Copenhell Festival 2015 at Refshaleoen in Copenhagen, Denmark

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Friday

A new day with new bands to see, we took a closer look at the info on the internet and saw that Pretty Maids was going to perform at the festival instead of Black Stone Cherry. The bands began to perform already at 12.45 but we focused on being at the festival at 4.30 when Pretty Maids was scheduled to take the stage. Bands that performed during Friday were At The Gates, Kreator, along with Primus and Red Fang who were the closing bands on the Helviti and Hades stages respectively. Even though the train was delayed quite a while we made it to the festival in time and we arrived to the tones of Ensiferum. The weather had sharpened up and the sun was actually shining. The tickets to Friday were sold out just like it was the day before but not a lot of people had turned up this early. The festival hosted meet and greets with chosen bands which is a fun event for fans.

copenhell_2015_oveview_8During Thursday Butcher Babies and Exodus signed and on Friday it was time for Upon A Burning Body, Primordial and Red Fang to meet and greet their fans, however Primordial had to cancel their signing session due to lack of time. The meet and greet took place in a small tent beside the Hades stage. Besides music, food and drinks, the festival also included side shows with wrestling, tattoo wheel, metal karaoke, metal quiz, metal market and a Viking village. So if you wanted to rest your ears from the music a while there were a lot of things to occupy yourself with. There was also a smaller stage called 4 Sound Stage where cover acts performed. It was also possible to charge you phone for a small fee and a wardrobe if you wanted to hang your jackets.

copenhell_2015_oveview_9Pretty Maids is a Danish institution and the band was founded back in 1981. In 1983 the band released their first EP. 1984 saw release of their classic debut album RED HOT AND HEAVY and the band’s success was a fact. The latest addition to the band is bass player Rene Shades who joined the band in 2011. The latest studio album came in 2013 titled MOTHERLAND and in 2014 the band released LOUDER THAN EVER which featured remixes and previously unreleased material. The band has, until today, released 14 albums and started out as a heavy metal band. Today their music leans more into hard rock; in 2010 the band celebrated 30 years in the business and unlike many other acts, Pretty Maids have actually been active during all that time.

copenhell_2015_pretty_maides_live_1The hardcore fans were already positioned in front of the stage when we came to the area and the presenter said that it was Black Stone Cherry that was supposed to be standing on the stage this day but due to their accident Pretty Maids was called in to replace them. Pretty Maids had cancelled their vacation to be at the festival and the presenter wanted us to give a warm hand for the band.

Pretty Maids

One by one the members entered the stage and the intro that started the show was the one who begins the album PANDEMONIUM. “Mother Of All Lies” kicked off the show and the song is taken from the MOTHERLAND album. Singer Ronnie Atkins entered the stage dressed in a coat and he ran around the stage during the entire show while connecting with the fans both in front of the stage as well as the ones further back. He and the entire band are really experienced and know how to control a crowd. Atkins thanked the festival for letting Pretty Maids come and play and asked if the fans were doing fine. Next song up was “Nuclear Boomerang” and it felt like the band had a really great time on stage. Everyone in the band had a big smile on their faces during the entire show and it was a treat to see such a happy band doing their thing. The line-up is:

Ronnie Atkins – lead vocals
Ken Hammer – guitar
Morten Sandager – keyboards
Rene Shades – bass
Allan Tschicaja – drums

Atkins spoke in Danish so it was really hard to understand what he was saying however we understood that the next song they were going to play was “Rodeo” which is a more current song. The newer songs are heavier and more solid than the older ones and they worked excellent live. Atkins pointed at the sky where the sun showed up and said this is red, hot and the audience shouted “heavy” and the song that followed was of course the monumental hit, “Red Hot And Heavy”. Atkins invited the fans to sing along with him and parts of the crowd joined. “I.N.V.U” and “Pandemonium” followed and Hammer delivered some really strong riffs. He walked around smiling in his boots and cowboy hat looking really content. The rest of the band was tight and Atkins’ voice sounded perfect. “Love Ghosts” and “Yellow Rain” continued the show and right beside us stood a bunch of guys playing air-guitar while they were singing along to the song. There was no doubt that this band is highly loved by their fellow countrymen.

copenhell_2015_pretty_maides_live_2copenhell_2015_pretty_maides_live_3copenhell_2015_pretty_maides_live_4copenhell_2015_pretty_maides_live_5“Yellow Rain” started out acoustic and with the intro from “Another Brick In the Wall” by Pink Floyd which made it a bit hard to hear what song it was. Atkins thanked the crowd for the applause and said it was time to take it a little slower with “Little Drops Of Heaven”. The ballad is really popular among the fans and most of the fans sang along with Atkins. After the ballad, which is taken from the PANDEMONIUM album, it was time to travel back in time and play “Back To Back” which is a golden oldie. Atkins let the fans sing the chorus and it was also Atkins and Hammer that worked the hardest with connecting with the fans. The rest of the band did a good job as well but someone who doesn’t look like he fit into the band is bass player Shades who looked like he belonged in a sleaze act with his Slash-hat. “Future World” ended the show and brought down the biggest applaud from the fans.

