2023 is one hell of an important year for SRF. The festival is celebrating its 30th anniversary and still growing strong! It all started way back in 1992. The organizers back then wanted to mix more than one genre and so  Sommarfestivalen i Olofström was born. Nazareth and Wishbone Ash amongst many others were featured on the bill of the then one day festival. The next year 1993 the festival moved to Karlshamn and the name was changed to Karlshamn Rock Festival and hosted bands like Fleetwood Mac, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bachman Turner Overdrive and the founders of heavy metal Black Sabbath. 

In 1998 the festival grew out of his foundations and moved again to Norje near Sölvesborg, still holy ground up to this year. The name was kept and a mix of bands like Simple Minds and Dee Snider colored the bill.

The year 1999 saw yet another name change and was called Sweden Rock Festival as we all know today. The emphasis on hard rock became clearer.

In 2001 management changed and since that time it gradually increased in size to become one of the most famous rock and metal festivals worlwide with visitors from over fifty different countries and hosting some of the most iconic bands in the genre.

Bands like Iron Maiden, Kiss, Black Sabbath, Guns n’ Roses, Rush, Judas Priest, Aerosmith, Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake, Accept, Alice Cooper, Soundgarden, Mötley Crüe, Scorpions, Volbeat, ZZ Top, Sabaton, In Flames, Triumph, Def Leppard, Lita Ford and many many more have all played at the festival. 

So congratulations and horns up!!!


SRF is well known for giving Swedish and other Skandinavian bands the opportunity to perform and sometimes make a name for themselves. This year is no exception.

Deathstars is a Swedish born industrial metal band from Strömstad formed way back in the year 2000. Trademarks are dark horror lyrics, face paint and dark stage clothes, social distinctive outbursts all relating to the gothic scene. So far they have released five studio albums and tonight they are serving the loyal SFR audience a tasty mix of all albums.

Starting their gig with This Is from their latest baby Everything Destroys You is a preview of what is to come. Blending old and new with a tastful sauce of professionalism and dark excitement, these goth-like rockers serve us fourteen tracks on a tastefull platter with a little hint to the almighty Rammstein sometimes!

Another new feature this year are the live interviews on the festival ground itself so everyone can enjoy the experience of listening to their favourite bandmembers talk. This could be interesting but the only problem is that not everyone can understand what is said. You have people visiting SRF from fifty different countries so it is logical not everybody speaks Swedish but on the other hand is understandable that Swedish artists like to conversate in their own language. Maybe there is something to think about there. Anyway here are some pictures from the Swedish melodic death metal ensemble Soilwork chatting away.

If you are into melodic death metal the the stage where Soilwork is doing their thing is the place to be. Yet another Swedish band formed back in late 1995 first under the name Inferior Breed and changing it to Soilwork, meaning ‘working from the ground up’, in 1996. Influences came from bands like Judas Priest, Accept, In Flames, Metallica, Slayer, At The Gates, Entombed, Bathory, Pantera, Carcass and Meshuggah and they shared stages as support for bands like Dark Tranquility, Cannibal Corpse and Defleshed. Their third release A Predator’s Portrait back in 2000 was well received and earned them a well deserved place in the death metal scene. Up till now they delivered twelve studio albums, one live album and four extended plays. Today they serve only twelve songs from only five albums with the main focus on the latest newborn with a release in August 2022. Opening track Overgivenheten alongside Electric Again, Harvest Spine, Is It In Your Darkness and Valleys Of Gloam are trashing through the speakers like they have been on the setlist forever, so energetic and with a high level of enthusiasm. Only point of critisism is the fact Soilwork did not perform one song from their first two studio efforts and that’s a shame because their is some really beautiful high standard music on there. Maybe next time they are on the SRF bill again!

And then there’s Jinjer, the Ukrainian metalcore band, playing the Sweden Rock Festival for the very first time. The band from Donetsk saw the light of day back in 2008 and funny enough in this year’s edition of SRF there wasn’t anyone in the band left from the original line up! The arrival of singer Tetiana Shmailyuk and guitarist Roman Ibramkhalilov marks their offical year of formation in 2009.  They started out touring on their own funds, won the Best Ukrainian Metal Act award held by Kyiv’s InshaMuzyka label in 2013 and they did that again in 2016. Later on they toured as support in Europe with Arch Enemy followed by their first American tour at the side of Cradle Of Filth. They also toured with Soilwork, Amorphis and Obscurity and released four full length albums…and now they are here!

As far as the music goes they are influences to discover from different genres. On one hand there is Slayer, Pantera, Gojira and Lamb Of God to be mentioned alongside metal acts like Opeth and even progressive elements from soul, jazz, reggae and groove metal can be heard througout many of their songwriting.

