Live Report and Photos by: Zenae Zukowski
The second day of the cruise is always the busiest and most exhausting. However, if you survive, the rest of the trip will be a breeze. As much as we wanted to catch sets from Ensiferum, Nile, Paradise Lost, Riot V, Coroner, Napalm Death, etc., it’s always a matter of scheduling or pure exhaustion that gets in the way. However, we managed to catch seventeen acts on day two.
We aren’t exactly sure how it happened but, despite ending night one at around 7 am, we somehow made it to see Gloryhammer open up the Pool Deck at 10:00 AM. Last year we were lucky to have pirates on the cruise as Alestorm led a fun set with duckie and all. However, this year we were lucky once again as we had one pirate, Christopher Bowes, return with his interdimensional space metal group. The band’s fantasy, speed, and power direction was the perfect way to start a delirious morning as none of us knew what was real while standing in the middle of the ocean. As Gloryhammer plan to release their new album Legends From Beyond The Galactic Terror Vortex sometime later this spring, they managed to deliver a fun-filled set with songs “Rise of the Chaos Wizards,” “Quest for the Hammer of Glory,” “Goblin King of the Darkstorm Galaxy,” “Victorious Eagle Warfare,” “The Hollywood Hootsman,” “Heroes (Of Dundee),” “Universe on Fire,” and “Angus McFife.”
Next up, it was time to catch Warbringer’s Royal Theater set at 10:45. Similar to Exmortus, no matter how many times we see these California thrashers, we can never get tired of watching their performance. Speaking of Exmortus and exhaustion, guitarist Chase Becker returned to the stage roughly four hours later. While the group are currently working on recording their overall sixth studio album, they continued to promote 2017’s Woe to the Vanquished. However, frontman John Kevill did introduce a new song. As always, they maintained an aggressive and vibrant show as it is nearly impossible for them to disappoint.
NWOBHM legends Raven were up next on the Pool Deck at 11:30am and we were honored to be part of the experience. The group formed back in 1974 and somehow had more energy than most cruisers before noon as they put on a monstrous and historic set.
After having a short break, it was time to see Arkona lead the Pool Deck at 13:00. Unfortunately, we assumed their set was rained out as it suddenly started to storm. While no one knew what can and will happen on the boat, we had no clue when the rain would stop and if Arkona would take the stage. Sadly, they did, and we weren’t aware but, this did cause a forty-five-minute delay on the Pool Deck for the rest of the day.
Moving forward, we decided to stay dry and caught Visions of Atlantis’ Studio B set at 13:00. These Austrian symphonic metal giants were there to promote their latest effort 2018’s The Deep & the Dark via Napalm Records. There were a few similar faces including Michel Guaitoli who we just saw with Temperance the night prior. However, once again he amazed us as well as Clémentine Delauney. The band’s latest effort is the first full-length album to feature Delauney’s vocals as she joined the group back in 2013. Songs included: “The Deep & The Dark,” “New Dawn,” “Book of Nature,” “Ritual Night,” “Lost,” “The Silent Mutiny,” “The Last Home,” “Words of War,” “The Grand Illusion,” “Passing Dead End,” and “Return to Lemuria.”
We took a quick peek to see Netherlands deathfusion giants Pestilence’s Royal Theater set at 13:45. The group was promoting their latest effort 2018’s Hadeon via Hammerheart Records. Their unique blend style between thrash, death, progressive death to jazz fusion sparked a mesmerizing energy into the audience.
Finally, it was time to see Steve Grimmett’s Grim Reaper lead Studio B – Ice Rink stage at 14:45. This was one of the few acts we were looking forward to see the most as Grimmett’s performance brought tears to our eyes. For those who need a quick recap, back in 2017, Grimmett became ill while performing at a show in Ecuador resulting in the amputation of his right leg. With that being said, for anyone who makes excuses not to follow their dreams, Steve Grimmett is an inspiration. This legend participated throughout the entire cruise and not only did he perform a killer set, but he also watched as many bands as possible as we ended up bumping into him quite a few times.
