Copenhell Festival 2011
After coming home at 4.30 in the morning it was a really good idea to sleep in before it was time to get ready and head over to the festival again. Saturday included acts like Doctor Midnight and the Mercy Cult, All That Remains, Morbid Angel and Mayhem to mention a few. The rain poured down so I had to wait before I even could walk out of the doors at home and that combined with delayed trains ended up in we being pretty late. We had scheduled to see Anvil but we didn’t make it to that which was really sad. We arrived just in time to see Dr Midnight And the Mercy Cult go on the Hades stage. The band is an all-star act consisting of members from Satyricon, Turbonegro, Celtic Frost and The Kovenant amongst others. Their brand new single was released at the beginning of May and at the beginning of June came the debut album called I DECLARE TREASON. The band had already began to play when we arrived to I (Anders) couldn’t go into the photo pit.
There was nothing on stage except for speakers and a smaller backdrop. All of the members were dressed in black and Helvete had on sunglasses despite the bad and grey weather. Members in the band are:
Hank Von Helvete – lead vocals
Tim Skold – bass
Anders Odden – guitar
David Husvik – drums
Audun Stengel – guitar
Stengel and Odden stood on each side of Helvete in the middle and Skold was everywhere at one and the same time. Helvete said that the band was founded because they wanted to save rock’n’roll from going under which the member think is about to happen right now. Songs that was played was “I Declare Treason”, “(Don’t) Waste It”, “Oh, We’re Just About To Die” and “Victorious”. Helvete also said that Denmark needs the Copenhell Festival because at the moment they only thing they have is the Roskilde Festival and Denmark need more rock’n’roll. Helvete said that they had written a song about that and it was the one that followed called “Bleed Idiot Bleed”.
It’s hard to describe the bands music you almost have to hear it and decide for yourself. We’d say it’s messy, fast and dirty rock’n’roll music with minor influences of metal. Helvete talked in between every song but to be honest we think he mostly branched out on things that wasn’t relevant. It felt like he wasn’t sober when he came up with the speeches. One speech was about a huge whore that came to earth to destroy the world and that he wrote about that in the song “The Whore In The West”. The show was over after 40 minutes and even though the songs was OK it all felt a little far out for us.
The sky opened short after the show was over and the rain poured down and everyone who didn’t run for cover became instantly soaking wet. Luckily the rain was over as soon as it began but dark clouds circled over the festival are during the entire night. While we waited for the next show to start we wandered around on the area checking out the merchandise stands. Target, the record abel, had more merchandise than albums for sale this year and overall wasn’t there many albums for sale. The lines were really long to the food stands and we saw many that got irritated on that. The lines were really long during the first day.
We also lacked a proper info-sheet about when and where the acts were going to play. The organisers had written down the time the band were about to go on stage but not when the shows were about to end. All That Remains were scheduled to perform at the Hades stage but when we got there we noticed that they had switched time with Kvelertak so we got prepared to see them instead. Kvelertak (in English it means chokehold or stranglehold) comes from Norway and their lyrics are all about vikings and Nordic mythology and of course do they sing on Norwegian. The band debut album came last year but we have both missed it for some reason but it’s fun to see how great things are going for the band at the moment.
As soon as the member showed up on stage formed the fans a circlepit and a few crazy ones also crowd-surfed. It was full speed ahead right from the start and nothing seemed to stop the Norwegian maniacs not even the rain that began to fall at the end of the show. The singer jumped down in the photo pit and walked around amongst the fans while the band performed the third song and that made the fans go even crazier. Kvelertak plays a pretty unique mix of hardcore/metal/punk music with black metal influences. At the end of the show made the singer a huge stage dive straight into the audience and he rolled around for a while on the crowd until the security dragged him into safety again. This was truly and explosive show and we both thought that Kvelertak sure is a band to take a closer look at.
After the Kvelertak show was it time to head over to the Helviti stage to see one of the big names do their thing. There were a lot less people attending the festival this second day and maybe it wasn’t a smart move to put both Korn and Judas Priest on the same day. When we got over to the other stage a lot of fans had already gathered in front of the stage and right on time came the Norwegian black metal icons in Mayhem on stage.
