The Psyke Project

support Blood Label + The New Low
author AP date 28/01/11 venue Huset, Copenhagen, DEN

Huset i Magstræde seems to be interested in boosting their heavy music profile, having organised a two day festival under the moniker "Days of Thunder", featuring six promising Danish metal bands spread over two days. And what better way to promote their love for the extreme, than by booking the most extreme band available. Once again overcome by the sheer musical love I feel for The Psyke Project, the first night was unmissable, especially as intimate venues such as this one are where the band thrives. It is here, oppressed by a low ceiling and threatening pillars scattered around, that the band's violently confrontational presence really comes to its own. But what of the two other bands booked for the occasion?

The New Low

The New Low is one of the more interesting propositions in the Danish hardcore scene, which is all too hung up on the tough guy ideology. Unlike Spinkick with their three chords and basketball shorts (when did hip hop culture blend into punk?), The New Low have a lot to offer with their music, featuring a wealth of brooding melodies to provide balance against their dense backdrop. But like so many other Danish bands, work is still needed in stage presence, as these Funians seem a little too confident in their music bringing the merits. Granted, The New Low distinguish themselves from most bands from these parts with a near-flawless sound mix and songs executed to perfection. There isn't a mistake or glitch to be heard - even in their cover of Entombed's "Wolverine Blues", which makes The New Low appear seasoned veterans despite the limited amount of show, oozing confidence and passion for their trade. But until they take their antics to the next level, as opposed to this rehearsal space demeanor, I fear what little potential a Danish band like this might have to break the international market is not enough: the industry scout that might one day attend a show of theirs will strike through their name, noting the promise in their sound but also the lack of boom on stage.


Blood Label

Blood Label from deep, dark Jutland, finally comes out of the shadows. Having heard the name in some vague context, there are no expectations on my part. But with Alex Kjeldsen (formerly of Dawn of Demise, now shredding strings in The Burning) on guitar, this promises to be, if not quite the sonic revelation, then at least an entertaining set. True to tradition, Alex is all smiles from start to finish, but much to my surprise he seems to be handling rhythm guitar here, with Morten Møller delivering the licks. Not that it matters, as Morten, despite being a less familiar face, is no amateur on the axe either. But Blood Label suffers from problems akin to The New Low, having honed their sound to perfection and delivering it as a flawless live rendition, but lagging behind in presence. It is my humble opinion that when you opt for playing music this heavy, uncompromising and indeed generic, forgetting all pop sensibilities in the process, you need to compensate by going batshit insane (something which tonight's headliners have shown time and time again) or at least engaging the crowd in some unique manner. There is nothing wrong with wanting to play metallic hardcore, but the genre is not exactly revered for its experimentation: Blood Label execute the style with admirable skill but inspire zero gasps.

The Psyke Project

No fewer than seven times have I watched this maelstrom of destruction lay waste to a venue; you'd expect it to become difficult finding things to say about a band after so many shows. Not so with The Psyke Project. Whether it be performing between shelves in a local record store or with two drummers at Roskilde Festival, you can always count on The Psyke Project for delivering the most menacing sets in the country - and tonight is no exception. Although it never approaches the psychotic level of chaos as at the anniversary show at Stengade late last year, this is the first chance to hear new material from the band since the release of "Dead Storm" in 2009. The band recently finished recording five brand new, glowing hot symphonies of destruction for a split full-length with local colleagues As We Fight, all of which are given a live airing tonight: "Only I Remain", "Battles", "We Came From Earth", "A Thousand Frozen Bodies" and "This Road to Hell" see the band take their sound in a more primal, old school direction with thundering d-beats and an even dirtier guitar tone laying the foundation for what promises to be one punishing son of a bitch.

I don't know what it is about this band; maybe they get stoked by watching slasher flicks or documentary footage from a warzone; but every time The Psyke Project plays live the band seems to be overcome by collective psychosis. Of course, for those in the know it is obvious why this is so: there is simply no other acceptable reaction to music as aggressive and passionate as theirs than to let it inside; let the adrenaline disrupt common sense; and unleash the darkest corners of your personality. This is mutual for the band and crowd, both of whom are well in the process of ensuring no other band ever plays here again. Vocalist Martin Nielskov appreciates this by placing numerous attendees up front in a stranglehold and letting them roar along to fan favorites "In the Mist", "45 Tears" and "Never Like Judas", while the remainder of die hards smash bottles and topple tables with a circle pit that is definitely too large for a venue of this capacity. Anyone who has ever seen The Psyke Project will also tell you that still is not part of their vocabulary, which is to say that no matter where your eye focuses, something strange is happening to a band member, instrument or both. Finishing off with the fantastic "Poems Written by Kings" for the first time since Roskilde Festival in 2007, The Psyke Project once again prove their worth and consolidate their status as indisputedly the craziest band this country has to offer; our very own Chariot, if you like.



01. Polaris

02. Only I Remain

03. In the Mist

04. Battles

05. 45 Tears

06. We Came From Earth

07. Stockholm Bloodbath

08. A Thousand Frozen Bodies

09. Never Like Judas

10. This Road to Hell

11. Poems Written by Kings

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