During this particular performance, Grimmett gave a heartfelt shoutout to his fans as he managed to set his cane aside to stand up with his prosthetic leg. Grimmett expressed to his fans that the first thing that came to his mind back in Ecuador was for him to find a solution to return to the stage. Overall, Grimmett was remarkable, and brought a considerable amount of emotion out of many who witnessed it. Not only that, he was spot on during songs “Rock You to Hell,” “Dead on Arrival,” and “See You In Hell.” The group was also there to promote their latest effort 2016’s Walking in the Shadows. While last year there were fans who dressed up as Ace Ventura during Cannibal Corpse’s set, this year, there was a devoted Grim Reaper fan who dressed for the infamous role in Grim Reaper’s “Fear No Evil” classic music video.
Next up was Tristania’s Royal Theater set at 15:30. This marked the Norwegian gothic metal outfit’s first performance in three years as we haven’t seen a new album from them since 2013’s Darkest White. However, their performance made us scream out to ourselves: “why can’t we see more of this?” Despite the band’s drastic lineup changes including Morten Leland who left the group back in 2000 and created Sirenia, Tristania’s music has always given us a dosage of despair making us crave more. There was a new contrast between vocalists Kjetil Nordhus and Mary Demurtas that made us beg for even more. It was a stunning performance that made us speechless as we were looking forward to seeing their second set. However, anything can and will happen on the boat.
Despite the group being around for well over a decade, this was our first experience with power a cappella metal as Van Canto took the Studio B stage at 16:15. It’s one thing to follow one singer on the stage, and another to chase at least six lead vocalists. Seeing these German a cappella metallers for the first time was a unique experience as not only did they perform their own songs including “If I Die in Battle,” “To Sing a Metal Song,” “Badaboom,” “To the Mountains,” they also covered songs such as Nightwish’s “Wishmaster,” Grave Digger’s “Rebellion,” and Blind Guardian’s “The Bard’s Song – In The Forest.” It was impressive, and we hope they will somehow find a way to book a North American tour.
It was time to return to the swamp as our beloved swamp metallers Kalmah hit the Royal Theater at 17:00. The Finish swamp metal outfit was there to promote their first album in five years with 2018’s Palo via Spinefarm Records. The group renamed the cruise to 70000tons of Swamp metal as they went into songs “They Will Return,” “Heritance of Berija,” “The Groan of Wind,” “Hollow Heart,” “Blood Ran Cold,” “Principle Hero,” “For the Revolution,” “The Stalker,” “Heroes to Us,” and “Hades.”
Kamelot was up next on the Pool Deck as they brought 2018’s The Shadow Theory via Napalm Records as well as Once Human’s Lauren Hart to the stage. These power metallers are no stranger to 70000tons nor MyGlobalMind as they are one of our favorite band’s to cover. On this evening, the lights were filled with strobe, fog, and overexposed galore but that didn’t stop them from tackling a tremendous set filled with songs “Phantom Divine (Shadow Empire),” “Rule the World,” “Insomnia,” “The Great Pandemonium,” “When the Lights are Down,” “Amnesiac,” “Veil of Elysium,” “Center of the Universe,” “March of Mephisto,” “Forever,” “Liar Liar (Wasteland Monarchy).”
California giants Vicious Rumors continued the power metal energy as it was their turn to take the Studio B stage at 21:30. Their explosive enthusiasm made you not want their performance to end as they continued to support their latest effort 2016’s Concussion Protocol as they went into songs “Digital Dictator,” “Minute to Kill,” “Towns on Fire,” “Lady Took a Chance,” “Abandoned,” “Down to the Temple,” “Hellraiser,” and “Don’t Wait for Me.”
