Copenhell 2018

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Oh, another glorious day in Copenhagen! I got to bed around 3 in the morning, and just before 7, my better half graciously calls me to arrange something practical two weeks from now. Brilliant! That’s exactly what I needed, dear. Grrr…. I try to fall asleep again, but I don’t really succeed. At 10:30 I give up and get out of bed.

So, this old man moves his tardy bones to the festival grounds in the company of good friends to witness thrash legends EXODUS play an afternoon gig. And what a gig it is! Zetro is in the best of spirits and it clearly enjoying himself immensely in the afternoon sun.

The thing with me and Exodus is that the two albums Pleasures of the Flesh and Fabulous Disaster are my absolute favourites. They could basically play those two albums back to back, and I’d be a happy geezer. But, needless to say, this is not what happens. The focus is on Paul Baloff era songs as well as Zetro’s own – however, a 45 minute set doesn’t allow much space. ‘Parasite’ from Pleasures and ‘Toxic Waltz’ with the customary wall of death are the only representatives from my favourite albums I get before the just as customary ‘Strike of the Beast’ concludes a rock solid set by the thrash veterans.

Exodus setlist:
1. Funeral Hymn
2. Blood In, Blood Out
3. Deliver Us To Evil
4. And Then There Were None
5. Parasite
6. A Lesson In Violence
7. Blacklist
8. Bonded By Blood
9. The Toxic Waltz
10. Strike of the Beast

AT THE GATES with Tomas ‘Tomba’ Lindberg in front are of course also veteran league. These are the guys who practically invented melo-death, and there is little to complain about during the set. I haven’t really listened to the two albums they released since their comeback, but it’s not a far cry from the Slaughter of the Soul material, that much I can tell. That’s a good thing.
I’m watching the show from the hill adjecent to the Hades stage, which means at some distance. Soundwise, this is not necessarily a clever move by yours truly, but I still enjoy ‘Blinded By Fear’, the über-classic by the Swedish crew.

I’ve never been a fan of DEFTONES‘s music, although I have good friends who adore them. My knowledge of them basically limits itself to ‘My Summer’, which is a cool track. Despite my hesitation in terms of their songs, the Deftones’ importance for nu-metal shouldn’t be underestimated, neither should their presence on a stage. Chino Moreno’s act is fabulous. He’s one of the very few artists during the festival who’s actually in real, physical contact with the audience as he climes down from the stage and positions himself on the fence between the audience and photo pit during two songs – literally leaning on the crowd. He’s also got these for metal front men slightly, let’s say, unconventional Latin moves, which are actually cool and a bit of a relief, because he breaks the norm. But one could discuss, naturally, if Deftones are metal at all. A good show it is, that’s for sure, no matter how you want to label them.


The band I’ve been looking forward to seeing the most at this festival are ALICE IN CHAINS. Why? Because I’ve been a fan since 1991 and still haven’t managed to see them live. This is the time! Finally!

Jerry Cantrell, William DuVal, Sean Kenney and Mike Inez do not disappointment. Their fashion is best described as unimpressed, even laid back, yet ultra-professional. One of my companions hopefully notes that AIC better realise that there is really no other album than Dirt, but the quartet seem to have missed this remark in the noise from the rest of the audience. Cantrell introduces the gig by simply saying ‘Alright, Copenhell’ and then launches into ‘Bleed the Freak’ from Facelift, followed by the amazing ‘Check My Brain’ from Black Gives Way to Blue, DuVal’s first album with Alice In Chains.

The sound isn’t the best on the right hand side of stage, but as we move closer to a position centre stage, this improves vastly. All is well. The relief also comes as ‘Them Bones’ and ‘Dam That River’ from the aforementioned Dirt album are aired, and later ‘Would?’ and ‘Rooster’ end the show on a high note. I’m completely happy!

Alice In Chains setlist:
1. Bleed the Freak
2. Check My Brain
3. Again
4. Them Bones
5. Dam That River
6. Hollow
7. Nutshell
8. No Excuses
9. We Die Young
10. Stone
11. It Ain’t Like That
12. Man in the Box
13. The One You Know
14. Would?
15. Rooster

German thrash masters KREATOR don’t deal in happiness. Nein, this is much more serious business – and by the way another gig I’ve been looking forward to. Last year’s Gods of Violence album is in my view their best to date, and I’ve really anticipated to hear a handful of  songs from that album tonight. Again, I’m not dispappointed. Mille and his thrash hordes fire all of their cannons (without fire, of course, because that’s prohibited during the festival). The confetti guns are out!

