COPENHELL -festival 2022 feat. Metallica. KISS, Iron Maiden, Korn, Mercyful Fate, Judas Priest and more

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Copenhell returned after a two-year break after the pandemic and offered one hell of a line-up. The festival was totally packed by thousands and thousands of metal maniacs when iconic bands Judas Priest, Korn, Kiss, Iron Maiden, and of course Metallica got on stage. The Danish legends Mercyful Fate was definitely the must for all metal bangers. All in all, 35,000 metal fans visited the festival each day. Due to the amazing line-up, the capacity had been expanded from 25,000 to 35,000. Even though more people had arrived, the festival’s atmosphere was relaxed. Here is a brief write-up of a few major acts that performed at Copenhell.

REVIEW AND PHOTOS BY
MARKO SYRJALA AND ARTO LEHTINEN


UGLY KID JOE

Led by vocalist Whitfield Crane, Ugly Kid Joe was the first performer we managed to catch on Wednesday. Some time has passed since the band’s heydays in the mid-90s, but even if the band has since lost its popularity, Ugly Kid Joe has survived to this day. The band’s setlist is understandably heavily based on the band’s early albums. This time the set started with “Neighbor” and “Panhandlin’ Prince” from the AMERICAS LEAST WANTED album, followed by MENACE TO SOBRIETY’s “Jesus Rode a Harley.” But some newer material was also included in the setlist. For example, no less than three songs were played from the STAIRWAY TO HELL album (2012). Crane is a competent singer and performer. When the band played their biggest hits, “Everything About You” and the cover ballad “Cat’s in the Cradle,” the audience was very much involved and raised their hands in the air. The surprise was the set’s last song, a furious version of Motörhead’s “Ace of Spades,” which even caused a small moshpit in the audience. To summarize, Ugly Kid Joe’s gig was a good and entertaining rock show.

Neighbor
Panhandlin’ Prince
Jesus Rode a Harley
No One Survives
Devil’s Paradise
Cat’s in the Cradle
I’m Alright
Milkman’s Son
Goddamn Devil
Funky Fresh Country Club
Everything About You
Ace of Spades

 

METALLICA

The biggest name at Copenhell this year was, rightfully so, Metallica. With the release of the 1991 “Black” album, the band climbed to the giant level of metal bands and has maintained its undisputed position, even though many of Metallica’s albums have subsequently been unacceptably weak. However, HARDWIRED… TO SELF-DESTRUCT, released in 2016, gave signs of something better. Metallica still has something to provide musically. Over the past few years or decades, Metallica has become known for its larger-than-life live spectacles, but understandably, such is not possible in festival conditions, and now the stage setup looks pretty modest. But as the old saying goes, “let the music do the talking.”

The show started with the old classics “Whiplash” and “Creeping Death.” Surprisingly, the band’s biggest song, “Enter Sandman,” was already heard as the third. The setlist was a good mix of old and new, including some surprises. Even the song “Dirty Window” was heard from the much bashed ST.ANGER record. It was also positive that the band had left most of their obligatory ballads like “Nothing Else Matters” out of the set and replaced those with less frequently played songs like “Bleeding Me.”

Guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo were in an energetic mood and kept the show alive and moving. At the same time, James Hetfield at times looked like the man wanted to be somewhere other than on stage playing heavy metal. Much-criticized drummer Lars Ulrich also proved to be a showman and received a good reception, which was unsurprising as Denmark is the man’s original homeland. Metallica’s concert was not bad by any means, but nothing special either. It was just another routine gig for the band, amongst others.

