"some music was meant to stay underground..."

70000 Tons of Metal - The World's Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise


70000 Tons Of Metal 2023: Day One Featuring Kreator, Kamelot, and Cynic

Photo of Sirenia

Band Photo: Sirenia (?)

In the modern metal world full of festivals, it seems that cruises are becoming more and more common. Whether it be Chris Jericho's Rock 'N' Wrestling Rager At Sea, the Kiss Kruise or the Mediterranea Metal Cruise, heavy metal on the open sea is becoming more and more common. However, to understand how this became a thing, you need look no further than 70000 Tons Of Metal, which as it proudly boasts, is the world's original metal cruise.

First setting sail in 2011, the floating festival quickly grew in size, popularity and prestige to become the institution it is today. After a few years away thanks to the worldwide bastard that was the COVID-19 pandemic, the cruise returned last week for its eleventh voyage. Boasting some of metal's most popular names, cult favourites and up and comers, 70000 Tons was back with a vengeance.

To get festivities underway, sailors had a choice between British death metal veterans Cancer or German heavy metal stalwarts Iron Savior. Fortunately, with every band scheduled to play twice, it's only a matter of scheduling and not worrying about missing out that helps form decisions. So it was decided that the best way to get the ball rolling was Iron Savior, given their more upbeat sound. They proved to be the perfect choice, as their sonic bridge between heavy and power metal matched the excitement felt on board. Of course, with nearly thirty years of music under their belts, not all albums could be represented in forty five minutes, but the carefully chosen setlist including three songs from "Kill Or Get Killed." The chemistry between frontman Piet Sielck and bassist Jan-Sören Eckert also added to the fun of a memorable set which concluded with "Break The Curse" from 2004's, "Battering Ram." Iron Savior are an underrated band who delivered the goods big time today and proved a perfect opener.

Following a short break, it was back to the Ice Rink, the mid size indoor venue within the ship for a strong dose of Swedish death metal courtesy of The Crown. Though not one of the most famous names from the scene, the quintet are certainly one of the best and their electric performance today proved it. With all the energy and tenacity of a great hardcore band mixed with the crushing force of death metal, The Crown unleashed a number of tracks to please fans of all eras. Songs such as "Iron Crown" from the excellent 2018 album, "Cobra Speed Venom" were brought out for newer fans, while classics such as "Total Satan" were also received very warmly. For death metal fans, The Crown should already be in the conversation of bands who deserve more credit, but metal gig goers of all sub-genres, The Crown proved to be a great addition to your list of bands you've seen.

In previous voyages on board the 70000 Tons Of Metal cruise, there have been instances of poor sound but with only one exception this time, they seem to have sorted this problem. Unfortunately, the exception was for one of the most anticipated bands on board, Miami, Florida's own, Cynic. With side banners which commemorated dearly missed drummer Sean Reinert decorating the stage, the technical death metal pioneers took to the stage. It's possible that where I was situated was a factor in the quality of the audio, but from the beginning, the entire band sounded very muddled, while vocalist Paul Masvidal's vocals pierced my ears, even with ear plugs, causing a very uncomfortable and at times, painful listening experience.

I was able to witness "Veil Of Maya," one of the band's better known songs and the only one from their classic album, "Focus" to be played in this set, as well as "Kindly Bent To Free Us," the sole selection from the album of the same name which opened the set. Despite trying to get through the set, by the time the group were half way through "Box Up My Bones" my right ear could no longer withstand the sound and for the sake of my hearing, I took my leave and went to the Royal Theater. A very disappointing experience which I hope was a one off.

For my first experience at the Royal Theater this year, I took my seat (don't worry, there's plenty of room to stand,) for a night at the (ghost) opera and finally see American power metal legends Kamelot. Surprisingly, there were no songs from new album, "The Awakening" in the setlist, but the band still represented newer material immediately, opening the show with "Phantom Divine" from "The Shadow Theory." I was overjoyed when to my surprise, Ad Infinitum singer Melissa Bonny, one of the finest voices in metal music today, joined the band on stage for the song, as well as for "March Of Mephisto" and "Sacrimony," the latter of which also featured Visions Of Atlantis singer Clementine Delauney.)

