know them, just a bit turned up.

The most epic of tales of the album though, we find in the seven-minute-long track “Emblas Saga”. Telling the tale about what went down in a dramatic and epic setting making it the ultimate thrown down – like the whole album has been building up to this exact moment.

The hymn coming after slows down the tempo a bit, as well as the epicness about standing uniting, before it was time for another one of the major songs of the album – “One”, which comes the closest to compete with “Yggdrasil” as far as massiveness goes (And if we are really gonna compare). But letting every one of the vocalists shine the way it does, and not to mentions Ylva’s little moment weaved together in an epic breathing arrangement makes it the most epic post-battle hymns.

The album then wraps up with another few party songs that carry the vibes from songs as “Siblings of Metal” and “The Mead Song”, at least music-wise.

So.. What do we make of this?

What I make of this, is that they simply made it again. While it may not reach the entire level as the first one – and to be honest, I have yet to see a band that does, and it may as well be my “Nostalgia” kicking it, but it is a MORE than amazing follow-up. I love the fact there is more dramatic elements in the songs, making the whole album quite a trip to go through. Highs and lows, fast and slow, and lyrics digging more deeper than done before in the Norse mythology.

Well done, Brothers of Metal.

Favorite song:  “Hel” or “Njord”. A bit torn.
Least Favorite: Real hard to pick one. But I’ll put “Powersnake” here.

CDON I Amazon I Ginza I Label: AFM Records

// Sara

 

 

 

Sabaton Cruise X – The Battle Ship: Part 4

Posted in Concerts, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , on December 15, 2019 by Sara Hammerzmith

And so they started rolling the intro, which again consisted of at first almost, ALMOST the entire soundtrack edition of the album before loudly presenting “In Flanders Fields”. I guess this just is the intro now.

The water started flowing on the screen and distant orchestrations started echoing as “Bismarck” opens up the entire show. Incredible opening, loving it already from the start! “Far From The Fame” came up next, and the energy was a fact!

Throwing us far back in time with the next song, as they continue on with “Attero Dominatus”. Most people who know me as a Sabaton fan knows that this song, or particularly album, holds a special place for me as it was my first. And not to mention, what a killer way to get it going, right?

“Winged Hussars”, my complete headbang jam was next on the list, not a major surprise, but still a pleasant moment. “Shiroyama” followed suit, and the danceparty was a fact, as per usual. What a shame our assigned Shiroyama wasn’t here, but maybe next time?

One of my absolute top favorites, “The Last Stand”, also known as my fucking jam, was next on the list, and there is no way to describe the complete and total euphoria that is created when this song has been sent off the rails.

Another one of my personal favorite and a pretty damn rare one came up next. “Smoking Snakes”. It shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, given they are set to play in Brazil after this cruise, but it was still an extremely, EXTREMELY pleasant surprise!

“Resist and Bite” followed suit before it was time for “The Price of a Mile” which has, since the summer and the entrance of The Great War made a nice re-entrance in the set, and I’m so happy it has.

“Screaming Eagles” was a well-needed temporise in the set, before it was time for…

…”Panzerkampf”, yet another extremely underrated song was next on the list. Why, oh why Sabaton, is this one not a fixed song in the setlist? You know extremely well that the fans love it. More than love it. Obsess it, they crave that mineral.

“White Death” came next, another one of my favorites which (for non-Finland people) is pretty uncommon – dare I assume that the “amount” of Finnish songs is due to the fact the just playing in Finland right before this boat? Yes, yes it is.

“The Red Baron” was next, and we for the first time, for me, are being introduced with this with the intro that I have since day one said they should use. The intro, and red lights, and FINALLY this is what they do. Can they read my mind, or am I just that good? Hard to tell. And this song is such a kick in the gut, ALWAYS.

Dance party in “82nd All The Way” followed, so quite a few dance parties on this set before it was time for another few workouts – one in “Primo Victoria” and one with “To Hell and Back”, two both jumping songs.

