Reise reise! Wo soll die Reise gehen?

By the opening words, you’d think Germany, right? FALSE! I made a stop in Copenhagen, attending the yearly underground metal showcase “The New Shit”, which aims at shedding light on interesting upcoming bands circling the Danish metal underground. The event is organized by the two enthusiasts Søren Weiss Kristiansen and Alexander Kolby, collectively making up the metal blog Blastbeast.dk and they’ve been at it since 2012. It’s a concept that most likely is here to stay.

On a Saturday evening, within the walls of Pumpehuset, six bands worked out their individual formulae in a classic and intimate venue with the obligatory thundering dj’ing between the sets. Ticket presales arrived at around 130, eventually leading to a sold-out event (max capacity around 300 people). It spells success does it not? Hip hip! All pics shot by Jannie Ravn Madsen.

Last addition to the line-up, retro-rockers Silhouette gave the event a nice kickoff.  Fueled by riffs both brooding and ballsy, lap steel guitar and a rocking Hammond organ, it was the ideal take off for the showcase. Imagine a more riff based and bluesy version of the Swedish occult rock band Ghost and you’re halfway there. Smooth and catchy stuff.

Silhouette – Photo credit: Jannie Ravn Madsen

The contrast was deeply felt when the multinational formation of Dreich took the stage. Nasty, monolithic, slow, fast, dirge-ridden, the different sounds all packed a hostile punch, almost sounding like concrete buildings collapsing. Blackened sludge with some truly raspy vocals, utterly discomforting in atmosphere (that’s a compliment), heavy as a really… heavy thing (pun intended). My inner extreme metal devotee was indeed satisfied!

Back to lighter and catchier sounds. I had made myself familiar with the sounds of The Ritual before going to see their live show. A great frontman, some rocking and engaging songs and the band’s very own shamanistic, indian like chants was a safe recipe to winning the crowd over and boost the atmosphere at the venue. Arguably the people at the front acted almost as if backing singers in the band. Good vibrations all around. Bravo!

The Ritual – Photo credit: Jannie Ravn Madsen

The sound mix had been exceptionally well balanced during the first three performances. From my perspective, Iotunn’s set was marked by a chaotic, muffled sound for most of the time. Add to that the bold move in playing new tracks, including the lengthy “A Dreamer’s Demise” (which showed great potential when not plagued by said sound mix), I somehow felt a bit lost. However, things picked up towards the end with the scorching classic “Frost”. These guys are full of inspiration when it comes to songwriting and the instrumentation is advanced to say the least. Not quite the same experience I got from their performance at Stengade last year, but still a band to watch out for.

Århus premier wrecking crew Baest are reminiscent of a pack of hellhounds let loose to inflict carnage. The band’s amalgamation of U.S. and Scandinavian death metal reached grinding levels in delivery with a suitable insane soundwall crowned by the equally maddened frontman Simon Olsen’s intense stage presence. In short: great live band! Go see them if you get the chance!

There was a covert angle to my visitation; wanting to catch a Svartmálm performance outside the Faroe Islands, since I missed them at Wacken last summer. Having only existed for a year or so, the band’s selective gigs have been evenly distributed home and abroad. Tonight’s performance reaffirmed my confidence is this potent spell of Faroese black metal. The audience seemed to be entranced by the ritualistic/ceremonial approach moving from doomier parts to faster, blasting eruptions and droning interludes. Absorbed in red light and appearing as hooded mystics, the visual aspect is a sight to behold, strong aesthetics at work.

Svartmálm – Photo credit: Jannie Ravn Madsen

Applause the guys at Blastbeast.dk (check their page) and keep up the good work in supporting the underground and connecting the various players, be it media, labels, shambolic bloggers like myself, etc. That’s as much of an epilogue I’ll write this time! I had a ball and got so see some killer bands that’ll hopefully continue to develop their sound. To rephrase a certain album title: THERE’S SOMETHING FRESH IN THE STATE OF DENMARK!

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