MARILYN MANSON / SOULFLY / LAMB OF GOD / TRIVIUM / IMMORTAL / KORPIKLAANI / MESHUGGAH / DYING FETUS / SAXON /THE KANDIDATE / CEREKLOTH / REDWOOD HILL
Date: 16th June, 2012
Ticket: 2-Days 715DKK (€95)
Promoter: Live Nation
Photos: Erika Wallberg
I was actually very surprised to see the schedule of the second day of ‘Copenhell’. Of course, it can be good to have a bigger band play rather early to get people there to be able to enjoy as much as possible of the festival but still, I never thought SAXON would be the absolute first ones out, unless there was a really good reason for it. People actually looked a bit sleepy gathering in front of the Helveti stage just after lunchtime that sunny Saturday. Biff Byford and his crew can never be disappointing since SAXON are one of the greatest live-acts around these days but it showed on a few occasions that he was a bit annoyed with the early gig time. Also, that he stated they were just flying back to England after the gig to continue to work on their next album didn’t really give any reason to the time slot.
Still, SAXON showed once more that they are one of the greatest and even though they’ve been pushing out albums and touring extensively for each of them all around the years, this is where they should be and where they are the biggest and the best. Even for me, who normally sees SAXON live in average about five times per year still think this set is fabulous. It’s actually strange, there are a lot of bands in the same genre as SAXON who’s been doing the same and with some of them, these festival hit parade tend to be a bit threshed but not with SAXON. I get equally excited every time for songs like “Power And The Glory”, “20.000 Feet”, “747 (Strangers In The Night)” and all the rest. Still, I prefer SAXON on their own tour when they play about double the time they got for ‘Copenhell’ and can play a few more odd songs and new numbers but that really is the only thing I can complain about with this gig.
Ok, one more thing perhaps, it showed this was a bit too early for this festival. Of course, there were a bunch who had the time of their lives but the response between the songs was rather quiet to be a SAXON concert. Biff really had to work hard to get the regular response out of “Strong Arm Of The Law” for example. What was a bit special with this SAXON gig though was Paul Quinn’s energy, he tends to appear a bit shy sometimes, not at all taking as much space onstage as the rest of the bands. Here he even climbed to the very edge of the stage for a few solos and looked ever so happy.
There’s no question that the classic bands are the favorites for me on the bill but still, SAXON did a fantastic gig this day.
01. "Heavy Metal Thunder"
02. "Hammer Of The Gods"
03. "Power And The Glory"
04. "I've Got To Rock (To Stay Alive)"
05. "20,000 Ft"
06. "747 (Strangers In The Night)"
08. "Motorcycle Man"
09. "Strong Arm Of The Law"
10. "To Hell And Back Again"
11. "Denim And Leather"
12. "Princess Of The Night"
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For DYING FETUS a few more festival visitors had woken up, actually I was kind of surprised to see such a crowd for these guys. Not that they don’t deserve it, rather the opposite because they sound awesome and have produced some really nice albums over the years. But they are an old school Death Metal band, quite technical such so not the easiest thing to dig into, in comparison with bands like KILLSWITCH ENGAGE and TRIVUM (that also were on the bill later that day) for example. I didn’t expect the modern crowd to appreciate them as they did. But of course GOJIRA draw a full house the night before as well so it perhaps shouldn’t have been that big a surprise.
What I really enjoyed with DYING FETUS is that though they are very brutal, it actually sounds completely furious when they play, they still have some sort of hit potential in their songs, if you can say something like that in connection with as brutal music as DYING FETUS plays. Just after the festival DYING FETUS released their seventh full length album “Reign Supreme”, still some songs from that was performed from it, “From Womb To Waste” for example. And that was a perfect example that old school Death Metal is as active today as two decades ago. Even though DYING FETUS play a technical version of the style, the sound is not at all as triggered as it can be for similar bands. I really like that, a raw and natural sound gives the music so much more force than a clear and clicking bass drum.
One thing that struck me when watching DYING FETUS play was that my eyes started to wonder out over the crowd and on other moving targets around me. From a musical perspective DYING FETUS got my attention but, with both bass player Sean Beasley and guitarist John Gallagher switching off each other with the vocals, both were kind of stuck at their microphones. But it sure was good, DYING FETUS sounded amazing and in the end there’s no wonder why so many showed up to see them play.
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The promoters made it sure that all festival visitors were thoroughly shaken early that afternoon since MESHUGGAH hit the Helveti stage after DYING FETUS finished theirs at Hades. My strongest memory of MESHUGGAH ever was the first time I saw them, I couldn’t really get into the records, should have been “Destroy Erase Improve” that was the latest one at that time but seeing them live changed all of that. That occasion was on a small festival and as the rain was pouring down, I just stood there completely mesmerized. As you all know, MESHUGGAH is extremely technical still the movement and fury on stage was so intense and extreme it almost was a cloud of fog around the stage created by the energy generated.
After that my expectations on this band has been very high and unfortunately (but reasonable) I’ve never felt exactly the same seeing them live again. However, it has always been really good. No exception this time. It still is furious and I’m still very fascinated on how they can have such a great flow in the music in spite of the poly-rhythmic and odd counts. Another thing very spectacular with MESHUGGAH is of course Fredrik Thordendal’s 8-string custom made guitars which gives MESHUGGAH a much broader sound than any band in the genre.
A few months prior to the festival MESHUGGAH had released their seventh full length studio album “Koloss” from which they opened their set with “Demiruge”, a very nice track from a great album. But of course, since I’ve been listening to their first three albums the most, it could have been nice with more than one song from already mentioned “Destroy Erase Improve”, “Future Breed Machine” from that one and “New Millennium Cyanide Christ” from “Chaosphere” but as always, MESHUGGAH did a great gig and since it was a while since I last saw them now their spot on the playlist was a very pleasant afternoon hour.
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Then to ease things up a bit, KORPIKLAANI were ready to rock Hades soon after MESHUGGAH. I can’t claim this type of music is my favorite but live it’s something completely different. And also, when a band is as professional as KORPIKLAANI both when it comes to performance and songwriting it is a joy to watch. Perhaps not everyone in the festival was familiar at all with this style of music because there were a few around us that looked very confused watching KORPLIKLAANI play and almost scared when at least half the crowd (the ones who knew what was going on) shouted “Vodka” and so on. Thinking a bit about this, I guess the folk music in Denmark differs quite a lot from the one produced at the other side of the channel and even more so the further east you go.
KORPLIKLAANI spread a lot of positive energy around them this afternoon. Of course, since they are a whole bunch in the band there are always a lot of things happening onstage. But no matter what, their happiness infected the audience and it was good to see cheers in the front row compared to the spitting that happened with other bands on the bill. Most impressive though was violinist Tuomas Rounakari, his solo really left people with mouths wide open. He had that tired and a bit grumpy Finish attitude, not at all as cheerful as the rest of the band but his playing was completely the opposite. Really cool but I couldn’t stop laughing when he, in the antisocial Finish way just dragged his feet to the microphone to receive the ovations with a very short Thank you!
KORPIKLAANI was actually a very welcome break from the brutal music, even if I highly appreciate that too it still is easier to take it in bit by bit. So to sink a few beers, which is mandatory to do when seeing this band and scream along a bit to “Happy Little Boozer”, “Tequila”, “Beer, Beer” (you get my point with the beer, right?) and such gave me new energy for what was to hit stage later this day.
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