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

 

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…