The afternoon show began with the song “Pagan Fear’s” and the fans seemed to really enjoy the show. Band members are:
Attila – lead vocals
Hellhammer – drums
Necrobutcher – bass
Morfeus – guitar
Teloch – guitar
Behind the huge drumkit hung an even larger backdrop with the band name on it and on each side of the stage hung two smaller backdrops equipment with the band name and a devil on them. Attila tried to look evil in his leathpants and his black cloak on him. He had put a reversed cross on his mic which was made off a dead man bones and in his other hand he had a skull. A few songs the band played was “My Death”, “Crystalized Pain In Deconstruction”, “Buried By Time And Dust” and “Freezing Moon”. Attila stood still mostly of the time and the rest of the band didn’t move around too much either.
To be honest, it was too early for a band of Mayhem’s calibre to be on stage. Mayhem’s music suits better in a dark and sweaty club and not on a festival in broad daylight. But it’s fun to see that the organisers have thought about booking a variety of bands that can appeal to all different kind of musical taste. “Pure” followed and the small but brave crowd cheered and clapped and it was only a few teenage girls that wore t-shirts with Bullet For My Valentine print that looked a bit scared and uncomfortable. Maybe this show was great for the already hooked fanbase but we mostly stood and laughed quietly and wondering what the hell we was looking at. Mayhem is not one of the bands that we’re going to remember for its greatness during this particular festival. And maybe it all had worked a little better if it were dark, this kind of music works better when it’s dark for sure.
After the Mayhem incident was it time for us to attend the show with All That Remains and a lot of people had already gathered in front of the stage to see some mallcore music.
“Now Let Them Tremble” began the show and both the band as well as the audience was ready to rumble from the very start. Singer Labonte was like a whirlwind throughout the entire show and he was all over the stage. “For We Are Many” followed and the crowd exploded when they heard the intro kick off. Labonte said that it was great fun to see that so many had come to see the band and that it was the bands pleasure to be here and perform. “Six” continued as well as “Chiron”, “Not Alone” and “The Last Time”. Labonte said that this show was the last one they did in Europe before they was heading home to America and Labonte urged the crowd to scream even harder in the next song in order to support the band. “Become The Catalyst”, “Won’t Go Quietly” and “The Air That I Breath” was run through pretty fast after each other and it was pretty obvious that All That Remains had a pretty tight schedule to keep as well as for the rest of the artists on the Hades stage had. Labonte said that the band loved to be on tour in Europe which the fans loved to hear and thanked the band by cheering even louder and harder.
All That Remains are:
Philip Labonte – lead vocals
Mike Martin – guitar
Oli Herbert – guitar
Jeanne Sagan – bass
Jason Costa – drums
Closing songs was “Hold On”, “Forever In Your Hands”, “Two Weeks” and “This Calling”. Even though the band had toured heavily before the came to Copenhagen weren’t there any signs of tiredness or lack of inspiration amongst the members. And even though we didn’t enjoy the bands music to the extreme was it fun to see a band that gave their absolute all for the fans.
Now Let Them Tremble
For We Are Many
The Last Time
Become The Catalyst
Won’t Go Quietly
The Air That I Breathe
Some Of The People All Of The Time
Forever In Your Hands
Straight after the show was it again for us to head back to the Helviti stage and this time to see one of the big names that appeared on the festival. It was Bullet For My Valentine and we were eager to see if the bands music sounded as emo-mallcore live as it does on album. The band had brought along their usual backline with a huge drumkit and the huge backdrop with the band name on it. On each side of the drums was several Marshall amps piled on each other and in front of them were two smaller platforms placed were one of the guitarists and the bass player stood during the show. It’s hard to define what kind of music BFMV plays, some say mallcore, some say heavy metal mixed with thrash metal. We also had a hard time deciding what kind of metal these Wales guys plays but we could at least agree on that their music sounds much harder and meaner live compared to on album and that’s always a good thing.
The excellent song “Your Betrayal” opened the show and all of the guys ran in on stage. All of the fans went berserk and screamed on the top of their lungs when they saw their favourite act. The crowd instantly sang along with Tuck when he hissed the first line “Am I Going Insane”… there was no doubt that BFMV was highly and warmly loved by the Danish fans and it felt really great that the band got such a warm welcome. As the soon as the song ended began the next and it was another great piece “Pleasure And Pain”.
