I cannot start without thanking Lars and the other organisers of the Aalborg Metal Festival and congratulating the team, which this year has brought the legendary bands of the Deathcrusher tour + Sepultura + many talented combos of wide-ranging styles to the small festival in the north of Denmark.
My wife, daughters and I woke up very early to get on the ferry on time in Kristiansand in southern Norway. I am tired, lazy, ooooooold. This feeling will definitely not last: JUSTIN HATE could wake the dead! First band and already a top audio engineering, trademark each year of this festival: the sound is excellent, loud and clear, where each instrument gets enough space without infringing the others. Kim is a nice and cool Dr. Jekyll, when I am exchanging a few friendly words with him after the gig. But on stage, he is a raw Mr Hyde, really possessed. Bandcamp.com introduces Justin Hate as ‘a five piece outfit from Copenhagen, with a common urge and love for dark metallic hardcore’. This definition is surely true, but not enough to describe the oppressive, but good vibrations these guys give me. My mind is wide-open, even if I am more on the ‘dark metallic’ than the ‘hardcore’ side. [Phil]
THE ARCANE ORDER stands up for its long awaited new album ‘Cult of None’. I have to say, and it is of course subjective, that I need more time to get into their music, after the sudden kick in the teeth I just got from Justin Hate. The quintet from Kolding has its own style, that cannot be denied, somewhere between thrash and death, and delivers a solid performance, spreads hypnotic atmospheres. [Phil]
SVARTSOT from Randers, Denmark, plays folk metal, with two purposes: fight for ‘Vældet’ and entertain us a very nice way. The party is on stage and in the audience, among their fans shaking some… leeks! ‘The black disease’ closes its refreshing show with a song about ‘store bryster’ (‘big tits’). They are taking off their shirts: the song is actually not about women’s breasts… [Phil]
If you are rather fond of stoner/sludge, TORCHE is tailor-made for you, and no doubt you already know these guys from Miami and have listened to ‘Restarter’. If the mix is a bit weak on the vocals, the sound is bombastic, especially the bass, trademark of this genre. [Phil]
I told you: the festival programme is highly varied. It is also valid for the next two bands, classified in the same music style, but with nothing in common.
The local band MERCENARY plays melo(much more than)death metal. This melodic strength comes especially from the symbiosis between René’s voice and Martin’s lead guitar. These Aalborg boys’ masterpiece album ’11 Dreams’ was re-released in a remastered version on vinyl a couple of days ago. [Phil]
No time to digest my chinese food box and sip my beer: when THE CROWN from Trollhättan hits the stage, I am getting my second ‘kick in the teeth’ of the day. I simply and really appreciate their show, from the first arpeggios of ‘Reign’, which opens ‘Death Is Not Dead’. The Swedish malström plays a powerful, fast and a bit old-school melodeath, with raw distortion and killing riffs. Even the tools of the trade suit the purpose: BC Rich Mockingbird, Gibson Explorer, Fender Precision Bass, and a drummer in steel, with style, behind his Pearl. [Phil]
If stoner/sludge has Torche, heavy/power is perfectly represented by DREAM EVIL. ‘Immortal, forever, we stand in line!’: everything is said. Not my cup of tea, but the heavy metal fans in the crowd are flying high. The Swedish metal warriors are a bit ‘over-the-top’, but their integrity and dedication for ‘true’ metal are undisputable. [Phil]
Last and of course not the least ‘kick in the teeth’, SEPULTURA, which is still celebrating its 30th anniversary, after an impressive concert we had at Wacken. But to see Sepultura in a smaller place, being two meters from Andreas Kisser and three from Derrick Green, is a great experience we had few years ago at The Train in Aarhus. I was also close to the band when I saw Cavalera and Co in Paris during ‘Beneath the Remains’, ‘Arise’ and ‘Chaos A.D.’ tours, but it was eons ago…
It is a long way from Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, to Cleveland, Ohio, but not for Sepultura, citizens of the world. No more rhythm guitar when Andreas plays his furious soli, but the bass of Paulo Junior, hard as a rock, and prodigy drums from the young Eloy Casagrande ‘fill the hole’.