Kamelot proceeded to delight fans and win over new ones with a frankly brilliant set which showcased why they're one of the most beloved bands in American power metal. The title track from fifth album, "Karma" was as far back as they went for their indoor show on board the Freedom Of The Seas, in a set which nonetheless spanned over twenty years of musical history. "Haven" representatives "Insomnia" and "Here's To The Fall" proved to be particular highlights and by the end of the set, this curious visitor had left a fan. Even if power metal isn't your thing, take the chance to see Kamelot if you ever get it. You won't be disappointed.

Up next, something of the macabre and mad as Polish black metal outfit Batushka entered the Ice Rink. For those of you asking, "Which version of Batushka was it?" I believe it was the one featuring Krzysztof "Derph" Drabikowski, who use the Cyrillic alphabet to spell their name. Whatever the case, they were certainly a sight to behold. Clad in robes, masks and with a set adorned with candles, skulls and symbols, not to mention incense which gave off the stench of church. Honestly speaking, I'm not particularly well versed in Batushka's work, so I couldn't name any of the songs they performed, but I did enjoy what I heard very much. For the uninitiated, Batushka is very much a spectacle, utilising religious imagery and iconography to their advantage and crafting a perfect black metal aesthetic. For fans, and probably the band, I'm sure it's more of a ritual. Whatever you call it, it was stunning and the band sounded excellent.

If there is such a thing as a headliner on 70000 Tons Of Metal, the next act would certainly be it. The Royal Theater was packed to witness the first set from German thrash metal kings Kreator, who were performing a very special show tonight, containing only songs released between 1985 and 1990. As one might expect, the seminal sophomore album, "Pleasure To Kill" was strongly represented, including opening number "Ripping Corpse," reportedly the first time they had played the song since 2005. The treats for old school fans continued as such deep cuts as "Terror Zone," "Under The Guillotine" and "Some Pain Will Last" were all performed live for the first time in years.

Kreator has remained on top when it comes to German thrash and that's largely down to their unassailable live shows (not that Destruction or Sodom are lacking in that department,) and tonight proved that it doesn't matter what they play from their strong as steel catalogue, fans will be delighted by what they see and hear. Frontman Mille Petrozza is still able to whip up a frenzy with his raspy calls for metal chaos in between songs and even gets an international audience to count along in German unprompted. As cool as it was to hear all these old songs again, Kreator's stellar output since "Violent Revolution" may have left some fans, particularly younger ones hoping to hear more recent works, but then, that's what the second set is for.

When it comes to eating on board 70000 Tons Of Metal, there's almost always something open and your best bet is to head to the Windjammer on the 11th floor, which hosts a buffet with a wide selection of hot and cold food, as well as drinks to hand and a bar. While there's plenty of sets you could be watching, it's important to refuel yourself and that also includes sleep as otherwise you risk falling asleep during a set, no matter how good they are, as I found out when watching Insomnium and ironically, could barely keep my eyes open. My ears worked perfectly fine though and what I heard was a wonderous soundscape. Fans were clearly enjoying themselves too in a set which leaned heavily on the 2014 album, "Shadows Of The Dying Sun," including "While We Sleep," "The Primeval Dark" and "Ephermal." Unfortunately owing to the tiredness, it's difficult to recall much more than that so after dragging myself to catch a little of Sirenia's set, itself a bombastic example of Gothic metal, it was off to bed, to awake to an open pool deck stage.

Want to know what happened next? Click the links below!

70000 Tons Of Metal 2023: Day Two

70000 Tons Of Metal 2023: Day Three

70000 Tons Of Metal 2023: Day Four

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com since 2007 and a metal fan since 2001, going as far as to travel to other countries and continents for metal gigs.

What's Next?

Please share this article if you found it interesting.

0 Comments on "70000 Tons Of Metal 2023: Day One"

Be the first to comment! Tell us what you think. (no login required)

To minimize comment spam/abuse, you cannot post comments on articles over a month old. Please check the sidebar to the right or the related band pages for recent related news articles.