Copenhell Day 1 @ Refshaleøen (DK)

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ARCH ENEMY / NIGHTWISH / ASKING ALXANDRIA / PARKWAY DRIVE

Date: 21st June, 2018
Venue: Refshaleøen
Ticket: 1340DKK 3-days (€179/$201)
Promoter: Livenation.dk
Photos: Erika Wallberg


It has become a tradition to celebrate midsummer at ‘Copenhell Festival’. It’s not the most traditional way of celebrating but surely is a pleasant feature and at least one year they had this midsummer-pole erected as well. Although with a somewhat untraditional decoration as the flowers were accompanied by a noose and other similar things. Then, for some reason I seem to have a clash in my work-schedules this time of the year as I’ve more often than not, have landed from a long-haul trip on the first festival day. So also this year which made me miss the warm-up party as well as a little in the beginning of the first real festival day.

There is a lot of good music at 'Copenhell Festival', that’s for sure. Also, such bands I don’t normally listen to but come across rather pleasant most of the time. If it's because of the cozy atmosphere or that the festival always books high quality bands I skip speculating in now. But this year, I don’t know if it was because I was very tired or if the bands the first day stepped further outside my area of liking. Because I couldn’t really get in to PARKWAY DRIVE which was the first band I saw. There’s absolutely nothing to complain about with the bands performance, not musical not visual. They had a good drive in their set and they did fill out the massive Helveti Stage but they couldn’t get me moving. A song like “The Void” should appeal to me with its smooth flow, good guitar melodies and catchy vocals. Also the rougher “Karma” normally appeal to me. It’s actually quite rare that this happens, that I'm not boosted by a live show. But no one can like everything.

Closing “Bottom Feeder” actually got me moving somewhat. I enjoyed the dynamics in the song with changes both in pace and intensity. So I blame my lack of reaction and engagement on Jet Lag for this one.

PARKWAY DRIVE setlist:

01. “Wishing Wells”
02. “Prey”
03. “Vice Grip”
04. “Dedicated”
05. “Cemetery Bloom”
06. “The Void”
07. “Idols And Anchors”
08. “Karma”
09. “Absolute Power”
10. “Wild Eyes”
11. “Crushed”
12. “Bottom Feeder”

PARKWAY DRIVE

Parkway Drive @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Parkway Drive @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Parkway Drive @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Parkway Drive @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Parkway Drive @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Parkway Drive @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Parkway Drive @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Parkway Drive @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Parkway Drive @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Parkway Drive @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Parkway Drive @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Parkway Drive @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Parkway Drive @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Parkway Drive @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Parkway Drive @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)

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Neither ASKING ALEXANDRIA woke me up for real. They actually have some quite cool melodies and choruses in their music. Set opener “Into The Fire” is a very cool song with the very soft and melancholic vocal lines as a contrast towards the extremely heavy riffs which succeed the verses. But it still didn’t boost my mood that nice Thursday afternoon. But by all means, “When The Lights Come On” is catchy and I really liked the stomp in that one. Also, to break off the intensity with a couple acoustic songs in the middle of the set worked fine. And I think that's the part that appealed to me the most, both “Vultures” and “Someone, Somewhere” have a poppy nature and holds some fantastic melodies that really can come to life with the sparse music behind them. The rasp in Danny Worsnop voice works especially well in these songs. There's a desperation and nerve in it which makes it vibrant. And the crowd sure liked ASKING ALEXANDRIA, the pressure in the front was really noticeable and people were desperately clinging on to their spots at the fence. Which should be a really good grade if nothing else but no, they couldn't get me started for real.

ASKING ALEXANDRIA setlist:

01. “Into The Fire”
02. “Killing You”
03. “To The Stage”
04. “Run Free”
05. “Under Denver”
06. “When The Lights Come On”
07. “The Death Of Me”
08. “Eve”
09. “Vultures”
10. “Someone, Somewhere”
11. “The Final Episode (Let's Change The Channel)”
12. “Where Did It Go?”
13. “Alone In A Room”

 

ASKING ALEXANDRIA

Parkway Drive @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Parkway Drive @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Parkway Drive @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Parkway Drive @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Parkway Drive @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Parkway Drive @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Parkway Drive @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Parkway Drive @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Parkway Drive @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Parkway Drive @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Parkway Drive @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Parkway Drive @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Parkway Drive @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Parkway Drive @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Parkway Drive @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)

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I’ve never really been a huge fan of NIGHTWISH even if that fits my taste in music better than the bands before them. I do like and I am very impressed with Floor Jansen though. Her entrance into the band has increased my interest as well as acceptance of both the genre as such and NIGHTWISH as a band. And judging by my surprise when I found this as being one of the best shows of the festival. It sure was an impressive show.

What I like with Denmark is the support given to the bands and it was no exception here. The pressure in the front was on from start even if, at least this day, the whole festival wasn’t as crowded as it normally is the frenzy in the crowd was still high. All of “End Of All Hope” went to try to find positions to shoot though, it’s kind of strange to not remember a song but knowing for sure you were there (I have the pictures to prove it). Then for “Wish I Had An Angel” I could relax a bit and enjoy. It all sounded really fantastic and it seems like the band are much more at peace now compared to when I last saw them, which was at the end of the Tarja Turunen era. Floor did a fantastic job, she radiates energy and such a good vibe, her performance alone should convince anyone with the slightest doubts about the band.

