COVEN / WRESTLING SHOW / RAVEN / ROBERT PEHRSONS HUMBUCKER / WITCHFYNDE / BLACK MAGIC / CAULDRON / DEAD KOSMONAUT / IRON CURTAIN / CONDENADOS / ORKAN
Date: 03rd June, 2017
Venue: Tyrolen, Blädinge
Ticket: 995SEK 3-day Ticket (€100/$123)
Photos: Erika Wallberg
So, then the last day was on. One benefit with the cold weather is that the beer isn’t too appealing towards the end of the night which of course has an impact on how fit you are the next day. This made me take on IRON CURTAIN with great expectations and positive vibe, no tired and heavy head this time. And it was for sure a good start of the day with these Spanish guys. Of course, there were more bands on before them but it was IRON CURTAIN that were the first ones out on my list.
I saw them some years ago at ‘Keep It True’ in Germany and then it didn’t fit together all that well. They were outplayed by the bands on before them. But it’s great to get another round of a band, especially when it’s a totally different treat. This time it was tight, it was more relaxed which also increased the dynamics and general feel. The energy, which I enjoyed the most last time was also still there. The last few years have really done them good. It’s still raw and up-tempo Heavy Metal it’s all about and when performed like this, hell yes.
People seemed a little off at this time though. Quite a few dragged themselves down to the festival to cheer on IRON CURTAIN but it was clear everyone was tired from the night before. It really can go either way with those early slots at ‘Muskelrock’; the crowd to have restarted after beating last night’s hangover or they’re still in recovering mode. It was the latter here but the energy IRON CURTAIN had should have boosted most of them. For the last song, “Heavy Metal Nation” Oscar Carlquist joined in and took on the microphone. It’s always cool with guest appearances like this one and this sure made the IRON CURTAIN show even more special.
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There was a celebration some years ago, either it was an anniversary of TPL Records or a birthday party for one of the guys running it, I don’t remember. Swedish MERCY have most of their records released on that label and there were talks about them playing... Anyway, it turned out as a MERCY tribute with Pelle “Hellbutcher” Gustavsson (NIEFELHEIM) on the microphone and really killing it.
So, when DEAD KOSMONAUT appeared stating him in the line-up together with Fredrik Folkare on guitar I got intrigued to check it out. Especially as it was to be something melodic and heavy. It was a good thing coming. Their debut record “Expect Nothing” is fantastic so this was definitely one of the most anticipated shows of ‘Muskelrock’ 2017. I mean, it’s always great to see something you like for the first time. And it was just as good live as on record, no doubt the band consists of fabulous musicians. And again, just as the record the show started with “Amduat” followed by “Concrete Sky”, “Craving Mad” and “Grimeton”. The opener is a favorite, the flow is super and the chorus-line sticks like glue. Mr. Hellbutcher looked a little uncomfortable on a few occasions with this rather mellow styling and natural look. But from a vocal perspective he nailed everything perfectly. Also mellow “Concrete Sky” sounded amazing.
DEAD KOSMONAUT actually played their record in its entirety, but instead of closing with “Grey Hole” the set ended with “Time Is The Wound” which was a really good move. This as both “Grey Hole” and, on the record, second to last “House Of Lead” are soft and slow and it’s always better to go out with something powerful. It worked and the crowd wanted more, including me. So this was definitely one of the highlights of the last day.
DEAD KOSMONAUT setlist:
02. “Concrete Sky”
03. “Craving Mad”
05. “Grey Hole”
06. “Dead Men Walking”
07. “House Of Lead”
08. “Time Is The Wound”
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I realized I’ve lost track of many bands over the years. And that is for various reasons. I liked CAULDRON when I first heard them but when they played one of the very first ‘Muskelrock’ festivals they didn’t impress at all. And after that I was focused on other bands instead. I guess I should be better at following things up but there are just too many bands and too little time. In this case it really felt like a shame I didn’t look past my last impression and gave CAULDRON a new chance with their more recent records. They have grown a lot since last I had seen them and did a very good show at the main stage. “Empress” from latest “In Ruin” sounded great, mid-tempo songs with good melodies almost always appeal to me and this was no exception. And it worked very well in contrast to more uptempo “Frozen In Fire” which kicked off the whole show.
