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Free tattoos and an almost unlimited supply of beer; it must have been a happy ship, if not the most sober. But then cruise liners these days seem to offer something for everyone, even those who delight in body piercing and only remove the bolt through their neck at bed time. The brain child of Holger Hübner and Thomas Jensen, founders of Wacken festival, the apogee of metal for the masses, Mein Schiff 1 was to be ‘heavy on the high seas’.

Starting in Hamburg on a thirty thousand ton luxury liner leased from Tui Cruises, this week long floating festival saw stops in France, England and the Netherlands, picking up some two thousand fans along the way. Three venues on board catered for audiences of all sizes, the ship’s theatre, casino and pool deck, kitted out with over one hundred tons of lighting and sound systems supplied and crewed by Karlsruhe based Crystal Sound. “Some people think metal music is a blunt instrument and any PA will do,” said André Ballweg, the Mein Schiff project manager from Crystal Sound, “but you might be interested to learn that metallers, more than many music fans, have learned that good quality sound, undistorted at high volumes, enables them to listen more and for louder and longer. That’s why we installed only d&b audiotechnik systems on board, specifically V-Series and J-Series.”

Over twenty bands provided a broad cross section of everything metal has to offer, even a rusty sea shanty version of the classic ‘Death spunk explosion’ from those funsters from Frankfurt, Infested Intestines. “Of course people will wonder why we didn’t all disembark with bleeding ears,” observed Tungsten Torstein (not his real name) a fan from Tanhaus, “But then we don’t share the secret of good sound with just anyone; d and b doesn’t just stand for decibels you know? Das ist Artze, as we say in the brotherhood. But I did have one concern, when the J-INFRAs started to kick in around 29 Hz at anything louder than 105 dB, I noticed the rivets in the hull started to bounce. Scary, but this is what we have come to expect. In fact I’m writing a song to celebrate the voyage, ‘Bolts at resonant frequency’, I think it has potential.”

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