70000 Tons Of Metal 2018 - Day Three: And More, Much More Than This
|Event:||70000 Tons Of Metal 2018|
|Written by:||D.T. Metal, CROMCarl|
70000 Tons Of Metal Cruise 2018 - Day Three & Four by D.T. Metal (98)
70000 Tons Of Metal Cruise 2018 - Day Four by CROMCarl (190)
70000 Tons Of Metal Cruise 2018 - Day Three by CROMCarl (98)
70000 Tons Of Metal Cruise 2018 - Day One & Two by D.T. Metal (34)
70000 Tons Of Metal Cruise 2018 - Day Two by CROMCarl (272)
70000 Tons Of Metal Cruise 2018 - Day One by CROMCarl (141)
Read what all happened on Day One and Day Two of this year's 70000 Tons Of Metal cruise and also make sure you watch the official videos at the end of each article.
Beach Day - Picture by Winnie
Yes, by now all of the bands had played already once, but there was more, much more ahead, but thankfully Day Three of the 70000 Tons Of Metal cruise is a "half day"; a much needed break from all the metal debaucheries on board.
Due to a hurricane, the destination was not as picture perfect as when we sailed there in 2013, but we still had a great time lounging, swimming and just flat out relaxing. The beachfront Margaritaville Restaurant was packed with metalheads and while some took advantage of the swim-up bar in the on-site pool, tons just lounged by the beach and soaked up the warm sun.
Over the last couple of years the organizers in cooperation with Royal Caribbean also offered shore excursions with bands. This year one could swim with and touch stingrays with members of Meshuggah, go on an ultimate snorkeling adventure with members of Aborted and Exhumed or go on a coast to coast Safari with members of Wolfchant. We didn't partake in any but I heard folks who did had plenty of fun.
Like I said, the island took its toll due to the hurricane and therefore the beach wasn't as wide as it was before. And the location got so commercial with tons of vendors and way too many loungers and umbrellas in my opinion. We didn't stay all that long at the beach and after getting cleaned up we revised our 'battle plan' for the day since we did miss some bands due to scheduling conflicts.
And there I was, leaving early to split my time between Evertale at Studio B and Die Apokalyptischen Reiter on the Pool Deck Stage, thinking it's OK to walk through the ship's Casino - needless to say I missed both bands. Seriously, the Casino is like the Bermuda Triangle; it's one of the major hang-out spots on the boat, in part because you can smoke indoors. As I found out, my decision to avoid the casino yesterday proved to be fundamental for not missing some kick-ass shows. Apparently the place was like Grand Central Station and at some point the ship's own Security Guards had enough and tried to break up a large group of cruisers (and band members) who blocked one of the walk-ways in-between the slot machines; to no avail since the party and comradery was just so awesome. Rumor has it that the party lasted until early in the morning and to highlight this occasion, a buddy of mine had the awesome idea for a commemorative patch.
McFife's Casino Survivor Patch
Maybe now would also be a good time to talk about the Merchandise 'situation' on 70000 Tons Of Metal.
Day Two was the day when the Merchandise Store opened, but people usually camp overnight in front of one of the dining rooms (where the merch store is located at) so they can draw a lower number. And yes, number. I believe since last year the merch system goes by numbers and not by first come, first serve. While some patrons like this system better, it sure has its pros and cons; regardless, one has to stand in line. Thankfully 70000 Tons Of Metal related swag can be bought at two other locations, but the lines are usually pretty long as well.
Unfortunately due to the sheer number of cruisers and products available there is no way around the long ass waiting queues but despite all, the "merch-slingers" are doing an awesome job trying to get the lines moving. This year, one could at least go into the merch area (after drawing a number) and select on a piece of paper which item they ultimately wanted to buy. If the product(s) were still available after their number came up is probably a different story. And speaking of products - yo Andy, for years now, everyone is asking for 70000 Tons Of Metal patches. What gives? Make them and they will sell like hot cakes - trust me.
