There should be no doubt that today is the day both Phil and I have been looking forward to. We miss the first couple of bands (family stuff, alright!) and head on directly with a dose of rock solid death metal from upcoming Danes PREVAIL.
I saw them at Heavy Agger back in May and was mightily impressed by their sound and groove, although there were still bits and pieces that needed to be worked on. That is still the case here five months later, by they have definitely done their homework and seem like an even tighter unit, centred around the former Svartsot members Claus and Michael. Definitely an approved gig.
More death metal from another up and coming death metal outfit from our tiny country. Those in the audience who were here on Thursday will recognise the front man from BAEST, who also happens to be the Duracell bunny who fronted Livløs.
Baest is a real pleasure to listen to for those of us who dug Entombed and Dismember during the early nineties. The guitar sound is almost the same, only with a slightly deeper growl from front man Simon. The band deliver with awesome power. This is death metal with a purpose, namely to destroy everything. Perhaps the next obvious extreme metal export from these shores?
Speaking of Danish music exports: Did you know that thrash metal icons ARTILLERY were one of the first western bands to play in the disintegrating Soviet Union? Well, they were.
They were also one of the most influential thrash bands in Europe, although they never reached the popularity of some of their German counterparts. The main reason for the band’s popularity among peers was most likely due to the unique style of lead guitarist Michael Stützer (who joined Artillery in 1982, one year after the band was formed). I’d claim that alongside Denner/Sherman, this man is the most influential Danish rock or metal guitarist ever.
I am looking forward to this gig. Artillery was the first metal band I saw live (in 1988), and I’ve just realised that I haven’t seen them since 1991. About time, eh!
One thing that has definitely changed is that Michael Stützer is the only band member remaining from when I last saw them. The younger folk around him do a fab job, though, as the band plough through both old and newer material. It is worth noting, as Phil remarks later, that Michael Bastholm Dahl is the only actual singer we have heard during the day. And he his. Compared to Flemming Rönsdorf who is the singer I associate with Artillery, Dahl is a Pavarotti.
The hobbit-sized Stützer moves around the stage constantly and repeatedly tries to animate the crowd who are more than appreciative of the old-school thrash rifferama that pours out of his strings.
Artillery unleash ‘The Almighty’, ‘The Challenge’, ‘Live by the Scythe’, ‘Beneath the Clay’, the masterpiece ‘By Inheritance’, ‘Legions’, the monster hit tune (in my world) ‘Khomaniac’ and finally the song that has almost become the band’s theme song; ‘Terror Squad’.
HATESPHERE were never known to deliver a shitty gig. Tonight is no exception. It’s as if Esse, Pepe and the boys have found that extra gear that truly forms a concert to remember.
The atmosphere is simply exceptionally great on this fine Saturday evening, and HateSphere sounds like a monster; tight, heavy, loud and more convincing than they’ve been in ages.
‘Drinking with the King of the Dead’ never sounded more crushing, and it is usually a very heavy song. As a bonus, Livløs/Baest singer Simon climbs on stage for the third time during this festival to add his vocal chords to set closer ‘Sickness Within’. Boom – damned deal done! Awesome set.
I was reminded yesterday that FIRESPAWN is fronted by L.G. Petrov. Without having listened to any of their music before, I’m pretty certain that this is something for me.
I called Simon from Baest/Livløs a Duracell bunny yesterday, but L.G. is no less so. This 45-year-old (he’s three months older than me) is all over the friggin’ place. And not only that; as Dawn Of Demise bassist Bjørn notes in passing, the former Entombed singer is more death metal than ever in this outfit.
You kind of know that when five guys from Sweden get on stage, they mean death metal business. A mixture of Swedish and US death metal, I’d say. Truth be told, it’s not all completely and insanely interesting from a creative perspective, but solid it is overall, and some of Firespawn’s music is simply majestic. What can you expect when you have former and current members of Entombed/Entombed A.D., Unleashed, etc.? Exactly! Death f*cking metal!
Time to turn the dial back to thrash. Not only thrash: One of the Big Teutonic 4, no less! DESTRUCTION played Aalborg 13 years ago, a slightly slow gig in terms of audience response as far as I remember.
Not the case today! Aalborg is sucking up everything Schmier, Mike and Vaaver decide to throw at us. The trio is literally taking us through one of the paths of thrash metal history with ‘Curse the Gods’, ‘Nailed to the Cross’, ‘Mad Butcher’, ‘Bestial Invasion’ and a handful more.
Schmier is in the best of moods – at least until he realises that he has no beer on stage. “How the fuck can we be in Denmark and have no beer on stage?” the man exclaims and promptly sends a stage hand away to seek out some of the golden liquid. Which, by the way, he eventually passes on to the audience. Poor stage hand, methinks.
Destruction have clearly aged when you look at the bulk of a man who’s called Schmier and the scrawny, little Mike beside him, but no matter what, they deliver the goods with no holding back. A true lesson in thrash metal.
Now, finally, what many of us have been waiting for! I AM MORBID with the only and real Morbid Angel singer, David Vincent, at the helm. This is a special gig for a number of reasons. The main reason is that Morbid An…I mean I Am Morbid show up as a trio. Other than Vincent and drummer Tim Yeung, Ira Black (formerly of among others Vicious Rumors and Heathen) walks on stage, and that’s it. What is really surprising is how well the Morbid Angel songs work without the second guitar. This speaks to their strength!
As the concert progresses, my reflection is that it is amazing how this one set comprises more than a few of my all-time favourite songs (‘Fall from Grace’, ‘Where the Slime Live’, ‘Dominate’, ‘Blessed Are the Sick’, ‘God of Emptiness’) and all-time favourite riffs (‘Visions from the Dark Side’!).
This gig simply reaches right into my old metal heart in a way that hasn’t happened in a long time, with the ultimate death metal voice, the killer riffs from a fantastic guitarist, the drummer from hell behind the kit. Listen, we even get a drum solo and a guitar solo after ‘Maze of Torment’. It’s been a while, eh?!
I rarely bang my head beyond a slight nod anymore (age and all that), but there’s quite simply no stopping when ‘Where the Slime Live’ thunders between the walls of the venue. That song is so utterly heavy, it’s like a drug.
Vincent commands the stage and audience with an authority that you rarely see. I mean, he’s one man down, the whole setup is very basic (three guys and their instruments, nothing else), and still, the sheer power of the songs he co-created and his strong personality drives the whole thing to a point where this trio simply owns the evening, and, in my humble opinion, the entire festival. I am indeed morbid. The next natural step for this lineup would be to record new material, eh?
Thus relieved after two days of so-so experiences, this third day turned out to be a much welcome outburst of rock solid thrash and death metal the way your two Power Of Metal.dk correspondents like it. Thank you again to the Aalborg Metal Festival for a great festival!
Thomas & Phil
Photos by Thomas
01. Immortal Rites
02. Fall From Grace
03. Visions from the Dark Side
04. Blessed are the Sick
06. Pain Divine
07. Eyes to See, Ears to Hear
08. Maze of Torment
10. Where the Slime Live
11. Dawn of the Angry
12. God of Emptiness
13. World of Shit
Playing Time: 75 minutes
David Vincent - bass, voice
Ira Black - guitar
Tim Yeung - drums