Trusted Few

support Defecto + What Worms Inherit + Cold Night For Alligators + Barricade
author PP date 03/05/12 venue Gimle, Roskilde, DEN

Main photo of Defecto - credit: Defecto

Two days prior to the W:O:A Metal Battle final round last weekend, the arrangement held the fifth and final qualification stop at the revered Gimle rock/metal venue in Roskilde. First of all we need to apologise for the delay - we've been waiting for the photographs of the night to come through to my email as per a deal with a local photographer at the venue (our usual ones weren't available), and it seems that he's fallen off the face of the earth since then, so you'll have to do without photos for now. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't write some kind and semi-kind words about the five bands that competed today for the spot at the final. Each had about 25 minutes to convince both the jury and the audience that they specifically are the band that should advance to the finals.

Barricade

First up was Copenhagen-based Barricade, whose bass-heavy, rumbling expression draws equally much from aggressive thrash metal as it does from high tempo sludge metal. They immediately surprise the small crowd with a ton of energy and stage movement, which is unusual for Danish metal bands whom I'm accustomed to seeing just standing still and head banging on stage while intensely concentrating on their instrumentalism. It's simply refreshing to watch Barricade spend their set in jumping around and taking advantage of the whole stage - in other words performing - as a thrash rooted metal band; it adds a great deal of momentum to their set and immediately makes them stand out for the first time viewer. Another element that stands out is their surprisingly solid songwriting. With two drummers, the band are able to create a very textured rhythmic background, where their bass-driven sound thrives. The contrast between their two vocalists is good, too, with one guy possessing a harsh scream/growl while the other guy delivers some more clean shouts/barks hardcore style. When you put all of this together, Barricade don't look like a new start-up, they actually look like a proficient metal band with a wealth of live experience underneath their belts already. Impressive.

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Cold Night For Alligators

I'll admit straight away that out of all the bands competing tonight, Cold Night For Alligators have the most interesting and best studio material, at least on based on the "Ulterior Motives" EP that I've spun a couple of times. It consists of the kind of impossible technicality and intricacy that most bands can only dream of writing let alone executing, and as such the band takes us through the most technically impressive set tonight. While the first song sounds like one enormous breakdown with a few jazzy tech parts thrown in for good measure, the second track already hops over to djent and experimental guitar metal, and later on we're even treated to some ambient sections in the vein of prog metal bands, as well as some electronic effects on the background. These drown in the questionable sound mix tonight, however, and can barely be heard. But that's not the biggest of CNFA's problems. More importantly, they appear far less tight than Barricade just before, and even more importantly, their guitarists are stuck in total concentration while executing their technically insane guitar passages. That works really well on record, but doesn't exactly make for an interesting live performance, especially when combined with their new vocalist, who needs to work on his charisma much more before he'll be able to convince the crowd enough to deter our sights away from the guitars to him. In the end, CNFA needs a perfect sound mix for this to work, and today it just sounds like breakdown then tech then breakdown and without anything really going on stage.

6

What Worms Inherit

What Worms Inherit have the opposite problem from Cold Night From Alligators: they have a decent, energetic set where especially their vocalist makes his presence known through some crazy dancing during some of the more Metallica sounding solos in particular, but their songs are lacking in comparison. Many of their tracks have interesting passages, but they are rarely stringed together with anything meaningful, often containing just generic and, frankly, boring sections in the middle. Perhaps this is why the crowd isn't into the band at all halfway through their 25 minute set, but then the band begins to air some new material (or at least songs that weren't on the EP), which also draw the crowd a little bit closer. Here they have more straight-forward riffs and less unnecessary progression that plagued their EP, but nonetheless in the end of their set, I'm still not very convinced.

6

Defecto

Defecto take precisely one minute to establish themselves as the best band tonight so far. Everything from their symphonically tuned melodic heavy metal is simply a perfect fit for the Wacken crowds, and when the band shows themselves perfectly capable of handling even a slightly dead crowd and getting them going, I'm absolutely sold on this band's potential to become the next big metal export from Denmark in due time. Not only does their vocalist have brilliant pipes complete with the vibrato stuff necessary to appeal to the German crowds, but the band's live performance as a whole has many of the same elements as Essence did back in the day before they were signed to a large record label. The showmanship is good enough to win tonight's event for sure, is what I wrote down in my notes during their set, and what do you know: they won both the crowd and the jury vote tonight. What's more impressive is that the band sounds precisely like they do on record, suggesting they have some raw talent that can only get better when they hit a studio with a professional producer. My only complaint is that the keyboard symphonies come from a backing track, and while they are excellent in their own right, it would be beneficial to see a real human playing them during their show.

Trusted Few

It should not come as a surprise to anyone that Trusted Few are the best band tonight strictly in terms of their live performance given the years of touring experience they own. They are as energetic as ever with vocalist Johan bouncing all over the place as usual, though they quickly run into huge problems as guitarist Andreas' equipment starts malfunctioning, so he spends almost half of their set running back and forth between back stage and his microphone, barely making it back for his clean vocals during the songs. It looks rather entertaining to the crowd, but unfortunate for the band of course, who otherwise play a tight and professional show that underlines how much live experience the band already has at this point in their career. They are mostly airing new songs today: they sound innovative and further cement the band as a wholly original and distinct band that seamlessly fusions screamo, post-hardcore, and Danish metal all together in a unique expression. hat other band sounds like Trusted Few? That being said I've always wondered whether Trusted Few have a fundamental mismatch with the typical Wacken crowd: their style draws too much from emo/post-hardcore to appeal to the darkly clad metal heads in attendance tonight, so the question is whether it would be beneficial in the first place to send them to Wacken should they win the whole competition. They've established themselves as a solid live band with strong studio material, but perhaps it's just not for the Wacken crowds?

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