(Notes from Carl:
At the request of a friend, I went to check out Die Apokalyptischen Reiter. After the show, I regretted missing the band's first set because the German act was so incredibly fun to watch. Mostly absent were the outlandish costumes of the first gig (or so it was described to me), the band presented its mix of metal/hard rock with a dash of folk with a massive stage presence, even at the early hour. When not pounding the keyboards from the side of the stage, Dr. Pest - dressed in S&M garb - cracked his bull whip at guitarist Ady, vocalist Fuchs and much of the front row of fans. It made for an entertaining side show alongside the band's punchy and fun material! I will not be missing them again when the opportunity arises.
On to Evertale at Studio B. The cramped quarters of the Pyramid Lounge made for a hard watch of Evertale's highly enjoyable first set, so now it was time to check them out in the bigger setting of the Ice Rink. Here was a more representative display of the band at its best, with more room to rock out for bassist Marco Bächle. The band blasted through new stuff like "The Swarm" and "Chapter 666 (We Are The Hammer)" alongside classics "Firestorm", "In The Sign Of The Valiant Warrior" and "As Tarsis Falls". Just as in the first set, Evertale put forth a Blind Guardian meets Rage type live show and it was a pleasure to finally catch them. (thank you 70K! ) )
Anywho, me, after several drinks later, decided to leave the Casino; heading over to the venue featured for this article:
Alhambra Theater: the biggest indoor venue with 3 levels of tiered seating. The ground level has some of the front seats taken out to make way for the 'pit' in front of the stage. A google search pointed to a capacity of around 1300 people for the Theater, but since some of the seats are taken out, the max capacity on 70000 Tons Of Metal is probably more than that. Overall the sound was good at the venue and with trial and error I found my sweet spot in the Theater and always sat on Level 2, Stage Left toward the middle in the back, right by the bar.
After missing Battle Beast's first set on the Pool Deck stage (actually just over 12 hours earlier) I was not going to miss their second set. The band blew me away at last year's Metal Hammer Paradise Festival and I am glad they were finally booked on 70000 Tons Of Metal as well. With all those different genres and subgenres around these days, it's refreshing to hear some good old heavy metal and kudos to Battle Beast, as a fairly new band (2008), for sticking to their concept.
Some people are leery of "female fronted bands"; we all heard it before: just another chick standing there, singing the lyrics. Not Battle Beast's Noora! Wow, the woman got some pipes and is all over the place. While taking part of the All-Star-Jam the next day, Noora sang AC/DC's "Hells Bells" and people said she didn't even need a microphone; such a powerful voice.
She not only demands, but rightfully also receives respect while fronting the band. Apparently the band played almost the same songs (plus/minus a few) as on their first show, but since I missed them, I didn't care.
Wolfheart was next on my radar and I am so glad I opted to (again) miss Exodus on the Pool Deck in order to watch the Finnish wolves. Well, in all fairness, it would have been nice to see Sepultura's Andreas Kisser on stage with Exo for "Piranha"; but he had done that before and I assume he will again.
(Notes from Carl:
Getting to play the two best venues on the boat comes at a brutal price…and Battle Beast - having completed its first set on the Pool Deck just minutes before the boat made port at Grand Turk - was up at the Alhambra the same day, merely hours later. It didn't matter… the thunderous vocal power of Noora would not be contained by fatigue! For set two, the band switched it up a just bit, swapping out "Iron Hand" with "Touch In The Night". There is just something about that metal wrapped up in 80's pop that captures the crowd in a way that will hopefully see this band skyrocket in popularity.
Exodus always delivers no matter how many times you see them. Much like Kreator, you can keep the set list similar, or the same, and see them 10 times in a row and you still want more. Watching the band on the Pool Deck Stage was mandatory, as the forecast for hot tub moshing was 100% certain. "I know you wanna hear the old shit" is a pretty common phrase from Zetro and it still gets the pop from the crowd. You know Exodus will deliver it too…and deliver it they did!)
Fun during Exodus
So, Wolfheart were really good. It would have been nice to actually "see" more of the band since the light show was rather ridiculous at Studio B during their set. It was either way too dark or you got blinded by the strobes. And I have to say; over use of strobes were really not the norm at the venue this year. I was for a little bit in the pit but then decided to sit at my preferred spot.
Wolfheart played songs from each of their 3 albums and according to folks who were at their first gig, some songs were played twice; including the last song of their set, "Routa Pt.2". Guitarist Tuomas Saukkonen stated that this is a pretty good song, so good that they can play it twice.
