PREVIEW: Copenhell 2022

author PP date 14/06/22

Are you attending Copenhell? Did you know it is colloquially referred to as the best metal theme park in the world? What about the lineup? With so many known and unknown bands on offer, what should you make an extra effort to watch? What happens in the Biergarten? What about the food? What else is there to do?

The answers to all of those questions and much more are in this article - our non-comprehensive guide to Copenhell 2022. Take it from those of us in the know who have been attending ever since the birth of the festival and have watched it change, adding new areas, bigger stages, and more varied lineups over the years. This is going to be your summer party anno 2022, guaranteed to make you come back with amazing memories and countless new friends and acquaintances met over the next four days.

We’re under a day away from the grand opening, so if you’re reading this on a train/ferry/car (but not on the driver’s seat!) / hiking trip towards the festival, it’s the perfect start to what you should be looking forward to as compiled by our magazine’s writers.

THINGS TO DO, DRINK & EAT

Copenhell has grown so much that listing it all here would be an impossible task. From the impromptu marching bands traversing the festival site to the themed areas spread across the festival site, there’s just so much to describe here. Therefore, one of the most important things to remember is to simply take a break from the bands, wander into a zone of the festival, have a few drinks, and enjoy your surroundings to take it all in. It’s too easy to simply shift from stage to stage watching every single band play thanks to the great scheduling at Copenhell. But given the theme park nature of the festival, do yourself a favor and try out some of the following things on offer:

  • Visiting the Biergarten is a must, especially during one of the rowdy Openhell live band karaoke events. Rumour has it members of Metallica might be making an appearance there on the festival’s first day…
  • Smadreland is another Copenhell staple. What could be more cleansing than wielding heavy manual weaponry, and slicing and smashing cars, household machinery, etc. into smithereens?
  • For the first time this year, the festival is hosting the Copenhell Con dedicated to geek culture. As well as a comic area attended by some of Denmark’s leading comic book artists, it will feature immersive and interactive performances on its Fantasy stage, horror film screenings, board games, as well as its own sci-fi-themed bar.
  • There are a number of other interesting happenings around the festival area during the weekend that require separate tickets, too. For instance, a traditional Swedish crayfish feast taking place at Tutten Bodega on the Friday from 14:30 to 16:00 (tickets here), rum and whisky tastings (tickets here and here), and - if you are the lucky owner of an RIP wristband, there is even a fine dining and liquid alchemy experience called Sacrificial Ceremony taking place in the RIP area’s own restaurant each day (tickets here).
  • Be sure to also visit the special Viking area situated in a small forest within the festival area for a taste of Viking cuisine (including mead!) and culture.
  • Try the various beers specially brewed for Copenhell, such as Tuborg’s 7.5% abv “Fine Festival" strong pilsner, and the “Blodrod" red lager brewed with bloodroots, available at the Brooklyn Brewery bar.
  • Try different foods from the vast assortment of eateries: I personally recommend Gaza Grill’s Palestinian specialties; Tommis Burger Joint for delectable, juicy burgers and fries; Smokestack-BBQ for slowly smoked, Texan barbecue specialties; Big Easy Woodoo Kitchen for NOLA-style gumbo, corn ribs and even oysters; and of course the legendary Fucking Sprød Svin serving whole roasted suckling pig. And when darkness falls, Grill ‘Em All provides the perfect night food: huge, gourmet sausages with bread and all the garnishes.
  • Check out the new Monster Energy area - they will have an extreme sports event with motocross tricks and much more going on.

"MUST SEE" RECOMMENDATIONS

The following is a constellation of bands we’ve hand-picked from the lineup which you should see for a multitude of different reasons. Check them out and post your recommendations in our comments section.

Wargasm @ 13:45 Wednesday on Hades

One of the more “out there" additions to the lineup this year, Wargasm is opening the whole festival this Wednesday. I am almost certain this will be added to the list of controversial bands over the years that have sparked debates about Copenhell not being “real metal" anymore but I couldn’t care less. Harkening back to 90s electropunk titans The Prodigy with metalcore and nu-metal and added to the mix and an over-abundance of attitude, this should be a party to set off the festival just right. KW

LLNN @ 15:15 Wednesday on Gehenna

If you have not experienced one of the most unrelentingly heavy bands in Denmark, do yourself a favor and head to Gehenna Wednesday. Their brand of sci-fi horror post-metal is dark and unforgiving - which will be interesting to see played on a, hopefully, sunny afternoon. Whether or not the intended atmosphere translates well in such a setting is to be seen but the rumbling heaviness is a guarantee. KW

VOLA @ 16:45 Wednesday on Pandæmonium

With three studio albums and three EPs already on their belt, this Danish-Swedish progressive metal band has been making waves for a while now, but their latest offering “Witness" from 2021 drew international attention and transformed the quartet into a force to reckon with. Although bizarrely, I am yet to see the group live, word has it that their concerts are just as spectacular as their djent-inspired compositions. AP

