Malrun

support Electric Hellride
author TL date 25/02/12 venue Huset, Copenhagen, DEN

If there's one Danish band that is currently poised to strike while the proverbial iron is hot, Aarhus-based melodic metal quintet Malrun is that band. Their sophomore album "The Empty Frame" comes out in just about a week, and later this spring they're taking it out for a tour of the European mainland alongside Die Apokalyptischen Reiter. So there's reason to celebrate in their camp, which they've opted to do in the form of a release party on this Saturday night at Huset in Copenhagen. I wonder why they do it here instead of in their home town, but then I guess it fits me fine, as seeing as it makes it much easier for me to get to the show personally. Before I get to see Malrun however, the night also offers a set from Copenhagen's own Electric Hellride, who are to get us all warmed up.

Electric Hellride

Electric Hellride are a quartet who play a rather thrashy brand of metal, and given that they've drawn one of the less metal-interested writers from our staff, the chips would seem stacked against their review from the word go. The band actually puts on a quite convincing show however, dishing out convincing, rhythmically diverse thrashings with all instruments sounding crisp from the venue's speakers. To my hearing - which is not the most precise in the world, granted - the boys sound tight, and they look both confident and comfortable on stage, despite the fact that all but around eight audience members choose to take in the show from some distance away. Each member plays with postures and grimaces that fit the genre perfectly, and especially their singer/bassist and their lead guitarist move about with impressive independence, gesturing to encourage the audience whenever they have an opportune moment. The show's biggest problem is that no more than those same eight seem to be receptive, some of them looking like they're already so drunk that they'd mosh to anything, yet others do look genuinely excited by the band's animated thrashing - especially a guy on crutches is clearly struggling to restrain himself from jumping about and worsening whatever injury is hindering him tonight. There's a pause in the show that feels a bit long, while all three axe-handlers need to change and tune weapons, and you get the feeling that it could be cool if they had a friend or a roadie to sort things like that out for them, or to quickly salvage the situation when one of the drunks breaks his pint over a pedal board. Fortunately, his beverage causes no technical issues, and during the second break in the show, the band smartly fills the time by inviting Malrun's Jacob Løbner on stage to receive a bottle of whiskey as a "happy release" gift. Generally these guys prove a groovy listen and a sympathetic band, who look like they're more than ready to graduate to stages that are at least a little bigger than this one.

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Malrun

After a short changeover, Malrun come on with the opening salvo from their new album "Face Of The Unknown" and "Shadowborn", and while I wonder why a band with some expensive looking effects boards and about seven guitars to choose from have to let their guitar-intro play from sample, I soon get over it and instead focus on "Shadowborn" which is one of the better songs from "The Empty Frame". Similarly to Electric Hellride, Malrun initially seem to enjoy a pretty decent mix, but as opposed to the support, the headliners perform with a bit of stiffness to begin with. Fortunately for them, they have a much larger and more interested crowd, even if it's not exactly a much livelier one, with by far the majority seemingly satisfied with some casual headbopping and solid applauding between songs. Of course you have to account for the inevitable hurdle for any release party, namely that the whole point is to mostly play new songs that your audience hasn't heard before. Fortunately for tonight's experience, the crowd gradually heats up to both old familiar songs and new and intriguing ones, and the effect is mirrored on stage, where Malrun's members pace around with ever increasing confidence and vividity.

Frontman Løbner explains us how Malrun are getting a bit heavier on the new record, and inquires whether this is okay with the audience or not. They affirm that it is, and prove so by giving increased applause to harder hitters like "Iron March" and the lengthy "Yoke Of Stone". I make small notes of criticism about Løbner straining his high vocals increasingly as the show progresses, eventually forcing what I think is an alteration of the otherwise soaring chorus in new song "Sink Forever Down" - I'm guessing he might be a bit low in the monitor? - and about a moment of confusion when guitarist Patrick Nybroe is unsure which guitar he needs for the coming song. While the Malrun set strikes me as a bit bumpy compared to Electric Hellride's though, it does eventually wind its way up to a higher finale, as the band finally manages to intistigate a proper moshpit with regular set closer "Trim The Fat", and in doing so, prompts the crowd to ask for more. After a lengthy set, the encore does not seem as much planned as it seems a contingency plan, as the guys pull out Rage Against The Machine's trusty "Killing In The Name" - and while I'm not sure I like the omission of the "and now you do what they told ya/now you're under control" call/response vocals, I'm pretty sure I like how Nybroe puts his own personal touch on Tom Morello's classic solo. In the end, despite the cliché, you can tell from the suddenly panting audience, that things eventually ended on a high note, which I guess leaves the arrow pointing in the right direction for Malrun and their upcoming tour.

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Setlist:

  • 1. Face The Unknown
  • 2. Shadowborn
  • 3. The Pledge
  • 4. Strapped While You Dance
  • 5. Rise From Sorrow
  • 6. New Blood
  • 7. The Iron March
  • 8. Bloody Mary
  • 9. The Lyspunov Exponent
  • 10. Strip Show Of An Angel
  • 11. Into The Sun
  • 12. Sink Forever Down
  • 13. The Jovian Transit
  • 14. Yoke Of Stone
  • 15. Trim The Fat
  • -Encore-
  • 16. Killing In The Name (Rage Against The Machine cover)

All photos kindly shared with me by Tina Egesø, who was taking pictures for devilution.dk.

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