After a day of coverage, interviews & party, we woke up as the boat was anchored in the port of Falmouth, Jamaica. With the hangover effects still lingering around, we got up early got some breakfast and head outside for a day of sun, beach and relaxation, after all, that is what you do on a cruise trip right?We hang out by the merchants plaza for a bit, look around and bought some souvenirs from the local gift stores, even though the locals were looking at us as we were some sort of odd black shirt/long hair army that just landed on their port to take it over. Also, it was interesting to see the a bunch of metalheads sitting in front of a reggae band playing in the middle of the plaza. Then we head out to Blue Water beach one of the closest beaches around (5 minutes) from the port. Once we got to the beach we set up our camp and spend the rest of the day laying out on the beach taking the sun, getting into the ocean, hanging out and having a few buckets of Red Stripe. There was also a huge party going on at Margaritaville. Jimmy Buffet, the most un-metal man in the universe, set up this party area for cruise-goers to get drunk on margaritas and swim. Well, the metal peeps of the cruise took over; there was Iced Earth playing on the speakers, an intense frisbee game going on, and people were climbing up the huge cliff that was built and windmilling from the top. Around 2 pm we were ready to get back to the boat before the last boarding call around 3 pm or 3:30 pm. After a shower and getting some lunch we were ready for more shows.
The day continued with Russian folk metal masters Arkona who played an enchanted and almost mystical show that included songs like Goi Rode Goi, Yav, and Stenka Na Stenku. Following Arkona, we moved up to the pool deck where Finnish power metal veterans Stratovarius delivered an amazing show that included songs like SOS, Phoenix, Black Diamond, Unbreakable and Hunting High and Low. Right after Stratovarius we decided to check out Belphegor, who played an incredible set! Being one of the more theatrical bands on the bill, their set was equipped with gas masks and smoke. With bloodied corpse paint-caked faces, this band alone summoned demons on the ship.
Following Belphegor’s set, we went down to the theater for the long-awaited Visions of Atlantis‘ set which was worth the wait as the French/Austrian band delivered a powerful show that includes tracks like; Passing Dead End, Seven Seas, Lost, Winternight, New Dawn, and Lemuria. It was interesting seeing singer Clementine Delauney on a more active role from her previous role in Serenity. Their set was received by a huge crowd that filled a great part of the theater, and their canceled performance on the pool deck was re-schedule for the last day so more people got the chance to see them.
After getting a bite really quick we were ready for Gamma Ray, who played a short but energetic show including songs like Fight, I Want Out (Helloween cover), Dethrone Tyranny, Master of Confusion, Rebellion in Dreamland / Heavy Metal Universe / Ride the Sky and Somewhere Out in Space. It was a dream come true to see Kai Hansen playing these songs, and we don’t only mean I Want Out which was a great surprise, but, in general, it was great to hear a legendary band like Gamma Ray still delivering amazing music live.
Next up we came across with November’s Doom, who isn’t a band that typically plays often, so it was pretty awesome seeing them play. Being the doomiest on the ship, they compelled a unique energy. With mellow melodies and deeper tones, this band made their trademark on the cruise.
Lacuna Coil’s second set on the pool deck it was awesome as it was surprising. Some of the songs were similar to their first set, but there was that moment in which we got to witness Christina Scabbia sang a duet with Simone Simons (Epica) for the classic Heaven’s a Lie. The crowd was left speechless as this two colossal voices united to interpret such a Lacuna Coil classic, indeed, that was a memorable 70000 tons moment. Lacuna Coil continued to kill it, playing new material as well as classics such as Swamped.
Fleshgod Apocalypse never fails to deliver their utmost performance. This was especially relevant to what was witnessed on the ship. The band brought all the trumpets and blast beats from Italy, as their operatic stylings clashed with brutality. While having seen this band multiple times in the past, it was the first seeing them with opera singer Veronia Bordacchini, who was flawless live. Overall, this band killed it!
The next set was one that we got to see from far away the night before, but this time, we need to get closer to feel the heaviness and the sorrow of Paradise Lost, not to mentioned the dark humor of vocalist Nick Holmes. Even though this set highly focused on the band’s latest albums (Tragic idol and The Plague Within) there were a few classics from their early days, still their show was amazing and it was definitely one of our highlights of the night.
Epica was the next show we got to catch on, It was the first time that we were able to see them since 2012 when they toured the US in full form (they toured early this year was it wasn’t a tour that cover many cities around the US). As always watching Epica live is not always about their music, but it’s also about the energy they feed to the crowd, the level of interaction between band and crowd, and the emotion that their music has to offer. They played an interesting set that included jewels like Storm the Sorrow, Sancta Terra, Design Your Universe, The Obsessive Devotion and Kingdom of Heaven among others, and for what we heard it was a different show from the one they played the night before on the pool deck.
Right after Epica, Firewind delivered a sizzling show that included our first taste of Henning Basse as the new vocalist of Firewind. With songs like World on Fire, Few Against Many, Mercenary Man, The Fire and the Fury and Tyranny. Gus G and the gang showed up why they picked Henning‘s voice to interpret such powerful songs. It was refreshing seeing the greek fire commanders after a few years since they toured the US last time with Turisas.
Children of Bodom were incredible! After giving a great review to I Worship Chaos, the material sounded insane live. And being a longtime Bodom fan, of course seeing older material played was the pinnacle. Songs like Hate Me! and Bodom Beach Terror sounded as good as they do on the album, if not better. Bodom also welcomed a fresh face to the line-up, guitarist Daniel Freyberg. Being one of his first times playing with the band, he delivered an amazing performance. Overall, the Bodom live experience couldn’t have been better!
There is no rest for the wicked aboard 70000 Tons of Metal, even when is 1 am, we continued on our mission of catching as many shows as we could, we watched the second set of Hammerfall, the Templars of metal on a more inclusive and dark setting delivered a different show from the one they played on the pool deck the day before. This time, they took us on a trip down memory lane with songs like; Heeding the Call, Blood Bound, Child of the Damned (Warlord cover), Glory to the Brave, Renegade, and Hearts on Fire. It was one of the most intense shows that we witnessed, not only the energy of those songs, the crowd singing along, and how great they sounded. It was an epic experience, to say the least.
After Hammerfall, we took a quick nap, woke up and we were out of the door at 4:30 am to catch No Raza’s last set at the Studio B, and it seems we were not the only ones as the venue had a lot of people supporting the Colombians at that time. even though it was a bit similar to their show at the theater, they did command that stage and delivered a lethal dose of death metal that was well received by the crowd.
We decided to stick around and check out Carach Angren closing the day at the pool deck, the Dutch ghosts took the Independence of the Seas and turned into the Flying Dutchman as they delivered their own version of 17th century history through songs like; Bloodstains on the Captain’s Log, Lingering in an Imprint Haunting, The Carriage Wheel Murder and more (sorry I don’t remember more at the moment). Since we were up already, we decided to stay up a bit longer and watch the sunrise, because well not every day you get to see it from a cruise in the middle of the ocean, and what a view, with that in mind we went back to our cabin and rest up for the last day of metal, sun, and ocean.