The Arcane Order

support Spitanger
author AP date 14/11/15 venue Beta, Copenhagen, DEN

So many things happening this Saturday evening, from a vital football match between Sweden and Denmark to a sold out concert with Satanic pop act Ghost... Yet it is toward BETA that I point my nose to watch The Arcane Order for the first time since their inception in 2005, and admittedly also to socialise with the good people that tend to hang out there. The decision comes with the added bonus that Spitanger, the band of BETA's sound engineer Rasmus Toftlund, is also on the bill, and so I am able to swat two flies at once and doubly decrement the list of bands I have been meaning to check out.

Spitanger

What the real ambitions of this upstart are, only its members can say. But judging by the zeal with which the quartet performs tonight, this band has fun playing their testosterone-packing, southern laced metal to a live audience. It is all about the riffs and swagger with these gentlemen, with Toftlund busting out one NOLA riff after another, Sammy Damiri beefing those up with a high variety of inspired bass licks, Niels Alex Larsen (of the now defunct Pilgrimz fame) cementing himself as one of the tightest and most creative drummers in the Danish metal scene, and vocalist Mario Giovagnoli completing the soundscape with a mixture of manly, Phil Anselmo and Zakk Wylde-esque roars. The formula contains zero bullshit, and although Spitanger thus will not be lighting any new fires with their music, they play it with such conviction and euphoric passion that wandering out to the bar for a second beer quickly becomes something to look into in the break.

Granted, Giovagnoli's clean singing is not up to par tonight, and one might even argue that it is during those parts that Spitanger's music is weakest. But at the same time, the four musicians deliver on the expectation one has for artists to actually put some effort into a show, rather than standing on stage like statues, trusting in their music alone to keep things interesting. The 50-or-so concert goers in attendance seem all to be smitten with the band's joy of performing, and in conjunction with the fact that no one needs to worry about being hungover the following day, the proceedings take on this character of hygge. Spitanger just wants to play some music without pretentions and draw their fans into it - not conquer the scene with a new breed of metal.

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The Arcane Order

Unfortunately, BETA's decision to allow ticket holders for the Ghost concert taking place next door at the larger Amager Bio to check this show out for free backfires as soon as Spitanger finishes, the subsequent exodus leaving only a handful of people to welcome decade old extreme metallers The Arcane Order, and as such it is easy to understand the somewhat disheartened manner of their performance. Only temporary vocalist Kenneth Klitte Jensen (known for fronting Blood Label) seems to have something to give, bravely hovering over the few fist pumping fans upfront with that typical death metal / metalcore alpha male pose. The rest of the five piece - guitarists Flemming C. Lund & Kasper Kirkegaard, bassist Boris Tandrup and drummer Morten Løwe Sørensen resign themselves to shoegazing poses with slight headbanging the only means of expression from them.

Were it not for the facts that The Arcane Order have written some absolute thrillers in their time - not least "The Reaping Reverence", "Faith Eater" and the magnificent "Death is Imminent, both of which receive a deserved airing tonight - and that Lund in particular possesses an almost unnatural talent for stitching together dizzyingly technical riffs and melodies, the concert tonight would be disastrous. But those two redeeming elements halt the spiraling descent simply at disappointing - not because the 'Order sucks, but because virtually no one has deemed them worthy of watching ahead of distractions like the Sweden - Denmark knockout match, the Kettle Metal event in Frederiksberg, or indeed the aforementioned, sold-out gig with Ghost nextdoor. For me personally, this concert is a reminder that The Arcane Order were, and continue to be one of the most impressive metal bands in Denmark from a technical standpoint, and under more favourable circumstances, surely they would be willing and able to stage a more engaging show.

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