It was 60 minutes of pure bliss and good time. Hammer, Atkins and the rest of the band were in good shape and seemed to be having a great time. I really hope they thought the show was worth cancelling their holiday for. The set list was good but lacked a few favorites. On the other hand, the band’s joy for their music and the fans’ love for their heroes were hard to beat and made it a show to remember.

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Set list
Mother Of All Lies
Nuclear Boomerang
Rodeo
Red Hot And Heavy
I.N.V.U
Pandemonium
Love Ghosts
Yellow Rain
Little Drops of Heaven
Back To Back
Future World

After the show it was 30 minutes until one of our personal highlights for the day was about to enter the Hades stage – At The Gates. The weather was still sunny and more people had come to the festival. Many people sat on the hill across from the stages drinking beer and having a good time with friends waiting for the bands to play. It was pretty calm at the festival and no one was fighting or in a bad mood. Everyone was really friendly and was there to have a good time and listen to the music. At the side of the Helviti stage was the medic tent located but we couldn’t see anyone who had to use their help.

At The Gates is one of the bands that put the Swedish town of Gothenburg on the metal map and are one of the inventors behind the infamous Gothenburg sound. The band was first active between 1990-96 and was then put to rest. The band rose from the ashes in 2008 and the band have been touring on and off since then. The brand new album AT WAR WITH REALITY came in 2014 and was the first studio album for 19 years. Anders saw the band at Wacken Open Air in Germany 2008 and that show was taped and released as the live CD/DVD PURGATORY UNLEASHED – LIVE AT WACKEN.

The At the Gates of today includes the guitarist Martin Larsson and the famous drummer Adrian Erlandsson (Paradise Lost, Vallenfyre, The Haunted). The stage only included the usual backdrop and the gear which meant that the band had a lot of space to move around on.

During the gap in between bands we took a stroll over the area, checking out the food stands and the market. Ten minutes before the show was about to start Anders headed over to wait for the photo pit to open and I – Ulrika, positioned in front of the stage, waited for the mayhem to begin. We were ridiculously eager to see the death metal pioneers in action.

At the Gates

“Death And Labyrinth” from the latest album marked the beginning of the show and it was full speed ahead from the very start. Tomas Lindberg was all over the stage during the show and the evening continued with the notorious “Slaughter Of the Soul”; when the fans heard the first notes of the song they all went crazy. The security had a lot to do during the show, helping all the ones that crowd surfed over the fence. “Cold” followed and the fans once again burst out in circle pits and even more crowd surfing. At The Gates are:

Tompa Lindberg – lead vocals
Anders Björler – guitar
Adrian Erlandsson – drums
Jonas Björler – bass
Martin Larsson – guitar

Lindberg asked the crowd if he should talk in English or Swedish and the fans chose Swedish. Lindberg said “We are At The Gates from Gothenburg Sweden and this is “At War With Reality””. “Terminal Spirit Disease” followed instantly and the band didn’t suffer from any malfunction with sound or lights. At The Gates simply showed why they are the best at what they do and gave the fans a stunning show. Up on stage on the side stood Jensen and Ola from The Haunted looking at the show and they seemed to like what they saw.

copenhell_2015_at_the_gates_live_1copenhell_2015_at_the_gates_live_2copenhell_2015_at_the_gates_live_3copenhell_2015_at_the_gates_live_4Lindberg thanked the fans and said that it was nice to be playing at Copenhell, he also said that the band released an album last year and that they played at Ålborg Metal fest – was anyone there? “The Circular Ruins” from AT WAR WITH REALITY and after the song Lindberg shouted we are all “Under A Serpent Sun” and the show continued in the same furious tempo as it had begun. The band’s current songs worked as good as their older ones and there were no sign of tiredness among the fans as they kept on moshing through the show. Lindberg is a genius front man that really is able to capture the crowd with his appearance and the rest of the members did a brilliant job backing him up. The next song was dedicated to the band’s sound guy who was from Denmark and it was “Heroes And Tombs” which was followed by “Suicide Nation”.

