New Discolour

support Road To Manila + Panacea + Disfunction
author AP date 13/01/12 venue KB18, Copenhagen, DEN

This year's second concert was a Project Underdog showcase for four up-and-coming Danish metal bands. It was also the first time I'd be watching New Discolour in a headlining slot, despite having seen the band four times prior. The low turnout was to be expected; only very few seem to have a genuine interest in discovering new music and supporting the Danish underground. But as usual, we take great pride in being able to cover as many shows as possible every month with bands of all shapes, sizes and forms.

Disfunction

Judging from the relatively large, diverse and young crowd that appears in KB18 for this first band, Disfunction (sic) must be a high school band. No matter, however, because the curious concoction of people gathered before the stage goes into a frenzy as soon as these boys begin their set of blistering old school thrash metal. It is no secret that Disfunction have drawn considerable inspiration from early Metallica when constructing their sound, but in all fairness the delivery is as tight, if not tighter than most underground metal bands in Denmark can muster up. The performance, too, belies that band's inexperience and low average age: Disfunction live and breathe their music on stage, and aside from the technical musicianship demonstrated by guitarist Christian Hammer (what a name for a thrash metal guitarist!) and bassist David Geil in particular, the band's showmanship is top notch, each member rocking out like there's no tomorrow.

Still, despite the fact that the vocalist does his fair share in dispensing energy into the raging crowd, his poor voice cannot be ignored. Either this is the very first time he is singing - the band actually has no vocalist listed in their ranks - or he should stop singing altogether; the fact of the matter is that his atonal, raspy shouting does the band's otherwise solid sound no favors. It would sound more appropriate in a band like Lower, who make a point out of everything sound as irrational and tuneless as possible.

Panacea

Århusian melodic death metal crew Panacea look a far more rehearsed and serious outfit than the openers. Sadly, much of the audience has left by the time their turn comes due to a mixture of domestic curfews and binging at Krasnapolsky and A-Bar. What's left is the hard core of underground metal aficionados and critics such as myself, but the reserved arms-crossed stances look to discourage Panacea somewhat. The fact that two days after the show I have difficulty remembering much from it from it is a depressing testament to the lack of highlights in Panacea's music. It is played with a technical finesse, but the songs quickly blend into a monotonous mixture of Hatesphere-esque death/thrash and Gothenburg influences, and backed by flat stage personas, the result is painfully plain. It certainly does not help either that the sound technician has managed to plunge the mix into a maelstrom of bass and echoes, meaning that any residual character present in the band's music is also lost. I don't want to be too harsh and rip apart a band with less than a year of experience though, but had this performance been delivered by a more established band, my grading would not have been favorable. My hope is that Panacea will continue to hone their craft this year - especially live - to become a band worth keeping an eye on.

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Road To Manila

Road to Manila underwent a major transformation last year from practicing contrived deathcore to producing quality metalcore with a technical edge. As such, I had been looking forward to witnessing the change in a live setting, since the 3-song "Waiting for Goddeau" EP I reviewed was insufficient in consolidating the band's new sound. If you didn't read it, you would have missed out on the fact that Road to Manila are currently under heavy influence by Architects and While She Sleeps, with a sound that makes abundant use of odd meter riffs, squealing horror chords and an often baffling rhythm section. It sounds brilliant in the echoing confines of KB18, not to mention colossally heavy.

The only problem is that Road to Manila still haven't got a live show to inspire much intrigue. In this case it could be attributed to the poor turnout of course, and vocalist Nicolai Lindegaard does make a commendable effort at engaging what little audience is left in the venue by frequently venturing into the crowd. But in all honesty, when a vocalist pulls such a move, he should do so with more conviction than to casually stride around as if on a Sunday afternoon walk. Punch people; do some karate moves; mosh; anything but walking around aimlessly whilst looking like someone immersed in an introspective monologue.

Even so, however, Road to Manila do a decent job. The remaining band members, comprising guitarists Allan Kristiansen and Jonas Frausing, bassist Jeppe Frausing, and drummer Niclas Facius, handle their instruments with care and flair, and no mistakes are to be heard throughout their set. What needs to happen next is for Road to Manila to focus on perfecting their performance. Musically the band sounds better than ever, and if the band's live reputation is to be carried into the new line-up, practice is needed.

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Road To Manila @ KB18 13/1-2012 from Rasmus Ejlersen on Vimeo.

New Discolour

The best part about following band's career at close proximity, as is the case with me and New Discolour, is to witness the tremendous progress made with each performance. Having signed a record with Mighty Music last year, New Discolour have become visibly more focused and mature, delivering an excellent performance every time, regardless of the number of people watching. Last time the band visited Copenhagen and this venue in early October, they had been forced to replace vocalist Artem Kushnirenko with Wecanwalkonwatertoo's Neema Rad due to Artem's study commitments, and so the extent of the improvements that have taken place over the last year were difficult to see.

Not so tonight. From the get-go New Discolour, completed by guitarists Jesper Rasmussen and Søren Thomsen, bassist Mayu Tharumann, and drummer Lasse Mikkelsen, come at us with an energy easily comparable with some of the more established international metalcore bands that stop by Copenhagen every year. I remember the performance anxiety that these boys suffered from in the first few concerts they played, and in that context New Discolour are a band reborn tonight. Every bout of headbanging is twice as violent and every chord is struck with double the venom. Artem himself probably spends more time in the air and kneeling than he does on his feet, with all the passion and urgency of his lyrics visible in his face expressions on every scream and growl.

Without exaggerating, there is only one other metalcore band in Denmark with the capacity to pull a show like this off: Scarred by Beauty. Consider then that those guys have existed much longer and toured Europe multiple times, while for New Discolour the total number of concerts does not even near 20 yet. And with plenty of concerts to come this year, including a rumored headlining tour of Denmark, the future bodes very well indeed for New Discolour!

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New Discolour @ KB18 13/1-2012 from Rasmus Ejlersen on Vimeo.

Setlist:

  • 01. Short of Ink
  • 02. Black Face
  • 03. A Thank You Note to Cole M
  • 04. On Top of Everything
  • 05. Chinese Vancouver
  • 06 . If I, If They, They Are
  • 07. Regain Astray
  • 08. Hexagon
  • 09. Yes, Yes, No

Photos and videos courtesy of Rasmus Ejlersen

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