Katie’s review of this year’s Tons of Rock is, like the festival itself, massive – so we’re splitting it into three bite-size chunks. Even then, they’re still bite-size to a large, scary Viking. Here’s the second portion, covering June 23rd at Fredrikstern Fortress, Halden, Norway. Missed Part One? Clickety-here.
Thursday had been perfect weather for a festival; not too sunny, not too cold, not rainy. Friday was cloudy and rainy, which was a bit of a pain, but the gentle splatter of raindrops did not seem to discourage the metal fans who were out in force to watch Swedish theatrical metal band Avatar on the main stage. I photographed Avatar at the end of last year and they were great fun, and today (with much better lighting!) they were even better. Singer Johannes strutted around the stage, flinging his arms from side to side and took every available opportunity to stick his tongue out and wave it at the crowd.
The next band I caught on the main stage were Phil Campbell & The Bastard Sons, featuring ex-Motörhead axe-man Phil Campbell and his three sons (Todd, Dane and Tyla), together with Neil Starr on vocals. Having missed out on seeing them a couple of times I was glad to be able to finally catch their set.
Onwards and upwards to the Huth stage for Deathhammer upon the recommendation of a friend I made in the press room. They were entertaining from the very start and the crowd were equally pumped-up and enjoying their thrash metal.
The next band I went to check out were Emperor on the main stage. The Emperor line-up features two musicians I had photographed previously at Tons of Rock; Ihsahn (who I saw perform with his self-titled band back in 2015) and Einar Solberg from Leprous (who played the festival last year). The main performance area was packed for the black/extreme metal band.
For me the big name on the Friday line-up this year was Slayer – one of the classic metal bands that were on my bucket-list to photograph… because it’s f*cking Slayer! I had never seen them live before and I thoroughly enjoyed their set. They were also a dream to photograph, and Tom Araya in particular looked genuinely happy to be playing in front of the appreciative audience. Kerry King was everything I thought he would be – looking like the kind of alter-ego you might create for yourself in Guitar Hero. They were fantastic!
After Slayer it was back up to the Huth stage for Me And That Man; the side-project of Nergal of Polish death metal band Behemoth (who I again photographed at Tons of Rock last year). This was a very different experience from Behemoth, both visually and musically. Me And That Man has a far more folk/old-school rock sound and Nergal and his bandmates looked the part as well.
The final band for me on Friday was Devin Townsend Project from Canada. While I was not particularly familiar with the music, the set was widely hyped by my fellow photographers, so I went along to check it out. Sadly we struggled as the stage was full of smoke lit by blue lights, making it hard to capture Devin’s famously peculiar facial expressions, but the music was certainly worth staying up for and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
All photos by Katie Frost Photography