copenhell_2015_at_the_gates_live_10Lindberg asked if there was anyone there who liked death metal, the fans shouted yes, then he asked if there was anyone who loved death metal and the fans shouted even louder. “Let me tell you one thing”, he continued, “At The Gates loves death metal and the next song is for everyone who loves death metal as much as we”, and “Kingdom Come” followed. “The Book Of Sand (The Abomination)” was the last song out and the band shortly after left the stage. The fans wanted to hear more and the band returned and fired off “Blinded By Fear” and the band projected so much energy that it took out breath away. We were stunned and speechless by what we saw.

copenhell_2015_at_the_gates_live_11That song ended the 55 minutes of madness and we were blown away with what we just had witnessed. It was while since we last saw such a jaw-dropping act as At The Gates. The show was brilliant in every possible way; the only way to make it better was if the band had done a longer show. The set list was amazing and we have nothing to complain about, At The Gates made it clear who’s the masters of death metal!

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Set list
El Altar Del Dios Desconcido (intro)
Death And the Labyrinth
Slaughter Of the Soul
Cold
At War With Reality
Terminal Spirit Disease
The Circular Ruins
Under A Serpent Sun
Heroes And Tombs
Suicide Nation
Kingdom Gone
The Book Of Sand (The abomination)
Encore
Blinded by Fear

Rise Against was about to kick off their show at 7 but since their music doesn’t appeal to us in the least, we focused on getting something to eat and resting our legs for a while. It’s not often you find the time to sit down and rest your legs with such an amazing lineup as Copenhell presented this year. Despite the large amount of people at the festival the area is quite big and spacious so it never got crowded. Sure, it was lines to the food stands and beer tent but they were not alarming long. The mood was at the top for each visitor which made it a pleasant atmosphere with no arguments or fights, people were there to have fun, listen to music and meet friends. After a burger and a rest it was time for us to head back to the stage area and to the Hades stage where Primordial was the next band up. The band comes from Ireland and was founded back in 1987. Their music is best described as a mix of black metal/Irish folk music and the debut album came out 1995, titled IMRAMA. The latest studio album was unleashed last year called WHERE GREATER MAN HAVE FALLEN. Nothing but a backdrop with the band name and drum set along with amps stood on the stage when we came and at 8.30 was it time for the show to begin.

Primordial

As soon as the members came out on stage and faced the roar from the crowd they kicked off the night with “Where Greater Man Have Fallen”. Singer A.A. Nemtheanga walked around on the stage looking mean and evil while he sang. He was the only one who wore corpse paint which made him stand out almost as a solo artist with a back up band. Nemtheanga asked if Copenhell was with the band and the fans gave him a positive reply. “No Grave Deep Enough” followed and the entire stage was filled with smoke so it was really hard to see the band within the wall of smoke. The wind didn’t blow so the smoke stayed put on stage which made it really hard to take photos.

Alan Averill “Nemtheanga” – lead vocals
Ciáran MacVilian – guitar
Micheál O’Floinn – guitar
Simon O’Laoghaire – drums
Pól MacAmhlaigh – bass

“Babels Tower” continued the night and it’s a very unusual kind of black metal the band plays and since we never paid the band much attention before we had a hard time taking the music to our heart and minds. It was not a good idea to go and see the band without having heard their music before. The singer said it was the first time the band played in Denmark and when he asked if the fans wanted to hear more, which they wanted, the band fired off “As Rome Burns”. The sound system didn’t work flawlessly and we thought the singer was put too high in the mix. It was hard to hear and focus on the music when he was the one who was heard the loudest.

copenhell_2015_primordial_live_2copenhell_2015_primordial_live_3copenhell_2015_primordial_live_4copenhell_2015_primordial_live_5“Bloodied Yet Unbowed” followed after which Nemtheanga wanted the fans to raise their fists in the air and said the next song was dedicated to everyone who has a bit of Irish in them – “The Coffin Ships”. “Empire Falls” was the last song out and Anders had to leave the area and go over to Helviti to wait in line for the next band so I (Ulrika) took care of the last bits of the Primordial show. “The Coffin Ships” ended 55 minutes of circle pits, crowd surfing and strange music. It was a different experience to see Primordial live but it was pretty much as we had expected. The most negative with the show was the smoke that partially covered the entire stage as well as the band and the bad sound system. The music was not our thing but it was fun to at least have seen Primordial live and the fans seemed to love what they heard.

