Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Heavy Days in Doomtown III- Copenhagen, DK May 1-4th, 2014

HDDT is back with its 3rd edition and another great and very unique music program. While a few of these bands played at Roadburn and the Desert Fest, this line up is really different and also diverse but heavier… The organizers have done an amazing job and remember this is do it yourself (DIY) festival, all volunteers run, organized, etc… real amazing dedicated people pulling this together. The booklet has a lot of great info and also explains the ethic of the festival and the organizers motivations. One must really congratulate them on this. Great descriptions of all the artists who create the posters, t-shirt designs, gallery displays, etc. There over 10 artists given detailed descriptions and involved this year, which included making some super cool imagery in the rooms and in the courtyard. Also, each band is given nearly a half page in the booklet with a picture and good description of the band. On the excellent website you even get the discography!

May 1st

21 I arrived at Loppen a bit too late to see the artwork displays upstairs next to the restaurant. I got my press card and wristband and started running into people from all over Europe that I have met. Very cool to see people again. A decent amount of Roadburn people. My friend, Jens, was spinning the cool records (The Golden Void, Hawkwind, US Christmas, etc..) and getting people ready for the Swedish Space rock band, Yuri Gagarin that were to start things off at 22. I have the bands vinyl record and while I dug the songs, the sound production was not that great so I was curious to see them live..

          YG hit the stage right at 10 and blasted us with 4 nearly 10min each tracks. 3 were from the record and one was an untitled new track. It was really loud and powerful. The synth guy has two old Soviet era synths from the 80s (I think). Cool heavy looking… They really rocked the place with high energy space rock and some great lead guitar by the guy on the right. He broke a string and took 5mins or more to change while everyone stood around not knowing what to do. Usually, people are in a hurry to get the show going again but not this guy. He was ready when he was going to be ready. The next track the other guitar player broke a string but thankfully, he just left in the middle of the song and they just kept on and he came back before the song was over and was playing again. See the track below.  They had to cut the set short by one song due to the delay. This is a really great band. I loved their powerful space rock. I can't wait to see them again and they were also really nice people. Great set.

Set List: First Orbit, Untitled new song, At the Center of all Infinity, The Big Rip

          Switchblade are normally a duo but they had the organ player, Per, who plays with Candlemass and Spiritual Beggars on the organ and this for sure made things more interesting. The band played heavy repetitive stuff with heavy almost but not quite doom guitar riffs. I only saw and filmed the first track but it seemed like they just repeated the same theme over and over again in like 3 min intervals 4x… no real organ and certainly no guitar solo. I was really bored but this was also the description. At least the organ or guitar player could do some solos to mix it up.. Anyway, people were engaged and seem to be into it, so they must have an audience. It was too late for me so I missed the heavy US duo, Evil Twin. I had to work the next day and the Friday was a full schedule with bands starting at 17..

May 2nd

The buses were quite delayed and I barely got there in time to see Oranssi Pazuzu from Finland. There was already a good amount of people around and the room got pretty packed. Damn, these guys were really LOUD… Bass was like Conan or something to start but not the rest… I was standing with my friend Jacob near the front. Sound was amazing. This is a very difficult band to describe. Lots of cool spaced out synthesizers stuff, two guitars (not typical metal sound, one was a telecaster!), bass and drums. The vocals are in the intense black or death metal style but the music was anything but. Intense but with lot of very interesting guitar parts and twists and turns.. I was blown away by this. Very psychedelic.

Set List: Vino Verso, Uraanisula, ?, Thysä Temppeu, Olen Aulaissut uuden, Ympyri on viiva tomussa

Vidunder (Sweden), are a band from Malmö, who has some releases on the Crusher label. They are very young and since they played here last in Copenhagen, they have added an organ player with a cool old vintage Leslie speaker. The room was totally packed and the band play well but unfortunately, they don’t really offer up anything new for me as they just sound too much like Graveyard, the way he sings, the guitar lines and sound. I really keep hoping that they will develop more.. It will take them time to get out from under this influence and now with the organ player they could really jam and develop these songs. We will see.

Dread Sovereign (Ireland), was a three piece with a lot of attitude. This was heavy doom metal rock and the band even did a Venom cover (live like an Angel, Die like a Devil! The crowd really loved them. I was also totally sucked into the vibe and enjoyed their entire set. I shot a video of one of the songs.. Heavy Metal Lives!!!!!!!!

Leechfest was so packed in the dødsmaskinen that I could not even get into take a picture. The music was super intense… phew…. Abysmal Grief from Italy, were a huge surprise for everyone and I heard many thought this the best band of the festival. They were a four piece group that played this uptempo hypnotic doom rock with a lot of crosses on the stage, candles, the guitar player even had a priest thing around his neck! The singer was really into it and intense and played this organ in the style of the old Goblin soundtracks for the Argento movies. I really liked them as well but after 4 songs they lacked variation. Nearly every song was quite similar, in the style he sang, the way he played the organ, etc.. Still a very cool band..

