Avenged Sevenfold

support Disturbed + Chevelle
author PP date 04/03/17 venue Royal Arena, Copenhagen, DEN

Avenged Sevenfold's meteoric rise from a hyped metalcore band to superstardom as a premiere arena metal band has been an interesting one to watch. From critically acclaimed albums to basically a boy band with guitars and back again, their latest material has the potential to grow into one of those career defining moments we'll be looking back on five or six years from now. The original concert was intended for Valby Hallen but was rapidly sold out, prompting Live Nation to upgrade the show to the newest venue in town, Royal Arena. The full arena wasn't in use like for Metallica, though, with the upper sections gardened off for a stylish, smaller version of the arena that was packed to its limits.

Chevelle

Chevelle

Twenty-two years and eight albums later, Chevelle finally appears in Denmark for the first time ever, drawing a sizable audience early on eager to relive some of the classics from "Wonder What's Next" and "Vena Sera" among others. Classics, that, unfortunately, were nowhere to be heard tonight, replaced by some of the more heavier and lesser known material from their back catalogue, possibly to cater for a more metallic audience than usual. Alas, the band's sound is crunchy and heavy, recalling the early 2000s nu-metal wave with a crushing, bass-heavy soundscape that sees both guitarist Pete Loeffler and bassist Dean Bernardini thrashing around the stage and jumping around with convincing energy. When the nostalgic melodies arrive, such as on "The Clincher", the band sound epic. These songs have great reach and are made to be played on arenas, thanks to the melancholic, Deftones-inspired style. Sadly, the band spends time on weaker songs that aren't exactly memorable and don't capture the audience in any way. Longtime fans waiting to finally see Chevelle will have been disappointed by this set, and it's unlikely their set convinced any existing Disturbing or A7X fans to join the Chevelle camp. But let's see, Loeffler said they would be back soon. Roskilde Festival, perhaps?

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Setlist:

  • 1. Another Know It All
  • 2. The Clincher
  • 3. An Island
  • 4. Joyride (Omen)
  • 5. Door to Door Cannibals
  • 6. Face to the Floor

Disturbed

Disturbed

Although on paper lined up as a support band to Avenged Sevenfold, Disturbed could just as well have been co-headliners tonight given the crowd response throughout their hour-long set. Even the opening of their set suggests as much: a lone spotlight in an otherwise dark stage points at their guitarist, who plays the "The Eye Of The Storm" before an impressive amount of pyro effects take over the stage during "Immortalized". The moving flamethrowers and constant sight of stuff burning on stage is perfect to distract from the fact that, aside from playing pretty much a fan-favorite setlist ranging from "Prayer", "Liberate", "Stupify", "The Vengeful One", "The Light" and many others, not much is happening on stage. Vocalist David Draiman casually walks back and forth on stage wearing his black trench coat, occasionally visiting the catwalk, but that's about the maximum amount of energy you're getting out of these guys tonight.

Disturbed

The crowd, of course, does their part and delivers thunderous sing-alongs for "Prayer", drown the arena into a sea of waving horns when asked to put them up, and light up the place with phones and lighters for the Simon & Garfunkel cover "The Sound Of Silence". Coupled with the column of burning stakes during "Inside The Fire" and plenty of other fire-related gimmicks, it makes the show bearable. But let's be honest: it's far from good. With no real highlights or peaks, it's a constant vibe of "music for the masses" as Disturbed deliver their dime-a-dozen arena metal songs to an audience that came here exactly for that. Those of us digging deeper than the surface within rock and metal are essentially shaking our heads, while still appreciating the stage show for what it is: gimmicks that mask the fact that there are 10.000 people here listening to nu-metal hits like "Down With The Sickness" without the slightest hint of irony nor nostalgia.

