Live Gig Review and All Photos by Zenae D. Zukowski
After surviving day one, I wasn’t prepared for the longest day of the trip, day two. I realized these 70,000 tons Of Metal survivor T-shirts were no joke; you question your sanity and survival rate. The second day ran between back to back shows from 10 AM to 6 AM. I, of course, wanted to be there for every minute of it. Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible.
The first band I saw was the Finnish melodic death act Mors Principium Est at the Alhambra Theater. At this time their new album ‘Embers of a Dying World’ wasn’t released, and we had the chance to hear a few new songs live including “Reclaim the Sun.” During this time, I forgot where the Ice Rink stage was. It was embarrassing since I was there the night before. The casino that leads you to the Ice Rink was on the fourth floor, and for some reason, I was certain it was on the fifth floor. I ended up convincing myself that the Ice Rink disappeared. Therefore, I missed a few acts that day including Revocation, but eventually, I did find my way there again.
After a moment of losing all sense of direction, I hung out at the Alhambra Theater to see German power metallers Orden Ogan and Israeli metallers Orphaned Land. Both of their performances stood out and as difficult it is for many acts nowadays to book a full tour in North America, I hope they find a way. That’s the beauty about 70000 Tons of Metal; you have a chance to see bands that you never would think you could see.
Despite getting lost and confused, I made sure I wasn’t going to miss Uli Jon Roth on the Pool Deck. After circling around on deck 11 and 12, I ended up finding it just in time. Watching Uli Jon Roth perform blew me away, more than the wind that day. His energy and somewhat relaxed approach while playing would give anyone shivers down their spine. He’s a master at his craft, and we got to hear a few old Scorpions tunes such as “All Night Long,” “The Sails of Charon,” and “We’ll Burn the Sky.” Due to the tight schedule, I, unfortunately, couldn’t watch the full performance, which is another trend on the ship; you are always on the run. I ran back to the Alhambra Theater just in time to see German symphonic metallers Xandria. The stage had a backdrop of their new album ‘Theater of Dimensions.’ However, vocalist Diane’s outfit reminded me of the album cover setting a creative illusion seeing the album’s artwork move on the stage. Bassist Steven Wussow had a marketing approach with his Xandria T-shirt apparel that they were selling on the ship. Performance wise, they surpassed my expectations, and I was impressed with both their momentum, musicianship and hearing one of my favorite Xandria songs, “Nightfall.”
It was now time to run back to the Pool Deck to see German neoclassical metallers, Haggard. Unfortunately, things were running late due to the now endless wind. For those who are not familiar with the band, they use a handful of string instruments including a violin, cello, flute, etc., and it was rather unfortunate because the wind made their set awkward. After a few soundcheck runs, they started their performance, and you noticed members were holding each other’s sheet music while doing what they could to continue with the set and headbang. At this point, I knew, I had to see them on their second set, indoors.
The ultimate rush kicked in, and it was time for me to run back to the Alhambra Theater to catch the Swedish symphonic metal act Therion. Before 70,000 tons of Metal, Christofer Johnsson revealed 70,000 tons of Metal could have been his final performance due to having two spinal disc herniations. While we don’t have any updates, I was there assuming it was his last two performances. Let’s face it, Therion is Christofer Johnsson; he is the mastermind behind it. The set was made simple for him, but no one even noticed. They opened with “The Rise of Sodom and Gomorrah,” and continued with songs such as “Son of the Sun,” “Abraxas,” and “Ginnungagap.” I stayed there for a decent amount, however, looking at the schedule it was time for me to run to see Brazillian power metallers Angra on the Pool Deck. Unfortunately, the Pool Deck was running behind which did change my schedule for that day. However, I will never forget to ask security to see if Angra was running on time. They looked at the clock and said to me “6 PM.” The pool deck was at this point, freezing due to the windy night and all I wanted to do was to stop in my room to grab a hoodie, but at the same time, I wasn’t going to miss Angra. Aside from a few sprinkled show dates in America, they barely come out nor book a full North American tour. Unfortunately, I believed security and decided to stand outside on the cold, windy night, exhausted, back hurting and all just to see Angra. Roughly one hour later, after tying down the 70k banners, which I would recommend for next year that this is pre-planned/set up because having fans wait an hour for a show and delaying the schedule (as tight as it is), should be avoided. Finally, it was time for Angra, and I stayed for their entire set. They did all of the hits and concluded with my favorite Angra tune “Carry On.”
