Dvne

support Kaiju + Rift Giant
author AP date 11/10/18 venue Stengade, Copenhagen, DEN

Having released one of the best albums of 2017, it was welcome news when it was announced that Dvne had been booked for a headlining concert in Copenhagen. It has been one of our most anticipated shows this autumn, although it was clear from the get-go that the Scottish quartet was hidden enough a gem to not be able to draw much of an audience for their Danish live début. This is also confirmed upon my arrival at Stengade, with a maximum of 70 people in attendance, many of whom look to be in some way related to the two local supports. No shame in that — reputations take time to build, and with a record like “Asheran” to their name, Dvne are almost certain to witness their popularity soar in the coming years, helped on by these early adopters.

All photos courtesy of Philip B. Hansen

Rift Giant

Rift Giant may only be a duo, comprising guitarist/vocalist Matthew Pither and drummer Thomas Ramkilde, but the two musicians pack a full band’s worth of energy into their performance. It is true that their take on sludge metal could use the additional depth and oomph of a bassist and perhaps a rhythm guitarist, yet like Eagle Twin, Mantar et al., they use the tools at their disposal to the maximum of their potential, creating surprisingly solid slabs of the genre with a selection of three uniquely configured guitars each with their own distinct tone, and rhythms so intense they would give Des Kensel (High on Fire) and James May (Black Tusk) a run for their money. In general, those two bands have played a big role in influencing Rift Giant, with Pither prolonging his vowels in a way that is similar to Matt Pike, and making good use of treble to generate that same dirty and raw tone that Andrew Fidler likes so much. But far from just aping his idols, Pither also takes steps to carve out his own niche, deploying a variety of effects that both modulate his instrument to resemble a bass guitar (most prominently on “The Last Mammoth”), and provide it with the same twang that fans of Mastodon have grown accustomed to hearing as the Atlantan band has pursued an ever more progressive path. For such simple-sounding music, there really is a lot going on in Rift Giant’s songs in terms of cool riffs and heavy grooves, rendering their concert tonight a very positive surprise — especially on account of the duo’s showmanship as well.

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Kaiju

If Rift Giant represents one pillar of Dvne’s musical foundation, then Kaiju does the other. This relatively new quartet swears by progressive metal in the vein of Three (or 3, as the band’s name is often stylised), designating heavy, angular riffs and syncopated rhythms to be their weapon of choice. The band deploys a dramatic intro on the backing track to build tension ahead of the first song, but unfortunately, the idea falls flat when it dawns on guitarist/vocalist Mads Thines that the wireless transmitter of his instrument is malfunctioning. The intro is cut and the houselights are turned on as he fiddles with it and finally acquiesces to using an analogue cable instead. No matter — technical difficulties can hit even the most experienced bands. But while the band’s enthusiasm is undeniable, I can’t help but think the four musicians are perhaps a bit overzealous, completely misjudging the mood when guitarist Martin Aalling and bassist Rasmus Widemann awkwardly stroll into the audience during the second song to my bafflement. This kind of thing can really lift the intensity of a show, but only when there is some intensity there to lift in the first place. The crowd today is very much in a weekday mood and as such, these antics feel forced — even choreographed — rather than a natural part of the proceedings. And to add insult to injury, halfway through the set it is Aalling’s turn to be trolled by his wireless transmitter, leaving me with an impression of a somewhat amateurish band.

Things are not going Kaiju’s way tonight, which is a shame considering the talent this band has. On the basis of their showmanship alone, it is quite obvious that their concert tonight is not an accurate reflection of their abilities as a band; their compositions are interesting and wonderfully unpredictable, and when you see the four musicians really letting loose during one of the heavier instrumental segments that dot their songs, you could be forgiven for thinking Kaiju had existed far longer than four years. I will thus put their efforts here down as a rare misstep and hope to catch another, less troublesome glimpse of them in the near future.

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Dvne

By the time it becomes Dvne’s turn to take the stage, only 30 or so people still remain, with most of the apparent friends and family to the two support acts shuffling out during the changeover. Still, the Edinburgh-based four-piece looks determined to repay the people who did stay with an intense and tightly played concert. Guitarist/vocalist Victor Vicart strikes his instrument with such a vengeance that one of his strings snaps halfway into the second song, and much to the crowd’s approval, he continues to play without relent, even proceeding with the next track before tackling the problem. Eventually, he switches to one of those 9-string guitars that Mastodon’s Brent Hinds also likes to wield mid-song and busts out an excellent solo, as if to underline his talent. Yet Vicart is just one piece of the puzzle; what makes Dvne such a revelation live is the synergy between the four musicians, as they careen through compositions each more complex than the other seemingly without even breaking a sweat. The call-and-response between the clean(er), strained vocals of Vicart and the harsh growls of guitarist Dan Barter works particularly well, as do the transitions between the various sections that comprise each song.

Dvne is by no means a wild band in terms of their showmanship, but even when faced with such a meagre turnout, they still manage to produce an atmosphere inside the venue, wooing the few of us with their mixture of devastating sludge and grandiose progressive metal, the nature of which borders on psychedelic at times. The poor turnout and lack of intensity on the audience’s behalf does admittedly lay a bit of a damper on the proceedings, but at the very least Dvne manage to prove to us that “Asheran” not only is a masterpiece of the genre, it also translates extremely well into the live setting. Hopefully thus, the band has not been discouraged from including Denmark on their future tour itineraries by the underwhelming amount of people here tonight.

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