And with that, the show was over and Celine Dion’s hit single “My Heart Will Go On” as usual when ending on a cruise, echoes out. And as someone said, metalheads guilty pleasure sure is Celine Dion.

We actually remained in the venue, but waited out most of the people before retreating forward toward the stage, primarily to say hello to some friends at the front, but figured we’d stick around in this position since Civil War was due in a bit of time.

And with that, the lights went out and the band entered the stage.

Civil War

Intro rolled and they opened the show with “USS Monitor”, which isn’t exactly the biggest surprise to us who has been into the band for some time by now. It wasn’t the largest crowd that had made their way there, which is both sad and good in a way. Sad, that they aren’t attracting more of a crowd, good because this means, hopefully, that the people who were there were there for them, and not for their past.

Surprisingly, however, is the fact that the next song on the list is “Bay of Pigs”. I did not, in any way, see that one coming. So early in the set? I don’t complain, not at all. I love this song, and the mood it gets you in.

“Lucifer’s Court” followed suit, and I can’t describe the feeling of this song. It’s just something in it that just gives away, you know? “Saint Patrick’s Day” was next on the list, before “Gettysburg” and the time for the new single to be ripped off, “Dead Man’s Glory”. Nice one, for reals.

“I Will Rule The Universe” was next on the list – I think – I may not have the order completely correct I have to admit. It’s either this or “Gods and Generals” – one of them – before they wrapped up the set and left the stage for a short moment.

They returned back, and kicked off the encores with “Tombstone” which ALWAYS AND FOREVER will be my jam when it comes to this band. That. Is. One. Incredible. One.

They wrapped up the whole set with “Rome is Falling” and I had a bit of an encounter here, an incredibly humbling one. Daniel Mÿhr decided to go out in the crowd, for whatever reason, I guess to get the crowd going. He passed just by me and walked further in the crowd, and passing me again on the way out, and I motioned him to pass so I could continue clapping.

He stops. I stop. We stare at each other and in a suprised manner he just says “HI!” and looks at me and I awkwardly says hello and he hugs me and says he’s so happy to see me there, but that he has to go back to the stage. I tell him to just go go go! I never asked to interrupt his time. It’s very humbling, as the last memory of ever interacting with him personally dates 10 years back in time. I must have made an impression.

And with that, the show was over. We said good bye to some last friends before going outside, where we met up Joris. Who thought it was an excellent idea for him and Ivan to carry me back to the cabin like the queen I am. It was an extremely surprised Misa who opened the door that Joris had knocked on with the help of my foot. And with that, we retreated to the cabin, talked about what had happened and eventually drifted off to sleep…

To be Continued…

 

Sabaton Cruise X – The Battle Ship: Part 3

Posted in Travels, Uncategorized with tags on December 13, 2019 by Sara Hammerzmith

So we were.. Or more like I was, woken up early in the morning by the ship starting to dock. I’m an incredibly sensitive sleeper, and how on earth I survive festivals I honestly do not know, perhaps I’m just so worn out from an entire day?

So, a little before ship boards I wake Misa up, I jump in the shower, wake the boys up and we all start getting ready to disembark.

A little later than originally planned (due to me forgetting my passport, among other things) we finally get off the boat and set foot in Tallinn. Toivo joined his friends on whatever journey they went on, whereas the three of us – Me, Ivan and Misa sought out a nice café to have some sweet breakfast.

And oh boy was it sweet! Being used to Swedish customs, we ordered a double sandwich each (Misa and I) and a coffe each as well. But the sandwiches were huge! Had we known, we would have taken a single one. And it was so pretty as well!

After this, we started out walk towards the Old Town, as we figured our time in Tallinn was rather limited and we wanted to make the most out of the little time we had. On our way there we first passed by Lush as Misa loves it A LOT, and I had to debate if I wanted to get the bag or not. After this, we reached the Old Town where we walked around for a while, checking out various tourists shops before we ended up on a medieval torture museum which was really interesting!