At this point, I didn’t care who was next. I ran to my room, grabbed my hoodie, and made time to wander randomly. On this cruise, you do find yourself aimlessly walking out of exhaustion and most likely, intoxication. Finally, it was time for Finnish progressive metallers Amorphis on the Pool Deck. As expected, it was running late, and I didn’t have much time for their performance because Brittish metallers Carcass was next at the Alhambra Theater, despite the original unconflicted schedule. Luckily, Amorphis went on in a reasonable time (still delayed) and I stayed for a few songs including “Under the Red Cloud,” “Sacrifice,” “Bad Blood” and “Sky Is Mine.”
Having no time for a break, I ran to the Alhambra Theater just in time for Carcass. I am glad I made it, they were incredible as always. The room was packed, and I remember one fan holding a brew, looking at me singing the words to “Heartwork.” By the time I finished Carcass, I had ended up feeling sick on the ship.
Unfortunately, feeling sick or having anything to cause a delay would make you miss certain acts. I went to grab dinner by the Pool Deck assuming it was running 1 hour late, and unfortunately, while eating, I heard New York thrashers Anthrax. It was disappointing that I missed them, but at times, you have to take care of yourself over making it to a show (unfortunately).
Moving forward, I made sure I wasn’t going to miss Florida’s progressive/melodic power metallers Kamelot at the Alhambra Theater. It was late, and I wasn’t feeling well, fighting through the pain to continue watching the show. With that said, I ended up staying for just a few songs including “When the Lights Are Down,” “Center of the Universe” and “March of Mephisto.” Amaranthe’s Elize Ryd joined on stage for guest vocals. Sadly, I missed seeing Arch Enemy’s Alissa White-Gluz who joined as well. The recurring lesson for the trip was, do what you can not to miss anything, the moment you turn around, you will regret it.
It was almost 1 AM at this point, and I was exhausted and sick, but I knew I had to see German folk metallers Equilibrium and stay for Finnish melodic death metallers Omnium Gatherum (as much as I wanted to stay to see Colorado melodic death metallers Allegaeon at 5 AM). I walked to the Ice Rink early enough to have a moment to sit down and not break my back. After a quick rest, it was time for Equilibrium, and despite missing Swedish gothic/doom metallers Draconian, I didn’t care because Equilibrium was the reason why I booked the entire trip. I loved every moment of their set. Vocalist Robse interacted with the crowd including his introduction for “Born to Be Epic” from their new album ‘Armageddon.’
After watching the entire set, it was time to catch Norwegian black n’ rollers Vreid on the pool deck. It was almost 2 AM at this point, and I think it’s safe to assume everyone there were completely intoxicated. I noticed a Where’s Waldo lookalike as well in bright orange stripes instead of Red. Vreid continued to promote their 2015 album including playing the title track “Sólverv.” While feeling completely delirious, the time has arrived for Omnium Gatherum to lead the Pool Deck stage. And yes, I stayed for the entire set hearing songs such as “Skyline,” “The Sonic Sign,” “The Unknowing,” and “Majesty and Silence.” The wind gave a special effect on them, especially for vocalist Jukka Pelkonen. There’s a different essence finishing an evening outdoors, over water. You feel as though you are on the beach, however, in the middle of nowhere over the ocean and Omnium Gatherum being the first to see with this atmosphere; it couldn’t be any better. I knew it was time to go to sleep, despite being able to sleep in the next day, I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer.