support Chaoswave + Compos Mentis
author PP date 05/10/09 venue The Rock, Copenhagen, DEN

Let it be said straight away that I'm not the biggest fan of Evergrey. I've seen them once before (though that was at a Festival), and I've also had the chance to interview the guys in the band personally way back in 2006. Lets just say that the interview is rather boring and it felt like the progressive metallers had nothing to say to me, but more on that later. The main reason I decided to show up tonight is the awesome support that Evergrey had towed along for the Danish date, with local death metallers Compos Mentis opening the show, and awesome Italian modern metallers Chaoswave acting as the main support. Monday nights are always tough for bands, but tonight The Rock was absolutely dead, with only around 50, maybe 60 people in attendance, and remember that the official venue capacity is at least 600 (I can't remember the exact figure). So how did the bands respond to the empty venue? Lets find out, shall we, and before we begin, let me just note that I only had my pocket camera with me. It failed miserably at the dark lighting, and hence there are no pictures.

Compos Mentis

First up were Århus-based Compos Mentis, who have received quite a lot of praise from my fellow scribe AP on Rockfreaks.net, so I was quite looking forward to seeing how their Gothenburg-inspired death metal would work live. And work it did, despite next to no reaction from the few heads gathered around the stage. Commendable energy on stage and a nicely brutal but still clear sound kept me interested throughout their set. Unfortunately, nobody else seemed to have ever heard of these guys before, as the band asked "Does anyone have any of our albums?", and were treated with silence. Fair enough, new fans, and the band directed all interested people toward the merch table after their set was over. Overall, there were a couple of great songs but with no response from the crowd, it's difficult to rate them higher than


Up next were Italian metallers Chaoswave whose debut album features two absolutely bombastic tracks in the form of "10 Years Of Denial" and "Rise", which have been in constant rotation on my playlist ever since I reviewed their album. They, too, seemed to belong in the "never heard of" category for most people in the crowd, but that was the least of their problems in the beginning of the set. Yeah, you can probably guess, they had some of the worst sound problems I've seen during a show in a long time. Their crazy-looking male vocalist spent the first three songs screaming/singing into microphone that seemed to have its own life as it was turning on and off at will, while the sound guys were desperately trying to figure what was wrong. At the same time, the angelic female voice that works really well on the album as a contrast to the powerful male vocals could barely be heard. I don't know if the mic was too low or Giorgia just doesn't have enough power in her lungs, but throughout the entire set you could hardly hear her at all whenever any instruments were in the mix. It's unfortunate, but even more unfortunate is that the problems ruined the band's best song "10 Years Of Denial" almost entirely. Danish guitarist Guf tried to keep the audience entertained as he was effectively performing in front of a 'home' audience, but I'm afraid lots of the attendees were lost at this point. Such a shame, really, because for the last four or five songs the sound problems were fixed, and the band actually appeared very convincing especially because of Fabio's charismatically intense southern European performance.



Now the last time I saw Evergrey was at Roskilde Festival, where their lengthy progressive passages were about as interesting as watching any band in the blistering rain and wind of the horror year known as 2007, and as such I left only after about three songs. But Opeth shows sport the same problem in festivals, and in fact I'm yet to see a progressive act do well in that environment, so that could be why. Nevertheless, maybe it was the intimacy of The Rock, or something else, but I was, if not blown away, then at least majorly surprised over the skill and mastery of how Evergrey took control of the venue. The crowd was mesmerized into challenging song structures, but each song had a distinct melody line especially in the vocal department that made me stand in awe over how their vocalist can hit those clean melodies so spot on song after song. As is usual with prog metal bands because of the sheer complexity of their material, little to no movement was present on stage, but tonight it felt like there was no need for that at all. And strictly performance-wise, I have to say I really liked what Evergrey had to offer this time around, and I kind of regret not having paid more attention back in 2006.

But what really ticked me off about this band is the same god damn arrogance that they also showed back when I interviewed them. From just talking to the guys, you got the vibe that they feel like they're above everyone else just because they're a prog metal band. Whether that holds true or not in reality is anyone's guess, but their behaviour in tonight's performance did very little to change my perception. Normally when a band says something like "I thought we were famous in Denmark" when the venue is nearly empty, you'd think they're just being funny by using some self-irony, but the look on Evergrey's faces was that of disappointment and, embarrassingly, of arrogance. When they repeated something along the lines of "If there were more people here..." (disclaimer: I can't remember the exact words) later on in the show I became absolutely convinced that Evergrey sincerely believe they should be way, way bigger in Denmark than is actually the case. Way to be fucking humble and work your way to fame, huh? I'll appreciate their musical talent but I won't take lightly to such degrading, pissed off comments on tour even if it was the last stop.


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