The Black Crusade Tour

support Machine Head + Trivium + Arch Enemy + Dragonforce + Shadows Fall
author PP date 10/12/07 venue KB Hallen, Copenhagen, DEN

The Black Crusade's lineup consisting of Machine Head, Trivium, Arch Enemy, Dragonforce and Shadows Fall surely left non-attending metalheads drooling with jealousy. With the venue approaching sold out limits, a triumphant atmosphere dwells within the venue tonight as lights dim and all black-clad metalheads blend into the darkness falling over the stage and its surroundings; this is a massive power demonstration about the size and healthiness of the Danish metal scene, with the venue almost bursting with anticipation over some of the biggest names in metal today. This is clearly a night not to miss, and as such the night can be viewed as the demonstration of who is who in the Danish metal scene. Everyone connected to metal, be it through playing in a band, or just by being an avid fan, is here tonight, with almost the entirety of the editorial staff present.

Shadows Fall

To open in front of such great names is never easy, but Shadows Fall would've had to try pretty hard to put on a show more miserable than the one tonight. I've always seen Shadows Fall as one of the most generic and boring metalcore bands out there with only one or two, maybe three songs that I'll even consider slapping the 'good' tag on, and tonight they fortified that opinion with a stage show that can only be described as one of the most unpassionate ones I've seen as of late. With next to no movement from the rest of the band, the only thing that kept me from falling asleep was the hairdo of their vocalist, which seemed at times to be long enough to clean the floor behind him. During headbangs, it looked like he had some kind of monstrously hairy animal with eight legs attached to it, as his dreadlocks were flying everywhere around him. That novelty wore off pretty soon though, and combined with the horrible sound that transformed their heavy sound into a meaningless sludge of bass guitar and kickdrums, I think it's fair to say their set sucked.


Arch Enemy

Arch Enemy on the other hand put on a much livelier show. Vocalist Angela Gossow showed up in her usual outfit, revealing her beautiful body shapes to the largely male audience of about 3000 tonight. She growled like a maniac, leaving the people at the front scared and wondering how on earth such a hot chick is able to produce such deep and thick growls. Based on how she controlled her voice and the crowd in front of the stage, the word 'domineering' might be chosen as the most suitable one when describing her stage appearance. The ultra melodic twin guitar solos were also delivered spot on, and at least the undersigned felt a few cold chills down his back as Gothenburg Metal was revisited in its purest form on the massive stage tonight. Hopes of a glorious return by the much loved Swedish Melodic Death Metal scene were certainly up in the air as the band strolled through a bunch of new tracks from "The Rise Of A Tyrant" and threw in a bunch of old classics as well. But without knowing the material too well, it was all too easy just to get hypnotized by the guitars in the start, and then to wonder how long left until Machine Head were to come on about half way through their set.



Okay so after Arch Enemy's impressive display it was time for Dragonforce to take over, and time for me to start paying more attention to what was going on, because I'd be reviewing their part. I'd seen the band once before in a very small venue and witnessing them today was the proportional amplification of that show. As usual the guys were running and jumping around, shredding their lightning fast riffs like madmen. Herman was throwing his guitar up in the air and Vadim was shaking his keyboard so it looked like he was playing it on a boat in high seas, all the while ZP was going around soaking the crowd in water when he wasn't too busy actually singing the lyrics. To go even further over the top than the band is usually known for, a windmachine had been added to make the guys look even more ridiculous than usual, all adding to the overall entertainment value of their set. Musically however, much was left to be desired. The band played a fine setlist without mistakes, but the sound was absolutely horrible and the crowd didn't know the material well enough to sing along to even "Through The Fire And The Flames". Fun to watch, not so much to listen to.



Now my main beef with Triviums set might be considered subjective [Ed: be glad I wasn't reviewing it, then!], but as far as I can tell, the material from "Ascendancy" is by far their best and especially so in a live setting, where songs like "Drowned And Torn Asunder" and "Like Light To Flies" usually hit their mark with unfailing precision. Their absence was felt on this day, as the only older material played was "A Gunshot To The Head Of Trepidation" and the omnipresent "Pull Harder On The Strings Of Your Martyr". The rest of the set was composed of songs from "The Crusade" which, despite the band playing them as convincingly as ever, didn't get the crowd going as well as I'm sure the earlier mentioned Ascendancy-songs would have. This really made the Trivium set a disappointing one to me, and you could see that the crowd activity was nowhere near breaking any records. A shame considering the performance Trivium has showed earlier that they are capable of.


Machine Head

Time for the main event: Machine Head. Or as their fans like to call them, Machine FUCKING Head. The band came on stage into a thunderous roar from the crowd, which is not surprising considering how pretty much every band on the bill tonight had said something along the lines of "give it up for Machine Head, one of the greatest fucking metal bands of all time!". Rob Flynn, the metal scene's version of Billie Joe Armstrong when it comes to stage appearance, had the crowd in his palm straight from the get go. Growling "CO-PEN-HAGEN!!!" several times to drum up support for the circle pits or just to get people to throw those fists up in the air, as their loud-as-fuck macho metal took over the entire venue. Songs like "Clenching The Fists Of Dissent" and "Aesthetics Of Hate" were even more monumental live than on record, echoing around the hall engulfing everyone's stomach into the guttural growls and the heavy distortion, but we saw that already during Roskilde Festival earlier this year.

What was interesting, however, was that because of a family emergency their lead guitarist wasn't here tonight. So to fill in the band had hired the guitarists from all the other bands, who took turns to play the songs. So we saw Matt Heafy, Herman Li and others taking their turns on playing the riffs of some of the band's best known material, and they all seemed to fare really well. Despite the fact that I barely know any of their songs, their set kept me interested throughout, something a lot of bands I know should take note of. Rob Flynn's way to control the crowd like a seasoned pop professional while keeping it fucking metal is nothing short of impressive, and this being the second time I'm seeing them, they can consider me converted into a fan.


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