Set-list: Shores Of The Lake Simpele, Boneyard, Aeon Of Cold, Tyhjyys, The Hunt, Zero Gravity, Routa Pt.2
Back to the Theater I hurried to catch the second gig by Evergrey. The band definitely played a more somber second set and Tom was on fire that night. Maybe it's just because I understand, and at times am the master of dark and sarcastic humor, but this did go over the heads of several people around me. Can't remember when during their set Tom said it, but he stated: "This is gonna be a dark set, so get out your razors". The dude in front of me just didn't get it and I.Almost.Died.Laughing.
(Notes from Carl:
Evergrey is yet another staple in the "must see twice" diet aboard 70000 Tons Of Metal, and though it's probably the 8th or 9th time I've seen them, knowing they had two completely distinct sets made this round of 70000 Tons Of Metal very special. For the second set, the band unleashed its heaviest song ever - "The Grand Collapse" along with my favorite ballad (and request) "Missing You"! Add the "Black Undertow", "Distance", "Solitude Within" and mainstay "Recreation Day" and what you had there at the Theater was nothing short of magic!)
I left Evergrey a bit early to get some coffee on the way to the Pool Deck Stage for the mighty Sepultura. Always a pleasure to watch them and no, don't start this bullshit about 'it's not the same without Max and Igor'. As guitarist Kisser even told the audience, Derrick Green has been the frontman of Sepultura for 20 years now. Folks, that's longer than Max even was in the band to begin with. Also, drop the 'demands' for a band original line-up reunion tour (or show) - not gonna happen.
Anyhoo, I was standing close to one of the speakers in the mosh-pit and I had to get out of there. Holy hell, anybody without earplugs had their eardrums blown out. Honestly, I encountered this a lot on the Pool Deck Stage; it was just too darn loud at times.
This was actually Sepultura's first performance on the 70000 Tons Of Metal cruise, but they did play the off-brand Barge To Hell cruise back in 2012. And just like back then, the band kicked some major ass and it felt like the entire ship was bouncing up and down during "Roots Bloody Roots".
(Notes from Carl:
Now this may come as a bigger surprise than Belphegor, but in the countless opportunities to witness Sepultura live - this Pool Deck set would finally be my first. The worst of these "first time" surprises is still the "elusive" (but ALWAYS available) Children Of Bodom (who yeah…I missed twice when they were on the cruise a few years back). In any event, I met up with a friend earlier in the day and we joked about how we both had yet to finally see Sepultura (what makes it worse is I've been a fan of the band since Morbid Visions was released) and that we HAD to see them. Like clockwork, I saw that same friend just before jumping into the photo pit and said (pointing at the stage) - "You want to go this way…Sepultura"! Now, I've seen plenty of live videos and live streams of the band performing, but nothing beats having it happen right in front of your face. Derrick Green is a monster…and having that one giant drum there in front for him to beat on is insanely entertaining.
Though last year's Machine Messiah wasn't my favorite release from the band in the post-Max era, it is solid! However, it was amazing to see Kairos (the best post-Max era album) represented with the killer title track. Some odes to the past are always welcome - represented in this set through "Desperate Cry", "Inner Self", "Biotech Is Godzilla" and, of course, "Roots Bloody Roots". I guess it's never too late to start, so this stage, on the open sea was the perfect foray.
Masterplan at Studio B and since I never know when my last opportunity to see the great Roland Grapow and equally amazing Rick Altzi will happen, I take the few chances Satan gives me and see them every time. The early am Pool Deck set was really cool, and this one was no different. Well, essentially it wasn't with nearly the same set list, just swapping out "Back For My Life" with "Crimson Rider". Still - with "Soulburn" and "Crystal Night" in the set, my favorite two songs can be played every time I see Masterplan and I'll walk away happy. One humorous moment came when the band ended the set too early and forgot to play "Crawling From Hell" - with a lone voice in the crowd chanting 'one more song' (no, it wasn't mine ). They did come back out and played that 'one more song,' essentially playing the only "encore" I saw on the cruise. )
Afterwards I was actually going to check out Goatwhore in the Lounge, but got stuck somewhere on the Promenade Deck and headed to the Theater for another dose of Korpiklaani instead. Good choice, since Ben was sick as a dog (I already mentioned this in the Day One article) and the gig was ultimately canceled after two or so songs. (Vital Remains's Brian Werner lend vocal support).