It's also cool to see that the band really took on the full stage and utilized the catwalk as well. Ok, Floor did at least but it created a great visual effect and definitely brought the band very close to the crowd. In comparison with PARKWAY DRIVE it felt like NIGHTWISH had a great connection with the crowd. The support is always good for the bands and for sure, PARKWAY DRIVE filled up the area in front of the stage but crowd and band felt distant from each other, at least in comparison with NIGHTWISH. Then I realized that NIGHTWISH have done a lot since I last gave them a spin, a lot of very good stuff that is. “Élan” and the massive “The Greatest Show On Earth” from the 2015 “Endless Forms Most Beautiful” stood out here. I think it’s really cool that a band takes the opportunity to play more complex tracks also as the latter of the two, even if it wasn’t performed in its entirety it sure set another depth to the show. Ok, most of it was actually played but in two different sections, which worked perfectly.

So yes, NIGHTWISH was impressive, both to watch and listen to. I also liked the guy with the whistle among other instruments, Troy Donockley. In these modern days where bands put a lot more on backtracks than necessary it’s good to see something performed live for real.

NIGHTWISH setlist:

01. “Intro” (taped)
02. “End Of All Hope”
03. “Wish I Had An Angel”
04. “Come Cover Me”
05. “Gethsemane”
06. “Élan”
07. “Amaranth”
08. “I Want My Tears Back”
09. “Devil & The Deep Dark Ocean”
10. “Nemo”
11. “Slaying The Dreamer”
12. “The Greatest Show On Earth” (“Chapter II: Life”, “Chapter III: The Toolmaker”)
13. “Ghost Love Score”
14. “The Greatest Show On Earth” (“Chapter IV: The Understanding”, “Chapter V: Sea Worn Driftwood”)

NIGHTWISH

Nightwish @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Nightwish @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Nightwish @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Nightwish @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Nightwish @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Nightwish @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Nightwish @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Nightwish @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Nightwish @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Nightwish @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Nightwish @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Nightwish @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Nightwish @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Nightwish @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Nightwish @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)

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The downside with the Hades Stage is that, when a band draws a crowd like ARCH ENEMY did it comes a bit hard to see. For sure, that stage is massive but for some reason it doesn’t feel like you get an as direct hit from that one as it does for Helveti. ARCH ENEMY deserve the response they got, they sounded fantastic and it was a good show. For me, I was yet again struck by Jeff Loomis and his way of playing. For some reason I haven’t paid much attention to him since NEVERMORE was disbanded but this sure boosted my interest and I found myself in full focus of him, neglecting the rest of the band… That’s one way it can go.

But I really like the massive and powerful sound ARCH ENEMY has, yet with the melodies and dynamics. “War Eternal” and “My Apocalypse” are great examples of this and even if it was quite hysteric in the extremely tight photo-pit it was great to see some from up close at least. I like Alissa White-Gluz’s style on stage, it’s powerful and feminine at the same time and she’s looking good doing it all. “Ravenous” is a favorite from back in the days, “Wages Of Sin” album spun very frequently when it was released and it holds strong today as well. I love the frantic riff in the beginning and the performance of it was crisp and clear which just adds on more to the fact about a very skilled band. I mean, Mike Amott have been another favorite guitarist since I first came across him as he joined CARCASS and then digging up his CARNAGE work, and SPIRITUAL BEGGARS too of course but the pace here sure sets ARCH ENEMY apart.

“We Will Rise” is another favorite and the show certainly hadn’t slowed down here towards the end, rather the opposite. The pressure in the front was immense and the area was still packed out until the last note. This show was a little bit of a reawakening for me, I tent to push aside music that I really do like and appreciate for time to time and then it’s good to get a smack in the face to wake up again, just like this show was.

ARCH ENEMY Setlist:

01. “Ace Of Spades” (taped)
02. “Set Flame to the Night” (taped)
03. “The World Is Yours”
04. “War Eternal”
05. “My Apocalypse”
06. “The Race”
07. “You Will Know My Name”
08. “Ravenous”
09. “The Eagle Flies Alone”
10. “First Day In Hell”
11. “As The Pages Burn”
12. “We Will Rise”
13. “Nemesis”
14. “Enter The Machine” (taped)

ARCH ENEMY

Arch Enemy @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Arch Enemy @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Arch Enemy @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Arch Enemy @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Arch Enemy @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Arch Enemy @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Arch Enemy @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Arch Enemy @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Arch Enemy @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Arch Enemy @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Arch Enemy @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Arch Enemy @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Arch Enemy @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Arch Enemy @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Arch Enemy @ Copenhell @ Refshaleøen (DK) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)

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One (and the only) disappointment with 'Copenhell Festival' (which is not unique here) this year was that many bands banned photographers in the pit, some even out in the crowd. Ok, I added a few schedule clashes to downside as well. But hey, no one can get everything.

I can understand it to some point but still it feels just stupid. Much for me is the possibility to shoot and that is what drives the reviewing part as well. So when AVENGED SEVENFOLD closed the photo-pit I decided to close my day as well. The jet lag caught up to me pretty badly during the ARCH ENEMY show and with the joy I felt watching them and how little I felt for AVENGED SEVENFOLD afterwards I gave up after three songs and called it a day. I really wanted to see SOULFLY who played as absolutely last band of the day, which gets ridiculously late, I had to face facts and give up since there were more days to come.