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Set list – not in order
Intro
Where Greater Man Have Fallen
No Grave Deep Enough
Babel’s Tower
As Rome Burns
Bloodied Yet Unbowed
The Coffin Ships
Empire Falls

So was it time for the first headline act for the evening and it was a band we both had longed to see live again. Many like us had been waiting for the band to invade Copenhell and it felt like most of the people at the festival were gathered in front of the stage in order to see Kreator. Many people left the Primordial show earlier in order to get a good position to see Kreator and we did the same.

copenhell_2015_kreator_live_1Kreator is the German thrash legend that won’t quit. Their latest album came 2012 and is called PHANTOM ANTICHRIST and the live CD/DVD DYING ALIVE came 2013. The stage was prepared with an impressive back line with a huge backdrop, an enormous drum set and video screens along each sides. As soon as the presenter came on stage was it time for the photographer to get into the pit and also time for us to be mangled by some epic German thrash metal music.

Kreator

The stage turned pitch black and from each side came girls dressed in a Copenhell hoodie with skull masks on their faces. Both were holding a flaming torch that lit up at the same time when they stood at a podium that was built on each side of the stage. The torches burnt up during the intro music “Choir Of The Damned” and while this happened Anders experienced some trouble in the photo pit. The security moved all of us in the pit because things were about to blow up in the first song. Security handled it all very smoothly and professionally but some of the photographers didn’t act as smooth as the staff.

copenhell_2015_kreator_live_2The band came out on stage and fired off the epic “Enemy Of God” as the first song and that set the tone for the rest of the show. It was mind-blowingly intense and Mille Petrozza showed no mercy. A confetti bomb blew off and the crowd was covered in small pieces of paper. Kreator is:

Mille Petrozza – lead vocals, guitar
Ventor – drums
Christian Giesler – bass
Sami Yli-Sirniö – guitar

The security had to work really hard from the very beginning to help crowd surfers over to the pit but what else could be expected when Kreator was performing? Petrozza urged the fans to create a circle pit and marked the beginning of the moshing with “Terrible Certainty” which made the fans go ballistic. From the front corners of the stage smoke blew out up to the roof and the video screens showed pictures of suiting items to every song. Petrozza put his hand to his ear and said he wanted to hear the fans screaming and fired off “Phobia” and “Awakening Of The Gods”. “Endless Pain” followed while Petrozza walked around on the stage looking cool. Petrozza asked how Copenhell was doing and said that it was the first time for the band at Copenhell. “I wanna see the biggest mosh pit the festival has ever seen”, he continued and the fans didn’t hesitate to make his wish come true. “Warcurse” followed and we were amazed by how tight the band is. Even though the band has been touring the world for decades they still give their all on stage and we were blown away with what we were witnessing.

copenhell_2015_kreator_live_3The three front men left the stage and the intro to “Mars Mantra” came on, the band re-entered the stage and blasted off “Phantom Antichrist” which is the title track to the latest studio album from 2012. The video screens showed pictures of the cover of the album and the entire song was perfectly framed by the screens along with the lights and the presence of the band. “From Flood Into Fire” continued the show as Petrozza wanted the fans to scream for him. Petrozza said he had heard about the festival and that it should be a nice one and that he could now agree with that. They had also been wanting to come and play at Copenhell for a while and finally they were here he said. He asked if there were any old school fans of the band in the crowd and he shouted “Extreme” – and the fans roared back “Aggression”. The fans had to shout a few times until he was happy. “Extreme Aggression” followed and fire and flames burst up from the edge of the stage; it was the perfect way of framing the song.

copenhell_2015_kreator_live_4copenhell_2015_kreator_live_6copenhell_2015_kreator_live_5copenhell_2015_kreator_live_7copenhell_2015_kreator_live_8The darkness started to set over the area in the middle of the show which only added atmosphere to what was going on up on the stage. “Suicide Antichrist”, taken from the 2005 album ENEMY OF GOD, followed and the fans seemed to love the more current songs as much as they did the older ones. Petrozza wanted the fans to clap their hands and this time they clapped for “Hordes Of Chaos (a Necrologue For The Elite)” and while the intro was played Petrozza had the fans shout “hey, hey, hey” for him. Confetti, fire and smoke rained over the crowd and it fit the song perfectly. The band also completed each other with a solid rhythm section and a sharp guitar duo. They absolutely showed that they are one of the best thrash acts in Europe!

