Trivium

support As I Lay Dying + Caliban + Upon A Burning Body
author AP date 06/11/12 venue Amager Bio, Copenhagen, DEN

For the first leg in a coincidental two-day metalcore extravaganza, the good folk of Amager Bio had secured the bigger tour, featuring three large letter acts, as well as one smaller, with new albums in the bag from this year. When we arrive, Upon A Burning Body are well into the second last song of their set, having started some 30 minutes before the stated show start on the venue's website, so other than noting that their sound is best described as extremely generic deathcore and they're dressed in shirts, ties & vests, I feel it would be unfair to write a full review of their set based on 1½ songs.

All photos by Lykke Nielsen

Andreas Dörner of Caliban

Caliban

In Germany, Caliban are used to headlining whenever they're billed at a festival or show, and their stage setup reflects this. Large blocks with the luminescent letters C, L, B and N have been stationed on both sides of the stage; the amp stacks are stained with artwork; the light show is as professional as they come; and the band members themselves are dressed in a uniform of black splatter on white / white splatter on black. They released their eighth studio album "I Am Nemesis" earlier this year, so predictably much of their set consists of it, with "Dein R3.ich", "We Are the Many", "Davy Jones" and "Memorial" all aired amongst three older songs. I am no expert in Caliban's discography, but the impression that I get is that those older songs pale in comparison to the new ones in terms of composition and style, coming across as simple, archetypical metalcore songs with few highlights.

The new stuff is backed with synths and orchestral samples, reflecting overall a much darker approach to metalcore, and it is during these songs - when the lighting turns into ominous turquoise that, combined with the stained clothing, gives the band a sinister look. It's a simple, yet effective technique to introduce such a visual aesthetic to the music, and consequently the crowd, too, seems more enthused when it is asked to scream back the refrain "You gotta be fucking kidding me (kidding me)!" during "We Are the Many", which vocalist Andreas Dörner dedicates to the recently deceased Suicide Silence vocalist Mitch Lucker; than when Caliban chugs through one of the earlier songs.

Marc Görtz of Caliban

From their performance, too, it is obvious that Caliban have been doing this for quite some time and become expert crowd entertainers. Dörner sports the perfect combination of madness and composure, reminding me at times of one Til Lindemann with his crazed gesticulation, and the way he lives and breathes every scream with a sense of passion not often seen from bands of this style. The only downside, in my opinion, are the unnecessary and quite poor clean vocals of bassist Marco Schaller; in the context of the despondent atmosphere that reigns over the band's music, their role seems a little... confusing. They just don't fit the music particularly well.

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As I Lay Dying

As I Lay Dying, too, are a band that are used to headlining - and that speaks at length about the strength of this tour package. But in stark contrast with Caliban just before, these boys waste no effort in frolicking theatrics; it's full speed from the get-go with "Condemned" and "94 Hours" taking care of initial proceedings. That the setlist consists primarily of monumentally heavy, fast paced metal bangers tells the story of a band that has long since evolved from a metalcore proprietor to a genre leader without much regard for the aesthetic they once helped create. It's not until the eigth and ninth songs of the evening, "Nothing Left" and "A Greater Foundation", that there is even a hint of slowing things down, and with songs like "Anodyne Sea", "Cauterize" and "Confined" preceding them, there is little doubt in anyone's mind that for scene kids, this is about as metal a show as they come.

Of course, Tim Lambesis has a considerable role in forming this impression, as his Arnold Schwarzenegger idolatry has clearly borne fruit since the last time the band visited Copenhagen back in 2007. The guy is absolutely colossal now, a towering bulk of muscle fuming with bull-headed fury as he governs the venue from a pedestal center-stage and oversees the crowd's moshing activities with approval. Everything about him and his band mates oozes confidence tonight, and although I could name zounds of bands with more energetic and visually interesting live shows than As I Lay Dying, it is still difficult to put a finger on any real issues worthy of note. Sure, they could have gone for "An Ocean Between Us", "Parallels" and "Defender" if there was more time, but even with the omission of these excellent songs the show leaves an impression of sheer quality once the brilliant set closer "The Sound of Truth" fades out.

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Trivium

With such quality performances preceding theirs, Trivium face a tough task at topping their own support bands. But if there is one thing I have come to learn and appreciate about these practicioners of modern melodic metal, it is the frightening consistency of their live shows. It's not that Trivium are the liveliest, most energetic bunch in concert; it's that every time they perform, they do so with an open mind and heart. Amager Bio could be said to be much below the capacity of the type of venue Trivium tends to play, and given it's nowhere near sold out tonight, the ingredients for disappointment are certainly there.

Corey Beaulieu of Trivium

Trivium, however, look to be completely unphased by such factors, as they deliver yet another tour de force spanning nearly the full breadth of their backlog to an endeared audience. Expectedly entering the stage to the tune of the intro track from last year's "In Waves", they proceed to blast out the title track from that album with such power an confidence that it's impossible not to be impressed whether you're clad in Slayer merch or Black Veil Brides merch. Indeed, Trivium have always prided themselves on their ability to unite the metal masses regardless of their inclination; because even if the ballad "Dying in Your Arms" is not a metal song by any measure and generally the songs are characterized and remembered by their massive, stadium spanning choruses, there is something inherently metal about this band that makes them a pleasure to watch time and time again.

Some genre elitists might disagree, of course. But looking at Trivium power through their 16-song setlist, which itself is composed extremely well in that includes both timeless fan favorites like "Like Light to the Flies", "A Gunshot to the Head of Trepidation", "Ember to Inferno" and "Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr" and the best picks from the band's three most recent albums (with "Down from the Sky", "Entrance of the Conflagration", "Built to Fall" and "Throes of Perdition" emerging as clear highlights), as well as a song never played on European soil before this tour, the utterly electrifying "Torn Between Scylla and Charybdis". There are the occasional lapses in quality, of course, as especially songs like "Black" and "The Deceived" do little to entice me, and in some sense the variety in Trivium's material - particularly across this setlist - is a bit too narrow to keep me persistently interested throughout.

Be that as it may, tonight's showdown goes down as yet another triumphant display by a band that obviously loves to perform and does so with skill, passion and conviction. Whether or not you admit to being a fan of Trivium, there cannot be a shred of doubt that most people go home thoroughly satisfied once the band exits to the tune of "Leaving This World Behind". Given that this is the band's second time in Copenhagen in six months though, I would hope that the next time they pay us a visit, it will be after considerably more time so as to prevent the element of surprise from deteriorating.

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Setlist:

  • 01. In Waves
  • 02. Like Light to the Flies
  • 03. Rain
  • 04. Into the Mouth of Hell We March
  • 05. Down from the Sky
  • 06. Entrance of the Conflagration
  • 07. Black
  • 08. The Deceived
  • 09. Watch the World Burn
  • 10. A Gunshot to the Head of Trepidation
  • 11. Ember to Inferno
  • 12. Built to Fall
  • 13. Dying in Your Arms
  • 14. Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr
  • 15. Torn Between Scylla and Charybdis
  • 16. Throes of Perdition

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