Today’s set is mainly based on their latest studio effort Wallflowers released back in 2021. As I Boil Ice, Vortex, Call Me A Symbol, Sleep Of The Righteous, Colossus and Copycat sound so overwhelming, strong and hard thanks to that tiny little lady with that massive voice, a very consistent rhytmn section where bassist Eugene Abdukhanov with his five string bass takes the tracks to a higher level and last but not least guitar slinger Roman Ibramkhalilov complementing the overall sound.  

It’s the second time around for the Australian lads from Airbourne. They first played the Sweden Rock Festival back in 2008, touring at that time to promote their debut album Runnin’ Wild that appeared on the United Kingdom Albums Chart and the United States Billboard 200. In 2013 the album received a silver award by BPI, the British Phonographic Industry. The high level energy rock and roll these guys play, with a hint to that other Australian institute, allowed them to tour as support for other bands and numerous festivals all over the world. They are quite popular in Skandinavia as well so a large crowd assembled in front of the stage to enjoy some Swedish beers, a little headbanging but most of all to enjoy the catchy tunes these Aussies perform. For our and their enjoyment we get a lovely mix from all five studio albums but with the main focus on the first and third release. No matter what song they rock, lead vocalist and lead guitarist Joel O’Keefe steals the show as ever. They pull every cliche rock and roll has to offer. Nothing that hasn’t been done before in rock history but it’s fun and adds a sweet flavour to the intense music these boys present. See ya next time!

Only Vivian Campbell from Def Leppard came out to the inteview caravan to talk about his former bands, his time with Def Leppard and the co-headlining tour they are doing with Mötley Crüe. An entertaining but short talk…and this time completely in English because Campbell knows the only word he and visitors from around globe know…Tack!!!

Bay area trashers Testament are back at the Sweden Rock Festival again. They were invited a couple of times before, last time dates back to 2008 if records are not mistaken. These guys always deliver as they promise, good old fahioned fast trash metal. No ballads or softer tracks just pure straight forward high level trash metal without bullshit.

Kicking of with the appropriate Rise Up from the 2012 release it seems sure Testament will take us on a hell of a ride! Immediately followed by The New Order and The Preacher from their second release way back in 1988 the SFR trashers are tested to the limit when headbanging. They are speeding through their back catalogue en play songs from nearly every album they have ever recorded. Grand finale comes with Into The Pit, again from their second one.

This is a solid trashing machine with unusually skilled musicians but it’s Chuck Billy grabbing much of the attention while guitar slinger Alex Skolnick seasons this live performance with tasteful solo’s backed by a solid rhythm section!

NWOBHM or New Wave Of British Heavy Metal legends Def Leppard is a much appreciated guest at the Sweden Rock Festival and has rocked this place a number of times as a headlining act. This year they did a co-headlining tour with that famous glamrock US band Mötley Crüe. So tonight last mentioned band is closing down the first festival day. Back to the Leppards now.

These guys have a massive back catalogue to choose from so it must be difficult to compose a setlist where everyone is happy. In 2022 they released their latest album Diamond Star Halos and what better way to start this visual rock circus with Take What You Want, opening track on that album. It’s quite clear these Brits are getting older. Joe Elliott’s voice is okay but  not as grasping as in the early days or even the last time they hit the festival.

Let’s Get Rocked gets this party going and after that all hell breaks loose. Digging in their very rich past they are mixng songs from their two best and most successful releases ever. With Hysteria and Pyromania fans are treated to nine songs such as Animal, Armageddon It, Foolin’, Photograph, Hysteria, Love Bites and a few more. Musically it sounds like an oiled machine still Elliott is the weaker point this time around. May be a bad day or does age really kick in? Anyway the Def Leppard addicts love it all and that’s what really matters!

After their impressive set a few hours before Testament vocalist Chuck Billy and guitar player Eric Peterson came down to the caravan to chat about life on the road, recording music and basically joking around. They seem to have had a great time playing the festival and when the words came out of Billy’s (big) mouth it seemed sincere.

Swedish heavy metal band Avatar is on the rise. Since their formation in 2001 the band has released nine studio albums and each album showcases an evolution on a musical level.The first one came into this world in 2006 and saw the band touring as support for Evergrey and In Flames. Schlacht, the second one released in 2007, saw them touring with Obituary and Harcore Superstar and even granted them a spot on the Sweden Rock Festival in 2008. So it went on with seven other releases, Dance Devil Dance being the lastest one.

Today’s setlist consists of tracks from Black Waltz on, nothing from the first three efforts. The new one is represented with three songs and the title track is even used to open the gig. As good as it gets,  lead singer Johannes Eckerström remains the main attraction. Sure everybody looks great in their stage outfit but the singer is somewhat next level in appearance. As far as the music goes one thing can be said. The overall sound is simply fantastic proving Avatar is a well oiled rocking machine with a nose for visual attraction in accordance with the music. Highlight is without a doubt last song Hail The Apocalypse!

