Frontierer

support CABAL + Everything Is Terrible
author LL date 13/08/18 venue KB18, Copenhagen, DEN

The chaotic onslaught that is Frontierer's music only came to my attention just last month with the release of their second album "Unloved". Needless to say, I became curious enough by their specific mix of super heavy technical metal and hardcore sound to show up for their first ever show in Denmark in the industrial and cold confines of KB18. Two great local supports have been tapped for the show: the deathcore phenomenon CABAL who catapulted onto the scene and continue to slay wherever they go, and then the modern prog metal group Everything Is Terrible who are continuing from a hiatus with this performance. As their 2017 debut record "Intensely Distressed and on the Verge of Mental Collapse" has been intriguing me more and more these past weeks, I was especially excited to check them out live for the first time but, alas, a minor traffic accident on the way to the venue got in the way of that. I arrive just as the last notes of their set ring out so hopefully I can make up for this another time later this year!

All pictures by Peter Troest

CABAL

For any Danish fan following the evolution of the local metal scene, the deathcore group CABAL has been unavoidable for the past couple of years - a fact that was also acknowledged as they got booked to play at the Rising stage of this year's Roskilde Festival. Tonight in the smaller space of KB18, their intensely heavy and ominous music fits right in as they burst out from the surrounding darkness with only some very intense strobes to light them up throughout. They have always been great at staging themselves and making a visual impact and this night is no exception. The venue is sadly not super crowded but their lead singer takes this simply as an invitation to spend most of his time out in the front of the stage to get more directly in people's faces. Their djenty music has heads banging all over from very early on and the constant Inception-like oomphs keep the evil undercurrent running throughout their set.

Over the course of several songs, the style does get somewhat monotonous and yet, the sheer intensity and magnitude of the huge riffs they churn out keep everyone's attention focused. Especially "False Light" and "Blackened Soil" with their very recognizable guitar figures make an impact along to the synchronized headbanging movements among the members on the stage that, as per usual, get low with their entire bodies. Their singer encourages movement and moshing a few times but it's not until the final couple of songs that an actual mosh pit breaks out. Still, they're certainly one of the most hard-hitting local live acts we have and to have them play alongside the chaotic Frontierer is a great idea as the two complement each other nicely. It seems by now that wherever CABAL are playing, they will completely own the stage and darken it with their very own atmosphere and so, this set easily goes down as a solid and impactful one despite a lack of energy in the crowd to begin with.

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Frontierer

As Frontierer begin making noise from the stage after a short changeover, they quickly draw in the scattered crowd who have been taking a break outside. "Electric Gag" from their newest album kicks right off with technical prowess, dissonant chaos, and a more hardcore-focused sound than CABAL's, most notably in their higher-pitched screamed vocals that sound rabid and frenetic. All in all, while their intense sound shares similarities with CABAL's expression, this is a very different kind of organic-sounding chaos that is simply more focused on the hectic and fast. Most of the songs on the setlist for tonight are contributions from the band's 2016 debut record "Orange Mathematics" that is filled with glitching sounds and off-beat rhythms to rival phenomenal bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan. The whole set barely takes any breaks and as such, we get a flowing experience that gives a feeling of nuances in the music even as it hammers on at first listen.

There is constant moshing action going on here, and in the second half there's even a lonely crowd surfer who braves the low stage, drawing half the crowd in to carry him out a few meters. Perhaps inspired by this, the band's two guitarists in turn strike out from the stage to join the action, only making the pit more and more playful as the set goes on. Finally, they get up on each their collection of pallets that make up the tables at the venue, in each case followed by the happy audience who are eager to show their dedication and carry them back to the stage while they are still not missing a beat in their intense riffs. The great and slightly more atmospheric song "Bleak" ends the set after a short break where the tired band thanks us for the energy showcased tonight before letting out their final energy for tonight with a short encore. All in all, time flies by as we're slaughtered by one rabid song after the other in impressive fashion. It's really good but still, we don't reach insane levels mostly due to the audience thinning out slowly the later it gets on this Monday evening but that's no fault of the band's.

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Setlist:

  • 1. Electric Gag
  • 2. Tunnel Jumper
  • 3. Mt. Swath
  • 4. Crystal Turbine
  • 5. Glitcher
  • 6. Cascading Dialects
  • 7. Tumoric
  • 8. Exposure & Aperture
  • 9. Bunsen
  • 10. The Molten Larva
  • 11. Bleak

— Encore —

  • 12. Time Disruption Footprint

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