Copenhell Festival 2014 at Refshaleoen Copenhagen, Denmark

August 23rd, 2014
by Anders Sandvall

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Copenhell Festival 2014: Wednesday

The weather left more to wish for when I opened my eyes on Wednesday morning. The rain came and went during the day and persistent rain continued to fall on me and my friend when we went to the bus. The line up on Wednesday was amazing with Monster Magnet, Arch Enemy, Black Label Society and Iron Maiden to mention a few. Even though the journey took longer than usual due to the strike, it all went pretty smooth and soon were we waiting for the shuttle buses to take us to the festival from Christians Square in Copenhagen. After a minor delay, I was able to get my media pass from the HQ and I could finally set my feet on the festival ground. I came to the festival at 5 o clock and at 6 it was time for Monster Magnet to head on to the Hades stage. The festival area looked quite similar to previous years. After the entrance you could see the Pandemonium stage on the right along with lots of food stands. The viking village was situated close to the smaller stage this year and the huge place where the official merchandise was sold this year was called Graveyard. And of course, the Biergarten was also held inside a huge tent this year.

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On the left side were two bigger stages as well as beer stands and a few minor food stands. Besides each stage were place the two flame throwers that go off when each show is about to start. As we walked by the Helviti stage we could see that it was quite high up and the Anthrax gear was already put up on the stage. Behind their stuff we could see Iron Maidens gear and Anthrax had really a limited amount of space to move around because of all of the Iron Maiden gear. It feels like Copenhell every year is cursed with rain and this year was no exception to that rule. We could feel the drops coming down faster and harder so it was only to put on the rain coat and follow my friend who wanted to drink the rain away. He had now discovered that the beer stands sold Iron Maiden beer and what better way to forget the bad weather than to sip on a Maiden beer?! The rain stopped right before it was time for Dave Wyndorf and his Monster Magnet to go on stage. Perfect timing, maybe Wyndorf has some connection with the weather gods?

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LOST PATROL is the name of the new Monster Magnet album and with the album a new bass player also arrived to the band in Chris Kosnick. Me and the rest of the photographers were let into the photo pit about 10 minutes before the start of the show and a few minutes later one of the narrators came on stage to introduce Monster Magnet.

Monster Magnet

“Superjudge” was the first song for the afternoon from Monster Magnet and it was full speed ahead from the very start of the show. Wyndorf seemed to be in good shape and the show continued with “Medicine”. The band is:

Dave Wyndorf – lead vocals, guitar
Phil Cavivano – guitar
Bob Pantella – drums
Garrett Sweeny – guitar
Chris Kosnick – bass

Wyndorf thanked fans for the warm welcome and fired off “Look To Your Orb For The Warning” and Wyndorf played so intense that he broke a string on his guitar but he kept on playing. Compared to the previous times I’ve seen Monster Magnet, Wyndorf now seemed to be more secure in his approach towards the fans and he looked healthier and seemed to have much more fun on stage now than he did the past few times I’ve seen the band. The sound system didn’t work properly from the beginning but luckily the technicians took care of that and it shaped up during the rest of the show. The crowd was quite calm and a bit reluctant towards the band, but that didn’t impact the members and they continued delivering a solid show. “Dopes To Infinity” and “Tractor” continued the show and now woke the majority of the crowd and sang along with Wyndorf in the remaining songs. Most of the songs were extended with long guitar solos which made the show lose its pace.

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Wyndorf said it was nice to be in Copenhagen and fired off one of the bands biggest hits “Powertrip” which made the remaining parts of the crowd wake up. The temperature on stage rose further when “Space Lord” followed and Wyndorf leaned from the edge of the stage pointing the mic towards the crowd and wanted them to help him sing the song. It took a while for Wyndorf to even begin to sing the song because he wanted the fans to keep on shouting Space Lord repeatedly. “Space Lord” was also the song that ended the show. Monster Magnet had been given 45 minutes and instead of extending each song into oblivion I think they should have jammed maybe one or two songs as a treat for the fans. I didn’t think the band delivered something out of the ordinary. Sure it was nice to see that Wyndorf were doing better, but this was just another day at work for him and the rest of the band. Maybe that attitude rubbed off on the crowd because it was a lazy band that performed for a quite lazy crowd. The show didn’t lift until the last two-three songs and by then it was too late. I’ve seen Monster Magnet do much better than this.