Can anyone think of a better way to end this fantastic first festival day than with Mötley Crüe? Agreed, some of you headbangers probably remember the last time the Crüe played the Sweden Rock Festival. The band didn’t sound right a that time. Vince Neil sang like it was his first time out and at times it was downright false. Even the rhytmn section with Tommy Lee and Nikki Sixx struggled, not to mention Mick Mars acting like an old and tired man. So expectations are really high since guitar player Mick Mars quit or was fired, we’ll never know.

In John 5 (John William Lowery) who played with David Lee Roth, Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie, they found a more than worthy replacement. Opening track Wild Side from their fourth release Girls Girls Girls sounds quite promising. Vince Neil lost some weight and is actually singing really well. Even the music is balanced out to a degree where John 5 is given the oppurtunity to showcase what he’s made about, melodic solo’s over the glamrock historical tracks. 

They play songs from nearly every album they slammed onto the world of rock and the Crüe fans just love it. Highlights are definitely Shout At The Devil, Too Fast For Love, Home Sweet Home, Dr Feelgood and Kickstart My Heart. If they keep up this level of musicianship they are welcome to headline the festival again in the near future!


The folkmetal from the Finnish vikings in Korpiklaani is perfect for a second and sunny festival day at the Sweden Rock Festival. Korpiklaani’s speciality is mixing traditional Finnish folk music called ‘humppa’ with metal where the emphasis is not necesarrely on the metal part. Song lyrics are about mythological themes, nature and of course partying. Singing happens varied in English or Finnish.

And today they are truly having a ball onstage. Picking the fruits of their twelve releases since 2003 they seem to like their latest Jylhä that saw the light of day in 2021. Huolettomat, Leväluhta, Niemi and Sanaton Maa seem to blend in perfectly with the older stuff. The band is enjoying their time on the Sweden Rock platform and so are the party rockers in front of them. Good job to warm up everybody for what is to come! 

Hello Sweden Rock Festival…the bitch is back!!! Lita Ford is a more than welcome guest at the festival. She has performed here a few times and always gives the best of herself with a great back up band. Many many years ago she used to be in a band with that other rocking lady Joan Jett. The Runaways split and Jett formed Joan Jett and The Blackhearts while Ford tried her luck under her own name and this proved to be very successful. 

Going on 65 she can still rock like she is 21 but not today. She’s of to a rocky start where Gotta Let Go, Larger Than Life and Relentless sound quite mellow. Then she regroups and the volume seems to be turned up a notch. Can’t Catch is rocking like a hurricane followed by the inevitable Runaways track Cherry Bomb and the Sex Pistols cover Black Leather executed very well. Closing the very short set with the ballad Close My Eyes Forever and Kiss Me Deadly leaves us with a feeling of unfulfillment. Not bad, not excellent but just average. Better luck next time!


The always and ever sympathetic Udo Dirkschneider came down to the interview caravan from the backstage area together with his son Sven Dirkschneider and Peter Baltes. His son is the drummer and Baltes the bass player for UDO. He used to be the original one for Accept still going strong without Dirkschneider. You can hear Baltes on the first fifteen releases!

They had a chat about the music scene in general, future plans and the reunion from Udo with his old bandmate. Interesting and entertaining at the same time.

British Lion is a side project from Maiden upper chief and bass player Steve Harris playing traditional and shorter hard rock songs so nothing like Iron Maiden. Together with some skilled musicians he released  a first self titled album back in 2012. Second child The Burning came in 2020. Purpose of it all was to perform in somewhat smaller venues as opposed to the large venues Iron Maiden is normally playing. Nevertheless a large crowd is gathering  at the Sweden stage! The setlist is divided over the two excellent releases with the latest one represented with five tracks and the first one with six. All tunes are executed with precision and high level musicianship with Richard Taylor singing the stars from heaven, David Hawkins and Grahame Leslie handling the guitar parts and Simon Dawson hitting the drumkit like his life his life depends on it. If Mr Harris embarks on a journey he always does this beyond perfection. Let’s see what the great Iron Maiden brings tomorrow!

There were a huge of fans waiting in line for the Lita Ford signing session despite her average performance earlier. She still has some very loyal followers so it seems. It wasn’t allowed to take any selfies or to present more than one item to sign but she till took her time with a huge smile on her face!

