TONS OF ROCK 2017 – Day 2 – Halden – Fredriksten Festning

TONS OF ROCK 2017 – Day 2 – Halden – Fredriksten Festning

After a quite impressive opening day, the festival continued to shine for another day.

Divided Multitude took the Huth Stage rather early in the day, and this is possibly the reason why there were a bit too much space between the people in the crowd. The band did not let this stop them from delivering a show filled with energy, though. Very much an "old school performance" where it seemed like the band had decided way back that the most important thing about the show is that everyone is having a good time. The people that had showed up got a nice show and they seemed to enjoy it quite alot! The music of Divided Multitude is fine, but the stand out factor for the band was their energy and connection to the audience.

(Photo: Andrea Chirulescu)

On the main stage, Avatar followed in Rob Zombie’s footsteps as one of the most entertaining groups on stage. The music is ok, but maybe somewhat "entry level" for some people, but the energy on stage was enormous! Basically like watching a circus! Avatar showed themselves as some of the most interesting performers of the festival. With alot of dancing and jumping around, they completely owned the stage floor, and anyone that were watching. The band seemed somewhat relaxed with the gig, and they played their material nicely enough. Nothing technically outstanding, but like with Zombie – a great show to experience.

Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons brought some old school life to the main stage with their show, playing some good old classic heavy metal/rock n roll songs. The Motörhead vibe was somewhat there, but "Ace of Spades" will never really be the same without the legend himself. The band did however give a nice and respectful nod to the old days of metal, and it felt genuine, and the audience seemed to enjoy the feeling of going back in time for a moment.

Next up on the main stage was the legendary black metal group, Emperor, performing "Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk" album in it’s entirety. The songs were performed flawlessly, and Emperor showed Tons of Rock that even though Emperor are technically broken up, they can still perform as well as anybody else willing to stand on the stage. Ihsahn is quite an intense musician, and he (as well as Trym, Faust and the rest of the band) gave a technically inspiring performance as well as pushing the boundaries for a good black metal show with no corpse paint, nails, studs or bullets. This was basically a great comeback of an old band that should still exist. Also, "Inno A Satana" and "I am the Black Wizards" sounded incredibly nice in the fortress.

(Photo: Andrea Chirulescu)

Down on the Tent Stage, Rotting Christ, carried on the show, and they did a great job as usual. Rotting Christ is so interesting because their music doesn’t quite fit the name or the logo of the band. While the logo matches the name of the band (in being grim and very much black metal-ly), the music is a showcase of what happens when blackened death metal meets groove and funky tunes. It seemed to go over well with their audience (again nothing new there). Some of the songs were even better live than on album, due to the sound giving them a mightier atmosphere.

The deal about Slayer is that everything that can possibly be said has been said a million times, and it applies to every single show they do, it seems. Slayer is Slayer. No more, no less. Old and dark thrash metal that has inspired countless other thrash bands. They played a tight enough show, but they didn’t stand any more out than any other bands strangely enough. Some say that the music of Slayer speaks for itself, and that may very well be, but in this post black and death metal era, Slayer just isn’t that extreme anymore, and that is most of their gimmick. Not a very interesting show, and not a particularly interesting band anymore.

Me and That Man entered the Huth Stage, and like Myrkur the day before, they made this stage shine alot with their dark and atmospheric tunes. Behemoth’s Nergal is on to something interesting with this side project, and it will be interesting to see where this heads in the future. As for the Tons of Rock gig, they played a good show in front of a somewhat limited audience, where some people might not have been completely ready for the interesting style that Me and That Man is pushing towards.

At the same time, Swing of Death, played in the tent. This Norwegian power metal-esque project showed the festival in a nice way that not everything needs to be as dark as Me ant That Man, nor does it need to be as brutal as Slayer, in order to push the agenda of metal and rock and roll. Almost symphonic tunes gave some extra life to the stage, and the audience loved what they got. Maybe not the most memorable of all the shows on the festival in the sense of how spectacular it was, but it definetly provided the crowd with a good time.

(Photo: Andrea Chirulescu)

Devin Townsend Project provided the festival with it’s largest prog input of the year, and it was magnificent to watch. Devin Townsend is a man that has been around forever, and he really proved that he is worth his salt with his performance. It is refreshing to see such a big artist have so much fun on stage, and the jokes he cracked in between songs landed quite nicely for the most part. Technically, it was flawless, and the energy on stage and in the crowd was palpable. This was a rather nice way to end the second day on the main stage. Some serious, and some not so serious songs were on the set list, and it all blended well in a nice soup of prog metal.