TONS OF ROCK – Day 1 –

TONS OF ROCK – Day 1 –

Festival Crowd@Tons of Rock 2018
Photo by Andrea Chirulescu

In Vain was one of the first bands to feel how horrible the sound quality on the tent stage was, and even enteringthe stage area felt like a bad omen for the rest of the festival. The band did however do a good job themselves in providing some good, progressive extreme metal to those who had managed to get inside the festival area at this time. They were tight and generally kicked a lot of ass during their show. The music isn’t half bad either, although they could have had a stronger setlist if the focus was set a bit more on their last record, «Ænigma», than their latest one.


Girlschool@Tons of Rock 2018
Photo by Andrea Chirulescu


The first band to play on the main stage at Tons Of Rock 2018, was the all female, old school metal band Girlschool. These girls provided a light and easy start for the standard metalhead, and it didn’t sound half bad. It reminded a little bit of a somewhat generic version of a NWOBHM band (maybe not too weird since that is their genre), but the problem was mostly that they sounded a bit too generic. Their live performance in and of itself seemed like it was tailored towards being a festival opener, and so they didn’t really explore their own capabilities too much. All in all a light hearted start, but far from a very memorable performance.


Back in the tent stage, the dark and brutal Whoredom Rife entered the stage, and they were there to prove that black metal isn’t dead – rather far from it-. This might have been one of the more solid concerts of the whole festival, even though the sound quality of the tent did them no service (like so many others at this stage). Whoredom Rife is not a particularly theatrical band, but they are interesting enough to look at, as long as you enjoy their music. On their own merits, this band provided a good concert that most of their fans would place as one of the highlights of the entire festival.


Alestorm@Tons of Rock 2018
Photo by Andrea Chirulescu


Next up on the main stage was the Scottish pirates of Alestorm. The thing about this band is that their stage presence alone wouldn’t really show people that they are playing metal with a pirate twist. They mostly just look like plain dudes that have come to party, and in many respects, that is the completely right way to look at it as well. The band wasn’t exactly very tight in the sense that everything sounded perfect and that it was a hard hitting show where no mistakes were made. However, that was clearly not what Alestorm was going for either. Like previously stated: They were there to party, and as long as the audience had a great time and they had a great time, then that’s all that matters. They could possibly have made some changes in order to make the setlist flow a bit better, but at the end of the day, this was a solid 45 minutes of partying that every attending guest enjoyed being at.


Gaahls Wyrd performed their black mass in the tent stage, and this might have been the first band out of only a handful on the entire festival to not suffer tremendously from the bad sound mix on that stage. The ritualistic pressure of Gaahl’s music seems almost otherworldly as they performed songs from most of the projects that Gaahl himself have been a part of. One could really feel the tension flowing from the stage and out into the audience. Musically, Gaahl’s Wyrd is a bit up and down, but that is mainly due to them playing material from Espedal’s entire catalogue, and not every project he was in in the past was at the same level. Gaahl’s presence on stage is also completely captivating. It is interesting to see that a man that moves so little and doesn’t really do much on stage, still manages to take the entire room. It is an art, really.


Arch Enemy@Tons of Rock 2018
Photo by Andrea Chirulescu


Arch Enemy from Sweden decided to stop by the main stage later that evening, and they gave a very energetic show. The Melodeath group showed off some of their catchiest tunes in a phenomenally tight performance that will stay with their fans’ memories for quite some time. For the people that aren’t too much into melodic death metal though, it might have been a bit of a mixed bag. The band doesn’t reach too much out to gain new fans, it seems, and so they mostly stick to what’s within their comfort zone. Not necessarily anything wrong with that, but it does limit the band to some degree. They could have played a lot more old material in order to win over fans of the more classic death metal genre, but instead Arch Enemy keeps heading forward, and based on this performance, they don’t regret that. The band seemed to enjoy their time on stage, and their core fans got what they came for.


And then to calm things down a little bit. Wardruna. More than just a band or a performance. This experience is something close to a euphoric touch of the Norwegian cultural core. This group brings a natural force with their music in such a way that most other bands usually will have to concede the title of «best festival performance». However, even though the music of Wardruna is damn near magical, and their performances are spiritually on a different level, they were one of the saddest victims of the sound engineer in the tent stage not doing a good enough job. The ritualistic drumming ended up eating up the entire sound from the stage, leaving little room for anything else. Wardruna deserved better than to have to play in the tent, and it is almost offensive that they were placed there. Let’s just hope that the concert in Bergen in August will do them justice.


Wardruna@Tons of Rock 2018
Photo by Andrea Chirulescu


Ozzy Osbourne. Maybe the most important name of heavy metal ever. It is weird to know that this presumably is the last time Norway ever gets to have this legend over for a visit. They played a combo of the old Sabbath material as well as Ozzy solo songs. Now let’s be honest: Ozzy is no longer a spring chicken. His voice does no longer hit as far up as it used to, and the man is just simply not able to carry himself like he used to. It’s ok, we all get older, but it would be a lie to say that it didn’t affect the performance. Other things that affected the performance was Zakk Wylde’s constant guitar jerking and his horrible way of trying to make the guitar parts of classic heavy metal songs more tailored to the 15 year olds that have just recently started playing metal songs on the guitar, themselves. All the string bendings were nauseating to witness, and a fifteen minute guitar solo in the middle of the set didn’t help. If it were possible, Zakk Wylde should have been the one to end his career, and then we could get some good last years with Ozzy. The song «Mama, I’m coming home» was a lovely end for the show, and it served as a beautiful goodbye to the godfather of heavy metal. And then Zakk ruined paranoid right after.


In the end, Ozzy Osbourne made a good show for his last goodbye, and everyone that witnessed it should have felt something within them during this concert, because it is after all the man who started it all, and he is finally (as far as we know) allowed to rest and live out the rest of his days in peace.

Editor note: no photography was allowed during Ozzy Osborne’s show