Next up, was one of the acts we were the most curious to see, which was Eluveitie’s Pool deck set. This marked our first time seeing them with their latest lineup including new additions Fabienne Erni, Michalina Malisz, Jonas Wolf, Alain Ackermann, and Matteo Sisti as longtime members Anna Murphy, Ivo Henzi, and Merlin Sutter left the group in 2016 and formed Cellar Darling. Additionally, this marked the first-time-ever to hear songs from their upcoming album Ategnatos, which will be released on April 5th via Nuclear Blast.
With these significant changes, there was still a familiarity such as seeing the group’s leader, Chrigel Glanzmann, and his signature beanie. With that said, the revived Eluveitie was seeing the overall spark rejuvenated. It was a breath of fresh air to witness as we did not want their set to end. Many attended their performance as they were eager to hear their new heavy Ategnatos songs including the title track, “Ambiramus,” “A Cry in the Wilderness,” “Breathe,” “Black Water Dawn,” and “Rebirth.” Other songs included: “King,” “Nil,” acoustic tracks “Omnos,” and “Artio,” “Quoth the Raven,” “Kingdom Come Undone,” “Havoc,” and “Inis Mona.”
Germany power metal giants Rage made their world premiere on the Royal Theater stage at 23:00 by performing 1998’s XIII in its entirety with The Lingua Mortis Orchestra. That’s right; there was a full orchestra on the cruise as we were lucky to celebrate the band’s overall 35th anniversary. It was a moving performance as we embraced this moment seeing the classic record come to life.
Next up, it was time for us to unwind from the emotive set as Sweden’s death metallers Vomitory took the Studio B stage at 00:45. It was a dark and heavy set filled with more of a classic death metal style as we hope this means there will be more from the group. Perhaps a follow-up to 2011’s Opus Mortis VIII?
From death to thrash, it was time for us to catch up with English thrashers Onslaught. The group is currently working on their follow-up to 2013’s VI as they gave us a second wind and it was just what we needed, if not more. The band unleashed a lot of fire, steam, and tenacity during songs “Killing Peace,” “The Sound of Violence,” “Let There Be Death,” “Destroyer of Worlds,” “Metal Forces,” “Burn,” “66’Fucking’6,” and “Onslaught (Power From Hell).”
Pagan folk metallers Heidevolk were up next on the Royal Theater at 2:30 giving a night that had more jumps that we’ve seen throughout the day. The group was there to promote their latest effort, Vuur van verzet, which was released back in January 2018. Their interaction with the crowd as well as presentation was impressive that also included seeing the band jump in complete unison. This gave us enough energy to see one more band for the night as sadly, it didn’t look like we were able to last for Night Demon’s performance since the Pool Deck was already nearly an hour behind.
However, what better way was it to end day two with the Australian extreme/progressive metal outfit Ne Obliviscaris? One of the acts we were looking forward to see, and we wanted to see them perform on the Pool Deck in the middle of the night, and we did. Their set was everything we could have ever imagined it would be, if not more. While Napalm Death recently concluded the Pool Deck with at least 25-40, or so songs, Ne Obliviscaris’ forty-five minute set only gave them time for at least five tunes.
Regardless, there was nothing like it than being in the middle of the ocean, in the middle of the night, underneath the stars seeing the contrast between Xenoyr and Tim Charles. Additionally, the riveting energy from the rest of the group Matt Klavins, Daniel Presland, Benjamin Baret, and Martino Garattoni. While their music excels in what one would call flawless beats, their performances show that they are also human beings as we see them having a good time without missing any note including taking part in lunges and getting lost in headbanging. As the crowd surfers continued to fly, their set was by far a magical way to close night two for us as they went into songs “Libera (Part I): Saturnine Spheres,” “Intra Venus,” “Urn (Part I): And Within the Void We are Breathless,” “Urn (Part II): As Embers Dance in Our Eyes,” and “And Plague Flowers the Kaleidoscope.”
As Ne Obliviscaris concluded night two, we were looking forward to getting a few extra hours of shut-eye for a hopeful well rested, day three.