Whiplash
Creeping Death
Enter Sandman
Harvester of Sorrow
Trapped Under Ice
Bleeding Me
Sad but True
Dirty Window
Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
For Whom the Bell Tolls
Moth Into Flame
Fade to Black
Seek & Destroy
Damage, Inc.
One
Master of Puppets

 

KORN

Korn underwent a struggling period in the 2000s, but now the band is living an entirely new renaissance in their long career. The band has returned to the headliner level. Korn has undergone changes in the line-up as the bassist Fieldy has been on hiatus for a while. Instead, the Suicidal Tendencies bassist Ra Díaz has now replaced him, at least on this tour. Korn was one of the most awaited bands in the Copenhell, and the whole area was totally packed when the band opened its show with “Here To Stay.” The set was full of Korn classics such as “Got The Life,” “Shoots and Ladders,” “Twist,” “Somebody Someone,” and “Blind.” As for the audience, the people jumped up and down and sang noisily throughout the whole set. As far as Korn is concerned, the band appeared slightly tired or worn out due to crisscrossing in Europe; the schedule has been quite tight. However, Korn pulled thru the show with a professional grip and attitude. Jonathan Davids, the band’s frontman, took the Korn audience in his hands. In contrast, the guitarist duo of Munky and Head created the heavy Korn riffs and jumped all around the stage in bizarre positions. Ra Diaz seemed to be having a great time on stage with Korn. The drummer Ray Luzier turned out to be a fantastic drummer as his playing was tight without forgetting his stamina. Korn offered a solid performance with all the hits, which strongly pleased the Copenhell crowd.

Falling Away From Me
Got the Life
Here to Stay
Start the Healing
Cold
Shoots and Ladders
You all Want a Single
Somebody Someone
Insane
Worst Is on Its Way
Coming Undone
Freak on a Leash
It’s On! / Trash / Did My Time
Twist
A.D.I.D.A.S.

 

JUDAS PRIEST

Placing Judas Priest to play in the afternoon was quite weird. On the other hand, the line-up of Copenhell was incredible. Therefore it was the perfect opportunity to proclaim the Britsh metal gods. At this point, it is useless to long for Glenn Tipton’s return, as it seems like Andy Sneap will ride with Judas Priest till the end.  The guitar playing of both Richie Faulkner and Sneap was sharp as hell. Both guitarists moved all around the stage, from one side to another, whereas bassist Ian Hill kept standing in the same spot next to the massive monitor wall during the whole time of the gig. The gig was basic Judas Priest, though the band was in such vicious strike throughout the set. Halford’s voice was as strong as the British steel. As for the setlist, all these mandatory Priest classics such “Living After Midnight” and “Hell Bent For Leather” were part of the set. However, hearing the newest song, “Lighting Strike,” was a welcomed choice. Because of the shortened playing time, some regular songs had been dropped off from the set.  It was crazy to see all these crowd surfers going over, and even a pit broke out in the middle of the crowd.  Judas Priest is the defender of the true British heavy metal to the last breath. The band sounded damn tight.

One Shot at Glory
Lightning Strike
You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’
Freewheel Burning
Turbo Lover
Hell Patrol
The Sentinel
Victim of Changes
The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown) (Fleetwood Mac cover)
Diamonds & Rust (Joan Baez cover)
Painkiller
Encore:
The Hellion
Electric Eye
Hell Bent for Leather
Breaking the Law
Living After Midnight

 

DESTRUCTION

The German thrash legends Destruction has had a hectic schedule because of European summer festivals. Besides, Destruction recently toured all around The States. As for Copenhell’s 60-minute set of old-school thrash metal was kicked off with the classic Destruction tune “Curse The Gods” and was immediately followed by another classic from early days, “Deathtrap.” The set wasn’t a totally old-school set, because the material of the newest opus DIABOLICAL got heard on the gig. There was a small timing failure because the pyros went off a little bit too early. Therefore the drummer, Randy Black, hit the opening bar for “Release From Agony” when others were still having a drinking break. After wondering for a few seconds, the band kicked the song on and offered the pure thrash metal lesson for the Copenhell crowd. The new guitarist, Martin Furia, has become the key member of the Destruction team, having brought new fuel to the band.

