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Copenhell 2011

Copenhell is a newcomer to the festivalscene - this was the second time the festival made Refshaleøen tremble to the music from big acts such as Korn, Judas Priest, Opeth, The Burning and Morbid Angel to name a few. From what I experienced in Copenhagen during the festival I can only hope that Copenhell becomes a permanent fixture on the festival circuit.

~ Martin

|Friday| - |Saturday|

Reviews by Martin
Photos by Linda Grandsjö

Friday - June 17

Band: Kyuss Lives!/Artillery
Main Stage 18:58-20:01, 63 minutes

Due to an airportstrike in Cananda Kyuss Lives!member John Garcia was unable to make it to the gig, and the band was forced to cancel their show. Instead we get thirdgrade thrashers Artillery - a band with songs that make me utterly bored when they get to the third one. What's even stranger is that the crowd does not seem to mind, except one guy, that Kyuss Lives! isn't on stage. I will not give a grade on Artillery's concert as I didn't see the entire thing.

-- chalices of 10

(sorry, no setlist)

Band: The Burning
Hades Stage 18:00-18:45

Well this was a pleasant surprise! Going to festivals means that you get to see one band that you hadn't heard about before and really liking it. This was the case with Danish The Burning who very much impressed me. Their slightly quirky deaththrash isn't the most original music, but the delivery was mightily impressive. Led by their more than energetic singer Johnny Haven the band answered for one of the most intense shows I've seen in a while. The Burning really showed what it's supposed to be like when a band performs as a unit and not just single members. Impressive.

6 chalices of 10

(sorry, no setlist)

Band: Opeth
Helvíti Stage 19:00-20:30

Opeth was one of the main reasons for me to go to the festival, so to say that I had been looking forward to the show would be an understatement. Opening with The Grand Conjuration from Ghost Reveries set the standards straightaway - Opeth is a group of very talented musicians that has a catalogue of song s that would make most bands drool. The sound is excellent, a thing most vital when it comes to Opeth's music. Led by dry humoured Mikael Åkerfeldt (when giving an example of upcoming album Heritage he plays a single note!) who seems to be enjoying himself, Opeth delivers a good but not classic gig. Opeth really doesn't come to their full potential at festivals, where the sets are too short to really suit the band. On the other hand the band delivers music of such quality that it's hard to resist, even when the concerts dips slightly at the first half of Face Of Melinda. Opeth simply did what they do best - play excellent songs in an impressive way.

7 chalices of 10

The Grand Conjuration
Face Of Melinda
The Lotus Eater
In My Time Of Need
Master's Apprentices
The Drapery Falls
Hex Omega

Band: Korn
Helvíti Stage 21:30-22:45

I really didn't have any expectations on Korn's show having listened very little to the band's music and finding what I heard not entirely satisfying. Well, I am very glad I went, because Korn proved that they are a live band to the tee. The tightness was unbelievable - it very much sounded like the musicians was one instrument. Drummer Ray Luzier impressed the most - not only did he have one of the most impressive kits I've seen but the way he used it made my jaw drop to the ground, even to the degree that even if I found one or two songs slightly boring I could count on Luzier doing something interesting nonetheless. Singer Jonathan Davis had the audience in his hand - that a large portion of the festivalgoers had come to see Korn was evident, the singing was at times very loud. I left the show with the feeling that I had witnessed something extremely good.

8 chalices of 10

Here To Stay
Pop A Pill
Freak On A Leash
Shoots And Ladders/One
4 U
Got The Life
Alone I Break
Right Now
Ball Tongue/Lodi Dodi/It Takes Two
Oildale (Leave Me Alone)
Throw Me Away
Somebody Someone
Get Up
Falling Away From Me
Coming Undone/We Will Rock You/Twisted Transistor/Make Me Bad/Thoughtless/Did My Time/Clown
Y'all Want A Single

To the top

Saturday - June 18

Band: Protest The Hero
Helvíti Stage 16:30-17:30

Quirky post hardcore Canadians Protest The Hero opened up the festivities on Saturday in a good way. There is something truly sympathetic about singer Rody Walker's way of greeting the audience: "I sure do hope that you like the sound of my voice, because I'm going to be talking to you a lot" and then bursting into C'est La Vie a very energetic song. The music is very demanding at times with plenty of odd meters and plenty of sweeps from guitarists Luke Hoskin and Tim Millar.

