Sölvesborg, Sweden, June 6, 2007



Whatever opinion you may have about the role he’s played in the media after his departure from W.A.S.P., there’s no doubt that Randy Piper, visiting Sweden Rock Festival with his new band Randy Piper’s Animal, has played on and has a part in the recording of some of the best Heavy Metal songs ever caught on tape (he’s obviously aware of this fact himself, too, as both “Wild Child” and “I Wanna Be Somebody” were selected as encores to the band’s set). Still, last year’s album of his own band shows that the man’s still able to create good music, and the songs came through well from the stage, both due to solid guitar work from Piper and Chris Laney, as well as Rich Lewis’ amazing vocals. This man sounds more like Blackie than the Lawless one himself these days, and especially during the versions of the aforementioned W.A.S.P. classics, his performance was incredible. Unfortunately, the band was not fortunate concerning the sound, and it’s no secret that the crowd response was considerably louder after the W.A.S.P. songs than after the band’s original material. However, Randy Piper’s Animal delivered a solid performance, and proved a worthy opener to this year’s festival. (Torgeir P. Krokfjord)

RANDY PIPER’S ANIMAL (alternative view)

Piper’s band has been around for many years already, but it hasn’t been until the last year where things have really started to take off. The band now includes several Swedes, among them Zan Clan guitarist Chris Laney who had a major role in the creation of the last, excellent CD Violent New Breed. The band is largely based in Sweden now, even rehearsing and recording their forthcoming CD in the country. The gig at the festival marked one of the very first for the current line-up, part of which is planned to be presented on DVD in due time. One nostalgic fan even garnished himself in an exhaust pipe around his back, similar to what Randy Piper used to wear in W.A.S.P. eons ago. The set list thankfully was largely based on Violent New Breed material and tracks like “Hellchild” and “Eye Of The Storm” speak for themselves; this line-up have one heck of an album to live up to next time around. Even the unnecessary inclusion of three old W.A.S.P. standards (two of which Blackie performs all the time anyway), and front man’s Rich Lewis swearing, cliché onstage persona, can’t delude that fact. (Patrik Gustavsson)


This year’s festival showcased quite a few Swedish bands, which serves as further acknowledgement just how strong an entity regarding musical export Sweden really is. Wolf is certainly no exception. Largely respected for playing authentically early 80’s heyday bare Metal, in the vein of Mercyful Fate and certainly early Iron Maiden, Wolf are currently touring in support of their fourth full-length album, The Black Flame, and it’s in the live environment they fully realize their potential. Wolf attacks the audience with a two-punch affair of “The Bite” and “Steelwinged Savage Reaper” of said latest album, before addressing the audience and going back to its first, self-titled release, playing “Electric.” Wolf proved to be on absolute fire, which was especially good since the gig was immortalized by Swedish national radio. The audience was served an hour of Metal the Wolf way, restless and wild in nature. “Wolf’s Blood” (peculiarly described as “the disco song” by frontman Niklas Stålvind), “I Will Kill Again” and the immortal “Evil Star” were among the numbers performed by the energetic foursome. Bassist Mike Goding pulled out the Steve Harris stops (the “bazooka” bass), and even the Reaper made an appearance during “Children Of The Black Flame.” Wolf surely has won over many new fans by this show alone, not too mention the effect the radio broadcast will have when it’s aired. (Patrik Gustavsson)


Following up Wolf’s display on the Zeppelin Stage would not be easy, but Umeå’s Nocturnal Rites is quickly becoming one of Sweden’s bigger Metal names in latter years, at least where their home country is concerned. This was even more apparent when what seemed to be the major part of Day 1’s 10,000-strong witnessed the Nocturnal Rites gig as the sun was going down. The band was welcomed as national heroes by the crowd, happy to be present on the festival’s first day, and probably a beer or two tapped in them to boot. From the start, the band suffered somewhat from a less than favorable sound, though the crowd didn’t seem to care. “Cuts Like A Knife” and “Never Trust” from the very popular Grand Illusion platter proceeded, and at least the vocals were starting to come through clearer in the mix. The band, especially bassist Nils Eriksson and vocalist Jonny Lindkvist, were all smiles, and the latter goofed around. Spirits were high as the band sweeped through its impressive catalog of songs, including crowd pleasers such as “Shadowland” and “The Sinner’s Cross.” After toying with the beat to Queen’s “Another One Bites The Dust,” the band leaped into “Iron Force” from it’s classic Sacred Talisman disc. Lindkvist told the audience the band picked up some curious-looking fellows on the way to the festival, which lead to the surprise of the evening as Swedish Folk Pop group Nordman joined Nocturnal Rites on stage for a rendition of it’s “Vandraren,” a huge hit in Sweden in the mid-nineties. After the initial shock, the audience seemed happy to sing along. No wonder Lindkvist at one point addressed them as the “Angels Choir,” which further proves fitting as the band launched into the encore of it’s sing-along friendly “Fools Never Die,” and Nocturnal Rites are the heroes of the festival’s first day. (Patrik Gustavsson)


Norway’s Black Debbath proved to be a very entertaining live act; and it’s virtually impossible not to smile when frontman Lars Lønning and bass player Egil Hegerberg put on their funny pants and let the stand-up jokes fly. Musically, “MotörHedda Gabler” and “Problemer Innad I Høyre” (with Høyre being the most typical conservative party in Norway, and Lønning’s father Inge being one of their most profiled faces) are safe bets, and when both Hegerberg and guitarist Aslak Guttormsgaar finish the show completely naked, the crowd is more than satisfied –- in every aspect of the word. (Torgeir P. Krokfjord)


Going to an Annihilator gig always has that little extra pinch of excitement attached, as one never really knows beforehand who will play beside Jeff Waters this particular time -– the band consisted of Dave Padden on guitars and vocals, Brian Deamon on bass and backing vocals, and Alex Landenburg on drums in addition to the ever-present Waters displaying marvellous axe work as usual. This evening’s set opened to the familiar acoustic guitar intro of “Crystal Ann,” introducing a wave of killer tracks: “King Of The Kill,” “Set The World On Fire,” “The Fun Palace,” “Never Neverland,” “Welcome To Your Death,” “Refresh The Demon,” and “Stone Wall,” to name a few. Their last record Metal was naturally represented as well, most notably through the groovy “Operation Annihilator.” The audience were kept continually entertained by a keen and intense band, and responded greatly by singing along to every single song –- heart warming to many a diehard Annihilator disciple. The numerous switches in the line-up through the years were nearly impossible to detect from this performance … the band was amazingly tight, especially the double guitar layers were simply baffling. Landenburg’s drumming was incredibly true to the original recordings, as were Padden’s vocal interpretation of the songs. When Annihilator ended their 2007 visit to Sweden Rock Festival with “Allison Hell,” many must have thought to themselves that it simply couldn’t be any better. (Carl Engström)


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