PREVIEW: Copenhell 2016

author PP date 18/06/16

The gates of hell are about to open next week as they have done annually since 2010 for the first ever sold out edition of Copenhell. With all 17.000 tickets sold out a full month in advance is an impressive achievement for a six-year-old festival, especially in light of the heavy music it promotes, and its clash with Tinderbox Festival, and Roskilde Festival opening weekend. A well deserved AOK nomination and eventual winner of the 'Best Music Experience in Copenhagen 2016'.

Whether you're a seasoned Copenhell veteran or this is your first year at the festival, your fingers are likely itching to for the irresistible combination of beer and rock/metal that the festival offers, not to even mention the wide array of metal sub-culture that's 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 Swing a sledgehammer at office equipment and abandoned cars at Smadreland (Destruction land) with an extreme metal DJ on the background, 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 Tuesday, June 21st or Wednesday, June 22nd, both 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, schnapps, fire, thunder, explosions, and the best that this summer's metal and rock tours have to offer next week.

MUST SEE: Bands

A total of 41 artists are playing at this year's Copenhell - almost all of them a solid booking provided you're into the particular rock/metal subgenre - so here we've focused on the unique live experiences that you absolutely shouldn't miss this year:

  • Black Sabbath - the legends may never play again and are the biggest band to have played Copenhell yet.
  • Scorpions - as Jeppe Nissen said in his interview, they've been around for half a century so who knows how long the cheese-fest lasts?
  • Alice Cooper - because "School's Out" is something you'll want to be singing along late night after way too many beers.
  • Dropkick Murphys - the token punk band this year is at least one with bagpipes and ridiculously catchy Celtic tunes suitable for sing alongs with beers in hand.
  • Amon Amarth - Last time they brought a Viking ship with them on stage. Just saying.
  • Clawfinger - because there has to be a Body Count type of a ridiculous band every year on your menu.
  • Tremonti - the Alter Bridge guitarist's solo project is pure bliss.
  • Sólstafir - these Icelanders are unmatched for their atmospheric music.
  • Norma Jean - criminally underrated but one of the absolutely best metalcore bands around. Think Deftones meets Botch.
  • Kadavar - heritage retro rock at its best from Germany. This is what's in right now.
  • Defecto - the new hope of Danish heavy/progressive metal with rave reviews of their debut album.

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.

Map of the festival area. Click for full size.

Asgaard

The Viking-themed area Asgaard is returning for the fourth 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

The Biergarten tent has always been huge, but this year it has been doubled in size. The usual slew of activities return: 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 Saturday between 15:00 and 17:00.

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 teams compete against each other for maximum damage, but the area is also available for more casual smashing. If you can call it that.

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. 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 - we tried it last year.

Warpigs

Some call it overpriced and Kødbyen-hip, but Warpigs does deliver some excellent BBQ. Their booth will be at Copenhell for the first time this year.

Copenhell Schnapps

Long Slim chilis among other ingredients have been used in a Viking-themed, limited edition Copenhell Schnapps, fermented by Aalborg Akvavit in collaboration of the festival. Find it at the wooden church in the middle of the festival area.

Styx

A brand new area in Copenhell that has opened up to the right of Hades with metal inspired art exhibitions and much more. Should be interesting.

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.

TUESDAY/WEDNESDAY - JUNE 21st/22nd

  • 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 Sunless Dawn on Tuesday, or Riverhead on Wednesday. They'll play on the outdoor stage at Pumpehuset. For free.

THURSDAY - JUNE 23rd

  • 12:00 - Take the shuttle from Christianshavn St. to Copenhell, or bike to Refshaleøen.
  • 12:30 - Once you clear the queue, a good idea to get some cash out from the ATMs to avoid queues later
  • 13:00 - Explore the new Styx area to familiarize yourself with the extra route to Pandæmonium stage
  • 13:30 - Defecto's majestic prog metal - the new Danish hope - on Pandæmonium
  • 15:00 - A demonstration of strength in power metal: Blind Guardian on Hades.
  • 16:15 - Celtic tunes, dancing, and shipping out to Boston on main stage with Dropkick Murphys
  • 17:25 - Make excruciating choice between Norma Jean or August Burns Red
  • 17:30 - ...find yourself at Norma Jean because their songs sound much sadder
  • 19:15 - SCHOOL'S OUT---FOR---SUMMER @ Main Stage (Alice Cooper)
  • 20:30 - All hail Kurt Ballou & Jabon Bannon. Catch 30 minutes of hardcore legends Converge, but don't expect as intense of a show as in club environments.
  • 21:00 - ...which is why you're now either at Biergarten or watching the Mötley Crüe relic Nikki Sixx and his unit Sixx:AM playing American Rock Music(tm)
  • 22:15 - Load up on Jäger shots and beers, turn off brain
  • 22:30 - Scorpions. ROCK YOU LIKE A HURRICANE!
  • 00:15 - World's loudest silent film: Gutterdämmerung on Hades. Alternatively Biergarten until lights out
  • ??:?? - Go home/tent.

