There’s a strict conduct in my everyday life. I hunt within subterranean fields for new and old interesting music that’ll shake me from neatly packaged everyday illusions. No matter if the day is easygoing or filled with shitstorms of various ordeals that need to be dealt with, I always squeeze in an hour or two dedicated to listening to music, mostly dangerous stuff that’s two steps from white noise, but also polished melodic sounds, guilty pleasures or just something that is plain bizarre.
The Nordic underground scene is full of self-reliant extreme metal formulas. Esoteric, Icelandic black metal, provocative, Swedish death/crust/punk, the head-spinning avant-garde designs from Norway, the melancholic moods of Finland, all very strong sounds with remarkable trademarks, recognized worldwide as authentic musical statements.
Where does Denmark fit in, in all of this? I recently realized, that I’m not quite up to date on current affairs when it comes to the underground music scene, in what frequently is referred to as the happiest nation on earth. In no ways am I uninformed about the Danish metal landscape but it feels right to dig a bit deeper and see what treasures lie below.
I’m attending an underground showcase event presented as “The New Shit”, which takes place in the classic venue Pumpehuset in central Copenhagen on 7. January 2017. Six underground bands constitute the line-up: The Ritual, Iotunn, Bæst, Dreich, Svartmálm and Silhouette. My intention is to do a pre-show coverage made up of three parts.
Before I direct my focus on the bands, I got in touch with a good friend from the scene, who is also supervising this event and concept, just to get a sense on the status quo. I sent him some questions around “The New Shit” as an idea, the Danish metal scene in general, in addition to getting him to curate a playlist of quality Danish metal. Here’s what he had to say.
Could you briefly introduce yourself?
My name is Søren Weiss Kristiansen. I’m a 26 year old Danish music-blogger and co-founder of the Danish metal blog www.blastbeast.dk. Also I’m a diehard metalfan!
For those who don’t know who/what Blastbeast is, could you please shed some light about its history?
Blastbeast is a Danish musicblog focusing on hard rock and metal. My co-owner, Alexander Kolby, and I started Blastbeast back in 2011. We both have a media related education and wanted to create and bring something new and fresh to the informative part of the metalscene in Denmark. Blastbeast was the result. The combination of a “normal” and classic music page with reviews and interviews, combined with a personal angle. As a reader on Blastbeast, you know the personality of the writers, which is an important aspect of Blastbeast.
How do you view the current state of the metal scene in Denmark in regards to live environment, emerging bands etc?
I wouldn’t say that our scene is strong on an international point of view. Compared to our Nordic brothers we are still the underdogs. BUT having said that, we have an emerging local scene. Especially when we are talking about modern sounding metal and stoner/doom. For example; Modern metal band, Forever Still, have just signed with Nuclear Blast this summer and are now on a tour with Lacuna Coil. Another great example is the sludge/stoner band, Helhorse, who signed with Spinefarm Records last year.
There are a lot of newcomers in the Danish scene at the moment, which of course is good. My hope is that some of the new bands will get a breakthrough with their own sound. Luckily we have bands, who might actually do that in the future. Bands like Bersærk – a wonderful stoner-band singing in Danish and of course the unique folk metal band, Huldre, who also sing in Danish. I think the future is bright for the Danish metal scene.
Which Danish metal bands do you consider some of the classics?
There is no doubt that the 80’s bands like Mercyful Fate and of course the legendary King Diamond, Pretty Maids and Artillery are some of the most important metal bands from Denmark. As for hard rock, D-A-D and their mighty hit “Sleeping My Day Away” from 1989 is definitely also noteworthy. Millennial bands like Hatesphere, Mercenary and the successful Volbeat should be considered classic bands from Denmark as well.
When did you start the concept, “The New Shit”, and where did the idea come from?
We started “The New Shit” back in 2012, with the sole desire to help new bands getting the best possible start of their careers, through promotion and live performances. I play in a small band, and I know how hard it can be for a new band to reach the “important” people in the scene; bookers, media, organizers etc.
Through our work with Blastbeast.dk, we have gained a lot of connections with other media / bookers in the Danish metal scene and therefore it has been possible for us to secure a great collaboration between us and DR’s radio show, Sort Søndag (Black Sunday) and the venues Pumpehuset in Copenhagen and Atlas in Aarhus as a part of “The New Shit” concept. This has been good for the participating bands. This means that every year, since 2012, we have been able to present 6 bands every second months. 6 bands that have been given a description on blastbeast.dk and then presented in Black Sunday.
In January the audience can experience those 6 bands at “The New Shit” showcase in Pumpehuset and Atlas.
Why do a push like this? What’s the main drive behind the concept?
I love to discover new bands and with blastbeast.dk we have the means to help those new bands getting a small breakthrough. We have seen it happen with previous “The New Shit” bands. A few examples of progress are: Bersærk, who played “The New Shit” in 2012, got to play at Roskilde Festival and Copenhell this summer. EVRA also played “The New Shit” in 2012 and played Copenhell in 2014. Grusom played “The New Shit” in 2015 and played on Copenhell the following year.
In your view, what are some of the more interesting Danish bands you’ve discovered lately?
The stoner rock bands Bersærk and Grusom are two of the interesting bands on the Danish rock/metal scene right now. Also the young progressive metal act Sunless Dawn is a band with a bright future. They won the Danish edition of the Wacken Metal Battle this year and played a fantastic show at Wacken this summer! Fans of early Opeth should check out this amazing band. You should also have a listen to all of the 2016 “The New Shit” names: The Ritual, Iotunn, Silhouette, Bæst, Dreich and Svartmálm (FO). Fantastic bands in a wide range of sub-genres; from hard rock to black metal!
Any last words?
Support your local scene! Even if you don’t know the band. Go to the show and listen to the bands! It’s fucking important!
Thanks goes out to Søren for taking the time to answer my questions. Check out Blastbeast’s curated playlist below, containing a mixture of old school classics, tunes from more contemporary bands, as well as the sounds of the next generation of Danish metal!
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