By The Patient

support Cacafogo
author AP date 06/02/15 venue Beta, Copenhagen, DEN

”We’re one week into February already, and it’s only my third concert of the year”, is the unusual realisation that strikes me as I arrive at my favourite Copenhagen venue this chilly and windy Friday evening. On the menu tonight is a release party - the vinyl release party, to be exact - for local death metal aces By the Patient’s third studio album ”Gehenna”, which struck an instant chord with me and thus interested me in this gig. How would those songs fare in the live setting, especially as the band is now reduced to a quartet following longtime vocalist Tan Møhl-Hansen’s amicable exit last year? Judging by the high attendance, I am not alone in my curiosity.

All photos courtesy of Peter Troest

Cacafogo

First though, the crowd is to be brought to a boil by the hand-picked support act Cacafogo, of whom I’ve not so much as heard until tonight. Their schizophrenic marriage of jazzy math rock and ambient segments seems like an odd choice given the nature of the evening’s headliners, but then again, noticing that Cato Jørgensen (drummer of Förtress) & Nicklas Kirchert (vocalist of Förtress) both feature in the band, it all makes a little bit more sense. All of these Bornholm-originating groups are famously tight knit now they’re based out of Copenhagen, and as such it isn’t unusual to find two or more of them on the same bill despite huge differences in style. In Cacafogo, the former is tasked with singing and playing cello, while the latter handles guitar and backing vocals, and with the added input of organ/synth player Poul Høi, bassist Emil Winther & drummer Søren Høi, what you have here is one of the most strangely eclectic outfits I’ve come across in Denmark in recent times.

The music resonates between crazed technical bits not unlike the less grinding parts of Rolo Tomassi’s music, and calmer, atmospheric and proggy sections, with well-timed and -executed transitions cementing that this is no inexperienced or untalented bunch. Top it off with Kirchert & P. Høi’s unbridled enthusiasm, and the whole experience turns out a much more positive one than I admittedly had been expecting. There’s plenty of detail and texture in the music to keep me intrigued, my thoughts wandering everywhere from Pulled Apart by Horses to the aforementioned Rolo Tomassi, to a less abrasive version of The Dillinger Escape Plan, and even to Between the Buried and Me in their clean, bluesy passages; and there is sufficient charisma and performing knowledge to the collective to offer a visually interesting set, too. Sadly the proceedings are restricted to just four songs, leaving this to be but a teaser for what might emerge as a serious contender on the Danish music scene assuming this is a serious project.

7

By The Patient

The near sold-out audience is, by now, blissfully buzzed from the 70 litres of free Tuborg Classic and ditto free shots of Jägermeister which the boys in By the Patient had kindly arranged for the occasion, and the concert room is packed with people as the foursome initiates the proceedings - somewhat surprisingly - with the excellent “Where Time Collapsed” from 2012’s “Premonitions”. A moshpit forms centre-front almost immediately, with horns, smiles and nods of approval ad libitum despite the stifling heat quickly building up inside the room. I always tend to think that such sweltering conditions are a welcome addition to a show given the increased intimacy to which they give rise, and as the band courses through one of the new standout tracks, “Ruled by the Dead”, there is no denying that By the Patient have developed into a band to be taken very seriously.

There is intent, and a burning intensity to the way in which the four musicians - guitarists Simon Sonne Andersen & Theis Wilmer Poulsen, bassist and now-primary vocalist Troels Cort Nielsen, and drummer Adam Schønemann - carry themselves on stage, as even without the wildest of movements they come across as imposing, authoritative even. I still maintain that Cort Nielsen should be placed at the centre of the stage to give the performance a clear focal point, but on the other hand, his positioning on the right does emphasise the fact that even though he now bears the brunt of the vocal duties, all of the three axemen are now responsible for delivering the vocals and as such, the group should be viewed as one vessel.

A song like “Web of Beliefs” - an awesome, modern extreme metal song with few weaknesses - demonstrates just how far By the Patient have come since their deathcore beginnings, and here, in the live setting, the true cleverness of writing underlying that song finally hits me: at the end of each recursion of the bridge a note is skipped to throw the listener off guard and preserve an element of unpredictability that is so vital, I find, to By the Patient’s music. “This Barren Earth” sounds equally impressive tonight, and as such my gripes are restricted only to the relative brevity of the set, and to the band’s insistence on playing “Gehenna”, which at six and a half minutes of droning, doom laden riffage does little more than insert a sort of lull at the beginning of the set. This, of course, is a matter of taste, and cannot per se be held against the band, who once again deliver a rock solid performance.

Setlist:

  • 1. Where Time Collapsed
  • 2. Bellum
  • 3. Gehenna
  • 4. Ruled by the Dead
  • 5. Premonitions
  • 6. Web of Beliefs
  • 7. This Barren Earth

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