in Sölvesborg, Sweden, June 9, 2006


Why both Entombed and Arch Enemy –- two highly profiled, domestic, and very popular bands –- both were scheduled to play at noon remains a mystery, especially as both bands belong to the darker/more extreme spectrum of bands present at the festival, and thus would benefit more than others from playing in the dark, but at least this made for great ways to begin the day.

Arch Enemy live really never goes bad, and it sure didn’t this time, as well. The band seemed to have great fun on stage, and especially Sharlee D’Angelo looked like he really had the time of his life up there. Guitarist Fredrik Åkesson also impressed once more, and seeing him on stage at this year’s SRF is, of course, a bit ironic as the band cancelled their gig last year due to former guitarist and co-founded Chris Amott’s exams.

As usual, so to speak, the band entirely avoided their two best albums when selecting the set list –- there was not one single track off Burning Bridges and Stigmata this time, but there was still lots of snacks to enjoy: “Nemesis,” “My Apocalypse,” “Out For Blood,” and “Skeleton Dance” from Doomsday Machine, “Burning Angel,” “Enemy Within,” and “Ravenous” from Wages of Sin, and “We Will Rise,” and “Dead Eyes See No Future.” The highlight of the show was when they went back to the phenomenal debut Black Earth and played “Bury Me An Angel,” sadly, though, seeming to be the only old tune to be played on a regular basis.

The band did experience some sound problems; this was especially plaguing vocalist/Metal Goddess Angela Gossow as she lost her sound several times throughout the show -– and often at “crucial” parts of songs … during choruses for example. This did, to a certain extent, weaken the impression of the gig, but as far as the band was concerned, they sure did a fine job.

Review by Torgeir P. Krokfjord


What has become Gamma Ray’s most used show opener lately, “Gardens of the Sinner,” accompanied the brightly smiling ensemble as they jumped out on stage. Kai Hansen was his usual happy self, and as Dan Zimmermann pounded out his trademark Power Metal beats as Metal fans have been used to for the last years. Dirk Schlächter managed to stay away from the most grotesque poses, and Henjo Zimmermann delivered an above average performance … it was to be quite a cosy session in front of the Rock Stage.

Not surprisingly, it was the older songs that worked the best –- “Man on a Mission,” “Heavy Metal Universe,” Send Me A Sign,” and the set’s definite highlights “Armageddon” and “Land of the Free” caught the dozing, sun caged festival goers off guard. “Fight” and “Blood Religion” were the two more recent songs that worked best, and the impression of the latter was strengthened by some massive choirs. Kai’s attempt at being “evil” -– “a song like this (the lyrics deal with vampirism) should probably not be played in such bright daylight” — seemed a bit out of place, though, as evil is the one thing this band will never be. This could in no way alter the impression that this was clearly a strong performance by the German veterans, which, sadly, always look and sound professional on stage, but rather seldom really shine.

Review by Torgeir P. Krokfjord


Among the sun burned, drunk, and smiling Metalheads, one could spot a group of bleak, sweating, and shivering young-to-middle aged men, dressed in either doctor’s equipment or Mafioso suits, with 80’s-style square shaped plastic sunglasses, and their long hair styled in a thin, tight ponytail. If Joey DeMaio had written this, a little boy would have asked something like “Grandpa, who were those men, with the suit, sunglasses, and pony tail? Grandpa, who were those men???” Then a deep, grown voice would respond: “Those men, those were the Queensrÿche fans,” followed by an evil laughter.

The suit part was a bit exaggerated, but the fans of what once were the best band in the world –- and then they “grew up” into becoming one of the worst –- were truly shivering in a mixture or nervousness and excitement as “I Remember Now” was heard through the huge speakers at the festival’s main stage. What the crowd was to experience was an almost complete rendition of the first Mindcrime — the only songs left out in addition to the interludes were “The Mission” and “Speak.” Why the band decided to leave these magnificent pieces of Metal history out of the set remains unknown, but then Queensrÿche’s career will never stand as a tale of making the correct decisions. Also, the band included “I’m American,” “One Foot in Hell,” “Hostage,” “The Hands,” “Murderer?,” “If I Could Change It All,” and “Signs Say Go” from Mindcrime 2, as well as “Jet City Woman” and “Empire” from Empire — the latter two resulted in two of the loudest crowd roars of the entire festival.

