Sölvesborg, Sweden, June 5, 2008



Perhaps it’s from catching a fair dose of the younger Sister Sin right before, but, initially, classic Dutch band Picture feels strangely laid back. However, it only takes a couple songs for Picture to get into that familiar and likeable groove, which is their charm, as they delved into “Diamond Dreamer.” The strength of songs such as “Traveller,” “Battle For The Universe,” and “Message From Hell” eases the merciless effect of the early afternoon sun. The title track off 1983’s Eternal Dark seemed to be the song most people were familiar with, probably because the more successful Hammerfall covered it. A couple newbies were also let out in the form of “Live By the Sword” and “Fill Your Head With Rock” – the latter written specifically for a compilation CD handed out to all who had purchased a four-day ticket where a number of bands performed a song each with that same title; the festival’s motto. Fittingly, Picture themselves released a limited edition live CD on this same day. (Patrik Gustavsson)


The field was draped in sweaty Dream Theater shirts and coke bottom glasses when PAIN OF SALVATION entered the Zeppelin Stage. Their latest effort Scarsick was represented with ”America,” ”Mrs. Modern Mary,” and the set closer ”Disco Queen,” and with ”Ashes,” ”Undertow,” and ”Nightmist,” it’s pretty darn difficult to complain. Of course, one could complain that the band should’ve played for nineteen hours and do their entire discography twice, but the band did the most during their fairly short stage time. A lovely moment was when the band surprised Daniel Gildenlöw, while deep down in the emotional beginning of ”Undertow,” with a spontaneous birthday song for the happy jubilant. A great way to start a festival. (Torgeir P. Krokfjord)


Even during solid moments on their releases, German Metallers Primal Fear are largely an uninteresting band. Live, however, on this day they certainly delivered. The power of a great deal of the material suddenly came across with much greater impact. As Mr Universe … eh, Ralph Scheepers, lead his Metal troops through the likes of “Chainbreaker,” “Angel In Black,” “Seven Seals,” and “Metal Lives Forever” in front of the enthusiastic crowd, suddenly it was far easier to appreciate Primal Fear and their intent. Say what one will about Scheepers; he has certainly stayed true to his Metal of choice throughout his long career, and on the day showcased a very joyful temper smitten by the response. Primal Fear served the audience quite a pleasant surprise! (Patrik Gustavsson)


TestamentThe Formation Of Damnation was better than anyone could ever expect, but a horrible muddy sound ruined the initial impression and made the first few songs sound mushy more than anything else. But, as soon as the sound guy got his things straight, Testament’s set was just there to lean back and enjoy. Chuck ”Fuck Yeah!” Billy’s voice impressed the entire crowd, and the merry and loveable mike stand juggler pulled off a fantastic performance. That indeed also goes for Eric Peterson and Alex ”Paulie Walnuts” Skolnick, and especially the latter R-i-p-p-e-d (with a capital r, obviously).

Testament”Apocalyptic City,” ”Low,” ”More Than Meets The Eye,” ”Souls Of Black,” ”Henchmen Ride,” ”Trail Of Tears,” and ”Three Days In Darkness” are alone more than one could wish for, and with ”D.N.R.,” ”Alone In The Dark,” and ”Practice What You Preach” to boot, it’s virtually impossible to complain. Testament IS the world’s best Thrash Metal band. (Torgeir P. Krokfjord)


Judas PriestEven with a festival line-up packed with Hard Rock dinosaurs, Judas Priest still packs some extra pounds, and naturally there was a great deal of anticipation concerning the release of the famed concept album Nostradamus this summer – this being hailed as a new beginning for the band and thus bringing some significant changes to the Priest we all know and love. These were evident from the first minute, as the classic intro ”Hellion / Electric Eye” was omitted in favor of ”Dawn of Creation” – by all means not a bad track, but none the less a harbinger of something horribly, horribly … well, different.

Not everything was, of course, as Halford and his amazing metal-plated raincoat walked the earth faithfully and intimidating as ever – making the contrast to the rest of the band all the more obvious. “Metal Gods” and the very welcome “Between The Hammer And The Anvil” brightened the mood for a while, but it was beyond any doubt that what was witnessed at the Festival Stage this evening was nothing more than a pale Priest imitation. K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton were nothing but mere shadows of their former selves, and Scott Travis seemed directly lackluster.

Ian Hill pumping faithfully doesn’t change this impression, and when Rob also surprisingly fast starts to get vocal problems, one draws parallels from his mike stand to a walking stick. Still, after this abysmal intro, Judas Priest finally got going with “Breaking The Law,” yet another nice surprise in “Hell Patrol,” the distinctly average “Death” and “Dissident Aggressor,” and finally – after 5 minutes wondering why on earth they decided to include “Angel” in the setlist – “Hellion / Electric Eye,” is where the gig “really” started. By now, Rob had really gotten himself going, but in spite of his magnificent efforts on “Rock Hard, Ride Free,” “Sinner,” and to some extent “Painkiller,” the band only barely got through to the end –- one cannot help but to think that the years are starting to catch up with the Priest.

Not even a nice round-up with “Hell Bent For Leather,” “The Green Manalishi (With the Two-Pronged Crown),” and “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming” erased this mark completely, and one you’d be forced to conclude that Judas Priest anno 2008 has had somewhat limited success with the attempted fresh and creative setlist, and has still things to prove in the years to come. Hopefully. (Eirik P. Krokfjord)



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