Sölvesborg, Sweden, June 4, 2009


Like Twisted Sister would later that day, German originated Rage’s gig also served as a 25th anniversary. Not of a specific album, but a career. Yes, it has been that long. Because of this, Rage’s set list was fairly varied, but still concentrated on later albums that includes some of the band’s most beloved works anyway. A Rage gig is based on the songs and the musicianship contained therein almost exclusively, as visually the veteran band hardly have anything exciting to offer. The musicianship in Rage very seldom, if ever, disappoints, which was indeed yet again the case, though the sound suffered from slight distortion issues here and there throughout the set. An anniversary, but still just Rage, which is part of this band’s modest appeal. (“St” Patrik Gustavsson)


LAnd so it came: the rain. Lightly at first, but it would resurface. Rain is usually a rarity at Sweden Rock Festival. During Grand Magus’ gig, the weather would hover between that of light rain and sunshine. The light and shade aspect is kinda how Grand Magus music works too; doomy parts trade places with catchy NWOBHM-likened riffs. The band would fare well with a great sound to boot. The Traditional Metallers third and latest effort, Iron Will, turned out to be a breakthrough of sorts for the trio, which shows in the reception of the likes of “Like The Oar Strikes The Water”, “Silver Into Steel” and the majestic title track. Heck, the band still sounded great by the end of their riffy display, despite sipping beer in between every song performed. (“St” Patrik Gustavsson)


These Danes’ lucky star has seen a considerable rise the last year or so; the turnout appreciated to rival that of Europe’s a couple of days later, and by broad daylight (which means more defied hangovers amongst the crowd) to boot. Volbeat take nods to several genres of music, as Rockabilly as well as elements of Country and even Ska is thrown into the band’s main Hard Rock gravy. This broad scope could probably explain the band’s quick way to the ears of even the common listeners. Thats why it’s contradictory that somewhere along the way, the core of one too many songs ends up too much the same in its block chord direction. A new song is being let out as well, which the band chooses to temporarily dub “10, 000 People at Sweden Rock”; audience suit of course, but it works. Must’ve been more people than that present, though. (“St” Patrik Gustavsson)


LSweden’s Melodic Rock hopefuls H.E.A.T. may not have ultimately been chosen to represent its country for this year’s Eurovision, (never mind “borrowing” healthy off DIO & Whitesnake in one and the same song) but at Sweden Rock Festival they get moved up a notch, from their gig at the Gibson tent last year to the Zeppelin stage in 2009. Size of the audience is also admirable, considering the clash with the enormously popular Volbeat. Other than that, not much had changed, though the boys did sport new hairdos, and treated the crowd to newbie “Stay”. Most present obliged. (“St” Patrik Gustavsson)


LEx-Waysted vocalist Danny Vaughn and his revamped Tyketto got a lucky combination of clear audio and healthy sun. Vaughn’s visual appearance has barely changed since 1992, and his voice is still very much distinct as well. Tyketto reached some fine heights with well-crafted rockers such as “Higher They Fall”. However, the inclusion of one too many ballads after another brought what could have been a great gig to a halt, even if “Standing Alone” was, according to Vaughn, a song they had gotten too many requests for to be ignored. (“St” Patrik Gustavsson)


After the phenomenal Death Magic Doom, released earlier this year, the expectations were high when Candlemass entered the Festival stage for their biggest gig on home turf in ages. However, despite fine tunes like ”The Bleeding Baroness”, ”Emperor Of The Void”, ”The Bells Of Acheron”, and the show’s highlight ”If I Ever Die” – and the fact that Rob Lowe put on a terrific performance – the show never really took off. The band did encounter technical problems with some of the guitar amplifiers, that is true, but these were not dealt with very well. Stopping to play, leaving an unmotivated singer to tell ”jokes” (or ”words”, more like it) to the crowd is never the right way to deal with anything. Still, though, as the band had brought with them a total of 48 Marshall stacks, the encore with ”Solitude” and Rainbow’s ”Kill The King” sounded massive. (Torgeir P. Krokfjord)


LThe Gibson tent could barely hold more people as Progressive Rockers Seventh Wonder were about to go on, the band all dressed in pale white shirts and ragged denim, save for the drummer. The crowd response to the band’s music was surprisingly enthusiastic, and that includes also for the band who seemed genuinely taken aback. Seventh Wonder’s music is quite dramatic overall, which may partly explain such a response, albeit during “Hide And Seek” and “Not An Angel”, the crowd volumes spoke of even higher altitudes. Conclusion: the group chose a fitting moniker for themselves. (”St” Patrik Gustavsson)


Like modern day Thin Lizzy, this new project featuring ex-Rainbow members could easily be dismissed without the band’s main original songwriter onboard. However, the project, that includes Jürgen Blackmore; Ritchie Blackmore’s son, has been approved from the get go by the Rainbow founder. Seeing as Blackmore Senior is content performing Renaissance music, Over The Rainbow is probably the closest people will get to experience the real deal for the time being. The band’s execution of the material at hand is performed with such care and respect for Rainbow’s legacy, with Blackmore Jr hardly daring to improvise amongst the song’s well-known fretwork, and Joe Lynn Turner’s voice probably the best suited to cover all era’s of Rainbow, which on this night offered surprisingly much of the 70’s material, instead of concentrating heavily on the man’s personal period with the band, though even material off of 1995’s Stranger In Us All was let out in the open. Apparently plans are for this band to record new material. Whatever that brings, live they are a recommended experience. (“St” Patrik Gustavsson)


LAnd then it finally happened; Twisted Sister performing it’s monumental hit album Stay Hungry in its entirety, just a mere few weeks before the release of the 25th anniversary reissue. Actually it had happened before – once before. Additionally, the band’s 2009 dates are the last meant to be performed sporting the well-known wicked-take-on transvestite image. Nevertheless it was a llittle odd witnessing the Sisters’ kicking off the proceedings with “Stay Hungry”, the track, instead of “What You Don’t Know” as they usually do, and “Were Not Gonna Take It” of course sent crowd participation over the roof (or rather – to the skies) already as the second song.

It’s easy to ponder where tomorrow’s opponents of the likes of this band, Motörhead (whose Lemmy and Phil Campbell would join Twisted Sister for a jam on Rolling Stones’ “Its Only Rock N Roll” as the evening proceeded) or Iron Maiden will emerge from; bands that perform with likewise vitality 30 years into their careers, as they did as youngsters. Quite amazing, or, as front man Dee Snider put it: “I haven’t aged a day”, comparing his physique to the bands previous Sweden Rock Festival appearance in 2003. In keeping with true Twisted Sister fashion, significant amount of time was spent on entertaining in between songs banter, which in the case of Snider and band founder Jay Jay French, felt genuine for a change. (“St” Patrik Gustavsson)


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