Rehearsals are about to begin. Jonas and I got up disgustingly early at 6 am (puke!) and took a train down where Axe lives – Linköping, a town located 2 hours away from Stockholm. We met up with Dan fukkin Swanö at the train station who arrived in a rental car with all the Bloodbath gear. Checked into the hotel we were supposed to stay for 3 days and drove away to pick up Axe. Our drummer told us he’d been suffering from a stomach disorder and been plagued with fever and puked for the last two days, so we feared he’d be in a bad shape for the very demanding and intense rehearsals. We packed up the gear and as soon you heard the familiar buzz saw tone of the “Sunlight-Entombed” guitar sound it was time to drill.
This was the first time ever in Bloodbath’s history to rehearse as a band in the same room!!! Even though Mike hadn’t arrived yet, the instrumental version of the songs really kikked azz and we knew this was gonna be a pure fukkin death metal BOMB! We jammed through half of the set over and over and some bloody 10 hours later decided to call it quits for day one. Axe had shown no sign of weakness and was playing perfect. Every little drum detail you could hear on the album was reproduced, so it’s fair to say Axe is one ambitious motherfukker!
I and Swanö agreed it’s often a wise thing to chill down and let your mind think about something else after having long intense sessions of rehearsals, studio work, or whatever, so we went for a cold beer. On our way to a bar we saw a hedgehog try running across the main street. As a heavy bus drove straight over it, we noticed it had survived unharmed, so being the gentlemen of death metal we decided to give it the second chance rescue. Karma!
Tuesday, August 2
Another day of pure DEATH! Got up and went for breakfast at McDonalds at 10 am. Today was the time for jamming through the rest of the set. We scratched down a play list of 13 songs total and went aggressively into another 10 hour session. The songs sounded real good by now and were so much fun to play that you just couldn’t help head banging and shit. Now, when was the last time a rehearsal was that much fun? 1993?!? There’s a lot of tremolo picking in death metal and neither I nor Swanö had really been doing this actively for a while, so you could feel the strain and Jonas who hadn’t stood straight up with a bass on him for ages got his finger tops pretty blistered – The labor for the art of DEATH!
So day two’s session was over and it was yet again time to grace yourself with the soothing cold beer – a good way of letting the hard work at learning the songs sink in as they’re still in your “ram memory” and needs to be initialized in your internal hard drive. We met up with Axe and his friends and hit Linköping’s one and only rock/metal club called “The Rock”.
Apparently a Tuesday in this town is a city of the dead without rockers, so we were the only people there. However, the club was great and the DJ had an amazing collection of songs and you could wish for pretty much anything you wanted and they had it! I suspected they were wired online to Direct Connect or something hahah! The “lets have one beer” thing turned into plural and we got pretty hammered. Neither one of us hit the hotel bed before 4 am.
Wednesday, August 3
Rehearsals are wrapping up. Swanö woke us up around 10 am and we went for breakfast with Axe at McDonalds again.
Went back to the complex of corridors the practice place was at, cranked the volume and played through the entire set one round before it was time to pick up Mike at the train station. The hardworking Opeth mastermind had been touring nonstop in the US for over a month and had just been home a few hours before we dragged his ass down to Linköping, jetlagged and tired, but still proving to be the good old Mike we love. Grabbed some lunch and sat around chatting about Opeth’s US tour, then went to go grab some props for the stage show as we’d decided to play a little with the band name and do it symbolical justice. Back at the rehearsals, everything was tight and solid by now and hearing the vocals really convinced us how unbelievably cool this set was gonna be.
Mike knew most of the songs from before and had practiced the Tägtgren songs while on tour, so we decided this was as good as it gets. The clock was running late, so we loaded the gear into the car and went for some greasy meals at Max hamburgers and crashed at the hotel.
Thursday, August 4
Leaving for Wacken open air. Same procedure again, up and left at 10 am and had breakfast at… yeah you know where… We hooked up with our crew David (the sound engineer), Sodomizer (the guitar/bass tech) and Martin (the camera guy) at the airport.
The flight was delayed so we decided to chill at the bar with the arsenal of Jägermeister with redbull, Whiskey with coke, you name it. Stockholm – Lübeck was only one hour in the air, so we got to Germany in no time. Got our asses on a shuttle (that ironically took way longer than the flight) and ventured through well familiar sceneries of Germany towards the hotel.
Once there, we were told we were still like one hour’s ride away from Wacken and there was no guarantee we would get a lift back home again, plus the fact that we had a pretty early show and a lot of press to do in the morning, we decided to go get some wine and party in one of our rooms and put the festival visit on hold for tomorrow.
Friday, August 5
The Wacken Bloodbath. We got up around 9 am and on the festival shuttle after breakfast. Picked up the passes and went backstage and left some stuff at the dressing room. The guys from Century Media got to pick us up for press and we did a very entertaining metal quiz at the Metal Hammer tent: Two teams competing against each other, I and Jonas on one, Mike and Swanö on the other… We lost Hahah! But at least we nailed all the death metal oriented questions, while they scored all the “old men’s music” points. Then there was nearly one hours signing session simultaneously with my old friends in Naglfar. It ran pretty much like a factory as you didn’t get to talk much, as the line had to move on. I saw many items looking suspiciously prepared to go up on eBay the same night hahah!
Less than one hour to stage time, it was time to get in mood and ready for fukkin ripping DEATH! We got dressed up in our thrashed white shirts, stained with blood and dirt and took the stage as the old style death metal intro was building up the mood.
The gig was a BLAZT and we had the time of our lives!!! Bloodbath was finally making its debut live performance on stage and what possibly better could it have been but at the black stage at Wacken?!? We never played for this many people before and I think it went down very well thanks to all those of you who came out and see us and your great support! CHEERZ!!!
Unfortunately, we had to scrap one song since the stage time was running out, so even though it was rehearsed and part of the show – the song “Cry My Name” was dropped as a last second decision, just to make sure “Eaten” was closing the gig, as the flagship it is.
After the show we all wandered about the area and indulged in the awesome backstage party until about 4 am in the morning and got on a shuttle back to the hotel.
Going home. Got up around 11 am and after a little fracas about being more people than allowed in the shuttle we were driven out to the airport. At the check-in, Axe realized his bag containing his and his girlfriends passports had been left behind. *Panic* Time was running late and the check-in was soon about to be closed. However, Axe managed to get his bag rushed out and as they went back in, they could still see us at the gate, not yet bordered the plane. Ryan air denied them entry. I’ve been in this situation before and GOT on the plane thanks to staff with serviced minds and being professionally helpful. Obviously the Lübeck airport wanted an award for the opposite, so Fukk you very much! It was discouraging to leave the couple behind, but we had no choice. I and Martin decided we’d skip the going home plans and hit directly out to a club upon returning in Stockholm, so we started the pre-party on the plane and as we arrived in Sweden, we went for the Anchor bar. The rest of the guys and crew went their ways, all very happy and with an experience richer. Oh, and Axe and his girlfriend finally made their way home in the end, just a dreadful 24 hours too late and NOT with Ryan air, so thankfully everything’s back to normal now. I still have a smile on my face thinking back on the Wacken Bloodbath – the first and last gig (with Mike).
Stay tuned for info and details about the DVD recording that will follow next.