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Set list
Superjudge
Medicine
Look To Your Orb For The Warning
Dopes To Infinity
Tractor
Powertrip
Space Lord

After the disappointing Monster Magnet show it was time for me to head over to the Helviti stage to see one of my childhood favorite bands in Anthrax. The rain had stopped and the temperature had gone up a bit so it seemed to be perfect weather conditions for some Anthrax music. Two huge video screens were placed beside the stage so everyone could see properly. A lot of people were positioned on the grassy hill across from the two larger stages to see the Anthrax show but many fans were also gathered in front of the stage and that made it quite hard to estimate how many people actually were there to see Anthrax.

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Anthrax

Anthrax are no newcomers at Copenhell, they performed there back in 2012 so this was their second visit to this festival. The band released their latest studio album WORSHIP MUSIC in 2011 and in 2013 came an EP called ANTHEMS where the band covers some of their favorite songs. The EP was the last one the band made with guitarist Rob Caggiano who now is replaced by Jonathan Donais (ex- Shadows Fall). The band had a limited space to move around on because of the Iron Maiden gear that was waiting behind. On stage hung a backdrop with the band name on it and two smaller backdrops were placed on each side of the stage. And once the clock struck 7, the flame thrower marked the start of the show and it was time for the mosh-heroes to enter the stage.

The members walked on the stage while receiving claps and cheers from the fans. The first song out was the legendary “Caught In A Mosh” which made the fans explode in total bliss. It felt like Anthrax was longed for by the Danish fans. Lead singer Belladonna was like a whirlwind on stage and was everywhere at the same time. He asked how the fans were doing and then kicked off “Madhouse”.

Anthrax line-up for Copenhell 2014:

Joey Belladonna – lead vocals
Jon Dette – drums
Scott Ian – guitar
Frank Bello – bass
Jonathan Donais – guitar

Belladonna thanked us for the warm welcome and said that it was really nice to be back at Copenhell playing for the fans and so it was time for another huge hit with “Indians”. Belladonna seemed to be really happy with the amazing support the band got and walked through the show with a huge smile glued to his face. Finally Ian and Bello came out on the ramp that was placed in the middle of the stage and met the crazy fanbase. Ian that had stood pretty solid on stage until now and started to run and jump around as he normally does and that made the fans even crazier. Belladonna asked if anyone knew the time? And of course was it time for the band to play “Got The Time”. The fans sang the song together with Belladonna and he let the crowd sing the chorus with him. Belladonna wanted the fans to show their horns and while he talked the smaller backdrop showed each picture of Ronnie James Dio. Belladonna wanted to see as many horns as possible in the air during the next song which was a tribute to Ronnie James Dio – “Hymn I”. “In The End” followed instantly and a circle pit was formed in front of the stage and a few happy campers crowd surfed during the song. Belladonna urged the fans to show their horns to the sky and he looked up to the sky and said that Ronnie James Dio and Dimebag are not forgotten and their music lives on.

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Now it was time for Ian to do the talking and he said that he was going to make it short because they were almost out of time. He dedicated the song “Fight Em Til You Can’t” to their favorite guitarist Rob Caggiano. Dette did a good job behind the drums but I’d rather of seen the original drummer and founder Charlie Benante doing the drums. Ian once again took the mic and introduced the next song which was the AC/DC song “TNT”. He told the fans to sing a long in the song because who doesn’t like AC/DC?

Belladonna asked if there were any old school fans in the crowd because now was it time to head back in time to the first album and the song “Deathrider”. The circle pit continued and Belladonna laughed and thanked the crowd for the amazing support. Belladonna said “I am…” and the audience answered “The Law!!” Then followed “I Am The Law” and Belladonna let the crowd take care of the chorus. Anthrax poured classic songs over the fans and it couldn’t have been a better show. They sure showed that they still are a force to be reckoned with. Belladonna thanked us again for the support and said that they still had one more song to play and it was the classic “Antisocial”. And who walks up on stage but Rob Caggiano who was going to join them. The band used their 60 minutes to the full and delivered an amazing show. Belladonna was in a great mood and the band seemed to be having a lot of fun on stage. Donais was the one who stood solid on his spot but that wasn’t strange, maybe he was a bit nervous and concentrating on the material. The classic songs were performed with strength and precision and even though I missed some of the songs from the John Bush era I thought the set list was close to perfect. It was nice to hear the old song “Deathrider” featured in the set list, it was a long time since I heard that one live. I think that both the fans as well as the band had a really great hour together.