The band’s performance was impeccable, with Michael Wilton and Mike Stone pulling off the legendary guitar lines in great fashion (the only major down point being Stone’s horrible outro solo on “Suite Sister Mary”), Eddie Jackson and especially Scott Rockenfield putting on a phenomenal performance in the back, and Geoff Tate finally once again showing what a remarkable entertainer he truly is. He basically was all over the place this sunny afternoon, singing like the God he once was(/still is?) as well as (almost) at the same time recalling the legendary drama of Operation: LiveCrime. Supported by the beautiful Pamela Moore, who was on stage for most of the show, he even reached the very highest notes in the older material, and Tate and Moore’s interplay was pure magic.

You could say that it was unnecessary to play as many as seven tracks off Mindcrime 2, while leaving out two of the band’s most loved classics, but though it would have been amazing to hear both “The Mission” and “Speak,” one could hardly blame the band for trying to promote their latest album –- that is, after all, one of the main purposes of the phenomena that is touring. Except for that, there’s hardly anything negative to comment.

Review by Torgeir P. Krokfjord


Kamelot has built themselves a reputation as a terrific live band, but they sure had a challenge this afternoon in following the semi-legendary Queensrÿche gig. Still, the band has the songs to handle such a task. The set list was almost the same as on the forthcoming DVD -– that means it was based on the last three albums. Not one song from The Fourth Legacy was played (a shame indeed) and the long-time fans, who may have wished the band could use the festival format to play some older goodies (“Call of the Sea,” “King’s Eyes,” “Millenium”) were surely disappointed. With that being said, the set-list was still strong, but songs like “Moonlight” and “Memento Mori” did not come through all that impressively, as such atmospheric compositions did not fit the big, airy, surroundings especially well.

The band seemed confident and delivered the goods in a convincing and very professional way, but the touch of magic that characterises the band at their very best was not present. Roy Kahn also delivered a good performance vocally, but his singing lacked a bit of the drama that has become one of his strongest assets, and he was not as energetic as usual – he later explained that this was partly due to it being extremely hot on stage (30 degrees Celsius) and the flames and pyro on top of that. The crowds didn’t seem to bother, though, and Kamelot were well received by the Scandinavians –- although the gig was not all the way up to the band’s regular standards.

Review by Torgeir P. Krokfjord


Lots and lots of fans had teamed up to watch the return of the British legends Venom, and as true Brits, they had to show up 30 minutes late. This is, of course, rather frustrating as 30 minutes is one third of their set. If they just planned to play an hour, it couldn’t be that difficult to tell the festival about this beforehand instead of letting the fans down with the weekend’s only major delay. It’s good that there are still some real Rock Stars in the business.

VenomAnyway, when the band finally entered the stage, the first thing that hit you was that the sound was horrendous. It was completely impossible to hear what was played, and this lasted for several songs. Having decorated the stage with no less than 44 Marshalls, it’s again tempting to ask why they couldn’t bring a handful of amps that sounded good instead of four dozen that sounded all crappy …

This was fixed, though, and finally, for the remaining 45 minutes, the band gave the fans what they’d come to see. A great mix of old and new material was played: “Welcome to Hell,” “Countess Bathory,” “Antechrist,” “Burn in Hell,” “Metal Black,” “In League of Satan,” “Black Metal” … yeah, it was indeed worth the wait. Cronos looked, and most importantly sang, fantastic, and although a bit of the thing about Venom is the jangliness and “charming” un-tightness when playing, the band was surprisingly tight and delivered a good performance playing-wise. The fans finally got what they deserved, however, there’s definitely things to improve next time. If they don’t …they’re gonna burn in hell.

