Barge to Hell!

A boatful of metal bands, 1,200 head bangers from 44 different countries, one big ship, four days.  And music running from breakfast until 5:30am. Route:  Miami to Nassau to Miami, but the stop in the Bahamas was just a place to fuel up and grab a donut–this cruise was all about the metal. And about 18,000 photos.


 (HIGH ISO Music, LLC)               (High ISO Music)

 (High ISO Music)

Day 1:

Our biggest surprise of the first day was the Norwegian band Kampfar, with a spectacular front man who was a complete fury on stage and then incredibly sweet and soft-spoken in person, when we caught him listening to Sodom on the pool deck a few hours later.  We expected Behemoth to be great, so no surprise there. The Polish death metal band offered a polished (ha!) stage show that seemed minutely choreographed and never strayed from frontman Nergal’s imposing vision. From a photography standpoint, Behemoth was quite challenging as most of their performance took place in red light and even then, not very much of it.  We caught Behemoth again on the outside stage later on the cruise, so check those out as well.  Holy Moses was a breath of fresh, German air, with a female lead who dresses like a new wave school girl (same orange t-shirt Monday and Thursday, and it’s hard to imagine her hand-washing it in her cabin—hopefully it wasn’t the same panty hose!) and growls like the best of them.  And we spotted an Endast shirt during the Soilwork set! Along with Behemoth and Kampfar, Norwegian black metal band Enslaved were also photo standouts. Check ’em out.

Featured photos from Day 1 (see individual galleries at the end of the post for complete coverage of a particular band):



Day 2:

Day 2 on the Barge was our longest day of music. We shot 19 bands, not even all the bands performing that day (even we need a few hours of sleep). Have you seen the photos of Sacred Reich from almost 20 years ago? We just did, and we’re amazed at both the transformation and the survival of the original band. Some of our favorites from Day 2 were Canadian Necronomicon (who we also caught at Heavy MTL in 2011), Napalm Death, Havok, Municipal Waste and Rotting Christ—all pretty obvious from the photos. Mayhem’s operatic theatricality with a front man who stood almost still during the entire set—in great make-up and with an evil grin—was a refreshing change after shaking along with Barney of Napalm Death (good luck shooting him under 1/60s) for an hour. We were excited to see Brujeria for the first time, mainly because of stand-out bass player Shane Embury (of Napalm Death) who plays in both (and more) bands, but the energy just wasn’t there and anyone who resuscitates La Macarena (albeit with alternative lyrics) probably also explains his jokes. The most impressive part of Brujeria’s set was how the guy somehow managed to get a machete on board. We brought a butter knife for our 24-hour Greyhound ride from New Orleans to Miami, which was confiscated and reported along with our passport numbers in case we ever try our hand at spreading terrorism again.  Our butter knife murder plot foiled, we were immediately offered steak knives, fire, glass bottles, and drinks with high alcohol content on board, but that’s another story.

Featured photos from Day 2 (see individual galleries at the end of the post for complete coverage of a particular band):



Day 3:

Day 3 on the Barge was a short day for music, since we docked in the Bahamas (at Nassau) for most of the day and the music fell silent until around 6:30p. Our favorite show of the day, thrash lovers that we are: another round of Napalm Death on the pool deck. We also caught Grave, Paradise Lost and Sanctuary.

Featured photos from Day 3 (see individual galleries at the end of the post for complete coverage of a particular band):



Day 4:

A long day of metal following our departure from Nassau. Dark Sermon, Lock Up, Havok, Necronomicon, and Rotting Christ were favorites, along with another dose of Behemoth on the larger pool deck stage.  We also caught Holy Moses again, Headcrusher, Seita, Soilwork (the crowd went mad at this show), and others…check it all out below.

Featured photos from Day 4 (see individual galleries at the end of the post for complete coverage of a particular band):


All of the photos are also broken out by band below. Click through a photo to access the complete gallery for a band, where you can also generate a slideshow of photos for only that band. We tried to catch every band at least once, but occasionally our stamina may have stumbled–apologies if you find instances where’s that true.






Holy Moses


Paradise Lost


Napalm Death


Rotting Christ


Dark Sermon

Necronomicon (Germany)


Vital Remains





Sacred Reich




Corrosion of Conformity



Necronomicon (Canada)



At the Gates


Municipal Waste



Finally, a gallery of some of our favorite shots across all four days:

And that’s it. See you next time!

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