ROCK THE BOAT FESTIVAL 2006 (Live) – Day 1

Friday, April 28, 2006

by various reviewers

In the sea of Metal festivals – did you get that one? – Rock the Boat is a truly unique invention. You take a big ferry, which usually brings thirsty shopaholics from Oslo to Frederikshavn in Denmark, fill it up with an impressive range of Metal bands, cheap beer, expensive food, and as many Metalheadz as you can fit. Then you take off, and basically hope the lot gets back in decent shape the next day.

There are many great assets to this concept. First of all, the setting is so intimate -– the fans easily get to socialize more with the bands, as they all party at the same place. Then there’s the short “travel” distance between the stage and the bed -– meaning one can party (even) harder, longer, and wilder without caring about the consequences; if you cannot get yourself to bed, just get your friends to call for security, and they’ll be glad to carry you down. Then, of course, it’s the Tax Free sales -– what other Norwegian-owned beer shack lets you get ahold of 24 cans of good beer for a mere $20?

There’s no proper festival without a few good stories to share. It is tempting to reveal what happened when the Metal Express crew asked the ship’s staff –- who obviously didn’t read our accreditation badges too closely — for an evening meal before heading to bed (suffice it to say that Kreator didn’t get too much to eat that night). It is also tempting to go more in detail about the incident when a blonde, female, writer at Metal Express was hit on by an American male who introduced himself as “Glenn Hughes’” bass player. All seemed to believe this -– and although the guy was rather on the sleazy side, the VIP factor certainly didn’t make him any less attractive –- until the next day when an unusually bright editor informed all about the fact that “Hey, Glenn Hughes is his own bass player.” One would have to wonder if “Yngwie Malmsteen’s guitar player” has ever tried the same trick yet, but if he does, he deserves a solid punch in the face.

All this probably makes this sound like a rather unadulterated ride … and to some extent it is. When Norwegians decide to take the ferry to Denmark, it usually equals getting awfully wasted, and there is a lot of drunkenness to be spotted. However –- as usual with Metal-related events –- things went along very peacefully, and there was nothing but happy faces to be spotted everywhere on the ship. The ship itself had undergone full refurnishing not long ago, and is indeed a nice spot to spend a weekend. It doesn’t cost a lot to boot.

Still, someone has to take a closer look at those fast food prices. To illustrate, it’s no mystery people get drunk when you get 8 cans of beer for the price of a sandwich. Also, the information given on board was not always easy to understand –- a simple “where to get that,” “where to get this,” etc., could easily result in a happy-go-lucky 9 floor treasure hunt. These are minor complaints, though -– overall things went along nicely, with no delays from the schedule, overall good sound, helpful staff, and most of all: great bands on the bill.

Before you read on please note the following. Due to numerous reasons, there was no photographer present on the first trip. This was indeed disappointing. Because of that faux paux, all the pictures shown below were actually shot on the second trip -– the review, of which, is coming straight up.

The above raves and rants written by Torgeir P. Krokfjord


Having established themselves as one of the most prominent outfits on today’s Norwegian Prog Metal scene, Circus Maximus brought along a swirl of expectations and suspense before their opening gig at the second Rock The Boat festival in the history of the Universe. As one might have predicted, the crowd stationed before the stage currently bore the numbers and noise level of … a ship at sea, but people gathered quickly as soon as the deadly opening riff of the traditional show starter “Sin” brushed over the outer rims of Norwegian sea territory -– Rock The Boat 2006 was officially running, and what a great way to start off a glorious weekend of headbanging, unsteady walking, and Virtual Bowling (oh yes!)!

The set counted 8 songs and naturally focused on the band’s 2005 debut album The 1st Chapter – the aforementioned “Sin” preceded “Alive,” “Why Am I Here,” “The Prophecy,” and a guitar/keys/drum solo before the epic “Glory of the Empire,” satisfying the rapidly growing pack of Maximized devotees. In addition, the crowd was treated with a brand new creation of the Norwegian prodigies -– so fresh, in fact, that it has yet has to be given a title, but clearly inspired by late Octavarium-style Dream Theater –- as well as “Imperial Destruction”, a bonus track to The 1st Chapter.

Anne-Lene, Tina, and…”Michael Bolton’s singer”? As one grows more and more familiar with the band’s performances, one learns to accept their impeccable musicianship as a given. These young lads are incredibly talented, and master every inch of the genre. This has, however, also included stiff and stationary live performances, making this performance a milestone –- the band are evidently loosening up as they gain live experience; this gig being a big step in the right direction.

While not being able to compete with Edguy (yet…?), vocalist Michael Eriksen was no longer the only visual communicator in the band — truly a sign of promise. As expected, the band did a great job musically … Glen Møllen (bass) and Truls Haugen (drums) being particularly outstanding, while Mats Haugen (guitar) and Lasse Finbråten (keys) also delivered the goods in awe-inspiring fashion. Eriksen himself made a great impact, demonstrating vocal prowess even in the highest registers. The sound engineering was far better than one would expect from a cruise ship, making the gig a satisfactory festival opener indeed.

