Rosetta

support Hexis + Redwood Hill
author PP date 12/08/15 venue Loppen, Copenhagen, DEN

Initially, the Rosetta show was scheduled to take place at the small confines of basement venue UnderWerket, but quickly the Facebook turnout reached unsustainable levels so the only logical thing was to move the show to a bigger venue. But although post-metallers Rosetta have reached a sizable following through five full-length releases to date, the majority of the interest could be attributed to local blackened hardcore warriors Hexis, whose original lineup was scheduled to perform for the final time together. The venue was rammed to its limits early on but largely cleared out by the time Rosetta had reached halfway into their set, although that could also be the consequence of starting the headlining set as late as around quarter to midnight during a weekday.

Redwood Hill

Redwood Hill

No strangers in the Copenhagen live circuit, post-metallers Redwood Hill are arguably the best local opener for a band like Rosetta. With their stage drenched in their usual dark red lighting theme, they start their set tonight with prolonged instrumental section with thickly vibrating bass notes building up the ambiance while a smoke cannon fills up the stage to an extent where the band practically disappears from the sights of all but those standing at the very front. Together with the ominous lighting, it creates an evil, yet immersive atmosphere, allowing their blackened post-metal tunes to penetrate our consciousness in a very different manner than your usual post metal band. It's a total audiovisual experience where everything about their show can be considered performance art: not only are the black metallish shrieks piercing, but they also serve as an additional instrument to the devastating landscapes built by their long, progressive build ups.

Redwood Hill

Here, the band stand largely still, letting the smoke linger around them whilst the stage is dimly lit in red, leading into a perfect explosion of chaos for the heavier sections. Here, the pulsating riffs allow the band to leave their standstill positions and into manic head banging and trashing around, creating an exceptional contrast between the two styles. Led by vocalist Marco's lunatic hand movements (grabbing the ceiling, spreading out his palm like he's about to crush someone's head with it, etc), the band's showmanship matches the music exactly how you would imagine it on record. This, if anything, is music performed as an artform. The crowd mostly stands still, though, with limited headbanging noticeable here and there, so the dynamic could definitely be better in this scribe's opinion. Nonetheless, for a band like Redwood Hill, standing perfectly still in a hypnotized manner is part of the experience.

Hexis

So, this is the last show for Hexis in this constellation. Disagreements between their vocalist Filip Andersen and the drummer led into a surprisingly public and subsequent disbanding of the current lineup, although they agreed to fulfil remaining tour obligations culminating in tonight's show at Loppen. Ever since The Psyke Project called it quits, a vacuum has existed for the best live band in Denmark, and in January this year, Hexis claimed the throne with a bombastic performance at When Copenhell Freezes Over. With hundreds of shows underneath their belt, their showmanship has become legendary in the Danish underground, so surely their final show together would amount to something spectacular.

Hexis

Indeed. You can tell something's about to go down from the way Filip commands every light at the venue shut off, including the candles towards the back, before commencing their set. The stage fills up with smoke, and immediately upon the first notes to their brutal blackened noise/hardcore, Filip vaults into the crowd and ends up crowd surfing for the majority of the first song. Strobe lights go amok at this point, creating a black/white flashing effect that essentially makes the band look like they move in slow motion as they swirl around the stage in destructive fashion. Next up: the guitarists launch themselves on top of people's hands as well. At one point Filip is hanging upside down from the rafters while shrieking into the microphone. A ceiling light breaks shortly after, and off we go again with the whole band seemingly crowd surfing at the same time. The noise on stage is as blackened and as terrifying as it comes; the energy equally insane. Wave after wave the band are storming back and forth, ramming into the crowd, spearing into mosh pits, forging the venue into an apocalyptic mode where it feels like everyone and everything is breaking. Pictures speak louder than words, and this shot pretty much captures exactly what was going on for the entirety of their set.

Hexis - pure madness

Normally, Hexis rarely speak in between their songs in order to preserve the almost satanically dark, evil atmosphere their uncompromising music creates, but tonight is an exception. Filip thanks everyone in the band for the experiences they've had together: 328 shows in the last year with USA, Japan and Europe covered is something to be proud of. I don't remember the last time a Danish band that were as dedicated to the live experience as Hexis if there ever has been one. They finish up - the crowd wants more. One more song is all they have rehearsed, but that's enough. The skull-breaking heaviness, the blackened noise, the chaos... it's a bit much to take in. Needless to say, if you're not into chaotic heavy music you might not get much out of this, but fans of the genre got it all: a worthy finish of the most intense lineup we've seen perform in Denmark since TPP. Here's to hoping the new Hexis lineup is able to muster even half of what we saw tonight.

Rosetta

Rosetta

After such a devastating and intense showing, Rosetta was standing with a mountain of a task to come even close to matching up. Turns out, they have difficulty even competing against the openers, as Redwood Hill's set was far more elaborate and artistic given its audiovisual immersion as described earlier. That Rosetta are much lighter is not so much a problem - actually the post-rock influenced, fragile guitar intricacies are a welcome change from the monstrously heavy two bands that just played - but their lack of an ability to create a crowd dynamic is. While the band are very good at headbanging in unison when the passage allows for it, and their musicianship overall is arguably far more detailed and intricate than either of the opening bands, the overall impression of their show tonight is that they're lacking enough true highlight songs to compensate for the lack of movement and/or 'gimmicks', if that's what you want to call Redwood Hill's colour/smoke arrangement. Sure, "Untitled 1" and "Untitled IV" from new album "Quintessential Ephemera" are back-chilling, but they are mostly so due to the addition of City Of Ships vocalist/guitarist Eric Jernigan, whose Dustin Kensure-style shrieks complement the post-metal of Rosetta perfectly.

Rosetta

Their main vocalist Mike Armine, on the other hand, has a less nuanced delivery in his roars, resulting into a monotonous delivery throughout the night. Not to worry; his showmanship takes from Tommy Rogers (Between The Buried And Me) given his commanding stance while delivering his lines. He even delivers a few lines a capella without a microphone for added effect. It's of little help though: both their songs from an overall perspective and a relatively static performance feels rather anticlimatic compared to what we've just seen before. Additionally, the band's bassist is a substitute: Joel Munguia of Junius fame is filling in, and we're told he's only had time to rehearse with the band only once, so the vast majority are basically "Quintessential Ephemora" front to back. We're thus missing out on many a great song from the Rosetta back catalogue, but given how solid the album is on record, it's extremely surprising to find people leaving the venue in droves and nearly falling asleep as we near the end of their set at 00:45. I'm sure Rosetta can put on a better show than this, given the hype that surrounds their name, but tonight is not one of those nights.

6

Photos by: Philip B. Hansen

Comments
comments powered by Disqus

Legal

© Copyright MMXIX Rockfreaks.net.