Udo ‘immer sympatisch’ Dirkschneider and his band simply called UDO are back at the Sweden Rock Festival. He used to be the lead singer in that German old school metalband Accept since the early days back in 1979 and sang on ten  studio and two official live albums. They were hugely successful at that time. Dirkschneider is the proud owner of a career spanning over fifty years and helped shape German heavy metal. His raspy voice is really unique and so recognizable. Up until now he released more albums solo than he did with that other band.

Today he and his band are serving up a diverse selection from those albums. Kicking of with the title track of his first ever solo release Animal House from 1987 we are in for a treat. By the way the album is represented with three of the fourteen song setlist so that means it was important for him to stand on his own two feet! Then he’s picked out one song of Dominator, Holy, Man And Machine, Mastercutor, Mission No X, Rev-Raptor, Solid, Steel Factory and Timebomb and two of Game Over. It feels like your walking through time and it gives a perfect overview from the evolution from the start of his solo thing. No surprises but good old school German heavy metal!

Kamelot, a band ruling the world of power metal, originated from Tampa Florida in the USA, emerged onto the heavy rock scene back in 1991. Founding members Thomas Youngblood and Richard Warner signed their first contract with Noise Records in 1994 and released their first effort Eternity the year after. Like many bands in this weird business they had to deal with quite some personel changes. For instance three lead vocalists came and went or were fired before current singer Tommy Karevik is handling vocal responsabilities. They are hugely popular as proves the large crowd gathering before the stage!

As for many bands with a new release they are eager to showcase if their hard work in the studio is paying of live on stage as well. One More Flag In The Ground and Opus Of The Night (Ghost Requiem) from The Awakening convinces everybody it does. Three tracks from the 2015 release Haven, two from the 2005 album The Black Halo, two from the 2001 Karma and one from Ghost Opera complete the short setlist but still reminding us that they are a band at the peak of their popularity!

Mikkey Dee and Ian Haugland took the time to come down to the festival ground to have a cosy chat in that nicely decorated Sweden Rock Festival caravan. Dee is mostly known for his drum beating with Motörhead, the band of legendary no- nonsense rocker Lemmy Kilmister. Since 2016 he has taken over the drumstool in Scorpions from James Kottak who apparently like to party more than playing the drums for the Scorps. He used to handle the sticks for King Diamond, Helloween and Don Dokken as well. Haugland, also drumming his ass of, is best known for his art in Europe, another high ranked classic Swedish rock band. He toured with Brazen Abbot, Europe collegue John Norum, the voice of rock Glenn Hughes and even the notorious Yngwie Malmsteen. Not bad at all.

The conversation started in English but after two sentences it turned into Swedish so again very hard or just  impossible for other visitors with different languages to understand but still nice to experience the comeradery between two masters of the drumkit!


World renowned band Europe send down frontman and lead vocalist Joey Tempest to have a little chat. Sadly enough again in Swedish but he seemed enthusiastic about performing tonight and with some translation from a Swedish die hard fan it is understood Europe had a great time celebrating their 30th anniversary at the Sweden Rock Festival a view years ago resulting in a live recording on cd and dvd or any other means of release. Many are excited to see Europe close down the festival’s second day!

French technical progressive deathmetal band Gojira is making a name for itself these last few years. Joe Duplantier is guitarplayer and lead singer for the band while his brother Mario has a position behind the drumkit. Together with Christian Andreu on guitar and Jean-Michel Labadie on the bass they are taking every stage as if it was the last time ever to play a gig, really impressive. Their music seems easy but is in fact complicated and quite hard to play if you are striving for perfection and it looks very likely they try their ultimate best to do so.

Today’s set is based around their latest product called Fortitude released two years ago entwined with tracks from a few other releases like Magma, From Mars To Sirius, L’enfant Sauvage and The Way Of All Flesh. Each and every track just blows right out of the speakers and is brutal, fast, heavy and a few more of those adlectives. A gig to remember!

Tunesian band Myrath meaning legacy in Arabic has been around since 2001. A few years back they played the Sweden Rock Festival twice in one day because if memory serves right headliner Behemoth had to cancel their headline spot due to unforeseen circumstances. They are known for their progressive metal. In fact it’s a unique mix of Arabic and Middle Eastern influences wrapped with power and progressive touches.

Today’s endeavour consists of songs from nearly every period since they first started out. The blend of Arabic influences with today’s standard of power and progressiveness is in one word sublime! Child Of Prophecy, Beyond The Stars and Candles Cry are amongst the highligts of the performance and let’s not forget the visuality with great traditionally dressed up male and female dancers and lots of fire. Fantastic and complete musical entertainment!