Curse the Gods
Death Trap
Nailed to the Cross
Mad Butcher
Life Without Sense
Release From Agony
Repent Your Sins
The Butcher Strikes Back
Diabolical
Thrash Till Death
Bestial Invasion

DOWN

Down was one of the most interesting performers in Copenhell. The band spent a few years on hiatus but returned to stages in 2019, and at the same time, the band’s original guitarist Kirk Windstein returned to the band. When Down originally formed in New Orleans in the early 1990s, it was called a heavy metal supergroup, and it definitely is one of those. Down’s music is a unique mixture of old-school heavy, stoner rock, and deep south rock influences, and the NOLA album is an undisputed classic.

Vocalist Phil Anselmo has been in the headlines for the last few years, not only because of the controversial comeback of Pantera but also because of his substance abuse problems. Sometimes the man’s performances have been fragile, and at times it sounded that his voice had also been wholly lost. Fortunately, today it seemed that those problems had been overcome. Right away from the “Lysergik Funeral Procession” that opened the gig and the “Hail the Leaf” songs that followed it, you could hear and see that Anselmo is now in great shape. The man also looked healthy and energetic, which has not always been self-evident in recent years. The band’s second leader, Pepper Keenan, known from Corrosion of Conformity, was also in a good mode and the man’s smile was broad throughout the show. The set list was firmly based on the NOLA album. There were no less than eight songs from it. For me, the highlight was “Losing All,” which worked convincingly. Fortunately, there were no borrowed songs from Pantera or other bands in the set. Down is strong enough without them. Hopefully, there will be a continuation at some point in the form of a new album because this gig was convincingly good.

Lysergik Funeral Procession
Hail the Leaf
Lifer
Witchtripper
Ghosts Along the Mississippi
Losing All
Pillars of Eternity
Swan Song
Eyes of the South
Stone the Crow
Bury Me in Smoke

 

KISS

KISS show had been announced to start at 10:30 PM. When we photographers were directed to the right side of the stage to wait for the show to start, a massive curtain with the KISS logo covered the entire stage. The familiar hum started to be heard from the speakers and soon followed the legendary intro; “All right, Copenhell. You Wanted the Best, and You Got the Best. The Hottest band in the World, KISS!”

The curtains dropped down, and “Detroit Rock City” opened the show. The band descended from the heights with elevators down to the stage. The amount of pyros and bombs used right from the gig’s start was terrific. “Shout it Out Loud” and “Deuce” were heard next. At the end of “Deuce,” the band performed their classic choreographies.

From then on, the gig continued as usual. At some point, Gene Simmons spit fire and drank blood, Tommy Thayer shot rockets with his guitar, and Paul Stanley flew over the crowd during “Love Gun.” “Black Diamond” was the last song of the actual set. Eric Singer handled the lead vocalist role convincingly. And, as was expected, more than enough bombs and pyros were used again. The whole area was full of smoke and gunpowder when the song ended. The encores started with the song “Beth,” which was followed by “Do You Love Me,” and ended the evening with “Rock and Roll All Nite.” After the last explosion, the show was over. The band went together to bow and thank the fans on stage, and after that, the text “KISS Loves You Copenhagen” appeared on the stage screen.

Visually, this gig was once again absolutely amazing. There were enough events on stage for the entire gig and plenty to watch. All the familiar elements and performances of a KISS gig were seen, and the band was physically in good shape. One can’t help but wonder how 74-year-old Simmons can still pull these gigs with such intensity and attitude. Big kudos also go to Singer, who not only acts as the band’s rhythmic engine but also plays a significant role with his strong singing. Paul Stanley evokes a few mixed thoughts in his current state.

On the other hand, the man is still a top-class performer and in excellent physical shape. On the other hand, he struggled through the set on the vocal side. Without the help offered by the other band members and modern technology, it wouldn’t be possible for him to perform anymore. Tommy Thayer takes care of his work and his spot with unflinching certainty. The man doesn’t actually shine, but on the other hand, he never makes mistakes either.