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Setlist:

  • 1. The Eye of the Storm
  • 2. Immortalized
  • 3. The Game
  • 4. The Vengeful One
  • 5. Prayer
  • 6. Liberate
  • 7. The Animal
  • 8. Stupify
  • 9. The Sound of Silence (Simon & Garfunkel cover)
  • 10. Inside the Fire
  • 11. The Light
  • 12. Stricken
  • 13. Indestructible
  • 14. Ten Thousand Fists
  • 15. Down With the Sickness

Avenged Sevenfold

Avenged Sevenfold

Even the most hardened of Avenged Sevenfold fans have to admit that the band looks like fucking douche bags in their contrived outfits: three out of six band members are wearing sunglasses inside, not to mention bandanas and knuckle tattoos. They certainly don't make it easy to like them, prompting yours truly to label them a glorified boy band with guitars three years ago when they last performed in Copenhagen. Tonight, however, they blow most of Royal Arena - minus the Disturbed fans for whom challenging music is a foreign planet - away for two reasons: a completely revitalized and complex soundscape thanks to their career-defining release "The Stage" last year, and a spectacular stage production that rivals Muse's "Drones" tour last year. So let's spend a moment describing that.

Avenged Sevenfold

The stage is essentially a line of video screens, with a giant cube in the middle creating a cool 3D effect and allowing things like stars and planets to look like they are actually moving towards you. The cube isn't static: it moved far into the crowd above the catwalk multiple times, allowing other constructions like a giant floating astronaut to appear behind it. It's a production that underlines the progression of Avenged Sevenfold from up and comers into the big leagues, which is why they choose to open with "The Stage" from the new album. It's an eight and a half minute progressive track that immediately makes it clear that the band has reinvented themselves in a big way. "Afterlife" may have a bigger sing along straight after, but the contrast instrumentally and musically is stark: there shouldn't be any doubt in anyone's minds which one is the better song here. This pattern repeats throughout the first half of the set: "The Stage" songs overwhelm the likes of "Hail To The King", "Buried Alive" and "Nightmare" by their sheer complexity and ambitious soundscapes, which creates a great dynamic of easy sing-alongs versus more challenging material.

Avenged Sevenfold

On stage, it is true that most of the band look like they are on autopilot. When the camera spans on them, they often look too cool for school, with mostly M. Shadows responsible for keeping the audience engaged. With his sunglass and bandana combination, he's constantly hogging the catwalk to get up close to the front rows, delivering his vocals with passion and convincing energy. To be fair, the guitarists do get their fair share of catwalk time, too, but aside from a few cheeky facial expression, there's not much to report home there. Not that it matters: songs like "Paradigm", "God Damn" and "Angels" sound absolutely fantastic live, convincing me once and for all that "The Stage" really is the finest Avenged Sevenfold album to date. Yes, the crowd favorites like "Nightmare" and "Almost Easy" receive huge sing-alongs, but the songs don't sound as larger than life in comparison. And besides that, most of our eyes are fixated on the spectacular production instead: at one point timed lightning strike in every direction in perfect synchronization with the guitars, at another a crazy orbital animation is awesome with the 3D effect included.

Avenged Sevenfold

With the encore consisting of "Bat Country", "A Little Piece Of Heaven" and "Unholy Confessions", the set ends on a good note. But here I ask again: might it be time to include a song like "Creating God" into the encore? Also, the clean version of "Unholy Confessions" with no screaming does no justice to the original metalcore classic. But that's just cosmetics. The takeaway from the show is that Avenged Sevenfold are ready to start headlining festivals and arenas like this one. What an amazing production, and for once, the band plays a setlist that underlines exactly why there are close to 9.000-10.000 paying customers here tonight.

Setlist:

  • 1. The Stage
  • 2. Afterlife
  • 3. Hail to the King
  • 4. Paradigm
  • 5. Buried Alive
  • 6. Angels
  • 7. Nightmare
  • 8. God Damn
  • 9. Almost Easy
  • 10. Warmness on the Soul (Instrumental)
  • 11. Planets
  • 12. Acid Rain
  • --Encore:--
  • 13. Bat Country
  • 14. A Little Piece of Heaven
  • 15. Unholy Confessions

Photos by: Lykke Nielsen

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