Since it’s basically only “Chained To The Nite” I’ve been listening to from the CAULDRON vault of records it became a good treat to hear a few songs from that one live. “Conjure The Mass” really cut it and even more so “Chained Up in Chains” which appeared towards the end of the show. Just as NIGHT DEMON, CAULDRON have also worked hard over the years which in the same way has paid off. NIGHT DEMON is perhaps more accessible for the average Metal Head but at the ‘Muskelrock’ festival they drew equal crowds.
Another song I really liked was “Miss You To Death”. The vocal lines have this crazy rhythm on a few occasions that feels a little off towards the music backing it up. But it sounds great and I like it when the music contains these kind of oddities. It was great to see CAULDRON again and see them killing it. And it’s definitely time to revisit the records after this live-treat.
01. “Frozen In Fire”
03. “End Of Time”
04. “Summoned To Succumb”
05. “Conjure The Mass”
06. “Hold Your Fire”
07. “No Return/In Ruin”
08. “Miss You To Death”
10. “All Or Nothing”
11. “Chained Up In Chains”
12. “Take This Torch” (RAZOR cover)
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Sometimes it becomes a little strange when a gets too studies to copy an era from the past. BLACK MAGIC’s 60’s-70’s look felt a little awkward on occasion but it was rather easy to look past that as their music started talking instead. BLACK MAGIC played the tent stage outside the main festival area in 2016 as well. I missed them though. Once they got going everything fitted together in a good way though. It’s hard to label their music but perhaps Prog Rock could be good.
I really enjoyed the dynamics in BLACK MAGIC’s music, it all felt genuine and well worked through. Both the variation and intensity in the music was very good. From the rather raw “Into The Depths” and “Savage Sword” to varied and mellow (and almost brand new) “Demon Lord”. That song was the one I liked the best. It’s a little contradictive since I’m not really into that kind of music in general. But when done right it sure works. BLACK MAGIC impressed, I really enjoyed their show. They had the groove and was creative enough to keep me interested throughout their set.
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I was really looking forward to seeing WITCHFYNDE at the ‘NWOBHM X-MAS Rocka’. Apart from the massive treat with the 3-song in the photo-pit the band gave a rather mixed impression. On occasion, it sounded great but on other it was hard to tell what was going on. So, I didn’t know what to expect here but it was clear from start that all planets were in line this evening. Damn... I know it was the same band, definitely the same guys but the nerve and intensity they had here was phenomenal. This whole show sounded like the blast and shook-up I got in the photo-pit the last time. It was weird, in a very good way. Luther Beltz’s goth-style towards the rather loosely dressed band just added to that feeling. Bands can try to bring that Occult and evil vibe but never come close. Here, you have a bunch of guys not trying and everything just oozes of it.
I got the “Cloak & Dagger” record eons ago and I really enjoyed it even if my friends said it was too soft as it was only Thrash and Death Metal that was valid at the time. Perhaps it’s not the most accessible music but when it sticks in the early days it will stay. And it’s always a true pleasure to hear the song live, especially the title track which is one of my favorites from the album. The intensity rose even further towards the end of WITCHFYNDE’s show, fantastic “Stab In The Back” worked just right, the beat is good and the sound was perfect. All the great details on the guitars came through. It is this that separates band, how good the experience get. The devil is in the details and here it all was crisp and clear. And then, since all old-school bands seem to go down really well at ‘Muskelrock’ there was no doubt WITCHFYNDE was going to get a great response for “Stagefright” and “Give ‘Em Hell”. For me, with these classics the live-situation boosted everything even further. The volume and power of the PA sure does these songs good.
So the WITCHFYNDE show came as a great surprise. It was miles apart from ‘NWOBHM X-MAS Rocka’. Here their show was fantastic, they gave a weird feeling yes, but everything sounded incredible and it was just great to watch them play. Afterwards I just had to get a t-shirt, and as another confirmation on how good it was, I bought one even though they only were available in large, I normally wear shirts in the size small.
