Copenhell this year kicked off on a Wednesday, adding a Warm Up day to the festival. Despite only having a small stage for the day, the program was quite diversified. However by the time I have managed to get through the check in process, the first interesting band – Turnstile – was already finishing up their gig.
For me, the warm up day started with L7. The ladies have re-reunited again, and, as overheard from one of the fans – “it’s not a return, it’s a reanimation”. The band performed quite well, combining the classic material with some of the new songs, including the latest singles ‘I Came Back to Bitch’ and ‘Dispatch From Mar-a-Lago’. Generally the band presented an interesting gig, which was very well received by the metal fans, especially taking into consideration that L7 is a punk band.
The guys from the Mustasch took over the stage afterwards, and the atmosphere felt immediately more alive. This stoner metal band from Sweden delivered a massive injection of energy and fun. They were doing everything to entertain the gathered crowd. The leader of the band – Ralf Gyllenhammar – proved that he is a great performer and knows how to interact with the crowd. The gig finished with the tape recording of ‘For Those About To Rock’, accompanied by the loud singing audience.
As a main act for the warm up day, the Copenhell booking team delivered us Neurosis, the post sludge/hardcore metal titans from Oakland. This was the heaviest part of the evening, the ambience on stage was as it should – very dark and gloomy. Scott Kelly entered the stage accompanied by the loud cheer from the fans. Neurosis started their six song set with ‘Given to Rising’, followed by ‘End of the Harvest’. They maintained heavy mood through the whole set and closed the gig with ‘Through Silver in Blood’. This was the main – and the most interesting – part of this Warm Up Day.
I started my official first day at Copenhell with The Last Internationale. It was a hard choice to decide between them and Tremonti, but after all it was nice to see something new. They are a crazy trio from New York led by Delila Paz on bass and vocals, which have delivered a rather interesting and energetic show. Edgey Pires – the bands guitarist was literally flying around the scene. The band this time performed without RATM Brad Wilk behind the drums, although this had no effect on the quality of their show. All in all, it was an interesting performance, making it a nice start of this day.
Next in line was Parkway Drive – a metalcore band from Australia, which is regular visitor at Copenhell. As for the concert on the main stage nothing special really happened. Teenage fans were especially happy about the band performance, but for older metal fans it was not really that impressive. The gig itself was full of energy and Winston McCall did his best to entertain the crowd.
It was time to return to the small stage and see the latest metal music revelation – Zeal & Ardor. The band entered the stage hidden under their hoods, playing slowly and softly the intro sounds of ‘Sacrigelium I’. This soon turned into a slightly faster pace, and the first chords of ‘In Ashes’ sounded, with a cool enchantment involving all the band members. Zeal & Ardor continued the show in this mood providing their crazy mixture of avantgarde metal with gospel music. It was very interesting concert, however performance will definitely would have benefited from darker environment – concert was in the mid afternoon and it was still very sunny outside.
Asking Alexandria – another metalcore position in this year’s lineup. The scene was properly prepared with huge red/black band logo at the back of the scene and thousands of fans in the front. It was a rather uneventful gig, whereas the band played a thirteen song long set, including two acoustic tracks in the middle of it. A very mild reaction ensued and the band did not add anything new to this year’s line up.
Nightwish was the first really big name of this day. These titans of symphonic metal played on the main stage Helviti. The sweet harmoniously vocals of Floor Jensen accompanied by heavy melodic music provided by the band took the audience to an hour long musical trip into the fantasy world of Nightwish. Despite not being a fan of symphonic metal, there was something in their show that caught my attention and made me enjoy it. After a metalcore band such as Asking Alexandria, this felt more fresh and pleasant.
Up next was Thy Art is Murder, a deathcore band from Australia, this time on the small stage Pandæmonium. The band is currently present its most recent work, “Dear Desolation”, and put out an energetic gig, in the midst of lots of smoke, loud noisy guitars and a fast pace. They started out on a high not, unfortunately due to lineup clashes, I could not watch it till the end since I didn’t want to miss one of the hottest shows for this first day.
After short run I have managed to get to Hades stage on stage to see amazing Alissa White-Gluz and Arch Enemy. They kicked off their long awaited show with a blast of Motorhead’s ‘Ace of Spades’ on the speakers. After this, they kept the flow going throughout the whole set. Alissa was running, jumping and headbanging all around the stage with energy similar to a Duracell bunny. In all, Arch Enemy’s performance was definitely a highlight of the day.
Then, it was time for Avenged Sevenfold, who were the headliner of this day 1. They played a set combining new songs with the older material, where the old songs were warmly welcomed, while the new ones were not that much. The band gave quite a show, whether you lie it or not they are natural born entertainers, with the guitarist M. Shadows actively using the bridge from the scene to get closer to the fans. However the whole show was missing a sparkle, maybe it was the fact that their music doesn’t speak much to may taste, but something was not there.
I closed up my first day experience with Bullet for My Valentine. The night was already cold, and their show didn’t quite warmed me up. It felt like just another band to please some teenage fans. The show wasn’t bad per se, but it was not something worth mentioning or remembering in the future.
Summing up, this first day seemed to be targeting the young generations of metalheads. This maybe why the festival was not totally crowded, or maybe it was the cold weather that drove way the people – it felt like summer left Denmark for the time of festival. The best show of the day was definitely provided by Arch Enemy, but both Zeal & Ardor and The Last Internationale were not far from the top. Regarding the best of the bands – well, they were there but was nothing memorable.