Finishing the second day of festivities on the festival stage is legendary British band Deep Purple. Is there anyone out there who doesn’t know Smoke On The Water or Highway Star? Doubtful! Admitted there is almost nothing left from the original sound with guitar virtuoso Ritchie Blackmore but the band and their songs are still relevant despite their age. When replacement Steve Morse left the band a while back to take care of his wife who is fighting cancer, the overall Purple sound changed again with newcomer Simon McBride who by the way is the youngster in the band and took care of the guitar duties in keyboardplayer’s Don Airey’s solo project. True fans adore every period the band went through whether you like this or that guitarist, the compositions stand tall!

To set the mood they kick of with, you guessed right, Highway Star. What follows is just an amazing run through time. Six tracks from their 1970 release Machine Head are mixed with more recent albums in a perfect blend. Lazy, When A Blind Man Cries, Pictures Of Home, Space Truckin’ and the inevitable Smoke On The Water sound as contemporary as the songs like Uncommon Man from Now What?! or No Need To Shout from Whoosh!. The same goes for the two Deep Purple In Rock numbers Black Night and Into The Fire equally adapted to this day’s standard right beside Perfect Strangers from the album with the same name or Anya from The Battle Rages On. Besides Ian Gillan singing more than well tonight there’s room for a bass, guitar and keyboard solo splendidly incorporated in the setlist. Let’s hope they will be around for many more years to come!

Many years ago Sweden’s second most important music export product after Abba went through life under the name Europe. The band was put forward as a pop rock band writing radio friendly and hit sensitive songs everybody could listen to. The Final Countdown is the perfect example for that including big hairstyles and very commercial profiles on diverse  televison networks. Nowadays Europe is a well oiled rockmachine putting out solid songs but with a sound a lot harder and less commercial than the early days.

A performance by the band these days still includes tracks from that era but the sound is noticeable different. Listen to Seven Doors Hotel, Rock The Night, Sign Of The Times and even Superstitious with a little bit of Here I Go Again from Whitesnake heavier than ever before. Carrie is performed almost acoustically and The Final Countdown, the hit that almost ended Europe, closes down this evening’s great performce…again. Joey Tempest is still singing like he’s twenty one, John Norum is soloing the music together with the threesome rhythmn sextion consisting of John Leven on bass, Mic Michaeli on keys and drum animal Ian Haugland on drums. Europe still has a right to excist and they seem to be like wine…the older they get the better the taste!


Another Swedish hard rock band called H.E.A.T is up next. Influenced by numerous melodic sounding bands like Whitesnake they are showcasing, as always, a ton of high level energy onstage. Formed back in 2007 in Upplands Väsby their first self titled album was released in 2008 with current and original singer Kenny Leckremo. He was there in the beginning but left the band in 2010 because he suffered from a genetic heart condition causing his heart to beat so fast he had to get off stage to catch his breath. He had to undergo surgery to set things right. From 2010 until 2020 he was replaced by that other hump of energy Eric Grönwall who did a fantastic job in the mean time. Leckremo is back since 2020.

Today’s set is mainly focused  on their 2022 release Freedom Rock, first album with the returned vocalist and that’s logical. As said it’s a high energy performance where the comparison with Bruce Dickinson is not far away in presence. The new stuff like Hollywood, Nationwide, Back To The Rhythm and Tainted sound just amazing and entwine perfectly with tracks from nearly every studio album they released. Great vibe resulting in a reponding audience!

Phil Campbell is mostly and best known for his role as guitar player with the notorious and legendary Motörhead.

He replaced the departing Brian Robertson. When Lemmy died in 2015 he started this new project in 2016 called Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons and they released their debut Age Of Absurdity in 2017. As the name of the band suggests every member in the band, except for the singer, is family related to Campbell. His son Todd is playing guitar and harmonica. His second son Dane is handling the drumsticks and last one Tyla is hitting bass strings. Music from this heavy family is raw and unadulterated, just as simple as that. Campbell was a member of Motörhead for over thirty years and that reflects in his own music with The Bastard Sons.

It was announced that the gang would play a Motörhead set in dedication to the late Mr Kilmister and they kept their promise. It’s not the real deal but it comes pretty close to the original. Opening with Iron Fist you know we are in for a treat. Sublime versions of Damage Case, Rock Out, Born To Raise Hell, R.A.M.O.N.E.S, Going To Brazil, Ace Of Spades and many other Motörhead classics remind us why Campbell was the right and only guitarslinger for the late great Motörhead. You guys are more than welcome to visit the festival every year!

Rancid is taking care of a change of scenery from heavy metal to punkrock for a little while. The band from California is melting punkrock with some influences of ska and they have been doing that since 1991. Formed by Tim Armstrong on vocals and guitar and Matt Freeman on bass and vocals the band have produced nine studio albums, one split and two ep’s filled with sleazy punkrock. Armstrong and Freeman have been friends since they were five and played in bands together several times such as Operation Ivy. Freeman struggled with drugs and alcohol which led to the split of that band. When Armstrong threatened to break all contact Armstrong decide to clean up. After cleaning up and battling his demons Rancid was a fact.