The set list was as expected, without any surprises. For my taste, it was a bit dull; these same songs have been heard in almost the same order countless times. But for most of the audience, this set, firmly based on the 70s hits, was definitely ear candy. For me, the highlights of the gig were the rarely heard “Tears Are Falling,” “God of Thunder,” and always impressive “Black Diamond.”

If this gig was the band’s last in Denmark, it could be said that the band ended their career here with honor and boots on. Everyone was sure to have great memories and a good mood from this gig. But if the rumors about a possible upcoming 50th-anniversary tour are true, then the band needs to make some changes, at least on the setlist, that’s sure.

Detroit Rock City
Shout It Out Loud
Deuce
War Machine
Heaven’s on Fire
I Love It Loud
Say Yeah
Cold Gin
Lick It Up
Calling Dr. Love
Tears Are Falling
Psycho Circus
100,000 Years
God of Thunder
Love Gun
I Was Made for Lovin’ You
Black Diamond
Beth
Do You Love Me
Rock and Roll All Nite

 

AGNOSTIC FRONT

The legendary NYHC icons Agnostic Front hit the third stage to deliver the lesson of the old-school hardcore. The bassist, Vinnie Stigmata, never slows down; he runs and jumps like a young lad all around the stage even though he is getting close to 70. The singer Roger Miret recently fought for his life after cancer treatment and appeared to be fully recovered. Miret was in his element on the stage, jumping, running, and above all, whipping the audience to go nuts. The pits were totally nuts and violent. Of course, the Agnostic Front guys demanded the audience to arrange a massive wall-of-death.  Agnostic Front didn’t show any mercy, just giving 100% of themselves from the beginning to the end. Several mandatory Agnostic Front tunes got heard, such as  “Gotta Go,” New York Police State,” Crucified,” and the old Ramones classic song “Blitzkrieg Bop” concluded the set.

 

BENEDICTION

It’s time for the old school death metal when the British death metal veterans Benediction offered a lesson of the early 90’s death metal. The whole band got a new breath and renaissance after Dave Ingram made a return to front the band. The latest effort, titled SCRIPTURES, is a goddamn masterpiece. Of course, the songs of the latest albums had the lion’s share of the setlist. The setlist consisted of the songs selected from GRIND BASTARD, KILLING MUSIC. Unfortunately, THE GRAND LEVELLER was missing. Benediction proved they were still vital, energetic, and, most importantly, the old death metal lives. Of course, Ingram’s voice sounded thunderous, as this is a valid trademark of the Benediction sound. The man definitely enjoyed being on the stage.

Iterations of I
Scriptures in Scarlet
Nightfear
Agonised
Progenitors of a New Paradigm
Unfound Mortality
They Must Die Screaming
The Grotesque
Stormcrow
The Dreams You Dread
Magnificat

 

DEATH TO ALL

As everyone is supposed to know, the former Death members have launched these Death tribute bands to keep Chuck Schuldiner’s music alive. Death To All has been around longer than others, feat. Steve Digiorgio, Gene Hoglan, Max Phelps and Bobby Koelble. Occasionally other musicians have visited the band. When Sean Reinert passed away, the line-up had become stable.  The opening guitar riff “Infernal Death” opened and right away was followed by “Overactive Imagination.” Most of the set’s songs had been picked up from the Symbolic” and ”Individual Thought Patterns albums. Whereas one song from Scream Bloody Gore”, ”Leprosy,” Human,” and of course, the last ever Death album, The Sound Of Perseverance.” The group played tight and sharp. To be honest, all these Death songs still wipe 99,99% of the modern-day whatsoever death metal bands away easily in terms of playing, melodies, harmonies, and in general song material. The Death material is timeless forever.