Review by Eirik P. Krokfjord


The Swedish death ’n rollers in Entombed –- having evolved from a more straight-ahead Death Metal band into becoming what some call the “Motörhead of the 21st Century” –- were unquestionably the heaviest act of the weekend. The four-piece, consisting of LG Petrov on vocals, Alex Hellid on guitars, Nico Elgstrand on bass, and Peter Stjarnwind on drums, put on a great performance this night, unquestionably acquiring quite a few new fans among the thirsty travellers, which, to a big extent, consisted of fans of more melodic Metal genres. Petrov, looking sweaty, drunk, and very Metal in his Sadus shirt, was all over the (quite small) place, and the very tight ensemble was not the flashiest of the lot, but definitely (one of) the grooviest.

What may be the band’s best track ever, the phenomenal “Chief Rebel Angel,” opened the ball in front of the (sadly, as with most bands this Friday night) way too small crowd. “Supposed to Rot,” and the often overlooked gem “Serpent Speech” stood out as highlights of the show, and there’s no doubt Entombed delivered one of the most memorable performances of this evening-night-morning-noon.

Review by Torgeir P. Krokfjord


“Helluuu, Somewhere Between Norway And Denmark!” Stating the correct geographical whereabouts for the first time of the evening, Edguy firmly justified their reputation as a fully wrenched party band. Many label them as a “love or hate” outfit, but when they are in such good shape as they were this evening, one can’t help but smile, jump repeatedly, and shout whatever obscenities fit the situation — the latter in this case known as the art of ‘sing-along.’

Vocalist and undisputed frontman Tobias Sammet was his usual delightful self –- his escapades around (and outside) the stage only matched by the vibrato of his voice; he is the perfect image of the Edguy attitude -– pushing all nerves and boundaries aside, making sure that everybody has a good time as their chief priority. That way one couldn’t care less if the playing may lack the fluency and virtuosity a certain of a band having played earlier this evening. It doesn’t matter when the atmosphere is as great as it is.

The Edguy repository has a wide array of attitudes and styles, and many of them were represented this night Somewhere Between Norway And Denmark. While no one was surprised by the reiteration of their latest release, last year’s Rocket Ride, the amount of ‘classic’ material was somewhat unexpected. The set was put together in a nice and well composed way, the two standout albums being the mentioned Rocket Ride, (with “Catch of the Century,” “Matrix,” “Superheroes,” and the second encore “King of Fools”) and Vain Glory Opera (“Vain Glory Opera,” “Fairytale,” and the final encore “Out of Control”). Hellfire Club’s “Lavatory Love Machine” and “Mysteria,” as well as Theater of Salvation’s “Babylon” were also great additions to the set.

The nicest surprise of all, however, was the title track of Sammet’s Metal Opera Avantasia, being the first of three encores. While officially being a cover, it corresponds greatly with the general Edguy style -– “Avantasia” brought on a welcome impact to the evening.

The band was tight as ever, and especially drummer Felix Bohnke delivered a great performance in being able to make those absurd faces while double bass drumming at warp speed looked as impressive as it did funny. The last three Ed-guys all switched between strikingly handsome poses (this especially counts for guitarist Jens Ludwig) while spewing out distinctly engineered riffs, making the crowd gradually more exhausted and delighted. A great gig from the Germans, proving once again that humor and Metal combined can be an awesome combination.

Review by Eirik P. Krokfjord


Following Edguy’s humour-fueled Melodic Metal, Kreator was to bring on something completely different. An eeeevil voice introduced the band as “The Enemies of God,” and there certainly was some “Extreme Aggression” on display. In front of what must have been the smallest crowd the Thrash masters have played for in 20 years, they delivered an intense, but unfortunately not too lengthy, set.

Besides the aforementioned “Extreme Aggression,” the band unleashed “People of the Lie,” “Flag of Hate,” “Awakening of the Gods,” “Suicide Terrorist,” “Pleasure to Kill,” and two favorites in “Violent Revolution” and “Phobia.” A very strong set indeed.

Although the stench of alcohol laid thick over most of the Stena Saga ferry at this point, it soon became obvious that if something was to cut through the liquid-laden maze, it was to be the razor sharp riffs of this very tight ensemble. The lack of audience noises took its toll on Mille Petrozza and his companions towards the end of the performance, though. The band skipped the encores and Mille’s comment “I think you folks listen to too much Melodic Metal!” was rather illustrative of it all.

Musically, there was little or nothing to put a finger on, though. Jürgen Reil and Christian Giesler were rock solid throughout, and the latter portrayed a great stage figure as well as some very dedicated head-banging. The band’s Finnish alibi, guitar wiz Sami Yli-Sirniö laid down the fiery riffs with usual ease, and despite the rather arrogant closing of the show, Mille himself once again proved what an amazing frontman he is. A steady performance by a very steady band.

