support Genfærd
author AP date 27/02/15 venue Beta, Copenhagen, DEN

In the hours leading up this concert, BETA was able to stick the sweetest of signs, Sold out, at the door. And while of course it isn't exactly uncommon for concerts to max out the venue's 150 pax capacity, there is nonetheless prestige to be derived from the fact that it is a local underground black metal band pulling off that feat. It is easy to tell that Solbrud, a quartet formed within the DIY confines of Copenhagen's youth culture house Ungdomshuset, have been garnering a lot of attention of late, having won the Gaffa Award for Best Hard Rock Album of 2014 recently for their excellent sophomore record "Jærtegn".

All photos courtesy of Peter Troest


Tonight's opening act Genfærd (Danish for Apparition) are a grim looking prospect, each of the four members adorned with corpse paint and fake blood, reminding me at once of Marduk not just visually, but also by virtue of the unforgiving blastbeat- and tremolo-driven formula upon which many of their tracks are based. Following the somewhat unimpactful "Stormen", the second song "Englemagersken" follows rife with frostbitten melody amidst the atavistic pummel, while "Soenderrevet" at slot four impresses with the icy grandeur of its lengthy, harmonised instrumental segment and sends my thoughts toward Den Saakaldte. But while there are discernible highlights here, the overwhelming conclusion Genfærd impress upon me is that they're all too happy at present in producing standard fare black metal which has been done before, and better.

Genfærd's songs never reach those revelatory heights required to captivate me, and whatever shock value such a theatrical visual aesthetic might have given rise to in the past has long since become a rather trite emblem of the black metal genre, and one which many other bands are now beginning to shun. The four gentlemen that comprise this outfit do little else to conjure a performance, preferring instead simply to look menacing and attempt to deliver their music with the utmost precision (a quest they don't persistently succeed at). They're not without promise, but Genfærd's first priority now must be to develop a recognisable identity lest they'll continue to blend into the grey mass of generic black metal.



As the evening's headliners are putting the final touches on their sound mix, it suddenly strikes me that I to this day have no idea what their moniker actually means. Is it sun bride or the break of sun? Or is it, as Google Translate suggests, Helenium, a plant in the sunflower family? All seem to me to be inappropriate, the quartet's style taken into account, and as I dwell on this, vocalist/guitarist Ole Pedersen Luk and guitarist Adrian Utzon Dietz light an incense candle each, placing these inside a lantern strung by chain from the ceiling to signal the beginning of the group's rite. The lights dim, dry ice is blown onto the stage, and the set begins abruptly with an explosion of blastbeats and tremolo in "Øde Lagt" with no introduction, lead-in or any such easing in offered.

Unlike Genfærd, Solbrud use their influences to their advantage, crafting from them a personal and instantly recognisable sound, which together with the scent of incense, atmospheric lighting, blitzing strobes and an excellent sound mix is quick to grab and sustain my undivided attention. "Klippemennesket" has the packed room spellbound through Troels Pedersen's phenomenal drumming and the scintilliating melodies laid upon it by O. Pedersen & Dietz, though it annoys me to discover that when Solbrud wind into one of their numerous beautiful quietuses, a handful of concert goers seem to see it as an opportunity to have an obnoxiously loud discussion of no relevance to the proceedings here. It would become them to step outside or shut the f**k up; to respect the endeavours of Solbrud who have created so much from so little for themselves. I am thankfully interrupted from such resentment posterior to the first instrumental passage in "Klippemennesket" by the hair-raising, utterly evocative melody which follows, and as the song gradually slows into a halt amidst thundering applause, there can be little doubt that Solbrud have that special quality needed to lift them into underground stardom - not just in Denmark, but also abroad.

O. Pedersen's tremolo and Dietz' single-struck chords at the beginning of "Afbed" are equally mesmerising, like church bells attempting to break through a canopy of vicious darkness, while "Skyggeriet" delves heavily into doom and post-metal (not unlike Redwood Hill, I find) to complete a set characterised by variety, mastery and, above all, atmosphere. The sheer length of Solbrud's material ensures it is just these four songs there is time for in the ordinary set, though they do opt to return for a performance of... "Dødemandsbjerget", I think? much to the crowd's enthusiastic welcome. Having seen this band multiple times now and witnessed, as tonight, that they excel both in writing enchanting music and complementing it with an appropriately morose visual aesthetic, there can be no contention that Solbrud rank among the most exciting metal bands in Denmark right now, and this as their best live showing yet (of what I have personally seen). They play with the sort of passion that each movement seems to stem directly from the soul; like a band to whom nothing else matters than the music they collectively create; and with a sense of authenticity free from the reins of popular opinion.


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