The band members are:
Matt Tuck – lead vocals, guitar
Padge Paget – guitar
Jay James – bass, vocals
Moose Thomas – drums
Tuck said that it was nice to be playing in Copenhagen and on the Copenhell festival this night and that it was cool to see that so many people had come to the show and then he announced the next song which was “Waking The Demon” and it was taken from the bands second album. A circle pit was shortly formed and when Tuck wanted the crowd to for a wall of death wasn’t the fans eager to please him and made two formation that ran towards each other when Tuck shouted go. “The Last Fight” only added to the madness and we could see a lot of crowd-surfing going on here and there in the crowd. The sound system was great but the light could be better. Tuck asked if anyone had bought the bands debut album THE POSION and almost everyone in the crowd screamed YES and Tuck said that the next song “4 Words (To Choke Upon)” was taken from the album and he said that he wanted everyone to form a circlepit.
All of the guys were active on stage and did their best to get in touch with the audience and all three of them did a great job with that. “Hand Of Blood” and “Tear’s Don’t Fall” followed and it didn’t matter which album the songs came from all of the fans sang a long really loud in all of the songs. The guys seemed to be really tight and the band felt really solid together and it looked like they really loved what they were doing up there. “Begging For Mercy” was the last song for the evening and after the song had ended went the guys straight of stage and didn’t come back to do encores. We thought that was pretty cheap and it dragged down the rating of the show. All of the fans shouted for the band to come back again but they didn’t show up.
Besides that incident the show was actually “OK” but not more, the set list felt solid and it was nice to see that so many sang a long in each and every song. It was fun to look at the bass player James in action because he really added feeling to the show. The fact that he and Tuck shares the lead vocals adds more depth and edge to the songs. The negative thing was the short playtime, about 60 minutes when they had 90 to their favour was far too little. Unfortunately it felt the show from time to time like another day of work for the band I (Anders) have seen this band do much better than this.
The set list is not in proper order.
Pleasure And Pain
Waking The Demon
The Last Fight
4 Words (To Choke Upon)
Scream Aim Fire
Hand Of Blood
Tear’s Don’t Fall
Begging For Mercy
While Bullet For My Valentine played and invaded the darkness we awaited Morbid Angel to go on the Hades stage. The bands new album ILLUD DIINUM INSANUS came out at the beginning of June and has had some various response from fans and press. A few love it but it feels like more hate it. The bands faithful drummer Pete Sandoval had hurt his back and was replaced by Tim Yeung during the current tour and the guitarist Destructor was also added to the live line-up. After having checking out the food stand and after having eaten a bit was it time to head over to the Hades stage and see Morbid Angel who, for us, closed the Copenhell Festival for this year. On stage hung a huge backdrop that portrayed the art work from the new album and just like every other bands had done stood also Morbid Angels mic stand far back on stage. When the clock stroke 11 was it time for the legendary Morbid Angel to enter stage and the crowd gave the guys a really warm welcome.
As soon as everyone had walked on stage and as the intro had faded out began the show with “Immortal Rites” and a circle pit formed instantly in front of the stage. As on so many shows before this one during the festival had the smoke machine gone crazy and it was hard to even see the band from the beginning because of all the smoke. After the song ended said Vincent it was nice to be in Copenhagen and moved the mic stand closer to the front of the stage and said that he wanted to be closer to his friends this night. The crue have to come out on stage and take Vincents monitors to this new place that he have put his mic. Vincent continued with saying that they were going to play both old and new stuff and kicked off “Rapture” taken from the the album COVENANT from 1993. “Maze Of Torment” followed and the crowd went even crazier (if that was possible). The light was quite poor and it was sometimes hard to see the band on stage and parts of the members played in darkness. The only one that moved around on stage was Vincent the other two stood solid put on their spot at played their instruments all of the show.
David Vincent – lead vocals, bass
Trey Azagtoth – guitar
Tim Yeung – drums
Destructor – guitar
Yeung’s effort was magnificent and his drum play was fast, technical and intense with a lots of blast-beats that really got him work hard. The intake of a second guitar player was something that really benefit the band and Azagtoth got to show off his skills on guitar while Destructor backed him up. It was now time for the band to play two new songs which were “Existo Vulgare” and “Nevermore”. When Vincent shouted “Are you Morbid” a few times in a row everyone knew what song that was about to come and he looked really pleased when he saw and heard that the fans shouted I am morbid back to him and raised their fists in the sky. Even though the new album haven’t been well greeted by the critics seemed the audience to like the new songs and they sang a long with Vincent in most of them.