Review by Torgeir P. Krokfjord


The Norwegian Melodic Power Metal quintet of Highland Glory had gotten the not-too-sought-after task of getting the hungover Metalheads out of their beds as the boat headed back to Oslo. The band entered the stage in front of a practically empty hall, but it did not take much time until a reasonable amount of spectators had appeared, and the mood was fairly good throughout.

Consisting of Jan-Thore Grefstad on vocals (and sometimes keyboards), Jack Roger Olsen and Lars-André Larsen on guitars (Larsen also taking care of most keyboard duties), Knut Egil Tøftum on bass, and Morten Færøvig on drums, the band is easily recognizable –- at least for those with some knowledge about Norwegian Melodic Metal -– as the successor to what once was the band Phoenix Rizing. Under the two monikers the band(s) have released a total of 4 studio albums of very variable quality. Despite having penned a few very enjoyable “Happy-Metal” tunes, the band has yet to come up with a full-on quality disc.

The band’s Rock the Boat set luckily consisted of several of their best songs, with “Mindgame Masquerade” and “Demon of Damnation” being the two main highlights of the show. Why the band insists on playing a song like the horribly un-original “Break the Silence” remains a mystery, though. The music works well in a live setting, however, being very catchy and featuring quite simple riffs and easily recognizable melodies.

Performance-wise this band will always be remembered for it’s singer. Jan-Thore Grefstad has a awe-inspiring voice -– arguably one of the best in the entire business -– and if there was justice on this planet, Geoff Tate would be the singer in Highland Glory (and Grefstad in Queensrÿche). Once again, he proved his class with a phenomenal performance. Neither Larsen nor Olsen will ever be featured in any guitarists’ hall of fame, but it still works for the most part, with the band’s rather straightforward compositions. Færøvig and Tøftum compensate for their lack of technical brilliance with some very energetic playing, and together they make for a solid rhythm section.

All in all, an entirely okay way to begin the day, then, and the band’s fans seemed happy enough.

Review by Torgeir P. Krokfjord


Thunderbolt is a highly competent live band, which they also proved during this concert. Their singer, Tony Johannessen, is indeed one of Norway’s finest, and his extensive Dickinson-like range and voice control was quite impressive. Even though the crowd was a bit sparse, the band managed to create a nice atmosphere with their quite conservative brand of British 80’s Metal.

They certainly have the manpower and the attitude, but for the time being, they seem to lack the anthemic crowd pleasers that really stick out from the rest of the songs, which are, after all, the all-important tools for world domination. Nevertheless, a good gig by a professional band.

Review by Tarzan


Celebrating his 25th anniversary as a solo-artist, Paul Di’Anno was apparently in great spirits and good vocal shape, belting through classic after classic, only interspersed by a handful of post-Maiden songs and the standard ranting and venting of spleen in-between songs. A back injury left him quite stationary in front of the drum kit for extended parts of the show, but the small crowd didn’t seem to mind. His solid backing band consisted of members from Thunderbolt and the Norwegian Maiden tribute band Moonchild.

After the “Ides of March” intro, the Man entered the stage in an overpsyched frenzy, which resulted in a rather messy vocal start to “Wrathchild.” Apparently, both the band and Di’Anno himself needed the run-through of this song in order to acclimatize to the marine environment. “Prowler” sounded much better, though, featuring a great guitar solo by Geir Marius Halleland and excellent vocal power by Di’Anno.

The Murder One song “Marshall Lockjaw” and all-time classic “Murders in the Rue Morgue” followed, both executed in a fast and brutal manner by the backing boys, leaving the frontman little time to breathe. “The Beast Arises,” “Children of Madness,” with Halford-like screams, and the evergreen beauty of “Remember Tomorrow” showed off Di’Anno’s impressive throat, before the speed of “Impaler” took fans back to the world of raw Punk Rock once again. “Faith Healer” was the last non-Maiden song of the set, before he ended the first 60-minutes on a high note with “Killers” (dedicated to Tony Blair) and “Phantom of the Opera” (preceded by a cheesy Spice Girls rant, describing “their real talents”).

The band came back playing a decent version of “Transylvania” before Di’Anno closed the show with “Running Free” (assisted by Thunderbolt’s excellent vocalist Tony Johannessen) and “Sanctuary.” Quite a memorable event.

Review by Tarzan


  • Torgeir P. Krokfjord

    Torgeir was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. After hearing Malmsteen's "Vengeance" on a guitar mag CD at the age of 12 or 13, he began doing hopeless interpretations of Yngwie licks and it just took off from there. After shorter stints at other zines he was snatched to Metal Express Radio in 2003. Alongside Yngwie, Savatage, WASP, Symphony X, Blind Guardian, Emperor, Arch Enemy, In Flames, Opeth, Motörhead, Manowar, and Queensrÿche are a quick list of musical faves. Torgeir is also guitarist in the Heavy/Prog/Thrash outfit Sarpedon.

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