Nearly half of the set consists of tracks from their 1996 album …And Out Come The Wolves, an album giving them more recognition outside of the punkrock scene. Another five songs are taken from their second one Let’s Go released back in 1994 mixed with tunes from various other releases. Rancid still sounds okay live but it’s not as ‘rancid’ as it used to be back in the day but still somewhat enjoyable.


Stockholm born musician Anders Johansson has also found his way to the interview caravan on the festival ground. He is mostly known for his drumming with Yngwie Malmsteen and Hammerfall. He is also the brother of Stratovarius and Rainbow keyboardist Jens and is currently beating sticks with power metal band Tungsten. 

The conversation happens in Swedish and so there’s not much to tell about the content because there was no Swedish translating metal lover around to explain what they were talking about.

Michael Trempenau, better known as Mike Tramp, used to be in that glamrock band White Lion starting out in 1983. He is the sole continuous member of that band until they broke up in 2013 exactly ten years ago. He also released several solo albums and in 2012 he went on a solo acoustic tour. He has been a member of Freak Of Nature, White Lion II or Tramp’s White Lion, Band Of Brothers, The Rock ‘N’ Roll Circuz, Mabel and The Studs.

Today he wants to relive his days in White Lion believed to be the most succesful gathering he was a part of. Still fitting his pants he wore back in the eighties, according to himself, his voice hasn’t changed much. White Lion fans are treated to Mike Tramp sings White Lion and he really doesn’t disappoint. All catchy tunes sung beautifully and backed by some skilled musicians. He has chosen the best known tunes as Lonely Nights, Hungry, When The Children Cry or Broken Heart but that’s okay, those are the songs Lion adepts want to hear anyway. Highlight is most definitely Lady Of The Valley sending shivers down your spine!

BOC or Blue Öyster cult is an American rock band that has been around since the late sixties and is still active to this day. Mostly known for Don’t Fear The Reaper from their 1976 release Agents Of Fortune and Burnin’ For You from the 1981 album Fire Of Unknown Origin. The Reaper was used in the tv movie from the book The Stand from the world famous Stephen King. Two other reasonably famous tracks Godzilla from Spectres and Astronomy from the 1974 release Secret Treaties covered by that famous trash metal institute called Metallica on Garage Inc. 

Today’s setlist consists of a small selection of twelve numbers from different albums in time. Considering their age they are still skilled musicians but the overall sound comes across as laid back. Ideal so to speak as background music while driving. The younger people amongst the Sweden Rock crowd don’t really know what Blue Öyster cult stands for so there is lots of space at the front of the festival stage. A little bit disappointed for true fans but still a reasonably entertaining fortyfive minutes or so for all the others.

Having done an excellent performance of Mike Tramp sings White Lion the singer was eager to come down to the caravan. The man is an open book and likes to talk about every possible subject without avoiding the nasty bits. The interview went on in English and there were talks about the industry, different projects, working with musicians, life in general and the thing he likes the most, touring around this globe. He truly is one of the most open minded people in the business with both feet on the ground but liking his own voice the most. Still admirable for a man of his statue to come down and speak his mind!

German powermetal band Powerwolf first emerged on the scene in 2003 and their star has been rising ever since. They are using dark themes and images musically and lyrically in contradiction to the genre. Their gothic like compositions are about vampire and werewolf legends also atypical for powermetal. Nevertheless they seem to have a huge fanbase getting larger each year.

To see them performing live is fun to watch with their stage outfit, the stage itself and their corpse paint but they are not doing anything that hasn’t been done before. On top of that it is still daylight so the fire and flames seem to be a bit pointless without the dark but their collection of songs today is dark enough. With only one song from their 2023 release Interludum called Sainted By The Storm the rest of the set is a walk through time picking the best tracks from six different studio albums. The crowd before the Sweden stage is huge so maybe in the near future the festival stage is lurking around the corner and a timespot when darkness falls is more than deserved. Highlights are perhaps the three tracks from Call Of The Wild, their previous release.


Behemoth’s frontman, main composer, guitarplayer and vocalist Adam ‘Nergal’ Darski is taking a different approach to the caravan live interview. Fans standing in front of the caravan were invited to listen to the interview at the back of the caravan. The lucky few got to witness an exclusive and intimate conversation with this Polish legend of extreme metal. Nergal is a different person when he’s performing live onstage or when he’s being interviewed. He is a very calm but somewhat shy human being. He is answering all questions asked even when there’s a cell phone stuck so close to his face to record his every move while is sitting down. The time is cut short because he needs a significant amount of time to prepare for the Behemoth gig closing down the third festival day and he still wants to catch a glimpse of the Iron Maiden gig up next.

