Barge to Hell 2012 –

Barge to Hell 2012 –

After dreaming about it for many months, finally the chance to attend the metal cruise Barge to Hell ( became reality and I got to witness one of the most interesting concert experience. 40 bands, 1200 people, hundreds of ship crew, musicians and their crew and techs, all contributed to a never ending series of unforgettable moments, from the afternoon we sailed to Miami, all the way to Bahamas after 2 days, spent one day in Nassau, and then back again to Miami after two more days on the sea.


The 14 stories boat we sailed on was called ‘Majesty of the Seas’, it has three stages, out of which an outdoor one facing a pool and two hot tubs, countless corridors, a casino, a games room, a climbing wall, a basketball court, a table-tennis table, a gym hall, some duty free shops, a merchandise area, countless corridors, several restaurants and way too many people walking around and asking if you want something to drink. It also has a bunch of people walking around either in their favorite metal summer gear (after all, we had around 20-25 degrees daily) or simply in their swimming gear, ending up doing some sort of mosh pits in the tubs. One of the most interesting water activities was the Belly flop contest, with jury members chosen from several bands. The contest brought the biggest amount of crowd on the pool deck and the most painful ‘oooooohhhs’ sung at once by those watching the painful performances.

(Photo: Andrea Chirulescu/Road Magazine)

Ultimate Metal Cruise, the agency responsible with organizing this floating festival, managed to book 40 bands, with some last minute cancellations and freshly booked replacements. Of course, such a big amount of bands makes it easy to match at least some of your old time favorites or to discover some new incredible tunes or to allow you to see some ‘moving’ legends who might not get to tour too soon in your area. But the schedule is insane. First concerts start at 10AM and last one ends somewhere around 3-4 AM if everything goes pretty smooth with the change overs. Not like on the first day, when the pool stage was still being built at the time the first band was supposed to start. But, the idea is that is close to impossible to really see everything and also try to sit down with friends, catch some fun in the karaoke bar, take a nap, sleep at night, have few drinks, you know, the regular stuff. Besides, some of the bands really worth watching twice, since they either put up top class shows or the frontman is such a looney that the daily laughter ratio is guaranteed with him on stage.

Among the shows that left the deepest impressions I can name the following:

Kampfar @ Barge to Hell 2012
(Photo: Andrea Chirulescu/Road Magazine)

Behemoth – probably one of the few bands who was able to bring along enough stage techs for two perfect concerts. Sound wise, light wise, stage looks wise and everything else wise. Their black-death metal probably sounded double as good as in reality due such skilled performers and such an intense arrangement. Another well arranged concert was Mayhem‘s, which felt, overall, very dark and dramatic, but, due personal reasons, I really can’t take them seriously and enjoy the darkness of their shows. The Norwegian bands actually managed to make it on the highest ranks of top performers on the cruise. Two of the tightest and most rewarding experiences were Kampfar‘s shows and their pagan black metal that pulled off a really decent audience when they played on the deck stage at about 2 AM. Enslaved was a delight for the fans since they came with two different sets and walked us through the whole discography, spicing it up with an ‘Immigrant song’ cover.

Sólstafir @ Barge to Hell 2012
(Photo: Andrea Chirulescu/Road Magazine)

South America was also well represented and the two top performances for me were Krisiun and Sepultura. The first one was a trio consisting of three music playing machines. Insanely fast and tight and rhythmic and whatnot. I’d totally love to see them performing for a full show, since most of the bands on the cruise had anything between 45 minutes and one hour. Sepultura have aquired themselves a sick drumming machine, in the person of young Eloy Casagrande. The pooldeck stage was rocked to the max when classic hits started pouring from the speakers and, I repeat, being so amazingly sustained by the very skilled kid behind the drums. Not Brazilians, but still Portugese speaking, Moonspell was another top band. A style that didn’t fit too much the death-thrash-black metal combos of most other bands, their gothic like sound was a bit from another world. It’s the same feeling I got during Sólstafir‘s performances. But this didn’t stop the music from sounding great, nor the audience from cheering to the fullest. Brazil also offered one of the nicest surprises, by the name of Seita, a band who put up a awesome intense show, despite the fact that only about 15 people stood up in front of their stage.

Necronomicon @ Barge to Hell 2012
(Photo: Andrea Chirulescu/Road Magazine)

I was really happy to see Necronomicon again (from Canada, I just missed the German ones) since they are some of the most insane head bangers I saw and have really cool stage outfits. Municipal Waste was way too fun, especially when they invited Napalm Death, At the gates and Exodus singers to perform with them. At he Gates, despite being headliners, was a rather common concert with nothing too particular. Possessed on the other hand was worth all the respect with their singer moving around and headbanging from a wheel chair and the rest of the band fully supporting him. I am disappointed I missed Bonded by blood, mainly for the reason that hey had a chair moshpit (try to find it on youtube to understand what I mean). I was also disappointed that Nachtmystium managed to screw up their performance by sleeping until someone announced they are cancelled, and then running all the way to the stage, wasting more time to set up the instruments and ending by performing 2-3 songs, and not gaining much appreciation for the way they sung their songs.

Municipal Waste @ Barge to Hell 2012
(Photo: Andrea Chirulescu/Road Magazine)

Exodus came up with a lovely surprise for the last concert on the pooldeck stage – they rented tuxedos and came on stage on the rhythms of Bee gees’ ‘Stayin Alive’. Sodom and Sacred Reich were just cool to watch live again, while Soilwork and Rotting Christ were even cooler since they still have what it takes to go wild on stage and not allow you to stand still.

(Photo: Andrea Chirulescu/Road Magazine)

As for the rest of the bands not mentioned here, I either might have missed them or just don’t remember much at the moment I am writing this. And while I might forget one specific concert or another, I am pretty sure I’ll never forget the feeling of being surrounded by such great people and not giving a damn what day of the week it was. As far as we were told, there’s probably no barge in 2013, but the next edition will most likely be scheduled for 2014. Until then, you could also have a look at the 70000 Tons of Metal cruise, having the same organizers, but a different kind of lineup.
See you on the next trip to hell!