Last week I embarked on the Barge To Hell and lived to tell about it! The cruise was full of over 1200 metal fans from 44 different countries and we all quickly became a metal family! As the boat left port and the alcohol began to pour down our throats, we all knew we were in for something special. This was the second metal cruise that I’ve been honored to be a part of and this one had many special moments that I’ll never forget! My day to day and video recap is below! Do yourself a favor and go on this cruise the next time it comes around! You will NOT regret it!
Day One: The first day of the cruise started out exactly how I remembered. You walk onto the boat full of black shirts and the first thing you hear is metal throughout the ship’s speakers. That’s the moment that you realize you are about to be part of a once in a lifetime experience. Once you walk onto the deck and see the global metal family it’s something that you can’t put into words. From band members to fans, everyone is drinking together, sharing stories, and preparing themselves for the next few days. Once Exodus hit the stage, it was ON! The legends thrashed through a masterful set and the wall of death was opened up by 8pm on the first day. From there the night included stellar sets from Soilwork, Enslaved, Sodom and then the almighty Behemoth. I’ve seen Behemoth seven times before this trip but this was the most powerful show I’ve ever seen them put on. They had no smoke, no pyro, just them on stage and it was a show that will go down in history for me. As the night continued on and the alcohol kicked in, we stumbled from Paradise Lost to Lock Up and ended the night with Krisiun. By this point I was on two hours of sleep and had way too much rum, so I crashed hard!
Day Two: The second day came with a huge hangover, but there was no time to heal. Artillery was on at 10AM and Morgoth was at 11:30AM, so I got up, ate breakfast, and began the day with new energy! After Morgoth crushed the Pool Deck stage, I had interviews lined up with Soilwork, Enslaved, Sanctuary, Napalm Death, Behemoth, and more! Yes I actually did work on this cruise (shocking right?). After my “job” was done, it was off to catch Corrosion Of Conformity, Napalm Death, Mayhem and Sanctuary! Yes in order. That’s how incredible this lineup was! After these sets, it was the moment I’ve been waiting my whole life for….AT THE GATES! The legends took the stage to a huge roar from the crowd and played a masterful set for over an hour! I couldn’t believe I was watching them with my own eyes, but I was, and it was life changing! What a way to end the night right?!? NO! Next up was Municipal Waste (with lounge chair mosh pits), Sepultura, Possessed and Grave at 3AM! The amount of alcohol in my system definitely caught up with me during Grave. As the boat swayed, so did I and it was time to fall back to my room. Thank the metal Gods I made it back to my room, because my last memory was seeing double and screaming At The Gates in an elevator! Yes that happened!
Day Three: The third day is the “relaxing” day on the cruise. Most of the passengers got off at the Bahamas, but not this guy. I grabbed about ten Piña Colada’s and sat next to the pool for the afternoon. No interviews, no shows, this was my time to chill! Once 5PM hit, it was time for the metal to return in the form of Nachtmystium, Monstrosity, Napalm Death and then Grave! Afer this I grabbed a hugely important meal and non-alcoholic drinks and tried to sober up for 11pm. Why 11pm? At The Gates was playing again! Yes, I got to see them two nights in a row! So sick! After the legends finished another classic set, it was on to Moonspell, Mayhem and Municipal Waste to end the night. By this point, no old pizza or bread was helping my situation. The rum and whiskey was in full force and I might as well have been a corpse by 3AM. Somehow I made it to my room…somehow.
Day Four: The last day is always the worst. Yes there were amazing sets and I had more interviews, but this is when you realize that the trip is coming to an end. After my interviews were done, it was time for the Belly Flop contest! Each contestant did great and the metal judges included members of Exodus, Grave, Enslaved and more! As they judged each contestant, it was evident who the winner was. Don’t ask me his name, but he was a massive man from Alabama and he definitely deserved it! After that classic contest, I rushed to catch Vital Remains, who put on one of the most powerful sets on the boat! Vocalist Brian Werner jumped in the pit and really started the chaos that was the last day on the ship. So who played the last day? These bands in a row: Possessed, Krisiun, Enslaved, Corrosion Of Conformity, Soilwork, Sepultura, Behemoth, Sodom and Exodus. I can mention again how amazing Behemoth was, but the last night belongs to Exodus. The thrash legends came on stage in full tuxedos and everyone in the crowd erupted in cheers. As they played through the set, you had a feeling they had something else in store. Once I saw Tomas from At The Gates hit the stage, I lost my mind. He performed “Bonded By Blood” with Exodus and it was another moment that I’ll never forget! One of my favorite songs ever with one of my favorite vocalists ever! INSANE! After that closing set, it was time for karoake! The whiskey poured, the bad singers sang, but it was a great ending to the trip. Once 5AM hit and we realized we had to be off the boat in two hours, it was time for bed haha! How I am still alive is beyond me!
So in conclusion, the Barge To Hell was a massive success! No, the boat wasn’t sold out, but everyone on that cruise was a part of metal history. The memories we all share with never leave our minds and I can’t wait for the next one! For that week, it didn’t matter who you were, what band you were in, where you were from, you were a family on that cruise! All of the shows were powerful, as were the drinks, and it’s a week that will live on in my mind for years to come! Thanks to all the staff on the cruise for the strong drinks and great service, and thanks to all the fans who took that trip with me! You know you’ll be back! HAILZ!