Göteborg Rockfest

Göteborg Rockfest 2016 is now history, and it went down pretty well too.

I mainly went to see Horisont, Air Raid, Lethal Steel and Black Trip, but caught a glimpse of VA ROCKS, Imperial State Electric and The Black Marbles as well.


Lethal Steel hit the stage as the second act of the first night. These guys are another great heavy metal band hailing from Sweden, the neverending deliverer in the name of hårdrock. That’s in fact what Göteborg Rockfest is all about, celebrating Swedish bands through a two day festival that brings you some of the best hard rock and heavy metal acts nowadays in this hard rocking country.

Lethal Steel started out with Warrior and Demon From the Past from their debutalbum Legion of the Night, followed by the instant classic, Nattsvart. “En fredag kveeeld, utan planer på nåååntiiing” – it doesn’t get much better than this, does it? The only objection I got is that Nattsvart should have been one of the last songs, dramaturgically speaking. It sounded great, and the vocalist did an impressive job.

IMG_0069Rosier is next up – which along with Nattsvart makes up the two best songs on the album. And they are really something live as well. These heavy metal maniacs are playing in Oslo on Friday, and Oslo, you’ve hereby been warned: You are indeed in for a treat!

The festival is located at Sticky Fingers, a quite big venue with different floors and stages. Next up is Air Raid playing on the main stage. Their 80s looking logo makes a cool backdrop upon the electric board behind the band.


IMG_4255Singing seems easy for vocalist Arthur W. Andersson. The attitude is “sing like Bruce Dickinson? Or Geoff Tate? Sure, no problem, I can even add a little bit Midnight if you want.” The highlight of the performance emerges early, with Victim of the Night from their second album Point of Impact. I guess you can’t go wrong with classic heavy metal.

On my way out after Air Raid, I caught a glimpse of VA ROCKS. Now that’s something of a surprise! A bit more rock ‘n’ roll than the previous acts, but far more energetic than the most. The drummer and guitarist alternately do the vocals, and there’s quite a contrast in their voices, but it works out really cool. Added to “the-list-of-bands-I-have-to-check-out-further”.

Day two of the festival, I’d only planned on seeing Horisont and Black Trip. And that’s how it turned out too.

Like the two previous Horisont concerts I’ve attended lately, the already legendary anthem Odyssey opened the show. Ah, what an epic composition it is. Ten minutes of pure perfection. As the second song of the set, they have picked Bad News, and that’s not at all a bad choice either. Commence!


As announced earlier this week, this Horisont concert was going to be a special one. They celebrate 10 year as a band, and due to the anniversary, they would play a couple of songs from Odyssey with Tom Sutton (who recently left the band) and the first album Två Sidor av Horisonten in its entirety with former guitarist Kristofer Möller. A nice gesture and awesome for those who praise the first album. I prefer their latest album, and would love to hear more from it live this evening. But hey, I’m not complaining, the performance was simply excellent.

IMG_0183I can’t tell how many times I’ve listened to Black Trip’s debutalbum Goin’ Under, but I guess A LOT will cover it. I was slightly disappointed by Shadowline — it’s not at all a bad album, but it just shows how tremendously killer the first album is. But live, I imagined, that could really be something. And I was right, the new songs sounded terrific live. Die With Me, Subvisual Sleep, Shadowline, The Storm – all good! Can’t get the hang of Berlin Model 32, though, but maybe that’s just me. The highlight of the show was nevertheless Tvar Dabla, and vocalist Joseph Tholl nearly screamed his owns lungs out on this one. A good, old high-five to this performance!

Göteborg Rockfest has proven itself to be a festival to be reckoned with. Even though the 2016 line-up didn’t entirely match my personal preferences, the festival is professionally organized and it seems like everything went off as planned. If there’s going to be an 2017 edition – you can count me in.

All photos by The Unborn/Katarsis

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