Swedish Metal Battle Finals
Tonight was the night! The event was held on May 10 at Göta Källare in Stockholm. Five bands – Tempory, Deathember, Ascend, Chine and Frantic Amber – would compete for an opportunity to play at the world’s biggest metal festival, Wacken Open Air, in Wacken, Germany in August.
The finals were coming closer by the hour and the pressure was growing every minute. All the preparations were made, done and over: we had rehearsed many times, made posters, hung the posters, recruited a street team that now goes under the name “Frantic Amber Army”, discussed the songs for the set list, prepared the backing tracks, thought of all the details….Now the only thing left is to get there and kick ass! Right, easier said than done…
We then loaded in our stuff and checked out the stage (which, by the way , was looking awesome) and waited around until the Wacken Metal Battle crew was to announce the playing order of the bands. Our name came up as number two, so we were to go on stage as second band at 21:00. Soon the doors was going to open (at 19:00) and we started to fix our equitment. Mary had brought a backup guitar because she simply thought: “If I bring an extra guitar I know nothing will happen with my main one.” But then when she opened the case to the main guitar the lightest string was broken, so the backup guitar came as a big rescue.
The lucky feeling went away pretty soon when she realized that her backup guitar had active pickups and that the batteries were really bad. But it was no problem, it was more then two hours before the show, so she just went and bought some batteries to put in later and layed it close to her luggage in the shared backstage room.
Then she joined the rest of the band and changed into stage clothes and put makeup on, well everybody exept Erik. Later it was time to warm up, and then Mary meant to fix the batteries in the guitar as well. Then she saw that someone had taken the batteries! The AA batteries that she bought to the wireless guitar system were still there but the 9 volt batteries that layed just beside them were gone. We lifted all the luggage and equiptment in the room, but no trace of them. Then Mary said: “Fucking battery thief, now I have no choice but to go and buy new ones !” So a second tour of battery shopping accurred.
The opening band Black Oak had done a great show and we were sitting down backstage warming up when the first competing band was playing. The nerves were all over the place and there was a lot of excitement and tension backstage. Erik kept telling us: “This is just another gig, just another show.” And we did the best we could. But it was like someone had time set us all as bombs just waiting to explode… And explode we would!
When our stagetime came closer we got up and got ready. Because of the short changeover we had to be fast. They stopped playing and we were standing ready at the side of the stage. Their drummer let Erik use his hi-hat stand and hi-hat cymbals to save time – hats off! We had rigged everything, and line-checked our instruments, the only thing left was to fix the backing tracks. For some reason, they wouldn’t work, (the click-tracks were leaking out no matter what we did). Before the show we had been so nervous, and then the thing that couldn’t happen happened. The first song in the set was our new melodic song “Entwined” which was very dependent on backing tracks.
Time went by, and because we had only 10 mins changeover the pressure was high. One last try, but it proved to be futile. Imagine the frustration! So then Elizabeth turned around to the now restless audience: “Ok, we change the set list!” The counting began perfectly after and bang! We started with our heaviest song that is killer without the backing tracks, “Self Destruction”.
A weird thing is that just before we went up on stage Mio said: “If something happens to the backing tracks I think we should start with this song instead of this song.” Pointing at Self Destruction and Entwined. Everybody thought it was a very strange thing to say because we haven’t had problems with the backing tracks for months since we changed backing tracks equitment. But nobody argued. And then on stage when the problem happened everybody knew what to do – and then we did what we do best; deliver an energy filled, high-adrenaline performance. Actually in some weird way the situation made all the nervousness goes away. We were just angry because of the tech problem with the backing tracks, so we gave it all we had.
Even though we managed to play what we and many of our fans that were there thought was one of our best gigs so far, we still didn’t know if it would be enough. We had learned from last year that giving everything is not always enough. And again, all bands this year were really good and were in the same type of metal genre. We kept looking at them all and said: “They are killer! ..and they are killer!” Finally the last band had played and the jury was conferring. After around 20 mins the jury came out on stage and the jury president Ida Evileye from Crucified Barbara came forward. The tension was unbelievable, we just wouldn’t dare to think that we could win but at the same time the hope was of course still there…
And Ida started saying: “Extremely convincing, inspiring, energetic and with a awesome matter of course, this band completely ran over us in the jury! I myself have been a bit of a fan since a year back when I heard this band for the first time. Now a year later, I hear a very different band that is very much more tight and persuasive! The winner of this year’s Wacken Metal Battle is FRANTIC AMBER.”
And we couldn’t believe it! We won Wacken Metal Battle Sweden finals! We screamed, we cried and hugged each other and everybody and eventually came up on stage. We found out that we had won both the votes of the jury and the votes of the audience. The feeling we felt was priceless – now the work would really begin!