Review by Torgeir P. Krokfjord


Quite a few festival goers were frustrated about Evergrey and WASP playing simultaneously, the crowd awaiting Evergrey as they came on stage was far smaller than you’d normally expect. The band didn’t seem to be affected by this, though, as “Blinded” opened the show. The technical intro riff didn’t come out too well, but things got far better with “More than Ever,” although it was rather awkward seeing three guys sing, when all you hear is Tom Englund along with a female choir. “She Speaks to the Dead” was next, and from this point forward everything went along smoothly. The set provided a good mix of older and newer songs, and the three songs played from Monday Morning Apocalypse — the title track, “Obedience,” and “Still in the Water,” worked very well.

The crowd went bonkers for “Nosferatu,” and didn’t calm down until “When the Walls Go Down” succeeded “Rulers of the Mind” and “Mark of the Triangle.” “Recreation Day” and the beautiful “I’m Sorry,” and the aforementioned “Obedience,” provided a melancholic and very powerful end to the regular set.

Englund then came out, introducing “A Touch of Blessing,” and this phenomenal track definitely ranks among the band’s finest, and the crowd welcomed it cheerfully. As usual, the band closed their set with “The Masterplan,” This is definitely another very good song, but here it turned a bit boring with the seemingly never-ending sing along repetitions of the chorus in the middle of the song. It shouldn’t take that long to split an audience in two and get them to sing one single word.

Mr. Englund was luckily pleased at last, and they sang the final chorus. Then their gig was done, and there were buttloads of people everywhere. Evergrey had a bigger audience than at the beginning of their set, and even if there weren’t a lot of people present when they started, there sure were when they were done.

Review by Ove Eeg


One of the most frustrating things in Metal has for a long time been that Blackie Lawless and his companions have tended to squeeze several of their best tracks together into a medley, leaving that tiny spark of hope that they someday would move away from this and instead play the songs separately. This year’s Sweden Rock Festival was to be the culminaton of that hope, as the band, after opening with the compulsory “On Your Knees” moved into “Chainsaw Charlie (Murders in the New Morgue)”, as they usually do, but actually played the whole thing from beginning to end! They could have probably gotten away with playing Polka and Gypsy Jazz for the rest of the set if they wanted to, but the very words every W.A.S.P./Blackie Lawless fan could dream of rang through the speakers: “Fuck, we’re gonna play you some shit tonight we’ve never played live for 20 years …”

WASPThe band (at the time) consisting of bassist Mike Duda, guitarist Doug Blair, and drummer Mike Dupke, did a very good job, although Zavon does not reach the level of either Darrell Roberts or Chris Holmes (which became pretty evident as he was given quite some time to show off), but with a bassist like Duda, nothing can really go wrong. Duda and Zavon did a great job with the backing vocals too –- and with a set-list containing songs like “Love Machine,” “Wild Child,” “The Idol,” “The Real Me,” the surprise track of the night “The Widowmaker,” a fantastic version of “I Wanna Be Somebody,” “Hate to Love Me,” and the fantastic ballad “Sleeping (In the Fire),” this was exactly what the crowd needed to cure the frustration caused by the fact that W.A.S.P. made many miss Evergrey’s gig.

No big-toothed Norwegian U2-fan could ever be the real World Idol -– Blackie Lawless is, and will forever be, The Idol.

Review by Torgeir P. Krokfjord


Def Leppard Recently having made efforts to avoid being labeled as Heavy Metal, Def Leppard took the stage at the SRF with “Let It Go,” an oldie from the High ‘n’ Dry days, then followed up quickly with “Rock, Rock (’til You Drop).” Heavy Metal or not, these are anthems for true Metalheads – like it or not, Joe.

The sound was good, as was case with most bands at this year’s festival, proving that the SRF promoters are indeed on top of their game.

A few so-called new songs, among them a T.Rex cover, were performed (so-called because they came off the recent album Yeah, which is da Lepps paying tribute to their idols). But, it was of course the hits that made the ground shake: “Photograph,” “Hysteria,” “Love Bites,” “Animal,” “Armageddon It” – you name them, and they did them, only “Fooling” was missed.

90 minutes went quickly by, as they do when fun is being had, but a 15-minute version of “Rocket,” a bass solo, and the fact that Elliot is not dead-on when singing the Pyromania stuff these days, must be mentioned as low points.

Review by Frode Johnsrud


  • 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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