Nothing new about Derrick Green: he is still a colossal frontman, when he sings, screams, speaks or hits percussions. He delivers charismatic but short speeches between the songs: the band wants to play as much music as possible, in order to cover the whole story from ‘Bestial Devastation’ to ‘The Vatican’, with all these classics which make me and the people around running amok!
No ‘Orgasmatron’ but ‘Roots Bloody Roots’ is closing a notável show. The cold and heavy rain outside brings me back to reality, but tomorrow will also be a great day at the Aalborg Metal Festival 2015. [Phil]
SAVAGE MACHINE open Saturday. It’s not an easy task, but the power metal quintet from Aarhus, Denmark, have a good share of live gigs under their belts and take on the hung-over crowd with ease. It’d be fair to say at this point that this in no way is neither mine, nor my compadre Phil’s favourite genre of metal, but they lads keep the spirit of good old heavy metal alive and do a decent job with speed and a fair share of epic sounding song. The Danish Wacken Metal Battle Winners cash in a well-deserved round of applause this early afternoon. [Thomas]
The first time Danish melodic death/metalcore/modern metal band APHYXION played this festival was in 2011. Since the lads have now reached the tender age of 21, you can make your own calculations as to how young they were back then! Already now, the young folk have loads of live experience, and you can tell. As brutal as their music is, just as positive is their attitude – and they face the audience with a suitable portion of humbleness, well-knowing that they have received raving reviews internationally for their first full-length, ‘Earth Entangled’. Impressive gig. [Thomas]
HEROD from Switzerland are an entirely different kettle of fish music-wise. We’re not fans. The 8-string guitars are tuned down to shit-your-pants (which means that the quartet have saved themselves the presence of a bassist – that makes sense), the singer/shouter jumps around like a maniac (and consequently injures his foot), and that’s all very impressive. But in actual fact, this sludgy math-metal is most of all loud and boring the Neurosis way. [Thomas]
A QUICK WORD WITH: Scott Jensen (DAWN OF DEMISE)
Who are you looking forward to see here at AMF?
‘I’m here to see Obituary and Carcass!’
When will we hear new material from Dawn Of Demise?
‘We’ve just finished mixing our new album, and the layout has been made. The band picture will be taken later today! The album will be entitled ‘The Suffering’ and will most likely be out in April.’
Scott from Dawn Of Demise – new material out early next year
Honestly, I’ve reached a point where it’s hard for me to digest more retro (hard)rock bands. If you knew how much of that stuff we receive! SPIDERS from Sweden fall into this category, and as much as petite front lady Ann-Sofie is eye-catching and Spiders clearly have found something that resembles the vibe of yonder years, our thoughts start travelling to the nearby Asian take-away. [Thomas]
Thus with filled stomachs, we are ready to encounter yet another retro band: UNCLE ACID AND THE DEADBEATS. Although Phil quickly escapes next door, I’m slightly more intrigued with this Cambridgeshire outfit than I was with the Swedish attempt previously. Uncle Acid etc. comes across as being more authentic, perhaps simply because they’re Brits, I’m not sure, but certainly darker sounding and more Sabbathesque. Also, the dual handling of vocals sounds different from other bands of the genre. That said, there are awfully long repetitive parts in their songs and, well, it does get a bit boring at length. [Thomas]
A QUICK WORD WITH: Flemming C. Lund (THE ARCANE ORDER)
Who are you looking forward to see here at AMF?
‘The four headliners this evening, especially Voivod. I heard Nothingface back in 1990, around the time I’d also discovered Carcass. I thought ‘these guys can do stuff – and they do stuff!’ It’s the fourth time I’m going to see Napalm Death, and I’m looking forward to that. Obituary was the first death metal band I saw live in 1991. And now it’s almost 25 years later! Carcass are simply legends. I would’ve loved to see Keep of Kalessin, but I wasn’t able to be here to see them, sadly.’
