Friday at Tons of Rock was the rainy day. The sky was grey, and it rained a little bit most of the day – not much, but just enough to make you wet. But the crowd didn’t seem to mind that much, and the music was just as good as the first day. So here are the bands I saw on Friday. (Photo above: Johannes Eckerström of Avatar)
My first band Friday was the Swedish melodic death metal band Avatar, which has had radio success in the US, and has toured extensively around the world. They started out in 2001, and they have worked hard for their success. On stage they use makeup and costumes that are quite far from the usual metal visuals, but it works well with their fans. A fun show.
Phil Campbell was the guitarist in Mötorhead for 30 years until 2015 when Lemmy Kilmister died and the band was dead, too. Last year Phil Campbell started a new band, Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons, and they follow up the tradition from Mötorhead, being a bit more polished than them. The band played a good and hard set with a mix of originals and covers, bringing a good nostalgic touch to the concert.
The band everyone was waiting for this day was Emperor. They are one of the classic Norwegian metal bands, being formed in 1991. They disbanded in 2001, but have come together for shorter periods after that to do concerts and tours. This year they are on tour for the 20 year anniversary of their third album Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk. Emperor’s history is intertwined with the church burnings and murders in parts of the black metal scene in the 90’s, but that is old history. Emperor’s music is highly technically complicated, and it was good to hear it performed live.
After Emperor I went down to the tent stage to see Rotting Christ from Greece. I saw them at the Inferno festival in 2014 and really liked them then. The band was formed in 1987, so they have been together, with a few changes of musicians, for 30 years, making them one of the veterans at the festival. Rotting Christ is mostly responsible for the Greek metal sound from the 90’s, and their hard aggressive blackened goth metal went down well with the crowd at Tons of Rock.
Slayer was one of the headliners at the first Tons of Rock festival in 2014, and yesterday they were back. As one of the “big four” of the trash metal bands, they have an impressive stage presence, with Tom Araya and Kerry King as the visual focus together with second guitarist Gary Holt. Slayer was formed in 1983 and has been several times in Norway. But they give a good show, even if they haven’t developed their sound much since I saw them the first time at the Øya festival in Oslo in 2013. But you can trust Slayer to always give their best live, and this was true yesterday, too.
The last band out on the main stage on Friday was the Devin Townsend Project. I saw them quite recently in Oslo, but it was good to see them again at Tons of Rock. Musically Devin Townsend mixes several styles into his own special style. You hear some black metal, some prog rock, even some New Age inspired parts, making his concert a really diverse and varied happening. With lots of lights and great sounds, his concert was a perfect closing to me of Friday at Tons of Rock.
Fans of Emperor
All photos are © Per Ole Hagen and must not be used without written permission.