Infernal Death (intro)
Overactive Imagination
Zero Tolerance
Living Monstrosity
Suicide Machine
The Philosopher
Symbolic
Zombie Ritual
Spirit Crusher
Crystal Mountain
Pull the Plug

 

IRON MAIDEN

Iron Maiden was the headliner on Saturday, even though a blue-blooded King and Mercyful Fate were still coming after the British metal legends. Maiden’s stage construction and setup at the beginning of the set were entirely based on the theme of the new SENJUTSU album. As everyone was quite aware, the three opening songs being new: “Senjutsu,” Writing On The Wall,” and” Stratego,” followed by a greatest hits set covering the band’s whole career. Besides the best-known hits, a few more exciting songs on the set, such as” Blood Brothers” and” Flight of Icarus,” sounded brilliant. Instead, the everlasting dull” Fear Of The Dark” should be dropped, but the mainstream people are always eager to get it. Instead, I was delighted to notice that the Blaze Bayley era songs, ”Sign Of the Cross” and “The Clansman,” still were on the setlist. Except for the new songs, the set was exactly the same as before the pandemic.

The band offered a pleasant and entertaining performance with all the Maiden clichés present. Eddie was hassling on stage, and during “Revelation,” Bruce raised the heat with his flamethrower. The stage visual theme changed many times between the songs and so on. Physically band was in top shape, and Dickinson’s vocals were as sharp and powerful as always. Iron Maiden gave what people wanted; a good show, great songs, and an excellent but well-planned performance. It felt that every single move had been planned and scheduled carefully to avoid anything unexpected surprises from happening. And there was none of those. Iron Maiden is still at the top of its game. Up the Irons!

Senjutsu
Stratego
The Writing on the Wall
Revelations
Blood Brothers
Sign of the Cross
Flight of Icarus
Fear of the Dark
Hallowed Be Thy Name
The Number of the Beast
Iron Maiden
The Trooper
The Clansman
Run to the Hills
Aces High

 

MERCYFUL FATE

Mercyful Fate’s return is something that the fans of old-school classic metal fans have patiently been waiting for decades. The comeback was finally announced in 2020. The Mercyful Fate lineup in 2022 includes the original member’s King Diamond and guitarist Hank Shermann plus guitarist Mike Wead, drummer Bjarne T.Holm, and Joey Vera on bass.

Before the show started, a massive Mercyful Fate flag covered the stage front. Then it drops down, showing the enormous stage settings. A colossal cross upside down was at the back of the stage. There were plenty of ”devil heads” and smoke on stage when the band started with ”The Oath.” The scene looked terrific, and honestly said, it was all ”evil” when everything was either red, white, or black. For the first couple of songs, King Diamond was wearing a massive ”devil mask,” which was kinda cool. Next, the band played a brand track titled ”The Jackal of Salzburg.” Maybe the song will develop in the future, but now it sounded very unfinished.” A Corpse Without a Soul” and ”Black Funeral” sounded phenomenal, and at this point, King Diamond took off his devil mask. All the mandatory early Mercyful Fate classics were included on the set: ” Melissa,” Curse of the Pharaohs,” Evil,” Come to the Sabbath,” and ”Satan’s Fall,” which was the last song on the set. Of course, the setlist was great, and the first EP, MELISSA, and DON’T BREAK THE OATH, are metal classics, but it would have been great to hear a few songs from the latter albums too. There’s a lot of good stuff in there too.

But speaking about this show, it was almost spectacular. The stage production was handsome to watch. King Diamond can still sing amazingly well, and he’s still as evil as always, if not even more. Hank Shermann seemed to be happy to be back on stages again. His guitar playing was razor sharp, and the whole band sounded fresh and powerful. Only time will show how this reunion continues, but hopefully, it will include a new Mercyful Fate album at some point.

The Oath
The Jackal of Salzburg
A Corpse Without Soul
Black Funeral
A Dangerous Meeting
Melissa
Doomed by the Living Dead
Curse of the Pharaohs
Evil
Come to the Sabbath
Satan’s Fall

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