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There’s one part of the Swedish Rock/Hard Rock scene that I never got into. For sure, I liked some songs from HELLACOPTERS when they started to break in the last half of the 90’s. But the wave of bands following, playing the same kind of 70’s Fuzz Rock, Glam or whatever just passed me by. Which of course makes this the first encounter with ROBERT PEHRSSON’S HUMBUCKER. And it what pretty much as I expected it to be. There’s nothing to complain about with the bands or Robert’s performance. Absolutely not, it sounded flawless. The guys are all awesome musicians and there were a few things that shone through. Especially, when it got a little filthy it got me as well. But the music ROBERT PEHRSSON’S HUMBUCKER play isn’t really for me, not when surrounded by the likes of WITCHFYNDE and RAVEN. I need heavier riffs and more distortion to get turned on. But the crowd really seemed to enjoy what they heard and I got frowns and funny faces when I disapproved of the band. So who knows, perhaps if the right occasion comes, ROBERT PEHRSSON’S HUMBUCKER comes around for me as well but this wasn’t the night for that.
ROBERT PEHRSSON’S HUMBUCKER setlist:
01. “Traveling Through The Dark”
02. “The Hollow In A Rising Tone”
03. “Distant Bound”
04. “Wasted Time”
05. “Zero Emotion”
06. “The Somber Sleeps”
07. “Haunt My Mind”
10. “Send Her My Love”
11. “Who Else Is On Your Mind”
ROBERT PEHRSSON’S HUMBUCKER
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I was debating with myself on how to take on the last day and how long I’d stay at the festival. The decision was to see RAVEN and then leave. Right or wrong, there were cool things coming after as well but it felt like a stupid move to have a Wrestling Show (which is tradition of course) as the second to last happening of the festival. I had no interest in seeing that and wait an hour at that time for COVEN was a no go.
RAVEN though did what they normally do, run around on stage like crazy making a whole lotta mess. They are fantastic to watch, I really don’t know how they can keep that level of energy up show after show (and year after year). The downside now though was that legendary drummer Joe Hasselvander had to sit out the tour due to health issues. But for that sake the experience wasn’t lost.
New “Destroy All Monsters” sat a good mood immediately and it sure is a tough job trying to catch the Gallagher brothers inside the frame. It didn’t get easier with the classics “Hard Ride” or “All For One” but it sure was fun trying. And that’s the thing, I was dead tired, cold and quite bored to be honest before RAVEN hit the stage. But the joy they spread with their attitude and energy can turn any mood to a good one. They sounded amazing; it’s tight and powerful even though they only are a trio. And that they never stop is what fascinates me the most. They do take breaks to drink or tune but not all at the same time. When John needs to back off a bit brother Mark takes on the front-line instead. It might seem like a very small thing, and yes, tuning and drinking belong to any show. But this is really what sets RAVEN apart from most any band and it sure increases the intensity of the show. And, that there is a flow, a plan if you will, makes it all more powerful and in your face. Then, it can appear freaky on occasion, after fantastic “On and On” it’s time for Mark’s bass solo. His mean sound and the choice of instrument might not be the most suitable for “Star Sprangled Banner” but it works, it’s perhaps more fun than good but who says you need to be dead serious all the time.
So, I doubt anything could have done more for me this evening after RAVEN. Their show was awesome and set things off with a bang. One thing though that showed that the scene isn’t what it used to be... I had to get a RAVEN shirt, a band this good deserves support. Getting the shirt I realized that these dates of this tour were printed straight over the last set of dates.
Nonetheless, it all became a really good ending of a fantastic festival, not all is in my taste but the bands I like did fantastic shows, most exceeded my expectations so it’s hard to pick a favorite. But, apart from RAVEN, WITCHFYNDE did really good too. BANG was impressive, NIGHT DEMON and TYRANEX always kill it, no exception there. Good fun and with a 9th edition this great, what will the 10th have in the bag? It will be exciting to find out.
01. “Destroy All Monsters”
02. “Hard Ride”
03. “All For One”
04. “Rock Until You Drop”
05. “Guitar Solo”
06. “Tank Treads (The Blood Runs Red)”
07. “Mind Over Metal”
08. “Crash Bang Wallop”
09. “Don’t Need Your Money”
10. “On And On”
11. Bass Solo
12. “Break The Chain”
13. “Born To Be Wild” (Mars Bonfire cover)
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