The Haunted

support Zombiekrig + Night Fever
author AP date 07/04/11 venue The Rock, Copenhagen, DEN

The long awaited return of The Haunted to Copenhagen finally became reality. As a testimony to their legend, The Rock was packed to the brim with an older-than-usual metal crowd in anticipation of what promised to be another fantastic show. Rather than freighting some proper support bands over to take care of warming up the crowd, the booking personnel at The Rock had decided to recruit Copenhagen based cult hardcore punk band Night Fever and the unknown Swedish outfit Zombiekrig (which translates to zombie war) to take care of opening proceedings. Bad choices. it turned out.

Night Fever

Not the most obvious choice of support for the Swedish death/thrash metal legends, Danish hardcore punk legend Night Fever gets off to a bad start. Suffering from grave sound problems that bring the bass drum to the forefront whilst suffocating the treble, all we can hear for much of the set is the odd time bass thumps characteristic of a d-beat. Vocalist Salomon is his usual charismatic, somewhat elitist self, with bundles of energy to dispel, racing across the stage from side to side and engaging in impressive spread-leg jumps typical to punk rock. With the exception of a few diehard fans up front, however, most of the battle hardened veterans of the metal scene in attendance tonight stand unimpressed, thinking Night Fever would be better suited performing at a scrappy youth house somewhere. Knowing songs like "Still Kickin'", "Insane", "New Blood" and "This is Copenhagen" has its advantages in terms of consuming the show, but for collecting new fans this is the wrong setting. Clearly the general disinterest emanating from the floor reflects on the band, too, resulting in a disconnected, impersonal performance for all but us in the know.
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Zombiekrig

Zombiekrig come on stage with all guns blazing, declaring old school thrash as their method of mayhem. Allow me to be blunt: what Zombiekrig really play is nondescript modern metal derived from The Haunted and subsequently decimated by way of dull songs and unimpressive instrumentation. As the songs blend into each other and the bar becomes an ever more attractive alternative, one cannot help but wonder if a domestic band like Pitchblack, or - if old school thrash is required - Essence couldn't have mustered up a more worthwhile set. That I am at pains trying to remember any noteworthy aspects of the show should provide a cue for giving this band a cynic's miss the next time they're around - it is all so painfully average and recycled that extracting from it even the slightest bit of entertainment value is next to impossible. Having said that, the band is obviously proficient enough not be making mistakes, sounding like a pile of steaming rubbish, or performing like a collective of hobos that taped together some instruments they discovered in the junkyard, and for this I must offer some reward.
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The Haunted

Facing monumental expectations on my part, The Haunted adopt a surprisingly casual attitude (an effect of age, perhaps?). Fans of the band have grown accustomed to vocalist Peter Dolving proclaiming to be, and coming across as, a psychopath are sorely disappointed by the 42-year-old's new age hippie look and relaxed demeanor. But no matter, as it takes but the mean chug intro of "99" to conjure up a tumultuous response from the crowd, one which remains equal parts ecstatic and violent through the set, which includes all the relevant classics from "Trespass" and "D.O.A." to "Hate Song", "Dark Intentions" and "Bury Your Dead". Material from the latest outing "Unseen" has the crowd understandably puzzled, exposing the band from a far more experimental perspective, but these moments of silence (on our part) are redeemed by massive sing-alongs to regular fan favorites like "The Flood", "The Medication" and "Moronic Colossus".

As ever, The Haunted perform with supreme confidence and class, like the veterans that they are - after all, members of this band are responsible for two of the greatest success stories to emerge from the Gothenburg movement. The Haunted are not ones to toss themselves around in spastic stunts; rather, their allure stems from the remorseless ferocity of the music and the terrifying severity with which it is delivered. Having said that, however, the band's performance tonight lacks the crushing atmosphere of previous appearances. Having felt almost choked by the intensity of past performances, the easy-going attitude has a consistently degrading effect on an otherwise solid and uncompromising feat. Even the bombastic encore, which comprises "No Compromise" and "The Guilt Trip" (but lacks, once again, the number one rage anthem "All Against All", sadface) is incapable of redeeming the gnawing feeling that something is missing - not that the maddening audience seems to notice. Nonetheless, as Peter Dolving points out in response to accusations by American fundamentalists that Sweden is the most evil country on Earth, The Haunted are not kidding around.

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Setlist:

  • 1. Never Better
  • 2. 99
  • 3. The Drowning
  • 4. Trespass
  • 5. Catch 22
  • 6. Motionless
  • 7. D.O.A.
  • 8. In Vein
  • 9. Unseen
  • 10. The Flood
  • 11. The Medication
  • 12. Moronic Colossus
  • 13. No Ghost
  • 14. Disappear
  • 15. Hate Song
  • 16. Trenches
  • 17. The Fallout
  • 18. Dark Intentions
  • 19. Bury Your Dead
  • --Encore--
  • 20. No Compromise
  • 21. The Guilt Trip

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