|» House Of Metal 2007 02 17||
For the first time ever a two-day festival called House Of Metal was arranged in Sweden's northern parts, Umeå to be precise. It certainly won't be the last, given that the arrangement was a great success and the audience showed up in big numbers. During the first night there were artists like Satyricon, Entombed, Heed, Savage Cirkus and Dream Evil on display, but Metal Covenant only attended the second evening. The line-up that time wasn't exactly bad either.
House Of Metal houses larger venues than you might
think, with multiple floors and different bands playing practically non-stop.
The smallest stage is called Studion, where the lesser-known bands played.
Then we have the slightly more spacious Äpplet, which is also connected
to two bar areas. And finally there is Idun, the biggest stage of them
all, which is normally a lecture hall. Due to certain bands colliding
with each other Metal Covenant was only able to catch the beginning of
Persuader and hearing glimpses of Freak Kitchen while sitting in the bar
Both sounded promising, but will have to wait till another time. Below
are the three concerts that gained most of our attention.
Saturday - 17th of February
Band: Enter The Hunt
Judging by the size of the audience, word-of-mouth regarding the greatness of Enter The Hunt has not reached Umeå yet (what, they don't read Metal Covenant here?). Much can however be blamed on the hopeless stage time. Enter The Hunt were set for playing at Äpplet merely half an hour after the doors to House Of Metal opened, and most people hadn't showed up yet. Also, the second part of their gig clashed with a certain Pain, which made the crowd in front of the stage even thinner. At one point there weren't more than roughly 15 persons in the audience, and when the local heroes in Persuader started their set a while later there were at least a hundred people in front of the stage while the bars were packed. But who am I to complain? I got to see one of the greatest bands at the moment from a very close range - and I was mighty impressed. Like the vocalist Krister Linder declares before the first song: "It doesn't matter if it's four people in the audience or a sold out venue - we'll break you no matter what."
The start of the concert fumbles a bit, but when Enter The Hunt brings out the big guns in the form of Setting Sun, Never Stop and Alone there is little doubt that this is a band that belongs on the live scene. The playing is tight and the band paints rhythmic and grandiose moods all over the venue that, like one of my colleagues put it, makes you forgot about time and space. The session bassist Ulf "Rockis" Ivarsson fills the empty slot perfectly and you kind of wonder why he isn't a full time member of the band yet. But the star of the show is, of course, Krister Linder. Dressed like a kick-boxer during a training session, he moves and sings like a God and also makes mind-boggling remarks in-between songs. He's that kind of front man who really makes a difference.
The funniest moment of the whole festival happens towards the end of Enter The Hunt's set, when a girl in the audience interrupts Krister and says: "Excuse me! Is it okay if we go and watch Pain now?" Krister replies: "You do that! We're gonna do One." Her loss.
8 chalices of 10
Band: Hardcore Superstar
It's hard to believe that these guys actually disbanded a few years ago. The resurrected band that is Hardcore Superstar is now more popular than ever, and this particular show marks the end of a one and a half year long tour around the world. But before the guys go into the studio to record new songs they make sure to squeeze as much as they can out of their celebrated, self-titled album that was released in 2005. Old songs are kept to a minimum (for which I am grateful) and ten out of twelve tracks from the latest album are present in the set list.
You soon realize why Hardcore Superstar are doing so well at the moment - they are simply extremely reliable live performers and rarely boring to watch. The band members look like they have just walked out of the set of Pirates Of The Caribbean and then stumbled into a Deathstars-concert; it's pure enjoyment of the best kind. While it soon gets tedious to hear vocalist Jocke Berg describe in-between every single song "how much he loves Umeå", the show as a whole contains little to complain about.
The set length is a bit too long for me to keep my interest up all the
way, and the middle part of the show feels less inspired than the rest.
But it's hard to argue against the grand final, where the breakthrough-hit
Someone Special is played alongside modern sleaze rock-classics like Bag
On Your Head and We Don't Celebrate Sundays. And those who stayed till
the very end got a special treat - to see the band trash their drum set
and throw down the speakers, supposedly to emphasize that this was the
end of an era. Which means that I can now tick off one of the things on
my list that I need to see before I die.
7 chalices of 10
Kick On The Upperclass
This was a rather special occasion for Soilwork, in many ways. It's their first time ever for them in Umeå, which shows on the large amount of people in the audience, the biggest attendance during the whole Saturday. It's also the biggest stage I've seen them perform on, and the vivid vocalist Speed makes sure to use every square inch of it. He's not alone, though. Tonight is the first time when the guitarist Daniel Antonsson (from Dimension Zero, who replaced Peter Wichers last year) is finally confirmed as a full-time member of the group, something a few of us have suspected for quite a while. Speed also gets full support from his comedian sidekick, bassist Ola Flink, who makes one quirky remark after the other. As if this wasn't enough, during the opener Stabbing The Drama non other than Hardcore Superstar's Jocke Berg makes a guest appearance and helps Speed sing during the chorus.
One reason that I looked forward to this concert so much is because I heard that Soilwork played a few old darlings like Neurotica Rampage, Song Of The Damned and Wings Of Domain on their latest America-tour, and therefore I hoped for some rarely played gems here as well. Unfortunately we got none of that, but since this was Soilwork's first-ever gig in Umeå you have to understand that they went with the reliable live-songs. And they work as beautifully as ever, of course. The brutal Stalemate hits like a sledgehammer and Distance is a welcome addition that I have looked forward to experience live, while it's comforting to see that both Figure Number Five and Light The Torch have been brought back into the set list.
Soilwork will now enter the most critical phase in their career so far.
They are going to record their seventh album, but without Peter Wichers,
the guy who wrote nine out of twelve tracks on the much successful latest
album Stabbing The Drama. If they can come through this with their heads
high and prove that they can survive without Peter in the studio as well,
I believe that the tale of this band has only yet begun.
8 chalices of 10
Stabbing The Drama
Niklas, March 2007