“Civilization Collapse” closed the show but that was not all; Petrozza of course had an ace up his sleeve. The girls in the skull-masks that marked the beginning of the show with their torches came in once again doing the same thing. Kreator returned and the first encore out was the amazing “Violent Revolution” and it was now full-on straight ahead. Petrozza asked if Copenhell was ready to kill, the fans shouted and clapped their hands. Petrozza said “Pleasure” and the fans answered him – “to kill”, and the amazing “Pleasure To Kill” was the second encore. Petrozza picked up the flag he uses to announce the “Flag Of Hate” and said it was time to raise the flag of hate and the song took over. Petrozza let the fans sing the chorus and it sounded like almost everyone in the crowd sang the words. “Betrayer” continued the encore session and it was connected to “Flag Of Hate”. Petrozza wanted the fans to form a final circle pit and they immediately did what he said. He said he wanted the fans to totally wreck the place and the wreckage ended the show.

copenhell_2015_kreator_live_9copenhell_2015_kreator_live_10The show lasted totally for about 80 minutes and it was 80 brilliant minutes to say the least. We state that Kreator is one of the best thrash acts around and they are absolutely one of the best live acts around. Petrozza and his Kreator delivered a rock solid show that left no one disappointed. It was surely one of the best shows during this day of the festival.

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Set list
Choir Of The Damned (intro)
Enemy Of God
Terrible Certainty
Phobia
Awakening Of The Gods
Endless Pain
Warcurse
Mars Mantra (intro)
Phantom Antichrist
From The Flood Into The Fire
Extreme Aggression
Suicide Terrorist
Hordes Of Chaos (a Necrologue For The Elite)
Civilization Collapse
Encore
The Patriarch (intro)
Violent Revolution
Pleasure To Kill
Flag Of Hate/Betrayer

The night moved forward on the Hades stage with Red Fang. The weather had kept itself solid and no rain was in sight. The second day of the festival was soon about to end but first we were about to take part of Red Fang and many other like us moved to the Hades stage in order to get a good place in front of the stage. Red Fang is not one of the bands we have listened to but we were curious to see them because it seemed like they were the band that was on many visitors’ lips this day. The band has released three albums and the latest one came out in 2013 called WHALES AND LEECHES. The band comes from Portland, USA and play stoner rock. That was about as much as we knew of the band before we saw them and it was going to be interesting to see if the guys could catch our ears and eyes with their music. The presenter came up saying that this festival has something for everyone, a while ago was it thrash metal on the Helviti stage and now it was time for stoner rock on Hades. All kinds of metal and rock is welcome at Copenhell and that was the queue for Red Fang to kick off their show.

Red Fang

The band members began the show by shaking hands with each other before they went to their positions. “Malverde” began the show and it was sung by one of the guitarists. The smoke machine had once again gone crazy and it was partially hard to see the band. The band thanked for the applauds and said it was nice to be back at the festival again and fired off “Crows In Swine” as the second song. “Blood Like Cream” followed and the bass player now sang the lead vocals. The lighting was a bit poor and the smoke covered the band; luckily the sound system worked to the benefit of the band and the fans seemed to love what they were watching. The line-up is:

John Sherman – drums
David Sullivan – lead guitar
Aaron Beam – bass, vocals
Bryan Giles – guitar, vocals

Anders thought the music was a bit boring and sounded like any other stoner rock band but I, Ulrika, was quite captured with what I heard. Nothing much happened on the stage, the band basically just stood solid playing their music and we had wished for a little more action actually. Beam asked if Copenhell have had a nice weekend and the fans shouted yes. The band didn’t do much talking in between the song but that maybe depended on the time limit. The show lasted for 50 minutes and even though we didn’t’ fall flat for the band at least Ulrika thought of looking up their music a little more.

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Set list
Malverde
Crows In Swine
Blood Like Cream
1516
Into the Eye
Wires
DOEN
Hank Is Dead
Dirt Wizard
Throw Up
Dirt Wizard
Bird On Fire
New Song
Prehistoric Day

Primus was the last headline act out for Friday but since neither of us is a fan of the weird world of Les Claypool, we chose to head on over to the shuttle bus and travel home to a warm bed. It had been a long day and the next day was going to last even longer for us so we thought it was time to head home. It took only a few minutes until we got on the shuttle bus and the festival should have all the credit for making the transportation work flawless. The next day began, for us, with the Swedish power metal act Hammerfall.

Highlights of the day were the nice weather – we actually experienced some sun at the festival, Kreator and At The Gates. The low point for Anders was Red Fang.

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