The New Era Tour

support Scarred By Beauty + By The Patient + Essence
author AP date 26/03/11 venue Stengade, Copenhagen, DEN

The New Era Tour is an annual nationwide showcase for up-and-coming bands in the Danish underground that has been running since 2009. In the first iteration the tour focused on punk and hardcore and featured Last Mile, The 20 Belows and The Hitchcocks on the bill; the following year the emphasis was on skewed pop rock in the form of Babylove & the Van Dangos, Plök and Gustav Foss; and this year's edition saw the spotlight move to metal courtesy of metalcore party crew Scarred by Beauty, award-winning blackened death metalers By the Patient, and old school thrash revivalists Essence.

Essence

By now Essence have proven their worth in the live arena many times over, yet it never seizes to amaze me how consistent they are. Essence deliver their catchy yet uncompromising take on old school thrash with surgical precision, exuding a confidence that belies their age and experience. Mainman Lasse Skov is truly a virtuoso, assuming both the role of lead guitar and vocals, doing both glitch-free, with visibly ecstatic passion and joy, and never losing the intimate touch he has with the audience. The rest of the band, too, is all smiles, owing as much to the exhilirating response of the crowd as to performing on stage still being a new and exciting prospect. Indeed, Essence has the demeanor of a band with absolute trust in their own music and abilities, and this attitude will surely earn them a solid following overseas when the band joins Vader for a European tour this summer. Their level of musicianship, too, is easily on par with their iconic peers (Kreator, Metallica, Testament, Sodom and Exodus - just to drop a few similar names...), and rather than follow in their footsteps, Essence have distilled their influences into a very distinct sound of their own on fantastic thrash anthems like "Blood Culture", "Shades of Black" and "Lost in Violence" - songs that, in no time, will surely resound from the lips of maddened fans across the continent. That the band members are constricted, by the demanding nature of their music, to standing largely still, is no woe either, as the sheer joy of performing that radiates from the four youngsters on stage is inescapably infectious and creates a reciprocating atmosphere (no doubt assisted by the intimate confines of Stengade) between band and crowd. Mark my words, Essence are going to be huge.

8

By The Patient

By the Patient, too, impress with sheer skill of musicianship. With a firm foothold in the brooding death metal of Behemoth and Job for a Cowboy, By the Patient's music is both devastating and ripe with passages of atmospheric melody, a quality which helps set them apart from the hosts of other Danish practitioners of the genre. Live the band creates a lingering sense of threat via the imposing, unpredictable demeanor of vocalist Tan Møhl-Hansen; the relentlessly brutal drum assault of Adam Schønemann; and the accelerating tremolo guitar stylings of axemen Simon Sonne Andersen and Theis Wilmer Poulsen. One feels uneasy, paralyzed in a near-state of trance, as one barrage of brutal death metal after the other is lobbed at us at dizzying volume and relentless intensity. However, for all their terrifying might and technical know-how, By the Patient have yet to perfect their trade. It works brilliantly for a 35-minute set such as this, but the headline slots that surely await a band already accustomed to playing some of the largest festivals in Europe, demands a certain degree of variation. Songs from the critically acclaimed debut album, "Servants", are difficult to distinguish from one another, but thankfully a new song titled "Premonitions" introduces fresh thinking onto the palette midway. But regardless of these criticisms, By the Patient prove once again their status as one of the torch bearers of Danish metal, and as a band with the heavy weaponry required to annihilate venues abroad.

7

Scarred By Beauty

Scarred by Beauty are the odd sheep among the truist metal outfits tonight, delivering their brand of technical metalcore without a care in the world. In terms of demeanor, the band bears a close resemblance to Australian surfer dudes Parkway Drive, inflated bananas cast into the crowd and all, while musically they sound increasingly similar to Architects in their golden era. By the time Scarred by Beauty take the stage, the venue is rammed with what is no doubt the band's closest circle of friends clad in stereotypical basketball shorts and ready to mosh. The band is welcomed as hometown heroes and delivers a performance that does their status full justice, bouncing around in best hardcore fashion to the thump of countless beatdowns. While the songs are not terribly original, the band does have a strong asset in vocalist Jonathan "Joller" Albrechtsen, whose all-encompassing scream is, without a doubt, one of the best this country has to offer. His brief stint in Hatesphere clearly had an effect on the now 23-year-old's confidence, as he commands and controls the venue with an authority comparable to Hatebreed's Jamey Jasta, and performs an endless series of karate moves every chance he gets. Still, I can't help but feel that the band's unserious attitude is what limits them from deploying the full extent of the capabilities. Scarred by Beauty are a formidable live act, sure, but when a number of the songs seems tailor-made for facilitating the maximum amount of energy on stage, all integrity forgotten, it is hard to consider the band as a serious candidate for exporting Danish metal abroad. They have already done so, of course, on at least two occasions, so perhaps my cynicism is unjustified. In any case, Scarred by Beauty perform with infinite charisma and stamina, and this warrants them a solid

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