Forever Unclean

support Kollapse + Afmagt + Telos
author PP date 15/06/17 venue KB18, Copenhagen, DEN

It's a lovely Thursday evening in Copenhagen and the fellows at Angry Music Records have staged a four-band showcase at KB18, the main draw intended to be Kollapse from Aalborg, which features ex-Mighty Midgets member Troels Sørensen among others. Tonight is very much about metallic and blackened hardcore in various forms, save for the melodic punk rock of Forever Unclean, which is usually a difficult situation for a venue of KB18's size because of the echo effect caused whenever the attendance isn't too high. That's unfortunately also the case tonight, where only a few handful of people have shown up to check out four bands for an otherwise cheap 50 DKK entrance fee.


First up is local blackened hardcore band Telos, who appear to be very influenced by the chaotic nature of old Hexis material both sound wise and in terms of performance. On stage, they display constant small movement ranging from stomping feet during brutalized sections to headbanging and thrashing around, which suits the aggressive nature of their music perfectly. It's a brutal barrage of brooding Scandinavian winter sonically: a despaired, unmelodious, chaotic mixture between hardcore and black metal, which hits like a brick wall each song. In normal circumstances, such an approach often comes across as monotonous and unvaried, but here, their vocalist varies his delivery between black metal style shrieking and deeper growls, helping alleviate such fears from the get-go. As such, their sources of inspiration are clear: Hexis, The Psyke Project, perhaps even LLNN. A thick, uncompromising dark wall of sound brought alive by a vivid and passionate live performance in spite of few people watching. This type of show would be exceptional in a packed basement or similar.



"Aaaaaaafffmaaaaagt", screams Afmagt vocalist to kick things off to what's about to be a lesson in lightning speed hardcore where the pedal is floored to the ground nonstop throughout the show. Featuring members of No Fealty, Thought Police Brutality, and Hexis among others, we're approaching basically static noise in terms of their soundscape, and at an empty KB18 venue tonight, the sound does them no favours. Sure, their vocalist spends the entire show in front of the stage and occasionally kneels down to scream, and the band's sound is as vicious as it is uncompromising, but with zero variety present it comes off awfully monotonous and, frankly, pretty boring. The term 'Ungdomshuset style hardcore' comes to mind as the band plow through songs that are brutally aggressive and fast only for the sake of being brutally aggressive and fast. Certainly not something classified as memorable.



Kollapse's expression is quite interesting on record. It's a curious mix between black metal, doom, and hardcore that ranges from vitriolic pummeling to length instrumental atmospheric segments. Tonight, they open the set with a Shai Hulud-inspired opening with a capella hardcore shouts and a slow build up that explodes into straight up blackened hardcore with doomy elements on top. Atmospherics like these are what set Kollapse apart from, say, Afmagt or Telos earlier because the whole expression feels so much more deliberate and well thought-out. Unsurprisingly, it captures the crowd's attention straight away, and the attention doesn't deviate away at any point despite switches between faster stuff and doom-laden, murkier pieces. D-beat passages morph into roared, blackened hardcore material where black metal, sludge and doom meet somewhere in the middle to form a memorable expression, but especially the extended passages of melancholic and despaired melodies sound great. Late night material for a future Copenhell performance, that's for sure. There are still a few bits and pieces the band needs to iron out, such as the awkward silences between songs - even feedback is better than nothing. But otherwise, Kollapse demonstrate through atmospherics and prolonged instrumental segments that their soundscape really has potential.


Forever Unclean

The odd ones out at this show, melodic punkers Forever Unclean almost come across as a pop band in comparison to the other bands that have played tonight. They're also playing last for some reason, which means a good handful of people have departed after Kollapse's show, so the venue is practically empty at this point, meaning that unless you know the songs in advance you'll have no chance with the sound being as bad as it is. But those of us in the know surely recognize "Worthless" as their attempt at at Menzingers style basement sing along ("Do you make me feel...worthless" passages), and the instantly catchy "Come on, race me to the bottom" chants of "Dinosaur". A short set is closed by "Waves" with its explosive gang-chant along that leaves a good impression behind, all circumstances considered (few people, bad sound, etc).

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