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Set list
Caught In A Mosh
Madhouse
Indians
Got the Time
Hymn I
In The End
Fight Em Till You Can’t
TNT (AC/DC cover)
Deathrider
I Am the Law
Antisocial (feat. Rob Caggiano)

Now was it time for one of the highlights of the festival. The Swedish melodic death metal act Arch Enemy was about to kick off their show on the Hades stage. Earlier this year the singer Angela Gossow left the band and Alissa White-Gluz took over her role. The band also has a new guitarist with Nick Cordle who joined the band in 2012. The band recently released their brand new album titled WAR ETERNAL with White-Gluz behind the mic. I was really excited to hear and see the new singer because after all it isn’t easy to replace a lead singer and it’s really hard to replace someone of Gossow’s caliber.

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The court in front of Hades stage was jammed with people and even more people sat on the hill across from the stage. On the Hades stage their equipment was already placed, and besides gear, instruments and amps there were also two sets of flags on each side of the stage. Before every show a narrator come out to introduce the band that is going to play (in Danish of course). Usually they are two that share the task of introduction but the first day was only one of them taking care of that. A few minutes before the show began one of the narrators came out on the stage and asked the crowd if they were ready to welcome Arch Enemy, and the fans screamed at the top of their lungs to make the band feel welcomed.

Arch Enemy

The members made their entrance to the sounds of an intro and the first song out for the evening was “Yesterday Is Dead And Gone”. White-Gluz ran around on the stage from the very beginning. She made a circle movement with her hand which meant the fans were to make a circle pit and the song “War Eternal” was next up. Arch Enemy consists of:

Alissa White-Gluz – lead vocals
Nick Cordle – guitar
Daniel Erlandsson – drums
Sharlee D’Angelo – bass
Michael Aamott – guitar

White-Gluz thanked the fans for the support and asked if they were ready for “Ravenous”. It was White-Gluz and D’Angelo who moved around the most on stage while the rest of the band took it slower. “My Apocalypse” followed and it was amazing to see how tight the band was. They knew exactly what everyone was going to do and felt really solid as a unit. White-Gluz asked if everyone in the crowd was doing OK and said that it was now time to play a song from the brand new album WAR ETERNAL called “As The Pages Burn” and she wanted everyone to sing a long with her in the song. White-Gluz really impressed me big time and even though I thought it was going to be hard to fill the shoes of Gossow, White-Gluz did an amazing job. The wind blew quite hard by now and it made it hard to partially hear the music because it bounced around a lot. Luckily the band also blew away most of the smoke that covered the stage. The entire band looked really happy with the great response they got from the audience and I could feel that the band pushed themselves a little harder just to give the fans something to remember.

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“Dead Eyes See No Future” followed and the circle pit was packed. White-Gluz fired up the crowd in the song and wanted the fans to sing the last chorus with her. The band thought the fans did such a great job with the chorus so they played it once again before the song ended. “We Will Rise” continued the show and White-Gluz grabbed one of the flags and waved it on stage during the song. White-Gluz wanted the fans to scream for the next song which was “Nemesis” and once again she invited the fans to sing a long with the band in the chorus. “Nemesis” also ended the 45 minutes of total devastation that Arch Enemy treated fans with. It felt like the band had a fuel injection with the arrival of White-Gluz and she is going to be just as great as a front woman for Arch Enemy as Gossow. I hope that both the band and the fans are giving White-Gluz time to adjust and grow into the position as front-woman in one of the biggest and best melodic death metal acts in the world. Arch Enemy performed at the top of their game and they can’t be blamed for the intense smoke machine or the bouncing sound. 45 minutes wasn’t enough for me, I wanted to hear more from this well-oiled killing machine.