The Great Iron Maiden is finishing this third festival day filled with great bands and even greater music. Expectations are high because for many, mostly older, Maiden fans the Iron Maiden from today is not the Iron Maiden from the eighties. Musically they are still writing good music today but nothing is reaching the level of tracks recorded back in the early days.

Senjutsu has been released a while back and tonight five tracks are performed from that album. Days Of Future Past, Death Of The Celts, Hell On Earth, Time Machine and The Writing On The Wall released as a single are performed with musical excellence but it’ s still the legendary songs from the back catalogue we are all waiting for. However it’s admirable they are still doing what they want instead of hanging on to what is expected. Alexander The Great, Heaven Can Wait, Wasted Years, Strangers In A Strange Land and Caught Somewhere In Time from the splendid 1986 Somewhere In Time are the real deal. True they are versions adapted to today’s landscape but still stand the test of time. In addition they spew out some all time favorites like Fear Of The Dark, Iron Maiden, Piece Of Mind, Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son and the enivitable The Number Of The Beast to still the hunger of the older fans who where there from the beginning. In conclusion Iron Maiden still holds the number one spot on the long list of The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal but here and there are some cracks to be discovered. A worthy performance with some reservations!

Deathmetal from Poland. Behemoth is seen as one of the most important extreme metal bands from that country next to Graveland and Vader. When they started out in 1991 they originally played classic black metal with pagan lyrics but later on evolved to using more occult and thelemystical words written by the hand of lead guitarist and vocalist Nergal. Musical skills went up a level and enabled Behemoth to rise above the blackmetal scene and  obtain some commercial success. In 2004 they put out Demigod and embraced the brute technical deathmetal genre putting their own stamp on the music through the remarkable drumming of Inferno, multiple layers of singing and including some Middle Eastern influences.

Tonight’s gig serves this brute technical deathmetal on a silver platter. Behemoth seems to focus on the albums they released after the year 2000 but no one seems to care. The execution is phenomenal musically as well as visually with the latest 2022 release Opvs Contra Natvram put into the spotlight!


American rock band Mammoth WVH is fronted by Wolfgang Van Halen or in short Wolf. He is the bandleader and the son of Eddie Van Halen, guitar virtuoso who died back in 2020 and famous for a technique called fingertapping. Wolfgang started Mammoth as a side project while he was playing bass in his father’s band replacing Michael Anthony. Eddie stated in 2015 his son has an unmatched musical talent and actually said ‘Wait until you hear this kid play bass, guitar and drums. He can do anything on guitar as I do. The Van Halen legacy is gonna go on after I am gone cause this kid is just a natural.’ Wolf even was an official member of Tremonti, Mark Tremonti’s band away from Alter Bridge, appearing on two studio albums.

Mammoth WVH released two albums simply called Mammoth WVH and Mammoth II. Today’s set consists of eight tracks from the first one , a cover and two new songs from the second unreleased record at the time of the gig. Standing out are the numbers Distance referring to his father and the little tribute to Foo Fighter’s Taylor Hawkins My Hero, who died in 2022. So it must be said that Eddie Van Halen was right. The kid is a natural following the great guitarplayer his father was.

Stonerrock band Monster Magnet has been around for over thirty years and was founded by Dave Wyndorf taking care of guitar and vocals. Over the years there were numeral line up changes leaving Wyndorf as the only constant member. The band has also been credited for developing and popularizing the stonerrock genre together with Kyuss and Fu Manchu.

Today they present only ten tracks and only from their 1993 release Superjudge, Dopes To Infinity from 1995 and Powertrip from 1998. Completely ignoring A Better Dystopia put out in 2021 and Born To Go by Hawkwind the impression the Sweden Rock crowd gets is one of uninterested and playing on autopilot. Wyndorf isn’t singing so great and is leaning on the microphone a lot so their passing at the festival goes unnoticed and easy to forget!

Next up is progressive powermetal band Symphony X founded back in 1994 by guitar wizard Michael Romeo, Micheal Pinnella on keys, Jason Rullo beating the drums, Michael LePond tapping the bass and of course singer extraordinaire Russell Allen. The music they play includes complex timings while incorporating elements of heavy metal and progressive rock. The early albums contain strong neo classical elements just as Yngwie Malmsteen did and still does so journalists put them in a box of progressive metal, powermetal and neoclassical metal altough Romeo states it can be misleading sometimes because at the core Symphon X is a metal band.