Sadly, I had to cut my visit rather short as I had to visit the restroom (Which they did not provide there) but found my way easily. After this, we met up again in another tourist shop where we got some gadgets before continuing our walk through the scenic area.

Took a walk around the Christmasmarket before making our way back to port, stopping by at Lush to indeed get the bag. I always get a little anxious when it comes to boats. I don’t like being there just before boarding call, because they sure won’t wait. We stopped by a supermarket to buy some goodies and then took a well needed rest in our cabin.

We talked for hours and hours, swung by the merchandise to pick up some patches and posters, played some more magic and then started getting ready for tonights show. Today Sabaton was on first, which created a bit of a stressmoment.

Gladly, we found some decent spots, and the wait for the band began…

To be Continued…

Sabaton Cruise X – The Battle Ship: Part 2

Posted in Concerts, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , on December 11, 2019 by Sara Hammerzmith

Once the soundtrack edition reached “Fields of Verdun” it did a gigantic leap from there onto “In Flanders Fields” which serves our intro for the night. Grand, yes it is.

And, as per usual, “Ghost Division” is the opening song. I’ll be damned with this song, I’m telling you. I’ll be damned. But great energy, right? Even for us, I’ll admit. The excitement hit the roof!

“Great War” was the grand next song on the list, and if this isn’t the perfect continuing, then I don’t know what is. The stagelights turned green, and I’ll admit I was at first a wee bit surprised at it’s arrival this early in the set, but “Attack of the Dead Men” was next on the list and the hilarity ensues.

At some point through the number of times I’ve seen Sabaton, I just kind of stopped paying 110% attention to the show, and more focused on having fun. In any sort of way possible. The set continued on with “Saboteurs”, a song I want to say I haven’t heard in quite some time which sadly is a lie, yet I’d still say it’s a rare one!

While the joke is starting to get a bit old, it seems to continuously entertain the crowd. Telling the crowd they are about to play “Swedish Pagans”, but instead start playing a different song, in this case, “40:1”. Which is a much, much better option to the aforementioned song. They followed the vein of Polish pagans by performing “Uprising” next. Seriously, I can not ever get enough of this song.

“Carolus Rex” was the next song on the list, and as you can imagine – the cruise might be international, but you can still sense it. The seriousness, and the buildup from the primary Swedish crowd… It’s amazing. “Talvisota”, another rarity (unless you are from like Finland) showed its face, much to everyone’s pleasure!

The red lights went on, the sirens out and it was time for Misa’s assigned song “Nightwitches”. Assigned songs? That’s another story. But it was the complete rage of our group! Lights out once again as the story of the unknown soldier echoes out and “The Lost Battalion” was next.

There was time for yet another “Swedish Pagans” joke, but this time they ended up performing “Seven Pillars of Widsom” instead, which is a first for all of us in the group. They originally deubted this song at the last show of the NA tour, in Silver Springs to be more exact, so despite that and possibly the Helsinki show, this is a rather new addition!

The very so familiar spoken words from an album released long ago started, and it made me so incredibly happy. “The Art of War” remains my top favorite Sabaton song ever, and everytime they decide to pop it out – it’s one of those come and go songs – my heart skips another beat and I’m in a state of total euphoria.

Which didn’t last all too long since my not so much favorite song “Fields of Verdun” followed suit, but gladly, it was just a little grounding moment as my personal assigned Sabaton song came on next. The candle, “Dominum Maris Baltici” echoing meant only one thing.

“Lejonet Från Norden”. Ah, what a pick me up this song is. Right after this, it’s time for a major singalong in “En Livstid i Krig” before they FINALLY cave in, or we all cave in and they wrap up the entire set with “Swedish Pagans”. I guess it was simply time for it, what do you say?

And with that said, the show was over. Yet another great performance, even though the setlist to my personal liking was a bit basic with a few nice surprises – but I’ve just stopped expecting too much.