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Set list
Yesterday Is Dead And Gone
War Eternal
Ravenous
My Apocalypse
As the Pages Burn
Dead Eyes See No Future
We Will Rise
Nemesis
Fields Of Desolation
Enter The Machine (outro)

As soon as the show was over most of the people went over to the Helviti stage where Iron Maiden was about to kick off their show. A lot more people had now arrived to the festival but everyone was in a good mood and there were no sign of fights or trouble anywhere. Many of the people at the festival were there to see Iron Maiden but killed time watching the other bands that performed. The area in front of the stage was now totally jammed and people were now standing up on the hill across from the stage in order to see the show. Iron Maiden is out on another retro tour and this time is the tour revolves around the album SEVENTH SON OF THE SEVENTH SON. This is the last leg of the tour and it’s a pretty short leg. This particular show was number nine and after this show the band headed out in Europe and to Switzerland before the tour ended at the Sonisphere festival in England the 5th of July.

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Iron Maiden is very restricted when it comes to who’s going to photograph them and I got the information before I even came to the festival that I wasn’t chosen as one granted the honor to take pics of the band. Only the larger magazines in Denmark and surrounding countries had been picked. Maybe it’s a quite lousy attitude from the band and the management but there’s nothing I could do about and therefore I’m going to write a shorter review about Iron Maiden. The stage looked like it did back in 1988 when the original tour was out on the road with ice statues and two ramps at each side of the stage for the members to walk and run on. The backline was quite impressive to be honest. Iron Maiden had also drawn the biggest crowd I’ve seen so far during the festival and when they heard the “Doctor Doctor” song coming out from the speakers a roar could be heard from the fans and everyone got ready to see their idols live and kicking on Danish soil.

Iron Maiden

The band ran on to the stage and the first song out was “Moonchild” which was followed by “Can I Play With Madness”. Dickinson ran as always around on the stage at a furious tempo and he used the two ramps in order to get closer to the crowd. “The Prisoner” continued the show and the intro to the song was shown on the two tv-screens. Dickinson said that the band tonight was going to play songs they usually don’t and that the band was waiting for the sun to set so that they could use the lights better. Dickinson said they were waiting for the clock to turn “2 Minutes To Midnight” which was followed by “Revelations”. Iron Maiden is as always:

Bruce Dickinson – lead vocals
Steve Harris – bass
Dave Murray – guitar
Nicko McBrain – drums
Janick Gers – guitar
Adrian Smith – guitar

The audience was for some reason quite laid back and slow this night and didn’t encourage the band to give their all. There’s a huge difference in how the Swedish and Danish fans acts towards the band. In Sweden it is almost impossible for the band to overpower the fans in the songs because they sing a long to every single sentence and it doesn’t take the Swedish fans long to sing a long. With that behavior in mind I found it really strange to stand amongst the Danish fans who sure sang, but not as loud and passionate as the Swedish fans. That rubbed off on the band that seemed to be having just another day at work feeling this night. “The Trooper” and the monumental “The Number Of The Beast” continued the show and then followed the old classic “Phantom Of The Opera”. The band has been out touring for 2 years now and it begins to show. The guys seem a bit tired and weren’t as vital as when I saw them when the tour began. Dickinson missed a few words in the lyrics here and there and that usually happens when he’s not at the top of his game.

Pyros, flames and fire blew off occasionally and after “Run To The Hills” Eddie made his entrance on stage. The darkness had now set over the area and the amazing light show the band had could be properly seen now. Dickinson thanked us for the support and fired off “Wasted Years” and in “Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son” Dickinson came out dressed as madman. Eddie also made his second appearance behind the drums in that song. “Wrathchild” and “Fear Of the Dark” continued the night and the sing a long in the songs didn’t work out to well, in fact it did not work at all. When the band plays “Fear Of The Dark” in Sweden the band is over powered by the fans that sing so loud that you hear them more than the band and that didn’t happen this night. Dickinson tried to get the crowd going but didn’t manage it too well and if he can’t get a crowd crazy then who can? “Iron Maiden” followed and Eddie showed up once again behind the drums carrying his heart in his hand. Dickinson thanked the fans and the band and Eddie went of the stage and that song ended the ordinary set of the show. After a few minutes of cheers and claps came the band out again and fired of “Aces High” and “The Evil That Men Do” as encores. The last encore was “Sanctuary” and Dickinson thanked the crowd for supporting Iron Maiden and the usual outro “Always Look On the Bright Side Of Life” could be heard through the speakers and that ended 1 hour and 45 minutes of iconic heavy metal music.