FRIDAY - JUNE 24th

  • 11:00 - Wake up with a monster hangover from the night before.
  • 12:00 - Scout out the happy hour and stock up on ½ price beer.
  • 13:15 - The atmospheric melodies of Sólstafir are as back chilling as they are captivating on Hades.
  • 14:00 - DJENT TIME: Monuments give a display of the hottest trend within -core right now.
  • 14:30 - Horse Team Extreme vs. Ketamine at Smadreland for Danish Championships in Destruction.
  • 15:00 - I bet you never thought a Creed member would be playing Copenhell. Tremonti's uplifting progressive melodies are in huge contrast with the metallic program today.
  • 15:45 - Remember crabcore? Attack Attack! frontman Caleb Shomo's new band Beartooth offers a considerably more varied post-hardcore experience.
  • 16:30 - Where's your Viking drinking horn at? Up the irons and unleash your inner Thor together with Amon Amarth. Being a Viking was never as awesome as this.
  • 17:45 - Realize you've consumed all of your happy hour beers. Check out the much-expanded Tutten beer tent and what it has to offer.
  • 18:15 - Look at the clock and notice there's gothic metal on. Depending on level of drunk go see Epica for lulz, and continue to Entombed A.D. for a rollicking death'n'roll experience.
  • 19:45 - Dave Mustaine will give an exhibition in fretwork mastery on the main stage (Megadeth)
  • 21:00 - Turn clock back a few decades and enjoy a true 70s resurrectionist experience with Kadavar
  • 22:15 - Audiovisual experience @ Pandæmonium courtesy of Redwood Hill. The light show and eerie smoke effects at least as important as the brooding music itself.
  • 23:00 - King Diamond playing 1987 classic "Abigail" in its entirety, promising their most ambitious and dramatic horror production to date. Wave your Danish flag and brag to international guests how much better "Abigail" is than their scene's entire collective output together.
  • 00:30 - Wonder how you are still alive.
  • 00:45 - Black metal was always designed to be played after midnight (Abbath).
  • ??:?? - You're home but no idea how. Also unsure if you saw Artillery or Biergarten.

SATURDAY - JUNE 25th

  • 11:00 - Wake up with a monster hangover from the night before.
  • 12:00 - Back at the festival site. Better scout out the happy hour to cure your hangover.
  • 12:45 - Grab Gorm's pizza to help with the above.
  • 13:15 - Consider the critically acclaimed blackened death metal of Tribulation early on.
  • 14:00 - Our friends at Blastbeast love Grusom. Let's see if they're right.
  • 15:00 - Fresh off support slots for AC/DC and Slayer, Helhorse's premiere southern hardcore is the best of its kind in Denmark.
  • 15:45 - Bombus is an excellent hybrid between Mastodon, Kvelertak, and Sabbath.
  • 16:15 - Just like yesterday: brains off, load up on beers and Jäger.
  • 16:30 - Clawfinger. The only band I'm aware of with a song called "N*****" - rap metal at its stupidest.
  • 17:30 - Biergarten time.
  • 18:15 - If you're beered up enough, Shinedown's Nickelback style post-grunge is an echo of 2001 on Hades.
  • 19:45 - Arguably the best vocalist at this year's Copenhell is Rival Sons singer Jay Buchanan, whose Led Zeppelin wail is as authentic as it is impressive
  • 21:00 - Choice between Danish rock'n'rollers Bersærk or Biergarten.
  • 22:15 - 5 million+ views on a black metal video on YouTube. It doesn't get more evil than Dark Funeral
  • 23:00 - The Original Metal Band on the main stage. Expect the biggest audience Copenhell has seen to date for Black Sabbath. Find your friends early.
  • 00:45 - Go to Biergarten because Red Warszawa is neither funny nor good, having earned multiple 0/10 ratings from this magazine in the past.
  • 01:30 - You're still standing? Well done! Bömbers will be performing a Motörhead tribute set.
  • ??:?? - Home and prepare to leave for Roskilde Festival. FML.

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 what you should do at this year's festival:

"See some black metal by Dark Funeral, some rock by Kadavar, some young stuff by Beartooth or Norma Jean, go to some Viking metal with Amon Amarth, make love to Scorpions, and end up with Black Sabbath. See the exhibitions. Peter Beste’s battle vest exhibition is absolutely amazing. Go Smadreland and break shit. Go to the top of the hill, stand at the absolute top, and then look over the site, and look over Copenhagen. It’s a fucking beautiful site. And the wolf, they won’t miss the wolf. Meat. There’ll be plenty of it. But if they’re vegetarian, there’ll room for them as well. Drink beer. Beer and metal is a match made in heaven. Go also to the cocktail bars. Aalborg Akvavit will have a bar in the church, so you can actually go to the church and have a shot of Snaps.

2014 promo video gives you an excellent idea of what to expect at Copenhell

See you there. Stay tuned for our extensive in-depth review article following the festival. PP

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