70,000 Tons of Metal recap

Ok folks, I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted. A lot has happened in the writing world in the past few months and I promise to give everyone updates on the new releases and upcoming projects later this week. But first, as many of you know, a big love of mine outside of writing is the majesty that is Heavy Metal. And what can be better than a 4-day heavy metal festival held in the middle of the Caribbean Sea?

ship_large

This was my second 70,000 Tons of Metal, last year being my first. As such, I was a bit more prepared for the awesome mayhem that was about to be had. Jess, however, had only tales of circle pits, crowd surfing, bleeding on Iced Earth’s drummer’s drum sticks, and exorbitant bar tabs. To say the cruise can be a bit intimidating for a first-timer is quite correct, but after seeing Trollfest live, and doing a conga-line to Norwegian folk metal, she said “This was the most fun I’ve had in my entire life.” After all, where else can you do said conga line, circle pit to Viking Metal, and drink from a pineapple for the first time?

pineapple
“What do you recommend for drinking from a pineapple?” I asked. “Strawberry Piña Colado,” the bartender said. And so it was.

In addition to great music in a cruise atmosphere, with all the cruise amenities such as a 24-hour pizza joint for when you’re either in a rush to make it to the next show or too drunk to care about what’s going in your mouth, the crowd and artists are really what makes the show. This year, there were people from 74 different countries aboard the boat. Everyone from every single country was getting along, having the time of their lives. When someone went down in the pit, everyone stopped and helped the person up (which is great, because Jess decided to run off into a pit at Kamelot’s pool deck show and went down almost immediately, nearly giving me a heart attack before some fellow moshers helped her up). In addition to an insane amount of energy and camaraderie that our wild fandom summons, there were also some awesome fan costumes!

stormbobba

One of the best things I like about the cruise, is the number of bands and the energy they bring to match the crowd’s. There are four venues aboard the Independence of the Seas that are going almost around the clock, ensuring all 60+ bands get at least 2 sets in. In addition to all the bands I knew before, I got to see some great new ones who made fans for life with their music and great performances.

saltatio
Saltatio Mortis, a small folk-metal band from Germany, giving it their all for their first North American performance. And yes, he wound up in the hot tub.

Another great aspect of the whole event, is that there is no backstage. No VIP packages. You can get into a hot tub side-stage at the pool deck and run into your favorite musicians throughout the boat, and they all have a great and welcoming attitude toward the fans. I got to share a drink with Iced Earth’s drummer, Brent, and bass player, Luke, at last year’s cruise after their show. This year, Jess got to fangirl over Olof and Henrick from Amaranthe after spotting them in the crowd with us at Scar Symmetry’s show.

olof

Alright folks, I think you get the point. If you love heavy metal and/or having a great time, I cannot recommend 70,000 Tons of Metal enough. Ok, it’s time to run off to the For the Love of Books signing! Here’s some more photos to highlight the cruise’s awesomeness!

moonsorrow

archenemy
Arch Enemy’s first set! Wish I would’ve gotten their second set on camera. One of the best shows of my life. And I got a shoulder workout with all those crowd surfers!
kamelot
It was great to have Alissa White-Gluz onboard with Arch Enemy so she could drop in and perform her songs with Kamelot!
mors
Had never heard Finnish death metal band Mors Principum Est before. Now I can’t stop listening to them.
manegarm
One of my favorites, Viking black metal greats, Månegarm!
bergo
All good things must come to an end. Our travel dragon, Bergo, has a final drink on the beach before we head home.
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