Just as during their first set Korpiklaani put on a great show, and off to another dose of Masterplan I went. I didn't stick around for too long though since it was already past 10 at night and my stomach reminded me that I haven't had anything to eat yet. Since the Dining Room as well as the Buffet already closed shop for the day I enjoyed a quick bite at the Café Promenade before checking out some of Meshuggah's set on the Pool Deck Stage.
Carl actually watched them the day prior in the Theater and here are his thoughts:
(Notes from Carl:
At the Alhambra Theater on Day Two, and I am by no means a fan of Meshuggah's music, but I was eager to see the spectacle of the live performance for the first time. Plus, it was great to see Per Nilsson (Scar Symmetry) perform again in any capacity. The stage was elaborately adorned with the gorgeous artwork of Keerych Luminokaya coming from the 2016 record The Violent Sleep Of Reason. Though musically not my style, I can see why the band packs venues and draws a rabid djent fanbase. It was an incredible ball of energy that I won't soon forget.)
During their Pool Deck performance the huge banner was of course omitted since the backdrop for each band is the same; band name above a huge digital #70000tons display. I caught the ass end of their set and it seemed that everyone in attendance really enjoyed the Swedes' performance.
Sidebar: every time I hear the word Meshuggah it reminds me of the following story:
the year was 2006 - Decapitated shared a tour bus with Hypocrisy on the Machines At War Tour with Fear Factory and Suffocation. (gee, what a line-up, right? ) We were in the tour bus and I was interviewing (not for Metal Storm) Decapitated's late drummer Vitek (R.I.P.) about their latest release (Organic Hallucinosis) and how he would describe the sound of the album.
Hypocrisy's Horgh screaming from the back of the bus: "it sounds like Meshuggah on Acid" Everybody was laughing and this story always comes to mind when I hear the band.
But in case you were wondering - Meshuggah fucking CRUSHED. They were on top of their game. Looking back to all the prior 70000 Tons Of Metal cruises I think they were the most extreme metal band we had to date; especially playing at the main "venue" on the ship. No complaints here, but since the photo pit security on the Pool Deck Stage are mostly older, seasoned dudes, I wonder what they thought of the whole thing. Not saying 'older' folks can't enjoy Meshuggah (hellooo - me - here ), but the senior security strike me more as fans of the mellower metal/rock genres.
Over at Studio B Sirenia was playing their second set and it was just as enjoyable as their first one. The visuals weren't all that because the Theater has way better lights than the Ice Rink. I hardly could see drummer Jon Rice when I walked into the venue. This was actually a reoccurring issue; the drummers were almost in the dark when a band performed at Studio B.
Sonata Arctica were getting ready at the Pool Deck Stage - I watched for a while and it seemed that Tony & Co were in better form than the other day. With a drink in hand I wandered back over to the Theater to get another dose of Freedom Call. Their set in the small Pyramid Lounge was great, but seeing them in the much, much bigger Alhambra Theater was even better.
Guitarist and vocalist Chris Bay, not only made free advertising for Calvin Klein (look here ) but also really knew how to engage the audience. About halfway through "Power & Glory" he told everyone to hold up their hands, swing them side to side and sing along with him. Pretty cool to watch from the back actually; and yes, 'the time has come, for a happy metal party'. There was so much jumping and singing and everyone was enjoying themselves during their set. At the beginning of "Masters Of Light" and since there wasn't a guitar stand available, one of the stage hands (or guitar tech) was holding the guitar while Chris was playing the intro to the song. The guys had so much fun onstage and it reflected in their show. Such a great vibe in the room.
I took a picture of the set-list and apparently someone forgot to change the header when printing it out since it still said: "Master Of Light Tour 2018 - Iced Earth"
Set-list: Union Of The Strong, United Alliance, Freedom Call, Masters Of Light, Power & Glory, Warriors, Land Of Light, Metal Is for Everyone
(Notes from Carl:
I honestly cannot remember why I was conflicted out of Freedom Call's Pyramid Lounge set, since they are one of my favorites. There had to be a good reason! Well, I wasn't missing this set - any chance to see a glorious happy power metal party is a priority. Even with a severe lack of alcohol in my system (I think I had 16 the entire cruise ) the power of positive metal was enough to give me a buzz. Chris Bay is sincerely one of the coolest guys you will ever see live, or meet in person. He is exactly as he appears - always gracious, always smiling. "But this is METAL" you say! Well, Bay and company rocks harder than anyone on the boat and you cannot watch them without having your spirits lifted and heads banging. The band played a great selection from the latest album and at the end of their set, Bay and the boys posed with a blow up doll passed up on stage by the crowd. What a great set.)