Soen @ 23:45 Wednesday on Gehenna

Soen has grown a lot since their initial days of leaning perhaps a little too heavily into Tool territory to stand out for themselves, but the last couple of records have only become more and more powerful and distinct while still maintaining some clear nods to the likes of Opeth and Tool. I hope the same can be said for my first time watching them. KW

KoRn @ 16:00 Thursday on Helvíti

Despite having been around for decades, the nu-metal pioneers are renowned for their consistency in a live environment. Aside from their 90s songs you might still remember, their output since has been solid. Plus there’s something feel-good awesome about hearing quality nu-metal in 2022. PP

Knocked Loose @ 17:30 Thursday on Pandemonium

As long as the thought of a genuinely violent moshpit full of two-stepping, slam-dancing maniacs do not scare you, I suggest hauling your arse to the Pandæmonium stage on Thursday and, as the younglings say: get rekt. This Kentucky five-piece is famously unhinged on stage, and their music is about as brutal, dark, and deranged as metallic hardcore gets. AP

Blood Incantation @ 18:30 Thursday on Gehenna

Death metal has long been one of the last vestiges for people who abhor the post- prefix. But a growing number of new bands have been reinventing the palette in recent years, writhing its signature style into ever stranger, psychedelic forms as fascinating as they are terrifying. One of these artists is Blood Incantation, who have no patience for conformity; part of their latest full-length album “Hidden History of the Human Race" was literally written while the four musicians were tripping on acid, and the result is an accordingly bizarre concoction of astral, progressive, ultra-technical, meditative brutalism. AP

Down @ 21:00 Thursday on Hades

Phil Anselmo’s reputation might not be the most positively charged in these politically correct days, but if you saw the might and muscle that was on display at Copenhell the last time they played here, you’ll remember that all such thoughts went straight out the window as we were spellbound by his masterful control of the audience. And then there are those awe-inspiring riffs that should invoke jealousy in most bands heavier than them on paper. Sludgy, southern, and dirty all the way through. PP

Devin Townsend @ 00:30 Thursday on Hades

The enigmatic mind of Devin Townsend returns to Denmark once more. Townsend prides himself on exploring several different genres apart from his usual progressive metal antics throughout his career, but I wouldn’t mind if we got a particularly heavy setlist, considering the type of festival he is playing. Perhaps a couple of Strapping Young Lad songs to break your neck to? Yes, please. KW

Bad Religion @ 14:00 Friday on Helvíti

You’ve probably seen them before. They’re great at festivals. So many great songs in their back catalogue. Who knows how long they’ll keep playing. Plus I know you’ll want to sing along to "There will be… SORRROOOOW" together with everyone else, at least one more time. PP

Alestorm @ 16:30 Friday on Helvíti

A giant inflatable duck, horse heads, rum-laden folk metal songs about the high seas and pirates? Their last show at Copenhell was arguably one of the best that year, if not the best outright. Prepare for a hell of a party that’ll get you loaded for the rest of the night in great spirits.PP

Spiritbox @ 21:00 Friday on Pandæmonium

Spiritbox has created quite a name for itself in a relatively short amount of time and seems to only just be getting started. With a powerhouse vocalist in Courtney LaPlante, who can both sing somberly and growl your head clean off, backed by a groovy modern metalcore sound, the band is sure to go right into the hearts of people who both like it heavy and catchy such as me. KW

Emperor @ 21:30 Friday on Hades

Despite their inception nearly three decades ago in 1991, this highly influential Norwegian black metal ensemble, led by the visionary multi-instrumentalist Ihsahn, has never played a concert on Danish soil until now. What other reason do you need to be convinced into watching them? Oh, go on then… Listen to the masterpieces that are their 1994 début “In the Nightside Eclipse" and its successor, 1997’s “Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk", and then come and tell me this is not just a must-see, but THE must-see performance at Copenhell this year. AP

Dog Eat Dog @ 23:30 Saturday on Pandæmonium

I once saw Dog Eat Dog by accident at a festival. It felt like they had twelve vocalists, a saxophone, and an incredible amount of chants for their own band. It’s like a hip-hop festival entered a metal realm, except with jazzy interludes. I spent their whole set going WTF and you will too. One of the most unique bands playing at this year’s festival. PP

ORM @ 01:15 Saturday on Pandæmonium

The honour of concluding this year’s festivities has befallen the Danish mystics of ORM, whose 01:15 a.m. slot provides the perfect setting for what is certain to be an evocative and ritualistic performance. And as if their two studio albums, 2017’s “Orm" and 2020’s “Ir" weren’t going to suffice on their own, the four musicians have promised to debut brand new songs during their late night mass. Stay awake, stay sober(ish), and do not miss their atmospheric black metal grandeur. AP

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