Bombus

support Sons Of Death Valley
author AP date 14/11/14 venue Beta, Copenhagen, DEN

Bombus cut an impressive figure at the prestigious Roskilde Festival this past summer, and so with this now the fourth time the Swedish metal eclecticists are playing in Copenhagen or nearby in just two years, it strikes me as baffling that tonight’s festivities are not sold out. A sizeable audience has found its way to Beta to be sure, but as I proceed with DJ:ing, the venue is certainly not bustling in the way it should be given the critical acclaim by which Bombus’ sophomore album ”The Poet and the Parrot” was met. No matter - it’s Friday, people are in high spirits, and the evening’s opening act is about to commence the live music.

Photos courtesy of yours truly, with editing by Philip B. Hansen

Sons Of Death Valley

Although the Copenhagen based Sons of Death Valley were selected for the support slot in haste via a last-minute competition, signs of unpreparedness are nowhere to be seen. True enough the bassist is missing; he was hurt earlier in the day, and is unable to stand up, we are told. But what the group thus lack in low end depth, they more than acceptably compensate for with a performance so explosive you wouldn’t believe they’ve only just released their debut album ”The Day of Reckoning” this year. Vocalist Dan Christensen carries himself with the same sort of ferocity fans of Cancer Bats are accustomed to witnessing from Liam Cormier; gesticulating, waving a megaphone, and throwing himself around the stage like a man hellbent on proving the Sons are worthy of mention among the elite of Danish live bands already now. His compatriots on the two guitars & drums do their part as well, in shaping the Sons’ ferocious performance, perfectly balanced between quality of song and live personality.

The music of Sons of Death Valley comes with riffs galore, seasoned with thick streaks of bluesy Southern flavour to the point where not a single song passes by without instantly memorable guitar work set against a backdrop of furious percussion. The palm muted, Maylene & the Sons of Disaster style riff at the beginning of “Making My Way Back” in particular strikes a chord with me, and as I behold the energy unfolding before my eyes, it’s hard to place a finger on anything the Sons do that they do not pull off in truly convincing manner. It’s genuinely refreshing to find that with the demise of a band like The Psyke Project, the Danish music scene still boasts bands capable of pulling off such violently entertaining live sets.

8

Bombus

Bombus of course are a somewhat more reserved lot, which suites the dark melancholy of their music just fine. Mind you, this quartet is not reserved by any measure; their performance should simply be assessed by a different set of parameters than the Sons of Death Valley just before. Bombus look appropriately severe, and spare none of their passion, much of which manifests itself through the heartfelt handling of the respective instruments, and not least the booming delivery of tracks like the magnificent, Mastodon-esque “Master the Reality” and the following “Let Her Die”. There’s so much detail to devour in the band’s music that the undeniable fact of their static performance is easily forgotten - especially as the unforgettable bridge in “A Safe Passage” rolls out.

Bombus master the art of creating contrasts, the countless juxtapositions between Motörhead style metal’n’roll pummel, brooding doom and sludge executed with a nonchalance bordering on the arrogant. These boys know they’re good, and they know they’re onto something - a fact to which the frightening consistency of the material that comprises “The Poet and the Parrot” bore strong witness. In the live setting, however, Bombus do have some work to carry out, as the subtle head banging and occasional toting of instruments in no way lives up to the burning passion audible in every note played for that album. During a track like “Biblical” it’s easy to opt for the bar as its droning nature is only accentuated by a similarly lethargic demeanour. Yet when “Into the Fire” erupts in the encore, the ecstasy which the audience has been expressing for much of the night is reanimated once more.

People seem unquestionably to be into Bombus here, yet as a critic I feel it is my duty to look past the beer fuelled Friday night fun and see the performance for what it is. Bombus carry out their duty in convincing, and at times intoxicating fashion (including the new bassist), but in order to ascend to the next level, they must also push their live personalities to another dimension.

7

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