Slipknot

support King 810
author AP date 12/02/15 venue Forum, Copenhagen, DEN

It was the worst kept secret of 2014 that Slipknot would headline the 2015 edition of Copenhell, which might go some way towards explaining why tonight’s concert hasn’t managed to sell out as one might have expected. But while Slipknot aren’t exactly rare guests to the Danish pastures, yours truly had been looking forward to this gig with massive enthusiasm, prepared even to endure the abortion that is the supporting act King 810 in order to watch the Iowa born nine piece for the first time since Roskilde Festival in 2009, and so to gauge how well the band’s new material off last year’s ”.5: The Gray Chapter” would fare in the live setting alongside their classics.

All photos courtesy of Peter Troest

King 810

I recall being somewhat surprised that the opening act to one of the biggest bands in the world is in fact some relatively unknown band from a place called Flint, Michigan. Their announcement prompted me to research them and it has come to my attention that the reception of King 810 is one of the most controversial and acrimonious discussions in the metal community at the moment.

The bands origins plays the central role in the bands image and songwriting, where Flint a.k.a "murdertown" is considered to be one of the most dangerous places in the USA. The waters have been split when concerning King 810. Half the crowd see them as violence glorifying ex-gang members with a sense of pride in something that is severely tragic. The other half think of them as a group that retells their story in an artistic and furious expression, not unlike what early 90's gangsta hiphop, which was also condoned back in the day. So, here I stand ready to receive the nights opening act to a largely disinterested crowd. Most people will glance casually, but rarely do I witness such a lukewarm reception of a band. Surprisingly, I see no signs of hatred, yet the barely noticeable smattering of applause is indicative of either people not caring much about the supporting act, or it's because King 810 just simply isn't interesting from a musical perspective.

The questionable sound calibration of Forum does not help these Michigan boys ahead. Upon finishing third song, I start to lose my focus but King 810 finally produce something that is worth paying attention to. The song "desperate lovers" actually has a pretty catchy riff and the chorus really makes you nod along. It is pretty powerful.

"Boogeyman" is one of the more menacing and rotten tracks where David Gunn besieges the stage that is decorated in a black/white theme befitting for a band where almost all songs are based on murder and crime. "Write About Us" is the sole second highlight of the set. A track where a sort of horrorcore-rap influence is apparent, a little bit ICP-esque. In essence, "Write About Us" sounds like a rotten and very angry version of Michael Jackson's "They Don't Really Care About Us". I see this as a positive thing, mind you. It must however be said that I find most of their songs mediocre at best and not befitting to opening for a band like slipknot. It is all mostly mid-tempo simple heavy riffage with nu-metal screams a la Mudvayne and even Slipknot. Truly, a boring and forgettable show from these newcomers to the scene.

5
MN

Slipknot

Say what you will about the music of Slipknot, but you can bet your crown jewels they’ll always stage a thrilling show. True, it has on occasion felt as though the spectacle was becoming a little formulaic, but now, resurgent after a dark period which saw bassist Paul Gray pass away and legendary drummer Joey Jordison ejected from the band, the Des Moines, IA nine piece have a golden opportunity to reignite the madness for which they’ve earned infamy. It is an opportunity arisen from the introduction of replacements for those musicians (Alex Venturella and Jay Weinberg, respectively), and from the release of the band’s first new album since 2006 last year (“.5: The Gray Chapter”); one which I’ve been hoping they’ve seized in order to reinstate themselves as one of the most influential and commercially successful contemporary metal bands. There’s some way to go still, judging from their inability to sell out the 10,000 capacity Forum this time, but nonetheless it is an air of optimism and anxious expectation that envelops the venue in the 40-minute break leading up to their set.

When the curtain finally drops to the sampled tune of “XIX”, the production facing us is, to say the least, breathtaking. During those 40 minutes, the stage has transformed into a sort of grotesque carnival setting, with asymmetrical light ropes dangling from the rafters, and a large prosthetic Satan’s head with an elaborately crafted, opaque infinity glass beneath it stationed immediately above and behind Weinberg’s drum kit. Shawn Crahan & Chris Fehn’s customary rotating percussion platforms flank the stage on either side and appear to be in a constant spin as the first song proper, “Sarcastrophe”, is aired to a boiling mass of people. It doesn’t take long before Crahan is dangling from the edge of his setup, head banging maniacally and doing his utmost to rile us up into frenzy; all the while his colleagues upfront, vocalist Corey Taylor, guitarists Jim Root & Mick Thomson, and Venturella deliver the sort of psychotic bad-assery to which any Slipknot fan will by now have grown accustomed. Plumes of fire explode all around in perfect sync with the lighting as fan favourite “Heretic Anthem” is aired early and Disc-jockey maestro Sid Wilson darts and dances around the setup possessed, and the uneven glass screen behind Weinberg transforms into what looks every bit like a gateway to the netherworld.

Indeed, the production (ferried here in the back of a dozen large trucks) is immense; the best Slipknot have assembled to the date, if you ask me - and if that alone wasn’t enough to impress the attendance, the euphoric reception and sing-along to songs like “Psychosocial” and “The Negative One” ensures the nine gentlemen are very much back in business. Though not fully optimal, the quality of the sound mix is surprisingly crisp and, crucially, the volume has been cranked to maximum so that the percussion heavy tunes feel like fists to the chest - exactly what you’d want from a live metal performance. This is especially striking when Taylor bellows ”Eeeeeeeyoooooore!” to signal the back-to-back delivery of three rarer songs off 1999’s self-titled debut - “Eeyore”, “Liberate” and “Purity” (complete with the sampled “Frail Limb Nursery” as a transition to the latter) - and the past extremity of Slipknot is let loose. Much to my surprise, both “Eeyore” and “Purity” appear to perplex rather than impress the vast majority of people here - but from a personal point of view, it feels like the greatest gift to hear something a little different from the usual hit parade; something that recalls the unflinching lunacy of Slipknot’s early days.

It is a hardly a surprise, then, that “Duality” and “Before I Forget” immediately after receive the strongest response yet, while the staple “Spit It Out” complete with its revered and much copied sit-down-jump-the-fuck-up routine sends the entire audience (minus the few obligatory ‘mavericks’ who insist on standing up) off their feet. “Custer” closes the ordinary set to the tune of its profane chorus ”Cut, cut, cut me up and fuck, fuck, fuck me up!” sung by virtually everyone in here, and at this point, it strikes me that while all is as it should be and then some, there’s still this unfortunate sense of control to these proceedings, like Slipknot are unable to unfold the full extent of their insanity in this setting. Good news then, that Taylor at one point confirms the band will indeed headline Copenhell this summer and promises that us ‘maggots’ will be blasted into atoms then. The encore, consisting of the classics “(sic)”, “People = Shit” and “Surfacing”, certainly bodes well for such a vow, and although I might personally have swapped songs like “My Plague” and “Left Behind” with “Pulse of the Maggots” and “Wait and Bleed”, there is no denying that tonight has been, as predicted, a tremendous success. No doubt this new production will work even better in the outdoor setting and intense atmosphere of Copenhell this summer.

8
AP

Setlist:

  • 1. Sarcastrophe
  • 2. The Heretic Anthem
  • 3. My Plague
  • 4. The Devil in I
  • 5. Psychosocial
  • 6. The Negative One
  • 7. Eeyore
  • 8. Liberate
  • 9. Purity
  • 10. Before I Forget
  • 11. Duality
  • 12. Left Behind
  • 13. Spit It Out
  • 14. Custer

—Encore—

  • 15. (sic)
  • 16. People = Shit
  • 17. Surfacing

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