support Puppet Arms
author LF date 06/02/15 venue KB18, Copenhagen, DEN

I am lured out tonight by the prospect of seeing two solid Aarhus-based bands that have both been around for some time, Malrun having released all of three albums so far while Puppet Arms are currently working on their debut full-length. By reputation I know Puppet Arms as a progressive rock band with influences from Tool, A Perfect Circle, and Pearl Jam, which is never a bad thing, and while Malrun's guitar magic should always be interesting to catch live, their relatively recent vocalist change from Jacob Løbner to Nicklas Sonne (who is also the lead singer of progressive and symphonic metal band Defecto) is what makes it especially interesting for me to catch them tonight. Despite it being a Friday, not a lot of people have showed up tonight and it ends up being what you might call an intimate metal evening.

All pictures by Philip Hansen

Puppet Arms

The four guys that make up Puppet Arms play first tonight and they kick off with their grungy and progressive rock sound. They are not afraid to take their time in building up their songs and the audience is left wondering if the microphones are going to be in use at all as we're fifteen minutes and three songs into the set before the first vocals make their appearance. Three out of the four band members provide vocals across their set tonight, with drummer Jeppe Hjorth being the only one sticking to just his initial instrument. While guitarist Mads Trebbien seems to be the lead vocalist, or at least the only one presented by name tonight, bassist Sune Willink and guitarist Rasmus Hamann also sing songs on their own and while this is a cool idea, sadly none of the three have very memorable voices and thus the differing vocals don't add anything extra to the music. Their vocal harmonies are thoughtfully placed however and add a nice texture to the groovy sound overall. While the audience is small tonight, some members are loud and rowdy and cheer the band on continually which sets a humorous and relaxed mood in the room and on the stage. Puppet Arms have an intriguing sound, but many of their songs lack a distinct direction and coupled with their very anonymous performance tonight, they don't make quite the impact on me that I had hoped for, despite their motivated demeanor on stage.



It doesn't take long before the next band take the stage and it is evident from the start that Nicklas Sonne is definitely well matched with Malrun. He is an energetic frontman and a talented vocalist and he transitions flawlessly between powerful cleans and menacing growls tonight. The main criticism to voice here is that his powerful and vibrating voice pushes the vocal melodies towards a sort of power metal territory that at times makes the already corny lyrics too corny-sounding and generic for my taste. The band has a very easy-going attitude to their dramatic music and they all seem very down-to-earth - not least Sonne as he leads us through the set with casual remarks in between songs and does his best to engage the small crowd during songs through sing-a-longs or fist-pumping. He air-guitars several guitar solos and riffs through the set and looks like he's still getting used to playing without one himself, as he usually does in his other band. There's a good mood on stage and in the audience, and even though the band members look crammed on the small stage, their love for playing shines through as they look like they're having a great time, making faces at each other and moving around the stage frequently. Sadly Malrun suffer from sound problems throughout, initially with the drums sounding extremely flat for a good part of the set. While this gets slightly better later on, Sonne's microphone cable starts loosening and this makes his voice flicker annoyingly in the mix from time to time. The band ends their set with an encore after Sonne desperately tries to pump some energy into the audience, which has become slightly unresponsive by now, by leading the applause for the encore himself and after this humorous event and two extra songs, an evening of alright but not exactly impressive shows has ended.

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