SYSTEM OF A DOWN / MINISTRY / ARCHITECTS / SAXON / PROPHETS OF RAGE / INVOCATOR / IN FLAMES / CARCASS / FRANK CARTER & THE RATTLESNAKES / DEVILDRIVER / EVERY TIME I DIE / INGLORIOUS
Date: 22nd June, 2017
Ticket: 1340DKK 3-days (€178/$218), 890DKK 1-day (€118/$145)
Promoter: Live Nation
Photos: Erika Wallberg
It’s that time of the year again! It always brings on a bit of anxiety getting out to Refshaloen the first day. With 'Copenhell’ festival, it has always worked out perfectly, but just getting there and see the queues to the check-in always makes my mind wonder. Will I make it in in time for the first band I want to see?
This year this thought was for the first ones out also; INGLORIOUS took on the Pandaemonium stage right after the doors opened and made sure the festival started in a good way. I’ve just recently started to look out for these new bands playing melodic Rock / Hard Rock and I really like it. There’s no good reason why I’ve dismissed all of them in the past. But better late than never, right?
I think INGLORIOUS did a really good job heating up the crowd. Denmark is different from Sweden when it comes to what music goes down with the crowd. Especially for 'Copenhell' it seems that rather brutal stuff is preferred. But INGLORIOUS really managed to get the party going and get the crowd on their side. Of course, parts of the audience knew them already and received them with open arms. It’s just as strange as it is fun to see this reaction from a crowd when it’s a band I’ve hardly ever heard before the show. But people knew INGLORIOUS as well as their music.
I definitely regret I didn’t listen to more prior to the festival because I really liked the melodies and the band’s energy. This type of music easily gets pretentious and INGLORIOUS certainly are, but it’s also fun to see them. I love ambitious bands and when the music is soft, it must be well-written and well-performed. INGLORIOUS hits full on both. So, it certainly was a good (and sunny) start of this year's festival.
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Over to something completely different at the Hades stage then; Dez Fafara was one of the main topics in Kerrang!!! with COAL CHAMBER in the mid ‘90s. I never really got into those Gothic-looking bands more than a song here and there. Hence I was a little reluctant to take on DEVILDRIVER when they crossed my path, about a decade ago. But surprise, surprise! It wasn’t what I expected and I really like the drive and brutality in DEVILDRIVER’s music. It’s a total frenzy from the first note and the way Dez performs has to be on a ‘stage-looks 101’ book. Even on a massive stage as Hades, the intensity as well as the intimacy were there.
The energy and brutal force is what stands out with DEVILDRIVER's performances. It's fascinating that something can be so raw and clean at the same time. Just listen to "Grinfucked". I love the rather slow groove topped with furious guitars. It's catchy without compromising with the brutality. That song has been around a few years of course but DEVILDRIVER have certainly not lost the touch, and another favorite from the set was "Daybreak" from the most recent "Trust No One". I really like that melodies are incorporated in the music, and again, without losing the punch. Then, both "Before The Hangman's Noose" and "Clouds Over California" went down really well too! It doesn't really matter if DEVILDRIVER delivers a Heavy or a fast tune, it all sounds awesome. One thing I'm getting a bit allergic to though is the triggered kick-drum. I understand that it needs to be precise and clear to get the right feel in the music, but it lacks bottom-and-punch in it. It's not unique for DEVILDRIVER of course and it's a petty thing to point out.
I really liked DEVILDRIVER's set, they're awesome to watch and their energy boosts the mood, that's for sure.
01. "End Of The Line"
02. "Not All Who Wander Are Lost"
04. "Cry For Me Sky (Eulogy Of The Scorned)"
06. "I Could Care Less"
07. "Before The Hangman's Noose"
08. "Clouds Over California"
10. "Meet The Wretched"
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A few weeks prior to 'Copenhell’, IN FLAMES headlined the last day of 'Sweden Rock Festival'. This time, they hit the big Helveti stage at mid-afternoon. I don’t think they’re not big enough in Denmark to headline as the area was packed in front of the stage and the number of photographers piled up waiting for the event to start. So, IN FLAMES worked really well to get people down to the festival, if nothing else.