Whatever category you put them in today they are mainly playing songs from their latest album Underworld released almost eight years ago and it must be said the band is at their peak of performance. The sound is crystal clear and Symphony X is sounding like an oiled machine. Above that Russell Allen is singing like he always does…simply perfect. The Sweden Rock crowd is loving it and why shouldn’t they. Romeo is shaking out solo’s like he is giving out candy backed by the great rhythm section Rullo LePond.  A gig to remember!

The birth of American heavy metal band Skid Row dates back to 1986. The band was extremely popular in the eighties and nineties because of their first two albums. Skid Row from 1989 and Slave To The Grind from 1991 were hugely successful as was the line up. The infamous Sebastian Bach was the original singer but left the band in 1997. After that nothing has been the same. Former H.E.A.T vocalist Erik Grönwall is the fifth singer for the band and is struggling to make everyone forget Bach was the best choice for this band.

Anyway today is a trip down memory lane. With six songs from their first release and seven from the second one, both with Bach, Skid Row knows that’s where the greatness was and is. Altough Grönwall is singing his ass off and doing his upmost, he can’t make us forget the original Sebastian Bach. Still Slave To The Grind, Monkey Business, 18 And A Life To Go, I Remember You and Youth Gone Wild sound and are performed great but it’s not over the moon like in the eighties or nineties. 

The man with the beard is back. This time around not with his ZZ Top but with the BFG’s. In 2021 he lost his ‘brother’ and musical companion for over fifty years. The big question is if there’s a difference what Billy Gibbons does solo or within his band ZZ Top…not really many believe. He’s performing the same sleazy blues rock tunes with a fantastic fat guitarsound.

Today is no exception. He’s throwing around blues licks coverd in a rock sauce like he has been doing his whole career. Mixing songs from his solo albums, ZZ Top and some covers makes this performance great but not unforgettable. In fact he’s exactly giving what the crowd is hungry for. All ZZ Top’s favorites like Beer Drinkers And Hell Raisers, Gimme All Your Lovin’, Got Me Under Pressure, La Grange, Sharp Dressed Man, Thunderbird and Tube Snake Boogie are perfectly mixed with the covers of repectively Slim Harpo andHambone Willie Newborn and his own solo stuff. Excellent performance but it won’t make it into history.

American rock band Alter Bridge has been and still is a constant factor in this thing called music business. Formed mainly out of musicians from Creed they have been producing great alternate rock music since 2004. When not on the road with Alter Bridge Mark Tremonti has his own project simply called Tremonti or he is singing some Sinatra and vocalist Myles Kennedy is doing his solo thing under his own name or is recording with Slash featuring Myles Kennedy And The Conspirators, world famous axeman for Guns N’ Roses. 

Today’s performance shows a perfect balance on the setlist promoting their latest album Pawns And Kings alongside tunes from four other studio recordings. Not a track was played from The Last Hero and Walk The Sky being great albums as well. Alter Bridge stands for high standard performances with each member giving all they got and more. Kennedy is singing like an angel while Tremonti is handling the melodic guitar parts and solo’s with such perfection that it’s almost too good to be real. Welcome back anytime!

This is the moment where many were waiting for, Pantera’s first major tour in 22 years. Anselmo and Brown announced in 2022 a reformation including Zakk Wylde and Charlie Benante as the respective fill-ins for Dimebag Darrell who was shot on stage back in 2004, and Vinnie Paul who died in 2008. Zakk Wylde is best known for his collaboration with the Prince of Darkness and madman Ozzy Osbourne and his own Black Label Society while Benante was swinging the drumsticks with Anthrax.

Today expectations were most definitely met because Wylde, who used to be a close friend to Dimebag, is the perfect guy for this jobe. The centipede is almost making us forget Darrell was a part of this legendary band. What they serve today is simply beyond words. It’s hard, raw, fast and brutal keeping their legacy in mind. Well done you guys because this is truly great counting two original members are no longer in the band. Black Sabbath’s Planet Caravan is the only cover performed and is without a doubt a justification for having Wylde in the band. Existence assured!

What’s more appropiate conclude this year’s edition of the Sweden Rock Festival than to invite homecountry rockers Ghost. Nothing really! The band is gaining popularity gig by gig and are even trying to win some souls across the Atlantic. The satanic themes are sometimes problematic and this especially in the United States. With only five releases to their name they already gathered a huge fanbase. Putting the band in a category is not that easy. They have been put in the boxes of hard rock, heavy metal, arena rock, pop rock, doom metal, progressive rock, psychedelic rock, occult rock, shock rock as well as symphonic metal. Truth is they tick all boxes in a perfect blend. 

Tonight’s show is a selection of tracks from five studio albums and two extended plays and it’s a night to remember. The performes shows how much the band has grown in such a short period of time. To promote their latest release from 2022 holding the name Impera five tunes are picked for this occasion. Musically correct and so visual, what more can I Ghost adapt ask for!