Saturnus

support Helhorse
author AP date 10/09/11 venue BETA, Copenhagen, DEN

Given that the show Saturnus had originally announced on September 3rd sold out much quicker than expected, and because Wise Blood were forced to cancel their performance on the 10th, the volunteer team running Beta made the right choice and booked the Danish doom legends for a second celebratory show, this time with Southern hardcore act Helhorse as the opening act. Having missed the aforementioned first show, it was of course imperative that we cover such a hyped up event with a review. Read on to find out whether or not Saturnus lived up to the hype emanating from those who saw them the previous weekend.

Helhorse

When Dødning signed a record deal and refashioned themselves as Helhorse, it was as though the band simultaneously tapped into hitherto uncharted reserves of creativity and passion. In retrospect, the change from the anonymous second rate performance we witnessed at The Rock last year to the quality of performance tonight is remarkable. Helhorse have risen from relative anonyminity to underground stardom, strengthening their sound and refining their energetic live presence with each passing show. Helhorse now demonstrate international class, and it is probably only a matter of time and marketing before the ripples reach foreign ears and earn the band support slots with the likes of Cancer Bats and Every Time I Die. It is no coincidence of course that the two should be mentioned in the context of this review, as with the revisions to, and tuning of their sound, Helhorse have catapulted themselves to very similar territory; that the likes of "Djöfullin er Danskur" and "White Light, Black Hope" also contain parts that evoke eerie connections to Down and Machine Head is but a welcome bonus. Not surprisingly, the two are met with considerable enthusiasm despite belonging at the slow end of the Helhorse sound spectrum; imagine then the crowd reaction when "Lowered Expectations and Muted Sexuality" and "Get Drunk, Get Mad, Get Even" are delivered in full crushing force. Indeed, Helhorse tonight show a massive surplus of stamina, transforming the stage and venue into a boiling pit of hardcore rhythms and Southern dirge, demonstrating showmanship seldom seen from a Danish band. It would be no exaggeration to say that putting this into a support slot might set the bar too high even for a celebrated international band, such is the riotous tumult unfolding before our eyes. Helhorse are swiftly becoming one of the most formidable live acts in Denmark - here's hoping that they'll garner an equivalent reputation abroad.

8

Saturnus

Saturnus, too, make a timely and convincing return to Danish soil with a performance so full of euphoria and passion that labeling their music doom metal becomes a paradox. My experience with practitioners of the genre is that it is to be delivered with the utmost restraint and defeatism, in full compliance with the lengthy brooding songs and depressive themes; Saturnus, however, appear as though in a fantastic trance, feeling the soul in every note strummed and showing their unwavering commitment to playing some of the most beautiful, overwhelming music ever to have come from Denmark through face expressions usually reserved for progressive metal virtuosos. In what is the single longest show I have ever stood through, the set winds itself through 16 agonizing songs and two-and-a-half hours, and were it not for a brilliantly crafted setlist, with approximately every third song featuring a slightly more uptempo approach, the show would almost definitely suffer from excessive ambition. It is no surprise then that the number of people still inside the venue starts to dwindle with every song after the halfway mark after "Murky Waters", until during the magnificent finale "Christ Goodbye" the near-sold out venue has emptied to below half capacity. But given that beer is not the most expensive of commodities at Beta, the journalist duo comprising myself and Sebastian Bach Taylor from Revolution Music braves it to the end, intoxicating ourselves into a soothing lull and absorbing the droning, hypnotic sounds with an unending thirst for more. I exaggerate of course: both of us breathe out in long, liberating exhales when Saturnus complete their final song and conclude a concert characterised by perfect sound, massive yet intricate songs, and showmanship built only though years of experience. For two-and-a-half-hours, Saturnus submerge us in the finest selection from their repertoire, sparing no skill in delivering a doom metal show even our metal aficionado Ellis Woolley would be proud of.

8

Setlist:

  • 01. Rain Wash Me
  • 02. Starres
  • 03. Wind Torn
  • 04. Empty Handed
  • 05. I Love Thee
  • 06. Father's Providence
  • 07. To the Dreams
  • 08. Murky Waters
  • 09. Between
  • 10. Inflame Thy Heart
  • 11. Lost My Way
  • 12. Thou Art Free
  • 13. I Long
  • 14. Pretend
  • 15. Litany of Rain
  • 16. Christ Goodbye

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