The fact that bassist Arif Mirabdolbaghi uses a five-string bass is only fitting and drummer Moe Carlson is strangely enough not behind a massive kit, but boy does he utilize what he's got! Sadly he has some problems with his snare - which is barely audible throughout the concert - and this is quite sad as he really is a great drummer. Considering the level of expertise and the fact that I like quirky music I very much enjoy the band's concert even though I haven't heard much of their music.

6 chalices of 10

C'est La Vie
Bone Marrow
Blindfolds Aside
The Reign Of Unending Terror
Sequoia Throne
Sex Tapes

Band: Kvelertak
Hades Stage 18:00-18:45

Norwegian stalwarts Kvelertak released their self titled debut last year and completely blew me away. This fact coupled with the rumour that the band's shows were more than energetic had me looking forward very much to the gig at Copenhell. I can easily say that the lads fulfilled my expectations. These guys really only have one gear - and that is full pelt. Singer Erlend Hjelvik is so pumped up that his talking between songs is unintelligible at best - but this matters little when you get such a devastating delivery of songs like Sjøhyenar (Havets Herrer), Fossegrim and Mjød.

The songs themselves are good on record, but performed on stage they get even better - the tripleaxeonslaught from Vidar Landa, Bjarte Lund Rolland and Maciek Ofstad makes for a thick wonderful sound completely connected with the best drumsound so far and the mighty bass of Marvin Nygaard. The crowd goes wild when the band demands it - crowdsurfing, moshpitting and Hjelvik himself stagediving on more than one occasion. Not even the rain can put the good mood down - I can honestly urge you to go and see Kvelertak if it's mosh that you crave.

8 chalices of 10

Sjøhyenar (Havets Herrer)
Ordsmedar Av Rang

Band: All That Remains
Hades Stage 20:30-21:30

If nothing else All That Remains is a good liveact - this is the second time I've seen the band (the first was at Malmö's KB, and that show kicked ass) and I had some pretty high expectations on the concert this time. All That remains have two really great instrumentalists in drummer Jason Costa who plays just beautifully and lead Oli Hebert who has some killer chops and who clearly is enjoying himself from the get go. Singer Philip Labonte is just as energetic as ever and he has the vocal ability to scream the shit out of the microphone as well as execute the more clean-sung parts in the band's music.

The tightness of the band became evident from the opening song Now Let Them Tremble - and it sure didn't stop there, haha! The absolutely beautiful interlocking between the doublebassdrumassault and the guitars almost brought tears to my eyes - and there is plenty of that in the band's music. The entire band seemed positively on fire - a fact which energized the audience in a fantastic way. Not as good as the first concert, but still a very impressive show!

8 chalices of 10

(sorry, no setlist)

Band: Morbid Angel
Hades Stage 23:00-24:00

Morbid Angel is one of the greatest death metalbands out there - even though their latest album sucks, the back catalogue of this gang is, to say the least, impressive. Opening up with Immortal Rites and Fall From Grace gets the impressive crowd going. Playing with uncanny precision Morbid Angel show with clarity that they are a force to be reckoned with. David Vincent is growling admirably - and the rest of the band is, well, on fire. I don't know if that has something to do with the poor reviews the band has gotten for Illud Divinum Insanus, but they are playing their socks off. Filling-in for Pete Sandoval drummer Tim Yeung is a bloody monster behind his kit, the 16th-notes firing off hiss bass-drums like machine-gun fire. I know, a bit of a cliché but you'll have to take it, haha!

The band sneaks in three new songs, Existo Vulgoré, Nevermore and I Am Morbid, but the larger part of the set is dedicated to the older material. It's very nice to hear songs like Angel Of Disease, Lord Of All Plagues And Fever and Where The Slime Live, but still there is a bit missing from this being a great show. Nevertheless, I am quite impressed by the band's show, and their concert is a truly worthy ending to the festival for my part.

7 chalices of 10

(sorry, no setlist)

To the top

The closing words

Copenhell is still a festival searching for its own identity - but the professionalism is clearly there to make this festival a great new addition to the circuit. It would be greater though if such a muppet metalband such as Gwar is left out as they truly demean the scene as a whole by their very existence and poor excuse for music.

The infrastructure of the festival was great - shuttle busses going to and from the festival made getting there an easy endeavour, and once there the area was very well organized. If I have one thing to complain about it would be that there was the ever-present beer from Royal - a really inferior beer if you consider that there are so much more great beers in Denmark. No, I'm not talking about Carlsberg or Tuborg, haha!

I really hope that Copenhell is back next summer - the two festivals so far has shown that there is a need for a metal music festival in Denmark.

~ Martin

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