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70000 Tons of Metal 2024 | FESTIVALPHOTO

70000 Tons of Metal 2024



As my journey in Portugal ends, I board a plane back to Miami the weekend before the sailing date. Looking around, I know exactly what is ahead of me. Being surrounded by people wearing all black must mean one thing: vacation in the Caribbean Sea, and I can't wait!

Unfortunately, the greetings and few conversations I had on that flight discussing our most anticipated bands were the only interactions I had with my fellow survivors until I set foot on board the following Monday. I couldn't join the pre-sailing celebrations this time due to final preparations for the marathon of metal that is 70k. Nevertheless, it's always a treat to sit down with a friend the night before, discuss which bands to see, figure out when to eat, and check out music from bands we never heard of or last-minute replacements. This year, there were quite a few of those: Draconian, Marduk, and Legion Of The Damned had immigration issues, and members of Nile got COVID days before sailing. While disappointing, these changes hardly affected the festival experience, with so many other bands performing twice, often with fans wearing pool floaties and crowd surfing on inflatable pink flamingos.

Boarding the ship was a breeze, the fastest I've experienced in the past seven years. It took at most 15-20 minutes to get to my cabin from the parking lot. However, the first day brought some challenges, resulting in Equilibrium canceling their first show after much delay. Despite this, their energy in the second show was incredible. There wasn't a single moment where the band stood still, and they ended with the lead singer crowd surfing on the Pool Deck.

This year introduced me to several bands I had never seen before. Disillusion and IOTUNN brought a progressive metal sound to the lineup, which was a treat to enjoy live. And ever since I hiked the Isle of Skye, I've been looking for an opportunity to see Saor live, and it became one of my favorite performances, transporting me back to the rolling hills of Scotland.

Infected Rain's performance at 4 a.m. was something to witness. Their initial show at Star Lounge, the smallest stage on the boat, kept them somewhat restrained, but once they took the stage on the ice rink, it was electrifying. They maintained an incredible energy level throughout the entire performance.

Right after, at 5 a.m., I decided to stop by the Pool Deck, and I am so glad I did. I was blown away by how good Crypta sounded live. Their performance has infused something special into their records every time I listen to them now. Fernanda Lira’s stage presence, combined with the tight precision of the rest of the band, made Crypta one of my most listened-to death metal bands ever since I stepped off the boat.

Krzysztof’s Batushka performance was something I thought I would never get to see again, yet there they were, and their performance was immaculate. Despite the challenges of their second show on the Pool Deck, where every band member had to contend with strong winds and struggle to keep their hoods and composure intact, it made for a uniquely memorable experience.

Lords of the Lost surprised me. I ended up going to both of their shows and have since added their U.S. tour dates to my schedule. Even with the earliest time slot on the last day, getting up after three hours of sleep, I couldn't think of a better way to start my day.

But the main event for me, and from the looks of it, anyone who took dwarf roleplaying seriously, was of course Wind Rose. The sheer number of props metalheads brought to this show was something I didn't expect: lanterns, inflatable pickaxes, beer, and thousands of voices soaring into the air with the chorus. Accompanied by non-stop crowdsurfing and the never-ending mosh pit, it created an atmosphere of pure excitement and joy.

Although according to the schedule, the main headliners were Blind Guardian, Epica and Angra, which made sense, but having Angra close the festival on the last day was an odd choice. I feel Blind Guardian would have made more sense. Regardless, all bands delivered performances worthy of anyone's highlight reel. Blind Guardian played two different sets, complete with fan favorites “Mirror Mirror” and “Valhalla.” Epica created a majestic atmosphere and kept the crowd on their feet, with band members joining the audience, ensuring their performance was unforgettable. And Angra made the most of the entire boat being there for their final show on the Pool Deck by delivering one of the best performances this year.

And of course, there were many more bands like The Halo Effect, who, no matter how choppy the ocean got, made their performance feel like being at home among friends. They engaged in constant fan interactions and crafted a truly unique atmosphere throughout their set. Fleshgod Apocalypse brought a wall of death to the pool. Bands such as Kataklysm, Unleashed, Nervosa, Aborted, Angra, Katatonia, and Wolfheart delivered incredible performances. Four days packed with music from 60 bands, interactions with metal fans, and lots and lots of alcohol. Every year has been something special, and amidst sleep deprivation and drinking, I remember almost all of it. Now, I wait with anticipation until next time.


Skribent: eplixs
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