Once the area had calmed and cooled down, we headed back to our cabin, got a change of clothes, grabbed our Magic Decks and found ourselves in the Starlight Palace with a drink, and playing a few rounds of Magic before retreating for sleep. Tomorrow, Tallinn!

// Sara

Sabaton Cruise X – The Battle Ship: Part 1

Posted in Concerts, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , on December 7, 2019 by Sara Hammerzmith

And finally, the time was yet again upon us! To board a ship here upon our own lands, celebrating another cruise with Sabaton. As so has it, this was the 10th anniversary of the cruise, and for the occasion they’d upgraded to a bigger ship (apparently) and changed the route. Instead of the like, 14 hour trip it was now a three-day cruise stopping in Tallinn over the day. Yay! Why not I mean?

So, Ivan and I came into Stockholm the day before, and Misa had been around since forever, or something along those lines. Toivo had made a stopover at Dreamhack for some shows, so you could say we were a bit scattered. Around lunchtime the first three mentioned of us met up for Lunch, getting out excitement about the cruise ready. They’d said they’d post the schedule at 13, and frantic as I am, I was sitting and kept hitting refresh like a maniac until the schedule was posted. The bands announced was Bharuk Khazad, Eleine, Manimal, Sabaton, Civil War and Thobbe Englund. Decent schedule, with some bands I like, some I don’t but overall rather good! And still a bit of a “Sabaton Family” cruise, but I guess I just can’t expect anything else.

Toivo was set to arrive around 15.30, so we got ourselves to port about 16.00. checked in and sadly I saw I wasn’t about to continue my tradition. My first Sabaton Cruise I was awarded the cabin 8807, and my second 8809. Needless to say, the pressure on what cabin to receive was high.

But all in all, the cabin we got was, again, good. I seem to, at any cruise I ever went, got really lucky with my cabins, having them rather central and close to stairs or elevators. Yay me, right?

Unexpectedly, when sheepisly looking for programs, we ran into an old friend of Misa! What are the odds for that? Great nonetheless!

After some time, the boarding started and much to our delight, the baggage checking had been removed! How amazing isn’t that? Makes it all alot faster! We made our way onto the boat, and onto our cabin and for the first time really sat down to relax for like 10 minutes before starting.. Whatever we were doing. Misa and I were doing our make up, Ivan did his own thing and Toivo went on and about.

Since Sabaton wasn’t the first band playing tonight, we weren’t as stressed about getting ready as previous years. This days particular schedule started with Bharuk Khazad, followed by Eleine and Manimal before Sabaton. And Eleine was the first band for us today.

At some point, we heard some knocking on the door. Ivan went to open, tightly followed by Misa. And a certain tranquility of shock set in, as them both just stared at whoever was at the door, and the person at the door doing the same. I leaned in a bit, and noticed it was Roy that we’d met on Grapsop earlier this year. We invited him into the cabin for a little chat before it was time for him to hit his own cabin, and for us to get to Starlight Palace for the first show of the evening.

Eleine

Eleine is a band I think I have seen once or perhaps at most twice before, and I was really excited to get to see them again, and this time a little closer up than a hill far, far away.

They played for around 45 minutes, and they put on yet another energetic set, with beautiful views in Madeleines dancing and her enchanting vocals, another supreme performance from the band, and a great start for the cruise for us!

After the show, a lot of people left the venue, and while initially we had thought too, we instead scouted for a great location which would give us minimum pressure, a great view, and enough space to goof around, so Ivan and I stayed to hold down the fort while Misa went to take a little rest during Manimal.

Manimal

I think, legit, it’s been… 12 years? Since I last saw this band live. At least that I have a concious memory of seeing them. Sadly this is a band I never really fell for, but it did not make their shows any less enjoyable! Thank you, Manimal!

Misa had already arrived back during their set, and as they wrapped up, the Soundtrack version of their album started playing and the excitement was high.

TO BE CONTINUED…