The show didn’t impress me at all, in fact, I am a bit disappointed in Iron Maiden for not doing a better job. However, I understand if the guys are a bit tired and the slow audience didn’t help out either. However, there is something wrong when fans can’t sing the chorus to “The Number Of the Beast” and “Fear of The Dark”!

Set list
Doctor Doctor (intro)
Rising Mercury (intro 2)
Moonchild
Can I Play With Madness
The Prisoner
2 Minutes To Midnight
Revelations
The Trooper
The Number Of The Beast
Phantom Of The Opera
Run To The Hills
Wasted Years
Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son
Wrathchild
Fear Of The Dark
Iron Maiden
Encores
Churchill’s Speak
Aces High
The Evil That Men Do
Sanctuary
Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life (outro)

The area was now dark and the next band up on the Hades stage was Black Label Society but I saw that quite a lot of people were heading home already straight after the Iron Maiden show. But since it was a long time I last saw Zakk Wylde live, so I decided to stay and see BLS. The band was scheduled to be on stage at 11 but it all got a bit delayed because of the crew had to build a box for Wylde to stand on. A backdrop hung behind the drums with the band name on it and on stage in front of the drums stood several amps. The bands latest album that they are out promoting is called CATACOMBS OF THE BLACK VATICAN and a few minutes after scheduled time it was time for Black Label Society to make their first appearance at the Copenhell Festival.

Black Label Society

“My Dying Time” marked the beginning of the show and the fans in the front row made their best to give their idol the best welcome possible. They waved their hands and screamed on the top of their lungs when the band kicked off the show. The line-up is:

Zakk Wylde – lead vocals, guitar
John DeServio – bass
Jeff Fabb – drums
Dario Lorina – guitar

“Godspeed Hell Bound” continued the show and it was really hard to get good pictures of Wylde because he headbanged throughout most of the show and his hair got in his face and in my way all the time. The songs was also extended so the photographers had to leave the pit after only two songs instead of the usual three. It was also Wylde who moved around the most on the stage while DeServio and Lorina mostly stood solid. The lights and sound worked perfect and it’s an improvement because the lights on the Hades stage haven’t been great the past few years. “Destruction Overdrive” continued the show and many of the songs went into each other so it was sometimes hard to hear when one song ended and the other one began. Wylde’s vocals were put a bit low in the mix and instead his guitar was put in the top. The audience didn’t seem to mind that and enjoyed his guitar playing. “The Rose Peeled Garden” and “Heart Of Darkness” followed and the bands southern rock/metal music felt and sounded a lot more heavy and guitar oriented live compared to on album.

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Wylde sounded a bit tired in his voice and he didn’t impress with his vocals this night. But there were no signs of tiredness in his guitar playing and he showed why he is considered a modern guitar hero. He blew away most of the guitarists that had performed during the three stages this afternoon/night. “Damn The Flood” ended with a really long guitar solo by Wylde who was standing on his box during most of the solo. “Suicide Messiah” and “Concrete Jungle” continued the night and Wylde thanked for the applause and the support he and the band got from the fans. He said it was nice to be playing at Copenhell and that they had one more song to play before they had to leave and it was “Stillborn”. As soon as the song was over the band took off their instruments and thanked the crowd. “Stillborn” ended 60 minutes of music and even though I thought the performance was a bit pale the fans seemed to be happy with what they had seen. The band was tight and the musicians were really skilled but their music is nothing that really appeals to me. The band mostly stood still and it was Wylde that connected with the fans the most.

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Set list (not in order)
My Dying Time
Godspeed Hell Bound
Destruction Overdrive
The Rose Petelled Garden
Heart Of Darkness
Damn The Flood
Suicide Messiah
Concrete Jungle
Stillborn

That show also marked the end of the day of the first day of Copenhell 2014. Me and my friend headed over to the shuttle buses and later to the buses over to Sweden. The shuttle buses that came were standing in line and waiting for us and I have never been at a festival that has such a great communication system as Copenhell. The highlights for me during the first day were Arch Enemy and Anthrax who both did amazing shows. We left the festival at about 12.30 and wasn’t back in Sweden until 4 because of problems with the subway to the busses and it took forever to get home so you can believe it was nice to get into bed and get some sleep before it was time to go back to Denmark for a second day of heavy metal music and great fun.

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