PREVIEW: Copenhell 2015

author PP date 14/06/15

The gates of hell are about to open next week as they have done annually since 2010. In just a few short years COPENHELL have grown into a dominant player in the European metal festival circuit with an overall theme that's quite possibly the most unique out of all of them. Every aspect of metal sub-culture is thoroughly celebrated on the festival, manifesting in ways that would appear inconceivable in other events also revolving around the rock and metal scenes.

Where else can you buy Absindssyg (In English: Absinsane), a 66.6% proof Absinthe smoked with real Nordic wolf's blood, or swing a sledgehammer at office equipment and abandoned cars at Smadreland (Destruction land) or try an ancient Viking bath among others things at Asgaard? Indeed, the added elements result in an atmosphere that's as celebratory as it is community-based regarding the metal scene, a true be there or be square moment for metal fans within Denmark and beyond.

This article takes a quick look at the MUST TRY/SEE's at the festival, highlighting everything you need to know prior to picking up your ticket on Wednesday June 17th at Pumpehuset if you don't fancy waiting in a lengthy line on Thursday when the gates open.

So let us all look forward to three days and nights drenched in beer, absinthe, fire, thunder, explosions, and the best that this summer's metal and rock tours have to offer next week.

MUST SEE: Bands

While there are tonnes of great artists among the 45 artists booked to play at this year's Copenhell, these are the ones you should not miss out on. Headliners Slipknot for their incredible scene show, which enjoys an average rating of 8.9/10 in our previous reviews. Rise Against to see how this generation's Bad Religion handle an arena stage size crowd full of metal heads. Ghost for the ridiculous cult outfits and masks, not to mention their highly unconventional approach to heavy music. Primordial for their atmospheric black metal that has approached perfection on their last two albums(9.5/10 and 10/10 on this site). It will be their first ever show in Denmark. Body Count for an example of nu-metal done right: gangsta rappers playing heavy metal, absolutely hilarious tongue-in-cheek lyrics, what's not to like? Hammerfall for the best in power metal from our neighboring Sweden. Red Fang for beer-fueled headbang rage done Southern redneck style. At The Gates for pioneering melodeath masters finally playing in front of a proper metal crowd, plus they are playing new material for the first time since the 90s in Denmark. Ensiferum for the very best in symphonic folk metal. Marduk for the most evil-looking and satanic band at this year's lineup. Their black metal expression is a monumental display of power each time. Code Orange for one of the most hyped experimental hardcore bands of the last year. Shit doesn't get much more twisted than this. Raunchy for arguably the catchiest metal band in Denmark. I mean how good was last year's "Vices.Virtues.Visions"? Butcher Babies for two porn stars playing metal. Clearly not designed for genre purists. Solbrud for Denmark's undeniably best black metal band. Those atmospherics, damn. Life Of Agony to judge how front man Keith Caputo's transformation into a woman, Mina Caputo, will play into their classic 90s grunge rock sound.

Slipknot on why you should come to Copenhell

But don't take just our word for it. We had a brief chat with COPENHELL founder and chief booker Jeppe Nissen for his favorites (in no particular order) and recommendations for you to see:

  • Body Count
  • Iron Regan
  • Bloodbath
  • Primus
  • Kreator
  • Ghost
  • Slipknot
  • Night Fever

As Jeppe bluntly puts it, "Shit it's good."

MUST TRY: Experiences @ Copenhell

While the musical entertainment is of course in the spotlight at Copenhell, we shouldn't forget that in the vein of other predominantly Danish festivals, Copenhell is designed to be a more than music type of an experience, to quote the classic Roskilde Festival marketing slogan. That's why the ultimate Copenhell experience doesn't stop just at stage hopping between the two main stages and the smaller Pandæmonium stage behind them. Sticking to a tr00 metal atmosphere with plenty of tongue-in-cheek humour mixed in, plenty of cool things await the curious mind in between beer breaks.

Asgaard

The Viking themed area Asgaard is returning for the third year in a row. Previously, the area has offered traditional Viking food prepared in true middle ages style, a classic Viking bath facility, and possibility to try ancient weaponry ranging from an ax to different type of swords, usually on iceberg cabbages swinging around a pole. Very authentic experience, as long as you don't take it too seriously.

Biergarten

This massive tent is where many extracurricular activities take place: Openhell Metal Karaoke, a headbanging contest and the wrestling show are among opportunities here. It's basically an enormous Oktoberfest style tent with a huge bar and space for pretty much the entire festival to sit down and have a relaxing beer. This is of course while all of the best metal DJs in Denmark take turns in playing the best in classic hits and freshest new music within rock and metal, including our very own Aleksi 'AP' Pertola, who will be turning the knobs on Friday between 18:00 and 20:00.

Map of the festival area. Click for full size.

Smadreland

Ever gotten angry at your old printer just before your exam was due? Experienced road rage? Listened to Hatebreed's "Destroy Everything" and wished you had a sledgehammer available? Well, the Smadreland area is designed for just that. You are given gloves and eye protection, and after that the choice of weapon is yours. Everything inside the area can be smashed into a thousand pieces. That includes cars, office equipment, and much more. This year, they're hosting a Danish championship in destruction where four teams compete against each other for maximum damage.

Smoke'N'Hell Premium

When you're on the third day of beer straight, you might want to drink something else. Or maybe you just want to relax for a while and have a sit down in cozy surroundings. Smoke'N'Hell is a new addition to the festival this year which caters exactly for that feeling. The owner of Vin Whiskey Røg, a whisky bar in Copenhagen, has virtually moved his entire bar, including decoration, to the festival site. Look forward to classic premium offerings like Havana Club Selección de Maestros, Olmeca Altos Reposado and Diplomático on the rum side, Midleton Very Rare, The Glenlivet Nádurra 16 Year Old, Royal Salute 21 Year Old , Peat Monster, Nikka on the whiskey side, alongside plenty other options. There's wine and champagne on the menu too, as well as fine cigars. The owner recommends using minimum 30 minutes to explore the offering and interior decor.