The US band Taurus had to cancel their show due to pregnancy advancement and a Swedish band called Noctum (recently signed to Metal Blade) filled in and man, they were excellent. They really took me back to the 80’s with great songs that reminded me of Angelwitch or Mercyful Fate at times and other great NWOBHM bands. The place was also packed the people were totally banging their heads.. The band was super tight.. They ended their set with a cover of Crystal Ball by Candlemass! It went down well. A huge surprise as well.

LOSS was next but I did not see much of them as Glitter Wizard was having a crisis as their bass player broke his ankle very seriously and was in the hospital so they either had to play without him or cancel the gig. They had planned to cancel but I spoke to them about Doug playing some of the bass lines on the Andromeda and I could help out with the space sounds and so they decided to play anyway! It was not planned at all but what the hell, I played with Glitter Wizard and it was fucking fun. I knew a lot of their songs. As the band went to go change into their costumes, I made some crazy synth improves for like 10mins.. People seem to dig it..  The place was pretty packed with people and the energy up front was totally crazy how people were going wild for these guys. I could not hear the guitar player that well but I tried not to play the sounds over the vocalist. The singer, actually played bass on the last song which was a long crazy jammed out track. I think the whole concert was about 35mins or so….

Set List: Fungal, Worship the Devil, Snow Crash, Motorider, Circle, Mirror Man and Summertime.

I was pretty blasted by the time this was all over so I only heard one song from the Dwellers in Twilight. Room was filled and it sounded great..

Day 3

I was pretty damn tired to start this day and had a short nap after lunch and headed out at 15:20 and I was hoping to get there in time to see and record my friend’s band, Demon Head and we made it. It was their 7” release party and they had been playing quite a bit so were really tight and had developed some cool stage presence since the first time I saw them, which I think was their 2nd gig ever! They clearly have their local fans but I hope some of the foreign people could make it this early to see them lay down their early Pentagram influenced style of music. Thor is really coming a long and developing a lot as a lead guitar player as this is something they really need. Great grooves, cool songs, people were into it. I filmed the song that is their new single.

Set List: Undertaker, Ventilate, Revelations of April, Ride the Wilderness, Book of Changes, Demon Head, Master of Confusion, Worthless slave to the Night, Sinister Purpose

Next up was Isole from Sweden. They were a four piece where both guitar players and the bass player all did lead and harmony vocals, which is pretty unique. They rhythm guitar player did most of the clean, early Candlemass style singing while the bass player, did the more angry stuff. A really classic doom metal style and sound but sadly the hall only had about 100 people but they were into it and played 100% for whoever was there. There were some die hards up front that new all their words as well…

Dopelord from Poland were next in the small hall and this was described as stoner doom with a spacey edge and that was exactly what it was. The room was packed and the band had their own projector with a movie and images that they showed onto the black backdrop. There was a lot of stoners and smoke for these guys and they totally delivered the goods. I thought they were awesome. The sound guy could have mixed the lead guitar player, who played all the cool parts a bit louder though. They played one song from their debut album but all the rest of the songs were from the new one that just came out in April. I will review it in a few weeks. Anyway, they were great and ended the set with a really stoned some in which the entire band smoked a joint and then kicked into their track called Pass the Bong!

Set List: UFO, Addicted to Black Magick, Ghost, Acid trippin’, ?, Pass the Bong

The US band, The BODY was next, a duo that plays super intense stuff. I heard they blew everyone away at Roadburn. Place was pretty packed but I needed an ear rest so I sat outside and heard them and spoke to some different people from Sweden and Holland.

Witchsorrow (UK), a band from the Rise Above label, were here playing their first ever show in Denmark. I was not sure what to expect but they were really good. Especially the main set. They are a three piece with a female bass player and intense drummer. The guitar player was also a really good singer for this style of music and passionate. He also occasionally played some ripping solos but a bit too few. They had excellent dynamics. The last song they played was a new one and it was a bit boring actually and too long. I think people were really into it before then, but still a great show.

Set List: Aurora Atra, God curse Us, Trial of Elizabeth Clarke, Love, Freezing Moon, Mysteries

Graves at Sea was next in the big hall and the place was the most packed I had seen for any band at the festival and the sound was massive. They are a really intense band with a powerful singer, some killer guitar riffs and just pounding bass and drums and very fucking angry! This kind of stuff I can only handle in small doses but the people were totally into as they got blasted for an hour. Phew…

Nightslug played a super loud sludge show in the packed small hall. I was outside chatting with TJ, the singer from Sourvein, who stayed at my place some years ago when the toured with Church of Misery. Really nice people..

Sourvein was next and then it would be Skepticism from Finland but I was just too damn tired to see the rest so Steve and I headed home.

Day 4

The Copenhagen Record fair is today so on the way to the festival I had to take some record to the dealers.

Me with the Sourvein Guys
14:30 Arrived early so I had some time to chat with the guys in Sourvein, go see the artist displays in the gallery they created at the local library. Lou (Halfway to Gone, Sourvein, and 5 Horse Johnson) was a super cool guy and he actually has diabetes and takes the medicine that the company I work for makes and it has changed his life he said! We had some great conversations as he is really tight with the guys in Monster Magnet all their music projects. 