After that, there was no worries to miss a "must hear song" while heading back to the Pool Deck Stage for Insomnium; the band played their entire 2016 album Winter's Gate. While I dig the album, I think it would have been better to play it during their first show and not on the open Pool Deck Stage at 2 in the morning. But hey, people seem to enjoy it, I on the other hand made my way to the Buffet line for some early morning food intake. Apparently Triosphere's vocalist Ida still didn't feel up to par and the band played a set of cover songs. Hey, better safe than sorry.
(Notes from Carl:
If the first set was a primer, the Pool Deck set for Insomnium was the pinnacle. Winters Gate (my 2016 Album of the Year) in full was the perfect set I can ask for! Over the past couple of U.S. tours I became used to seeing Jani Liimatainen on guitar, so it was great to see Ville Friman back to my right. The typical blue and red lights of the live melodic death metal performances set the mood for the dark, somber and mystic music of Winter's Gate. We may have been in the Caribbean, but it was cold and dark as Niilo Sevänen belted out at the 'Slaughter Moon' that was overhead!
My last band for the day was Witchery at Studio B. Finally….after missing the first set, I would not be denied seeing one of the most anticipated bands on the boat (for me) - the great Swedish evil that is Witchery. Like Necrophobic, blackened thrash metal can be among metal's best subgenres if played correctly. Finite precision, crisp and fetching riffs augmented by a blackened, serrated, but annunciated vocal style is best served up by Witchery. Though many prefer Emperor Magus Caligula over Angus Norder, I think both are great vocalists for the band. Norder flashed some class with tattered Victorian style suit, in the same fashion as Fleshgod Apocalypse.
Witchery played a cool mix of stuff from 2017's I Am Legion ("Legion", "True North"), as well as the previous effort In His Infernal Majesty's Service ("Netherwold Emperor", Nosferatu") and, of course, the older classics like "The Reaper" and "Witchburner". It was the perfect end to another perfect day aboard 70000 Tons Of Metal!
My Top 3 bands were: 1. Witchery 2. Freedom Call 3. Sepultura)
The last band for me that night, well 04:00 in the morning, was Belphegor; what a great assault to the senses before I headed to bed.
Belphegor on the Pool Deck
There I was, the Pool Deck Stage washed in green, bells ringing, and with "Sanctus Diaboli Confidimus" (an as of yet unreleased instrumental track) Belphegor set the mood for, what turned out to be a crushing performance. The band of course is still in the touring cycle for their latest offering Totenritual and therefore a lot of songs were from said album. Didn't matter to anybody in attendance that morning and new tracks, such as "The Devil's Son", received as much cheering and fist bumping as 2006's "BG - Hell's Ambassador".
Set-list: Sanctus Diaboli Confidimus, Totenkult - Exegesis Of Deterioration, The Devil's Son, Belphegor - Hell's Ambassador, Swinefever - Regent Of Pigs, Totenbeschwörer, Conjuring The Dead - with parts of Pactum In Aeternum, Lucifer Incestus, Baphomet
In hindsight, I should have stayed up for Aeternam's Pool Deck set. Not only did I miss the band entirely on this year's 70000 Tons Of Metal cruise (their first set was during Metal Church) but I heard their Pool Deck Stage performance was nothing but spectacular and somewhat magical when they still played and the sun came up already. Oh well, they will be touring North America here shortly, so I have another shot of seeing them live.
Top 3 bands on Day Three for me: 1. Freedom Call 2. Battle Beast 3. Tie between Belphegor and Sepultura
Check out the Official Day Three recap video from 70000tons.tv
Stay tuned for our Day 4 report and make sure you check out the Photo galleries in the header.
Written on 30.03.2018 by
Former boss lady. Now just a professional concertgoer... dangerously armed with a camera!
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