Sort Kro

Food quality at any festival is always a question mark. If you grow tired of the standard festival food, you ought to pre-order a table at Sort Kro (email: sortkro@gmail.com). It's basically a fine dining restaurant with a metal twist: black tablecloths complete a menu featuring luxurious tenderloin with schnapps, steak with 'bleeding onions', and much more. Delicious.

Absindssyg

Smoked with a real Nordic wolf’s blood and distilled from the finest Geranium gin to a 66.6% ABV, this brand of Absinth might just be the most metal thing you'll ever have digested. Sold at the liquor bars.

Our Suggestion: Your Copenhell Experience

There's a lot to see and do at Copenhell every year. It requires lots and lots of planning and effort, so we're going to make it easier for you. Check this out for our suggestion on a schedule.

WEDNESDAY - JUNE 17th

  • 15:00-17:00 - Meet up after work/studies at Pumpehuset's outdoor terrace, and exchange your ticket into the wristband to avoid the massive queue outside the gates of hell on Thursday.
  • 18:00 - Stick around to watch WEAK, a newly formed, blackened hardcore / noise unit from Copenhagen. They'll play on the outdoor stage. For free.

Last year's promo video to give you an idea of what to expect at Copenhell

THURSDAY - JUNE 18th

  • 15:30 - Take the shuttle from Christianshavn St. to Copenhell, or bike to Refshaleøen.
  • 16:15 - Catch a brief glimpse at Danish metallers Konkhra while withdrawing cash from the ATM near this stage (skip the lines later!)
  • 16:30 - Head out to Hades, the smaller of the main stages to catch Life Of Agony
  • 17:30 - A Day To Remember on main stage Helviti. There's only two ways this will go down: either it will be awful because they simply can't sing like that live, or fan-fucking-tastic for once.
  • 18:00 - Two porn stars playing metal. Even though they've covered up since their raucous early days, Butcher Babies should be quite a sight nonetheless.
  • 19:00 - Grab some food (Sort Kro reservation perhaps?) and head over to Hades to watch Cannibal Corpse.
  • 20:00 - DO NOT MISS BODY COUNT. You can thank me later.
  • 21:00 - Time for beers at Tutten next to Hades / go watch 80s hardcore in company of Suicidal Tendencies.
  • 22:30 - Even if Slipknot is too mainstream for you musically, their live show is absolutely in-fucking-credible. Lots of fire and explosions, a spinning drum kit, and many more gimmicks are why they are headlining the festival.
  • 00:15 - Everyone is raving about Night Fever in Copenhagen. Their energy is relentless.
  • 01:00 - Biergarten time.
  • ??:?? - Go home/tent.

FRIDAY - JUNE 19th

  • 10:00 - Wake up with a monster hangover from the night before.
  • 11:00 - Happy hour at the bar. Maybe try an Absindssyg to kick start the day.
  • 11:45 - Cure the hangover with a Viking bath at Asgaard. Maybe try some swords.
  • 12:45 - SEA are one of the better new rock bands from Denmark.
  • 13:30 - Go have some fun at Smadreland.
  • 15:30 - Ensiferum playing majestic folk metal that'll get you dancing on Hades.
  • 16:30 - Black Stone Cherry showcase how classic rock'n'roll is done.
  • 18:00 - At The Gates were arguably the first melodic death metal band. "Slaughter Of The Soul" is a timeless metal classic. If that's not your thing, AP is DJing at Biergarten.
  • 19:00 - Punk rock on the main stage, courtesy of Rise Against.
  • 20:00 - Code Orange will twist you with an experimental approach to hardcore on the smallest stage.
  • 20:30 - Arguably the best metal band in the last few years, Primordial on Hades.
  • 23:00 - Biggest clash of the festival. Redneck rock from Red Fang or brooding atmospherics by Solbrud
  • 00:00 - Primus is this year's Twisted Sister. Alternatively: Biergarten.

Royal Beer invited some Copenhell fans for a pre-Copenhell party a few weeks ago

SATURDAY - JUNE 20th

  • 12:00 - Wake up late to catch up on sleep deprivation.
  • 13:30 - Go relax at Smoke'N'Hell Premium. Sample some whiskeys before you are too drunk to taste any differences.
  • 16:30 - Things don't get more cheesy than Hammerfall's power metal.
  • 18:00 - Emo/Screamo group Asking Alexandria at a metal festival. What? Reception should be interesting.
  • 19:00 - Gojira - France's finest in djent & death metal on main stage.
  • 20:00 - Raunchy playing catchiest pop metal you'll come across at Pandæmonium
  • 22:30 - Panzer division Marduk decimates your soul on Pandæmonium.
  • 00:00 - Ghost playing their haunting style at an appropriate hour.
  • 01:00 - Time to go home. Red Warszawa is the epitome of stupidity anyway.

That's pretty much it folks. Hope you're as excited as we are. Let's close it off with a remark from Copenhell founder Jeppe Nissen on why you should take part in this year's festival:

New bars, old friends and the same amazing COPENHELL Vibe! All the music you can dream of...oh and lots of fire! Come get it, it will be massive. Most importantly, see and feel the atmosphere, and the really special vibe at COPENHELL. For me, that's a kick and totally unique. I have attended many many festivals, and this one is really special.

Forecast, courtesy of Copenhell

See you there. Stay tuned for our extensive in-depth review article next week. PP

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