16 Whitehorse from Australia hit the stage at 4 and there was not that many people at the festival yet but a decent crowd. This is one hell of an intense band. The singer looks fucking mean and angry and has a powerful voice. The bass, drums and guitar are just powerful heavy riffing stuff and one guy making strange white noise sounds from time to time. The bass player he was getting some real stretching exercise and he would jump-lunge forward with the intensity of the music. Phew.. Powerful, intense, heavy as hell…

17 Purple Witch Hill was a totally new band for me from Norway. They have a new record (June 2014) and a 7” out on the Church Within Label. Young kids but nice. The guitar player and singer reminded me of James Hetfield, the way he looked, not sung. The band really took me back to 1980-1982 era of the Neat Records when I used to listen to the NWOBHM 7”s in my bedroom. He room was pretty filled up and they played a solid set. I think their main weakness is the vocals but he is not bad, just really learning how to find his way to project his vocals. They had a lot of good songs and nice dynamics. They finished their set off with a cover of Witchfinder General.

Set List: Karmansaka, Queen of the Hill, Astral Booze, Untitled, Alchemy, Aldebaraniad Voyage, The Final Procession, Doomsday Calling, Witchfinder General

18 OF the Wand and the Moon are a Danish band with strings, acoustic guitar, keyboards, etc.. This was a very nice change and I think people liked it a lot. They have played around in Copenhagen but I had never seen them. I could see that had made several records and a DVD. The drum rhythms were very interesting and they had a laid back vocal and they started quiet but really grew in intensity but the songs were all quite short.

Set List: A Cancer called love, Here’s an Ode, Tear it apart, Sunspot, A pyre of black sunflowers, Absence, lost in Emptiness, Lucifer, My Black faith, I Crave for You, We are Dust, A Tomb of Seasoned Dye, The Lone Descent

19 Goatess are a cool stoner rock band from Sweden featuring Christian (Lord Vicar, Terrafirma and others) on vocals. I saw them at Roadburn and really liked them a lot but for them that was not a very good show, while today they felt it would be much better. They were insanely loud to start with and the bass was just so massive you could not hear the guitar. I was recording right behind the mixer guy and we talked about it and I ended up going up and telling the bass player he had to turn down his amp as the sound guy could not turn the guitar up anymore at the soundboard. Eventually, the sound balanced out and they did a great show. They played one new song at Roadburn called Shadowland but they played one more new one today and that was great. People really dug it.

20 Sabbath Assembly was next and they did not have Jex Thoth of vocals but the lady from hammer of Misfortune. She was intensely tattooed and also played the bass. This band had a really cool and interesting vibe but sadly their music did not evolve enough for me or a lot of people as they had a big crowd to start but it got smaller and smaller as people did not stay engaged. It is very nice music. I liked the tubular bells that the drummer played with small hammers.

21 The Graviators are a Swedish band I have been following and also corresponding with since the early days of the band but had never seen live. I was really up for seeing these guys and they did not disappoint. This was the last night of their 2 week tour and they were pumped! I am not sure what the set list was but it was great. A lot of diverse songs and intense vocals, great guitar solos and use of effects and the last song they dedicated to me and it was  long jammed out track, a bit like Grand Funk! Awesome concert..

22 Baby Woodrose were a very cool and different choice for the festival and great that they come out and support the event. I was wondering if they would go for a more heavy set and sure enough they really did. In fact, this was one of the best Baby Woodrose shows I have ever seen. Guf was totally in the zone and played killer psychedelic guitar! He writes such cool songs and is a great singer and frontman.. People were totally into it as they jammed out on several songs starting with Here Today.. What a concert.. Awesome sound as well.

Set List: Information Overload, What a burn, Disconnected, Let yourself Go, Here Today Gone Tomorrow, Nothing is Real, Volcano, LCD, Light up, Did you get what you want, A child of a few Hours, Born to Lose

23 Uzala are a three piece from the Idaho in the USA. I spoke with the guitar player on several times and he was really cool and was at the festival for most of the days. They also have a female singer that also plays guitar and very intense drumming. I don’t know who to describe them but some sort of acid metal. She sings really well, one of the best female voices we had at the festival. It was very loud and intense so I heard most of the show from outside. People dug it for sure.

24 Windhand, is a band that I have heard a lot about and I heard their show here last year was great. I missed them at Roadburn and was hoping to hang in there and see them this time and I did manage to catch a few songs before heading home after a great festival. The room was packed for them and they had a huge wall of sound and channel a vibe like Electric Wizard, whom, so many bands try to emulate these days but they have a charismatic female singer. The first two songs of the set sounded nearly identical. They next, they took it down a bit. The lead guitar player on the right played some cool solos. I am sure I would have dug it more if I had stayed for the whole show…..

          Well, that was it for Heavy Days in Doomtown 2014.. I think it was a great success once again. A great vibe, excellent diversity of bands all playing really well and the same cool community and environment that draws people. There were certainly less people this year but still at least 500 people so if everyone went into the main hall, it was totally packed. If there were finance issues, they should probably just try to be stricter about people bringing in their own beer and wine, as the prices are really cheap anyway. Congrats to Daniel and all the organizers for putting on this killer festival… Awesome…

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