“Angel Of Disease” and “Chapel Of Ghouls” followed and when the last song was over went the band of stage. However wasn’t the crowd satisfied and shouted and screamed for the band to come out and do some encores. The band came out again and kicked off “Dawn Of The Angry” and “Where The Slime Live” both songs taken from the 1995 album DOMINATOR. Vincent looked really happy to be on stage and thanked us again for being there and said that the band had two more songs to play before they heading home and that was “God Of Emptiness”. Azagtoth made a long guitar solo at the end of the song and when we looked at the clock we saw that the band had been playing for about 1 hour. As soon as that song was over kicked Morbid Angel off “World Of Shit (The Promised Land)” instantly and they made a very short and intense version of the song.
We had nothing to argue about when it came to the show, the set list was crazy good and we thought that the new songs worked out really well live. Vincent sang as good as always and the band worked really well together. The sound worked great but the lights could have been better. Maybe we had wanted to hear more songs from the album BLESSED ARE THE SICK. The set-list focused on material from the Dave Vincent era and they hadn’t incorporated any song from when Steve Tucker sang in the band. The biggest question was why Morbid Angel played on the small stage?
Fall From Grace
Maze Of Torment
Angel Of Disease
Chapel Of Ghouls
Dawn Of The Angry
Where The Slime Live
God Of Emptiness
World Of Shit (The Promised Land)
The last band for the evening, and the one that closed the festival, was GWAR on the Helviti stage. To be honest we wondered what the organisers were thinking when they decided to put a band like GWAR as the headliner. We had no interest in seeing juvenile old men in costumes squirting blood on the audience while singing demeaning lyrics so we decided to go home. We were content with what we had seen during these two days and felt like we didn’t want to spoil that with seeing such a lousy act as GWAR.
The second day of the festival felt a little more lame that the first one, we thought the line-up wasn’t as strong as day one and thought that udas Priest could have closed the festival instead of putting big acts on the same day. It also felt like there were less people attending compared to the first day but that maybe was a combination of bad weather and not as hot acts as day one had to offer but you could only buy tickets to the entire festival – two days- and not a one day ticket so the ones who didn’t show up to the second day loss a great amount of money doing that.
When we got to the bus stop a bus was already there and it was really nice to hop on the warm bus the short ride back to the metro-station. It was a big plus that the organisers had managed to fix shuttle buses this year. We read in the newspapers that there were about 8000 people attending the festival but the festival haven’t announced any official numbers. If there were 8000 people it’s the double amount of people compared to last year which is really great. Copenhell Festival continued to focus on death, black and mallcore acts this year as well as last year and we think that the focus and the path the festival has taken is a great way and they have all the possibilities to grow more next year. The amount of band felt good but we do think that they should place the stages a little different next year. The way the stages stood last year was perfect with the stages almost besides each other.
To our surprise were there was quite few food stands and the ones that was there offered pretty much the same food. The lines to both the food and to the beer was too long both days and there weren’t signs enough that pointed out where things were happening. We couldn’t see where Burn Bitch Burn were going to perform and we couldn’t find out anywhere what movies was showing in DOX:HELL. We couldn’t find where to buy the Copenhell Vodka or Copenhell Beer either. Maybe it’s time to print a festival guide to give out at the entrance next year and if you do then please also print out the stop time for the band and not only the start time. The meet and greet could maybe also have been a little better organised and that instead of putting the meet and greet in the merch tent it could be held in a separate tent or room. The merch stands was also not enough, two stands that offered shirts, albums and so on wasn’t enough. The organisers have still a few adjustments to do before the next edition of the festival is held. But on the positive side can be mentioned the nice staff, the great bands, the shuttle buses and the great audience and the warm atmosphere on the festival. Be sure to pay a visit to Copenhell Festival next year if you can but we hope that the weather is better next time. A festival like Copenhell is well needed for Denmark, the festival is perfect in size and proportion and the bands have been great. Denmark hasn’t got a festival like this at all. We hope to see you at Copenhell Festival 2012, thanks for this year.
Thanks to Mette Borgstrom at Live Nation Denmark for the press/photo press to the festival
Also a big thank you to the organizers of the festival Live Nation Denmark, you did a great job.