How has your new album, ‘Cult of None’, been received?
‘It has been received well. It’s been seven years since ‘In the Wake of Collisions’, and I’ve noticed that reviewers are noticing different things now, there are other perspectives out there. In general, people have become more critical and look more into depth with what we are doing. I think this is the best we have done so far, even if the last album was one where we came into our style, and you could say it is an album that is hard to follow up on. But rececption has been positive.’
Read about Phil’s close encounter with Voivod and his view on the evening’s gig with the cult Canadians here!
I keep wondering why NAPALM DEATH refuse to recruit a second guitarist. Yes, yes, they are extreme and powerful, but, still, they were even more so when Jesse was in the band. It simply added an extra dimension of power, and having seen the Birmingham troupe a few times now after Jesse’s tragic early departure from this earth, I’m beginning to miss that extra power. Speaking of guitarist; Mitch is still not with Napalm due to family issues, and therefore an old friend of the band, John Cooke is stand-in. The man does a capable job, also in terms of his contribution with screams and wails. No matter how much I think there could be even more power behind Napalm Death, there’s no denying that Barney and the boys do create mayhem and an audio chaos unlike no one else. 20 songs, the occasional rant about issues political and the state of the world, that’s Napalm Death in a nutshell. Oh, and it still amazes me how Barney moves around on stage – he never stands still! [Thomas]
OBITUARY begin this evening’s gig just like they did when we saw them this summer at Wacken Open Air: Redneck Stomp strikes that heavy note, which is going to dominate the rest of the gig. The veteran death metal crew from Tampa are taking things in their own tempo and do things their own way. There’s plenty of time between songs to catch breath for John Tardy who gives his all it appears. It is very possibly age that’s knocking on the door for mister Tardy, but, hey, growling like that when you’re closing in on the 50 mark could make any man sweat, I’m sure. Anyhoo, when they do play, Obituary simply slay. The songs, old and new, are crushing. From Centuries of Lies from the phenomenal ‘Inked in Blood’, over I Don’t Care from ‘World Demise’ to Dying from ‘Cause of Death’ to the title track from ‘Slowly We Rot’, the setlist spans 25+ years of unique death metal. This is basically a set of genre classics. [Thomas]
Unique is also a word that characterises what CARCASS have accomplished during their career. And ‘classics’ is also a word I have to use in the context of the Liverpool grind legends. This is the smallest venue I’ve seen Carcass perform at, and it is a true pleasure. Last time we saw Jeff Walker and the rest of crew was at Wacken last year, and there’s simply no comparison. The closeness of Studenterhuset makes everything more intense, and the sound is as always excellent (which certainly is never guaranteed at W:O:A).
Tonight, the Surgical Steel themed backdrop works perfectly, with clinical white colours dominating. Walker is in his usual ironic/witty mood, and manages to make fun of among other things former Mnemic guitarist Mircea who’s also present tonight. And speaking of clinical: This is the fourth time I see Carcass live, and they haven’t been this tight and precise before. Bill Steer and Ben Ash simply do everything right. Even if you’ve listened to songs like Incarnate Insolvent Abuse, Buried Dreams, This Mortal Coil, Corporal Jigsore Quandary and Heartwork so many times over the years, you stand there and can’t help still being amazed how perfect those riffs are. Also the new songs, Unfit For Human Consumption, The Granulating Dark Satanic Mills and Captive Bolt Pistol are smashing live tunes and cause a stir in the pit. One of the personal highs for me is when Steer takes position behind the centre stage microphone and with complete and total authority grunts his way through Exhume to Consume. The dog’s bollocks, this one. [Thomas]
We could easily have spent another hour or so with Carcass, but alas, the evening ends here. Outside awaits the rain and a wee storm, even. Home to our warm beds we go and leave another successful Aalborg Metal Festival behind us.