END

support Lifesick + Rot Away
author AP date 10/05/22 venue Stengade, Copenhagen, DEN

After a two week period of calm and reflection following this year’s Roadburn festival, the time has come for me to return to watching live music again. And what better way to do so, than by throwing myself headfirst into what is sure to be an intense pummeling by the chaotic hardcore supergroup END, as well as the staple local supports Lifesick and Rot Away? Considering how good END’s latest album “Splinters from an Ever-Changing Face” was, it is no surprise to find the venue at nearly maximum capacity. This bodes well for the evening ahead, and as such, I position myself slightly away from the stage, believing this is where violent moshing is going to be happening. Let’s find out how it went, shall we?

All photos courtesy of Peter Troest

Rot Away

Of late it has started to feel like there are only two hardcore bands in Denmark, always called upon when support acts are needed in that genre. Indeed, Rot Away and Lifesick have been making regular appearances at these types of shows, and here they are again, doing their very best to rile up a listless Tuesday audience. The two brothers, vocalist Jonathan and drummer Andreas Albrechtsen start off by frantically screaming out mosh calls and trying to get people to move closer to the stage — in vain, it unfortunately has to be said. But this four-piece do not let themselves be fazed by an unwilling crowd; their performance is as confrontational as ever, with plenty of jumps, split kicks and swinging instruments reminding us, lest we had forgotten, that this is a hardcore show. A number of patrons do eventually get carried away and start two-stepping, flailing their arms, and smashing into each other, but seemingly this is insufficient in Jonathan’s view. “Check, check, check — can you hear me?", he attempts, and after a positive response he follows it up with “OK, then give me some f**king stage dives!”. His request is difficult for the willing to honour, as there simply aren’t enough people in front of the stage to receive the divers, and so Rot Away must resign themselves to being met with less intensity from the crowd than last time. For me personally, this is not an issue because it allows me to appreciate the band’s groove laden riffs and crushing breakdowns in full without having to worry about a knee or elbow in my face, and since the four musicians are so hellbent on delivering yet another ferocious performance, there is really nothing to complain about. Granted, the group’s tongue-in-cheek(?) incitations in between the songs are starting to wear a bit thin at this point, but even so, you are not going to find a better live act in the Danish hardcore scene right now than Rot Away.

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Lifesick

With the audience now warmed up by their hometown heroes, Fredericia’s very own Lifesick is met by significantly wilder pit action, the darkness and speed of their songs also being more in tune with those of END. Not long into the set, producer Jacob Bredahl emerges from the crowd, grabs a microphone, and then charges into the moshpit to deliver a burst of guest growls in the second track “Idolising Crooks” off the band’s latest album “Misanthropy”. It is a cameo well received by an increasingly raucous audience, and is followed by an ominous scream of “Welcome to hell, motherfuckers!" by Lifesick’s own vocalist Simon Shoshan. It is an appropriate introduction to the hellish atmosphere that reigns in pitch black tracks like “Dies Irae”, and seems to possess more and more people discharges of energy without the need for incessant mosh calls by the band members. Shoshan is impressed by what he sees, too, exclaiming that “[we’re] all gonna destroy all this s**t!” as he pans his right arm across the venue in the wake of the penultimate track “Hellmouth”. The madness is brought to a conclusion by the eponymous “Lifesick” taken from their 2016 effort “6.0.1”, earning both a wall of death and a raging circle pit as slabs of dark and groovy riffs rain down upon us. The entire track is essentially built from a two-minute breakdown, which delivers a fittingly blunt ending to a concert short on things like mercy and compromise.

7

END

“Wall to f**king wall — let’s open this s**t up!", bellows vocalist Brendan Murphy, after the band’s opening track “Fear for Me Now” has set things afoot for END, and as the eerie lead and gut wrenching chug riff of “Pariah” are unleashed, the entire front half of the venue immediately transforms into a pit of violence with slam dancing galore. It is an intense start to a concert that is perhaps best characterised as being shaken by the collar, strangled by the total lack of respite offered by this supergroup’s chaotic metalcore concoctions. And Murphy seems pleased with his audience, too, taking every opportunity to praise us and our city, when he and his troop of chaos weavers are not busy headbanging, jumping and making spinkicks on stage. Indeed, the quintet is expectedly an intense, borderline deranged live act, whose own exertions help to drive even a weekday crowd such as this into a constant frenzy, and if I wasn’t suffering from a twisted ankle myself, I would probably feel the urge to join in on the fuming festivities in the pit. This is a rare thing for me to feel, having long since transitioned into one of those boring old farts who like to hug the bar and observe things from a safe distance most of the time.

“God cares for you. Are you going through a hard time? God cares for you, and so do we”, offers a female voice before one of the most harrowing breakdowns of the evening arrives to unleash “Hesitation Wounds” upon us, and at this point there is little else to do than stand back in awe of the vitriol spewing from the stage in front of us. This is sheer, unadulterated rage that reaches its climax in the grinding, yet atmospheric “Absence”, which borrows elements from the black metal genre to create a track that is simultaneously brutal and evocative. “Two more songs, this is your last chance!", Murphy screams in its wake, attempting, redundantly, to rile the audience up for a crushing final run that consists of the title track and “Necessary Death” off the band’s 2017 EP “From the Unforgiving Arms of God”. These bring breakdowns and angular riffs and rhythms galore, much to everyone’s satisfaction, leaving a humid, sweat stained venue reeling from what has honestly felt like some kind of brutal violation.

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Setlist:

  • 1. Fear for Me Now
  • 2. Pariah
  • 3. Love Let Me Die
  • 4. Chewing Glass
  • 5. Usurper
  • 6. Eden Will Drown
  • 7. Sands of Sleep
  • 8. Covet Not
  • 9. Hesitation Wounds
  • 10. Absence
  • 11. From the Unforgiving Arms of God
  • 12. Necessary Death

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