The quality of Kreator’s songs has been so incredibly high since…well, Violent Revolution (2001), that nothing can go wrong, really. And the Essen combo doesn’t screw up at all – apart perhaps from Mille’s tendency to talk a tad too much.

My biggest concern prior to this gig is if Kreator will play the best song they ever made, namely ‘Satan Is Real’. No need to fear! The über-hit from Gods of Violence fires away at all cylindres – this old hack is close to a proverbial orgasm.

With Exodus earlier today and Kreator now, I believe most of the old thrash fans like myself ought to be content with the world situation – we’ve seen strong performances from both. Thrash metal lives, what can I say.

Kreator setlist:
1. Phantom Antichrist
2. Hail to the Hordes
3. Enemy of God
4. Satan Is Real
5. Civilization Collapse
6. Phobia
7. Gods of Violence
8. Fallen Brother
9. Hordes of Chaos (A Necrologue for the Elite)
10. Violent Revolution
11. Pleasure to Kill

Whether OZZY OSBOURNE is actually alive or not, I’m not entirely certain. Did Sharon simply put batteries into him and programmed him to say the things he’s been saying the past five decades? Yes, this is yet another farewell tour by the Ozzman, and even if he turns 70 later this year, you have to wonder if this time really is the last.

Cynicism aside, this last (?) concert is a worthy farewell, although far from flawless.

First of all, I have to say it’s amazing to see Zakk Wylde with Ozzy again. I know there are people who are religious about this, but for me, Wylde is THE Ozzy guitarist. He was the guy who made ‘Breaking all the Rules’, ‘Miracle Man’ and the rest of songs off No Rest for the Wicked, the album that was my introduction to Ozzy’s solo efforts. Due to the fact that Ozzy needs a break every now and then, there’s plenty of room for solos. Especially the instrumental medley consisting of ‘Miracle Man’, ‘Crazy Babies’, Desire’ and ‘Perry Mason’ leaves a LOT of space for Wylde and then drummer Tommy Clufetos. It’s too much, to be honest. The drum solo in particular is over the top in terms of duration. I can imagine someone backstage going ‘keep going, Tommy, Ozzy needs another five!’.

Ozzy himself does quite well vocally, although he’s not at all in tune with ‘Suicide Solution’ and ‘Road to Nowhere’. Where he would have been without the teleprompter, we can only guess, but it probably wouldn’t have been pretty. The rest of the band are on the other hand spotless. Glufetos, bassist Blasko, keyboard player Adam Wakeman and Wylde play a tight set and the sound is right on target.

Curiously, Ozzy babbles incomprehensibly between some of the songs. Between ‘Road to Nowhere’ and ‘War Pigs’, it looks as if even Wylde is wondering what the hell the old man is on about as he looks over at his boss. Even if this is an altogether enjoyable experience, one can’t help thinking that a retirement from touring is probably the best thing for the Prince of Darkness. The sooner, the better. But thank you for all the good times from all of us, Ozzy – although you sing that you don’t want to change the world, you have!

Ozzy setlist:
1. Bark at the Moon
2. Mr. Crowley
3. I Don’t Know
4. Fairies Wear Boots
5. Suicide Solution
6. No More Tears
7. Road to Nowhere
8. War Pigs
9. Miracle Man/Crazy Babies/Desire/Perry Mason
10. I Don’t Want to Change the World
11. Shot in the Dark
12. Crazy Train

13. Mama, I’m Coming Home
14. Paranoid

This concludes my Friday at Copenhell. ENSLAVED and DANKO JONES are to close the night, but I can’t be bothered with either. Off to bed I go.

Thomas Nielsen
About Thomas Nielsen 1345 Articles
When my old buddy Kenn Jensen asked me if I wanted to contribute to the new site he had created, then called, I didn't hesitate. My love for metal music was and is great. I wrote my first review during the summer of 2004 (Moonspell's 'Antidote' album). In 2015, I took over the editor-in-chief role.