The more I watch them now live, the more I actually like them, which indicates I probably should dig into their albums after “Come Clarify” too. They have the ability to write catchy songs and they’re a hell of a live-machine, I have to admit that. Sometimes it’s hard to accept that bands grow up. I mean, I’ve seen IN FLAMES making frenzy of small clubs up until “Clayman” and then they broke through to the big mass. Of course, it will never be like that again, and seeing them on a massive stage for the first time the intensity was kind of lost.
After a few new ones, “Wallflower", “Alias” (yeah, yeah, I know this is almost a decade old by now) and “Before I Fall” came “Leaches” - one of my favorites from “Come Clarity” and it’s always a pleasure to hear it live. Anders Fridén’s cozy lumberjack style works better in daylight I think. It all becomes very familiar and nice with his whole composition. But also due to what he did for a little guy some songs into the set. It really became crazy and crowd-surfers were dropping down the photo-pit like flies. Not the best place for a young kid to hang at. Anders invited him up to stage to ensure he was safe and sat him down at a podium. But that wasn’t all; for “Only For The Weak” he invited the kid to start the song with a growl. The boy looked a little reluctant to start with, but took on the mission and screamed all he could, and the song was off.
Then, I hate to admit I didn’t know the rest of the set’s songs after “Cloud Connected”, not until “Take This Life” which closed the IN FLAMES show. But it sure was a good and fun one. It felt more energetic here compared to 'Sweden Rock'. Perhaps this had to do with me being supercharged still. But that was another reminder that I need to dig into IN FLAMES more recent catalogue also, because this is good stuff.
IN FLAMES setlist:
03. "Before I Fall"
05. "All For Me"
06. "Where The Dead Ships Dwell"
08. "The Jester's Dance"
09. "Only For The Weak"
10. "Cloud Connected"
11. "Deliver Us"
12. "Here Until Forever"
13. "The Truth"
15. "The End"
16. "Take This Life"
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I didn’t think I would be as charged for CARCASS here as at 'Sweden Rock Festival'. I mean, they’re not doing any spectacular moves on stage. They deliver a solid show of course and has, as long as I’ve seen them play, been one of the best live acts around. It sure worked with a second dose as well.
Jeff Walker seemed extremely cheerful this nice Thursday afternoon and kept tossing guitar-picks both on the crowd and the photographers in the front. The groove CARCASS manages to get in complex “Incarnated Solvent Abuse” is phenomenal. And it all looks so very easy. Bill Steer stuffs around on stage doing all of these riffs like it’s nothing.
That’s another thing with 'Copenhell'; yes, the crowd like brutal stuff but sometimes it seems like they’ve missed the classics completely. It was of course a good crowd for CARCASS too, but not the regular frenzy bands of this genre normally causes. Perhaps it has to do with age? The guys standing around me looked freakishly happy when CARCASS played and high-fived for a few of the songs, like “No Love Lost” for example, and even more so for “Exhume To Consume” and “Reek Of Putrefaction”, the real old school stuff. For me, the absolute highlights came with “Corporal Jigsore Quandary” and “Heartwork” which ended CARCASS’ set here as well as at ‘SRF’. The difference now was that I didn’t need to be somewhere else and could enjoy this set fully. “Heartwork” hit me hard when it was released and it stands strong today as well. It’s a fantastic album, and it’s a true treat to get to hear these songs live.
01. "316L Grade Surgical Steel"
02. "Buried Dreams"
03. "Incarnated Solvent Abuse"
04. "Carnal Forge"
05. "No Love Lost"
06. "Unfit For Human Consumption"
07. "Cadaver Pouch Conveyor System"
08. "Captive Bolt Pistol"
09. "Edge Of Darkness" / "This Mortal Coil"
10. "Exhume To Consume" / "Reek Of Putrefaction"
11. "Corporal Jigsore Quandary"
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