Entombed A.D.

support The Graviators + By The Patient
author AP date 16/11/14 venue Beta, Copenhagen, DEN

How fitting that a band renowned for pioneering the death’n’roll genre should find support acts from the primary two vestiges that helped shape their sound: death metal and stoner rock. With that in mind, I arrive at my favourite Copenhagen venue Beta for the second time this weekend expecting, rightly, to be entertained by a diverse threesome of Danish and Swedish bands.

Photos courtesy of Philip B. Hansen

By The Patient

In charge of opening the proceedings are the familiar local fusionists of thrash, death and black metal who go by their moniker By the Patient - but less usually, they’re to perform as a quartet without vocalist Tan Møhl-Hansen, who exited the group earlier this Fall. This is a debut of sorts for the band then, and my wondering who’s going to be pulling the bulk of the vocal weight now is swiftly answered in the opening track “Where Time Collapsed” (off 2012’s “Premonitions), which sees all three axemen, Theis Wilmer Poulsen & Simon Sonne Andersen (both guitar) and Troels Cort Nielsen (bass guitar) doing the growling work each with their own personal touch. In truth, it is Poulsen whom the majority of the responsibility befallen, and his sharper technique at once distinguishes itself from that of Møhl-Hansen, affording By the Patient a fresh personality.

Naturally, the necessity of focusing on vocals as well as shredding places a certain strain on the three frontmen’s customary expenditure of energy on stage, and given they are still in the early stages of this transformation, this is easy to forgive. There is nervousness to their demeanour, too, with Nielsen the only one of the three to offer any sort of chatter in between the songs. But when churning their way through the slow brooding “Gehenna” (the title track to the band’s upcoming album) and the galloping grandeur of “Ruled by the Death” (likewise a new song, reminiscent at times of Amon Amarth), By the Patient look and sound as convincing as ever, the drumming of Adam Schønemann in particular striking me as inspirational. His efforts, and those of his three compatriots, culminate in the fantastic “Premonitions” (the title track to the band’s 2011 debut album). So despite the insecurity so evidently affecting the band’s performance abilities right now, fear not - for once the process of transformation is complete, By the Patient will have no trouble continuing their ascent to one of Denmark’s finest extreme metal bands.

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The Graviators

The contrast is stark when the Graviators from southern Sweden take the stage with a barrage of stoning instrumentation and Niklas Sjöberg’s Ozzy Osbourne style howling - and despite impressing me with their sophomore album ”Motherload” earlier this year, they do so in unconvincing manner here with an utterly forgettable first song and a Sjöberg so out of breath it’s impossible to decipher his ramblings once it clocks in. Fortunately, though Sjöberg’s lack of stamina persists, “Tigress of Siberia” comes across as much more to my taste, a slick groove leading way through kaleidoscopic psychedelia in best stoner rock fashion. As the minutes tick past, the fact that the Graviators have little to offer by way of novelty does admittedly become an undeniable fact.

But the interplay between guitarist Martin Fairbanks, bassist Johan Holm & drummer Henrik Bergman is no less entrancing in the likes of “Leif’s Last Breath / Dance of the Valkyrie” - so much that Sjöberg, a lively personage himself, frequently steps off stage and joins the rest of us in watching their prowess unfold before his eyes. Although the number of people finding some fix in this is by no means large in comparison to By the Patient just before, virtually all of those present look enamoured by this and the following track, the marriage of lead-weight punch with lengthy passages of psychedelic rock seemingly striking a chord with others than myself, too. This is a decent showing by the Graviators then, though not one to go down in history.

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Entombed A.D.

Entombed may have attached the suffix A.D. to their name after their parting with founding member Alex Hellid late last year, but sans the extra guitar they’re still the same band we saw crush this venue two and a half years ago. It is hardly a surprise, thus, that 80% of tonight’s setlist consists of Entombed ‘covers’ (the remaining 20% of course stemming from Entombed A.D.’s ‘debut’ ”Back to the Front”). It is nonetheless with an original track, “Pandemic Rage”, that the quartet begin the onslaught, and instantly, that rage is infectious. Lars Göran Petrov remains one of the most fearsome vocalists in metal despite nearing 43 years of age, and tonight he shows no signs of wear, tear or fatigue. The man’s authority over the now packed venue is terrifying, as is his imposing bellowing in classic songs like “Revel in Flesh”; and his three compatriots drummer Olle Dahlstedt, bassist Victor Brandt & guitarist Nico Elgstrand aren’t lagging behind either in their commanding appearance.

It is true that variety is not Entombed A.D.’s strong suite, and I’d be lying if during the 70 minutes of bulldozing metal there weren’t a number of moments that seem to pass by as if on autopilot (“I for an Eye” and new song “Second to None”, which failed to captivate me on record, are good examples). But when Petrov and his companions decide to lob “Out of Hand”, “Wolverine Blues” and “Damn Deal Done” at us in one continuous salvo, there is no escaping the brilliance of which Entombed A.D. have shown themselves capable - even in the absence of Hellid’s extra guitar to beef up the soundscape. A magnificent soup of Southern fried riffs and Swedish death metal fury, the trio forms the standout period of the concert - though the encore quartet lead by the always eerie salute to Lucifer, “Chief Rebel Angel”, does not lag far behind. Facing a continuously operating moshpit upfront, Entombed A.D. stage here another demonstration of power and simultaneously silence any naysayers calling them a spent force. I’d go see a show this manly and metal any day, even if it would have suited the band to showcase some of the melodic ambitions of “Back to the Front” as well and thus diversify the setlist more.

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Setlist:

  • 1. Pandemic Rage
  • 2. I for an Eye
  • 3. Revel in Flesh
  • 4. Second to None
  • 5. Eyemaster
  • 6. Living Dead
  • 7. Out of Hand
  • 8. Wolverine Blues
  • 9. Damn Deal Done
  • 10. The Underminer
  • 11. Left Hand Path

—Encore—

  • 12. Chief Rebel Angel
  • 13. Supposed to Rot
  • 14. Abnormally Deceased
  • 15. Serpent Speech

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