Barn Burner

support The Revolt Of Darwin + Ajuna + New Discolour
author AP date 01/10/11 venue KB18, Copenhagen, DEN

The perfect way to conclude this most unusual of October days, which saw temperatures soaring as high as 25 degrees celsius, was of course to check out a selection of upcoming Danish bands supporting ballsy Canadian stoner/hardcore act Barn Burner. As always with these relatively unadvertised gigs featuring less known international bands, the turnout at KB18 is rather low and consists primarily of local musicians and friends of the Danish bands on the bill. Clearly only a few people are of the opinion that the only way for Danish underground bands to get recognition is by our continued support whenever and wherever they may play. But I suppose they'll just have to make do with the few people that do show up (as I've realized: quite a small pack of familiar faces that I regularly see at these concerts).

New Discolour

New Discolour have grown by leaps and bounds since the release of their debut album, "Short of Ink" this summer. Gone is the shyness to lash out on stage; in its place is a spark and passion that gets the two-digit crowd headbanging despite not knowing a single song by this Kolding-based bunch. With them tonight is regular stand-in vocalist Neema Rad filling in for Artem Kushnirenko, who is busy with introductory events along with the other freshers at Århus University, and despite coming from a vastly different background making noise with Wecanwalkonwatertoo, his deep growls fit surprisingly well into the thrashy metalcore of New Discolour. There are a number of moments that bring a fresh angle to songs like "If I, If They, They Are, I..." and "Chinese Vancouver", as Neema's vocals are essentially the exact opposite of Artem's, who tends to favor a cleaner, hardcore-oriented style. As such it takes some getting used to watching the band this time, especially as Neema also has a rather unique live persona no doubt inspired by the many deathcore and beatdown bands that inspire him. It's less confrontational than that of Artem's, but nonetheless sufficient to compensate for his absence.

The rest of the band has clearly also taken lessons in performance, which now constitutes an equal part of New Discolour's live show as does the music. Guitarist Jesper Rasmussen and bassist Mayu Tharumann in particular are on fire tonight with their personalized demeanors, one dancing around whilst furiously headbanging in best crabcore fashion; the other looking like a man possessed whilst swinging his bass guitar in abrupt thrusts. Unlike in previous concerts, moments of stillness are now extremely rare, so that even those unfamiliar with the band are able to immerse themselves in the show with relative ease. Although work still remains to be completed in perfecting the show - there are moments where the band comes across as a little too focused on getting every note right instead of rocking out - this is certainly the best New Discolour show to date.

Ajuna

Ajuna is one of the more interesting ensembles currently breaking through in the domestic underground. Like a curious concoction of Hexis, Solbrud and Yersinia, the band has drawn influence from ambient black metal, punk and hardcore for a sound that combines vast, echoing atmospheres with unbridled aggression. But in their mixing of styles lies a nagging dilemma. Whereas the guitarists, bassist and drummer all seem to favor the extreme metal element through both their attire and attitude, really coming to their own during the many passages of black metal instrumentation, the band's primary vocalist would be more at home fronting a chaotic hardcore act. Perhaps if seen in this context his mental antics, like bursting off stage to tackle onlookers or repeating the word "happy" like a broken power metal record whilst pressing his face into the floor, would not come across as tragicomic as they do against the backdrop of soaring tremolo; but alas, despite his very impressive growls and shrieks, he is to me too unhinged for the style of music played by Ajuna.

It is always entertaining to witness someone so utterly consumed by his music that he lives and breathes it, but in this case the guy looks like a child taken to a toystore for the first time, basking in delight over being able to stand on stage and perform for the third or fourth time. Even the remaining members of the band appear to be throwing disgruntled looks at him here and there, telling him to calm down lest Ajuna be known as some kind of comedy act. They clearly take the music very seriously, and so should the vocalist, if you ask me. In time, I trust the novelty of trying to be as insane as possible will wear off allowing the vocalist to restrain himself somewhat and Ajuna to be viewed, deservedly, as a professional, competent metal band. But even in the current format it is impossible to shout insults at the band as even the members of the crowd that aren't friends of the band look to be thoroughly entertained by this most unusual of performances. In contrast with their first ever show last month at Beta, Ajuna are also better equipped to cope with the venue this time, exploiting the cavernous sound of KB18 to the fullest. Here the songs become absolutely monumental, and where at Beta I was immediately reminded of Yersinia, I now feel Solbrud is often the most appropriate reference.

The Revolt Of Darwin

Up next are sure shot party starters the Revolt of Darwin, who are the only band sharing their sound with the Canadian headliners. As with New Discolour, it has been a pleasure to witness the progress of this Copenhagen bunch over the past year from a promising young band to a full fledged Southern hardcore act guaranteed to give concert goers their money's worth. The Revolt of Darwin breathe through music - an important prerequisite for a live show as explosive as theirs - and take no shame in showing it. Granted it isn't especially inventive or complex on record, but in the live setting the songs sound as sweet as they are simple; and not moving in some way to the driving rhythms is almost impossible. As I already mentioned in my review of the band's show at Beta last month, the decision to bring in an additional guitarist so as to enable Toni to focus solely on singing couldn't have been better as he is now able fully to express the energy and passion that used to bundle up inside him and come out only through his crazed eyes. Guitarist Dan has also taken his act to the next level, comfortably flying all over the place whilst punishing the strings off his guitar with a knack seldom seen in Danish bands. For most people in attendance, it seems that the Revolt of Darwin are the main attraction, and it shows. The evening's first real moshpits open up and the microphone is constantly stuck into the foremost people's faces, who gladly contribute their interpretations of what this band's vocals sound like. If there's one thing the Revolt of Darwin do especially well, it is emphasizing the fun, both through their own joy at being able to stand on stage once again and by whipping up a feeling of intimacy. Shame about the worst sound mix of the night.

Barn Burner

In usual KB18 fashion, Canadian headliners Barn Burner go on stage half past midnight, meaning that a good portion of people have given up and gone home or clubbing in the various bars of the meat packing district. There is nonetheless a good handful of people still present and ready to bang their heads along to a few more groovy Southern tunes. Barn Burner themselves do not seem disappointed by the turnout, and although an evening's worth of boozing is clearly visible in the foursome, they proceed to deliver a solid rocking show of the kind that is entertaining while you're watching it, but does not leave much of a lasting impression. Without leaping into the exceptional, Barn Burner are a sufficiently visual band to also entertain those of us previously unfamiliar with their music, but it is clear that the people drawing most fun out of the show are those that know songs like "Beer Today, Bong Tomorrow" and "Holy Smokes". The rest of us must suffice with the raucous attitude and drunken stumbling on stage, in the midst of which the band still manages to deliver their music with competence and not come across as unserious. Unfortunately my own fatigue gets the best of me halfway, forcing me to leave and get some sleep, but given what I have seen thus far there is little chance that Barn Burner would pull of anything extraordinary in the last half hour of their set.

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