Cold Night For Alligators

support CABAL + DTHRNR
author HES date 08/01/16 venue Rust, Copenhagen, DEN

It has been a long journey for Cold Night For Alligators. The band first formed around 8 years ago, but the constellation was never right. The three members Kristoffer Jessen, Roar Jakobsen and Niklas Schrøder (respectively on guitar, guitar and drums) have formed the foundation in a band that has seen other members come and go. Fortunately the latest addition of Johan Pedersen on vocals and Christian Alexander Minch on bass seems to be a happy marriage. This also means that the band is finally ready to release their first full-length “Course Of Events" (freshly reviewed here) - a record that many a fan of the band’s interesting mix of djent and experimental metal has been awaiting. Tonight is the release show of this album, hence also the first time that some of the songs will be played in front of a live audience. Supported by two young bands in the shape of DTHRNR and CABAL, tonight is an amuse-bouche of what is to come from three different branches of Danish metal. That the three bands also have each their own target audience to attract is apparent, as the small venue of Rust is already jam-packed as DTHRNR takes the stage.

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Now it’s hard to say that DTHRNR is a band that I would usually get the honours of reviewing. The band plays stripped, down-tuned basement hardcore and as I am usually more interested in melody-driven hardcore, I might be misunderstanding the entire premise of their music. But overall tonight’s soundscape is super thin, mainly carried by guitar and drums, the bass many times disappearing in the mix. The thinness leaves many of the attributes like shifts in tempo or breakdowns to have a very uneasy appearance, almost unrehearsed and impossible to decode. Because the band only plays somewhere around 4-5 tracks the sound never really gets to be corrected, although the last songs travel a bit fairer than the first ones - this primarily having to do with the latter songs being more rhythmic in construction, adding more life to the otherwise very starved soundscape.

Vocalist Neema Rad probably does the best job out of the line-up delivering decent constricted, guttural screams, but also in engaging the crowd, and trying to open up several circle pits and randomly jumping into the audience to start up the desired rowdiness. But the growing crowd that has been assembled in front of the stage seems to think it is too early to open up the pits just yet apart from a few token hardcore heroes in the very front. Overall the experience is that of a band, that is not quite sure if they want to be taken seriously or just make a bit of an uproar in a milieu that sometimes takes itself very seriously. And by not really suggesting either throughout their show, it’s hard to evaluate this to have been more than a let-down. / HES



Second band on the evening is CABAL, the new group of former producer and former Scarred By Beauty member Chris Kreutzfeldt, which so far has only put out one seriously heavy and malicious sounding single in “Innocent Blood". That song airs early tonight, with low riffs battering the crowd over a creeping tempo, the whole room suddenly engulfed in smoke and with strobe lights completing the assault on the senses and making it hard to spot more than the band’s silhouettes. It fits the expression nicely, however, as words like ‘evil’, ‘ominous’ and ‘mysterious’ prove to characterise CABAL’s overall soundscape, which mixes uncompromisingly slow beat-down parts with eerie blackened ambiance and surprising production touches. Moreover, the band shifts gears in rather well-timed manner: Just when a particularly ringing black metal part might start to get repetitive, they remove it and settle into a salvo of more relentless hardcore pummelling, followed perhaps by a micro-burst of djenty grooves, then rinsing, repeating and varying.

Around the room heads are nodding in a sort of dear-in-headlights recognition of just how crushingly heavy it sounds, and to the band’s credit, their gestures on stage do their sound justice. There’s something in particular about frontman Andreas Paarup’s hardcore mannerisms and thick growling and screaming that gives the show an extra impact, making it feel less like theatre than your regular black metal show, and giving you a more frighteningly immersive feeling of listening to some dark warlord preaching with conviction to his faceless troops. Yet time flies by during the set, which does end rather soon, feeling more like a taster of things to come, than the full elaboration of the soundscape CABAL are building. But what we do get to hear sounds wickedly fascinating. The only question that begs answering is what a band like CABAL - who sound like they intend to be the heaviest and most evil sounding band around - will do when eventually faced with someone who plays heavier and even more evil? - Oh that, and what in the world is Paarup screaming exactly? Is articulation a thing? Maybe it will be easier to answer both when the band’s EP “Purge" has come out, yet for the timing being, CABAL come out swinging forcefully, looking like a new band to watch at first given opportunity. / TL

Cold Night For Alligators

Considering that tonight is mainly about them, it feels fitting that the venue is completely packed when Cold Night For Alligators finally are ready to take the stage as the headliners. While their music is also crushing and dark in its own right, it's instantly obvious as they play their first songs that there's a new level of emotion to their music compared to the other two bands playing tonight. Their progressive and djent-influenced metal is constantly evolving through the show but they excel at making their more intense displays of technical skill interlock in a grander soundscape and thus avoiding too much pointless guitar-noodling that leads the songs nowhere. The more jazzy parts of the music as well as how the instruments work seamlessly together with a beautiful electronic backing, make for a blend of atmospheric and impressive music that I can't believe I'm actually hearing from a Danish band. The crowd also approves and heads are bobbing all around while up front there's a constant flow of moshing, even resulting in a spontaneous circle pit at one point.

Through their show I'm reminded equal parts by the music of Periphery and the stage presence of The Contortionist. At the same time I'm delighted that this band has chosen to steer clear of the constant falsetto-range melodies that end up becoming a weak point for several other bands in this genre. Sure, they can sound impressive on record but mostly end up being a weak point of the music as the vocalists time and again can just not sing the impressive high notes live. Johan Pedersen mostly sticks to frantic and impactful screaming in the songs while also doing some solid clean singing here and there, even though his voice has a hard time competing with the amazing guitar patterns that constantly call for attention. About midway, the guitarists take some time to thank the people that have helped them create their debut album, and as far as I can understand this is a band that’s been trying to find their way for some time now. Judging by the quality of the album they have now turned out as well as their convincing performance tonight, this gets me endlessly excited for what’s to come and I will definitely keep an eye out for their upcoming tour dates. / LF

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