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Metalway Festival Day 3 & 4

Venue: Zaragoza, Spain
Date: 6/26/09, 6/27/09
Reviewed By: Rich Catino

Friday – June 26

As I exited the taxi for day two of Metalway, it was clear mother nature did not have in store for us what came before. The sun was brightly shining and the wind was at a light breeze. See my pic also of the killer sunset.

Amon Amarth were just finishing up the second half of their set (see photo of the setlist) of Viking crafted death metal as I entered the grounds. Tesla were up next and delivered what I was hoping for, a full on hard rockin set including “Modern Day Cowboy’, ‘Rock Me To The Top’, ‘Cumin Atcha Live’, ‘Heaven’s Trail’, and ‘Hang Tough’, plus a couple off their latest “Forever More”, with no ballads. Even their hit ‘Signs’ was done electric.

Former Nightwish singer Tarja Turunen followed. Her band includes Mr. Mike Terrana (ex Rage, Masterplan) on drums, Doug Wimbish from Living Colour on bass, and Kiko Loureiro from Angra on guitars. Being it was a metal festival she stuck to her harder songs, including a cover of Alice Cooper’s hit ‘Poison’, and ‘Wishmaster’, ‘Nemo’, and ‘Over The Hills and Far Away’ from her days in Nightwish. O…and Mike Terrana makes the show with his balls out energy and facial expressions.

Apocalyptica (the classically trained Finnish four piece) as different as they were playing classical and hard rock pieces on cellos with a drummer, went over surprisingly well I thought for a headbangers event. Shows you how much I underestimated the Spaniards. Due to time Queensryche played a smaller, and rather boring, set than what was planned, doing a short suite from their album “Rage For Order” including ‘Walk in the Shadows’, a few from the latest album “American Soldier” (snooze…), closing with ‘Jet City Woman’ from “Empire”.

Twisted Sister were obviously anticipated headliners hearing the crowds roars as I stood in the photo pit. With only an hour to perform the boys had enough time to play as planned their “Stay Hungry” album in its entirety celebrating the 25th of its release. Dee Snider deservedly is the man at the mic, his voice, energy level, rapport with the audience, and stage presence are to be matched.

Mortorhead…are Motorhead, playing dirty hard rock n roll for the bar room brawler and biker, faster speed metal for the headbangers including classics ‘Ace of Spades’, ‘Overkill’, and ‘Iron Fist’ to ‘Rock Out’ from the latest album “Motorizer”.

A Warlock reunion rarely happens (never for the U.S.) but if you can’t make your way over seas to see one keep up with singer Doro Pesch’s touring schedule as she always includes Warlock songs. Having to catch a taxi back into town to the hotel I was unable to take pictures but heard a little of the set that included the MTV hit ‘All We Are’, ‘True As Steel’, ‘Fight For Rock’, and ‘I Rule The Ruins’, closing with a cover of Judas Priest’s ‘Breaking The Law’. (see photo of Warlock’s setlist)

Saturday – June 27

I was really looking forward to today making it a point to see Candlemass deliver an hour set of classic doom metal that included ‘If I Ever Die' and ‘Hammer of Doom’ from the latest album "Death Magic Doom". Primal Fear were a crowd favorite (I also thought they were excellent) getting all those fists in the air early in the day. The new album “16.6” was represented by the title track, ‘Under the Radar’, and ‘Killbound’ amongst what could now be considered classics; ‘Metal if Forever’, ‘Nuclear Fire’, ‘Angel in Black’, and ‘Chainbreaker’. Pretty Maids and Destruction were on at the same time, two different locations, and I caught part of both sets. America is probably not too familiar with the Maids aside from ‘Future World’ which is probably their most popular song and ‘Back to Back’ which was covered by Hammerfall. Destruction brought on the ‘Mad Butcher’s’ fury and ‘Cursed the Gods’ inside the tented area of the Metal Disco stage.

Today’s festival activities also included several artist signings with Primal Fear, Destruction, Warlock, Stratovarius, and Manowar held a press conference to talk about their latest E.p. “Thunder in the Sky”, the introduction to “The Asgard Saga”, Manowar's collaboration with Germany's best-selling fantasy author, Wolfgang Hohlbein. It will feature six songs and a bonus CD with 'Father' recorded in 16 different languages. The E.p. is the prequel to the complete album “Hammer Of The Gods” due to be released at the end of 2009.

Portugal’s Moonspell kicked off their foreboding black metal set with ‘At Tragic Heights’ and the title track to their latest dark offering “Night Eternal”. Gotthard you could say are the Swiss Bon Jovi and today they were probably the lighter of all the bands but you would never know it as ‘Master of Illusion’ and ‘Gone Too Far’ from “The Domino Effect” got the crowd bobbing their heads and singing along. Gotthard had a lot to prove to this hardcore audience and they did not disappoint. Along with Primal Fear, Moonspell, and Candlemass, I thought they were one of the best bands at the fest! More melodic metal followed with power metallers Stratovarius breaking in new guitarist Matias Kupiainen who does a damn fine job playing Timo Tolkki’s licks the way they were recorded. I think he did especially well with ‘Speed of Light’. The Fins also played three from the new album “Polaris” including the ballad ‘Winter Skies’ which considering how new the album is, the crowd reacted to the arrangement like it was ten years old. Immortal, the black metal version of Kiss with frontman Abbath (vocals, guitar) raising his knee high boots like Gene Simmons, came out with a bang literally as explosives went off practically in photographer’s faces. The three piece had the right slot before the equally muscular Manowar, grading on the audience with those trademark demonic grooves and blast beats. Visually and musically attractive (well…more so unattractive, haha).

Manowar (who are American natives yet never play in the country because of improper funding and venues to house their production) are as big and bold as their Dungeons and Dragons inspired artwork and would probably accept nothing less than the opportunity to close the day. The intro tape said it all; “Ladies and Gentlemen, from the United States of America…all hail Manowar”. At their press conference, with making it a point to mention how much Manowar do for the fans (and how little Metallica do) like giving away free motorcycles and free beers at their hosted Magic Circle Festival, bassist Joey DeMaio also said it had been about five years since they played Spain. Given the amount of people in attendance I’d say of the four days tonight had the largest crowd to witness Manowar’s return. And you know what…they do deliver. The band is really well rehearsed and these epic big chorus’ sound great through a proper sound system. No wonder why Manowar won’t subject themselves to small clubs in the States.

Manowar setlist:

Blood Of My Enemies
Hand Of Doom
Brothers Of Metal
Call To Arms
Heart Of Steel
Loki God of Fire
Kings Of Metal
The Gods Made Heavy Metal
Fast Taker
Warriors Of The World
Kill With Power
Hail And Kill
Battle Hymn
Crown And The Ring





Twisted Sister:


Primal Fear:


Pretty Maids:






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