Helhorse

support Danava
author AP date 30/05/13 venue KB18, Copenhagen, DEN

Distortion is an annual festival in Copenhagen, which consists of enormous street parties (until 22:00) and night parties in bars/clubs (after 22:00) held in various districts of the city. While the festival's profile is predominantly electronic, every year a number of true distortion based events take place as well - meaning, of course, rock and metal themed parties that cater to the counter-culture, as it were. Across the five days of the festival, I had the privilege to attend three such events, and this review focuses on the first.

Photos courtesy of Peter Troest

Danava

As the Vesterbro district street party draws to a conclusion, I arrive at KB18 just in time to watch Danava, who from the outset draw overt similarities to their countrymen in The Sword. But where those masters of the riff can boast a treasure chest of songs that are as memorable as they are laden with groove and spectacular guitarwork, Danava seem a little less experienced, and, well... a little less talented. There are nuggets of brilliance scattered amongst that have the smallish crowd headbanging enthusiastically and rewarding the band with loud applause, but overall this performance leaves something of a sour taste in my mouth; as though Danava are clutching at greatness with arms too short. They're clearly having a blast doing it despite technical hick-ups like disconnecting a guitar mid-song, however, and for that they deserve some commend.

6



Helhorse

Sadly, technical issues plague the beginning of Helhorse's set, too. The sound mix is muddy and there are frequent explosions of undesired feedback dotting what would otherwise surely have been an explosive start to the proceedings with "Fuck Art, Let's Kill" and "Hell Hath No Fury" from their forthcoming album "Oh, Death", and the band is visibly frustrated by this, thus putting an effective damper on the energy that tends to go hand-in-hand with a Helhorse show. But no matter; once the issues have been rectified, we are once again given a reason to see these boys every time they have a concert nearby.

Few vocalists around these pastures can boast a more charismatic stage presence than Mikkel Wad Larsen, whose in-concert personality brims with similarities to the always frenetic Liam Cormier and Keith Buckley of Cancer Bats and Every Time I Die respectively, and when the music calls for it as with the brooding doom-ballad "Death Comes to the Sleeping" (another new track), also to legends of the genre such as Kirk Windstein and Phil Anselmo. Moshing amongst the audience, violently windmilling, dispensing howls and screams with agonised passion... All these things are standard features of his one-man show at the forefront of the band. That is not to say that his comrades - guitarists Jakob Møgelvang and Stephan C. Krabsen, bassist Søren Nybo Hansen, drummer Jesper Bergstedt and second vocalist and Rhodes keyboard/Hammond organ specialist Aske Kristiansen - are any less impressive, however, as the primary reason why the Helhorse experience tends to be such a stunning thing to behold in the live setting is their collective flair. They love their music, they love their audience, and they love to play concerts.

With those ingredients, Helhorse manage to muster up an enthralling performance with frightening consistency, and ignoring the initial problems plaguing their set tonight, this, too, will be remembered as a resounding success. And despite much of Copenhagen busy with drinking themselves into a stupor and raving to electronic music on the streets, the turnout of a 100-or-so people even so is a testimony to their prowess - just as is the constant flurry of moshing, headbanging and walls of death that manifests itself during songs like "Get Drunk, Get Mad, Get Even" and the sleazy banger "Carnal Rage", or the respectful silence during more complex pieces like "The Last Temptation".

8

Setlist:

  • Fuck Art, Let's Kill
  • Hell Hath No Fury
  • Red Eye
  • Climb
  • Kill Your Self
  • Carnal Rage
  • The Last Temptation
  • And His Name Is Death...
  • Get Drunk, Get Mad, Get Even
  • Death Comes to the Sleeping
  • Diggin' a Hole, Waiting to Die
  • House of Roosters
  • Black Weed

--Encore--

  • Djöfullin er Danskur

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