Slipknot

support Behemoth
author PP date 20/02/20 venue Royal Arena, Copenhagen, DEN

Denmark has always felt like a special place for Slipknot. Something about the musical landscape over here tends to lean mainstream, whether in pop music, rock or metal, much more so than Germany for example. As such Slipknot, has found a sweet spot between the mainstream and the metal crowds right here, drawing in a huge, loyal following no matter where they play. They've been to Roskilde and Copenhell, and now it's time for their biggest non-festival show yet: a packed Royal Arena full of Slipknot enthusiasts.

Behemoth

Behemoth

But first, the mainstream crowd has to prepare for a wholly different beast: the blackened death metal of Polish behemoths, Behemoth. Their stage production is as satanic and blackened as it gets: microphone stands formed as evil snakes, triple-upside down crosses on the banner behind them, and small video screens depicting mythical sermons. Loads of smoke surround the band members on stage; the drumset shoots fire in all directions, all-in-all creating an exceptionally detailed depiction of what a satanic altar could look like. This vibe is reinforced through rituals like pitch-black darkness lighted only by a lone torch borne by the vocalist wearing a papal hat, and of course, through their thick, bombastic blackened death metal. Towers of smoke arise as the band deliver a crushing, yet intriguingly intricate atmosphere that feels as arena-ready as it does brutal. We're praying at the Altar of Satan, is what this set looks like, as Behemoth packages 40 minutes of brooding darkness into a solid example of what this genre near its best can do. They finish the set with an instrumental black metal encore, where the band re-enters the stage equipped only with drums for a rhythmically pulsating, satisfying finale. The Slipknot crowd might not appreciate it aside from the front 20-30 rows or so, but Behemoth shows tonight why they are one of the only death metal bands capable of playing crowds of 10.000 at ease.

Setlist:

  • 1. Wolves ov Siberia
  • 2. Daimonos
  • 3. Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer
  • 4. Bartzabel
  • 5. Rom 5:8
  • 6. Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel
  • 7. Ov Fire and the Void
  • 8. Chant for Eschaton 2000

Slipknot

There's a lengthy, 45-minute pause between Behemoth's finish and Slipknot's start. Sure, it's going to be quite an elaborate stage production with multiple levels, screens and such, but at some point, it feels like free advertising time for Slipknot's products. The screens show ads for their own Iowa Whiskey, as well as for the Knotfest At Sea cruise event in repetition while the stage is being built. The stage is curtained off with a giant Slipknot banner, so the anticipation is naturally high given how much time is being used for the construction.

Slipknot

After the somewhat cringy AC/DC intro, the banner drops in an explosion and the new album intro "Insert Coin" gets us in the mood. It gives us time to marvel at the production, which features at least 7 separate huge LED panels, two side video screens, three levels on stage, aside from the usual extra percussion trash can sets on both sides of the stage. Then "Unsainted" from the new album kicks things off and looking at the crowd, the energy levels shoot straight through the roof right away. There's even a sing-along - confirming my thoughts about the new album: it's a solid Slipknot album that'll be welcomed by their fans in a live setting.

On stage, the band does what they always do: Corey Taylor leans over towards the front rows for his screamed segments, whilst the rest of the band take maximum use of the stage structure. Guitarists Jim Root and Mick Thomson climb on level two, where a conveyer belt (!) transports them towards the next level behind the drumset. In other words, we're in for a classic Slipknot set where there's so much to look and enjoy even if you don't consider the music a part of the package.

Slipknot

And here's where "Disasterpiece" explodes the arena into insanity. The crowd looks like a stormy sea as people bounce up and down, mosh pits form and crowd surfers go amok - and the energy spreads all the way to the back rows as well, a seldom sight at shows of this size. Likewise, "Eyeore" keeps the atmosphere intense: the band is tight as fuck and showcase just the right amount of chaos and destruction on stage. We haven't even gotten much pyrotechnics just yet, and this is why Slipnot continues to dominate the scene as one of the best live bands in the world.

Things calm down somewhat for "Nero Forte", giving the crowd much needed breathing room after a good ten minutes of intense smashing about into each other type of activity. "Before I Forget" lights it up again with fireworks on stage, resulting in a massive chant along for its catchy chorus. "Psychosocial" likewise receives an incredible response from the crowd, yet it's good to see that even the somewhat more experimental work like "Solway Firth" from the new album is well-received.

Slipknot

Slipknot is just getting started production-wise. During "Birth Of The Cruel", for instance, one of the guitarists is equipped with a flamethrower while he plays guitar. Pretty aggressive. That's aside from the rest of pyrotechnics that light up the stage in fire from various directions at pretty much all times. "Wait And Bleed" and "Eyeless" get even the seated rows standing, as the pyro effects gradually get more and more intense. It's telling that all the way down to the middle of the arena you can begin to smell explosives from the amount that's being set off on stage.

Slipknot

The push my fingers into my eyes parts of "Duality" claim the biggest sing-along of the night, all the while the band's extra percussionists smash barrels with torches that look like they might explode at any moment (which, sadly, never happens). "(sic)" has even the people at the very back waving fists, while "People = Shit" transforms the Royal arena floor into a giant trampoline by the looks of it. Looks sick from where I'm watching. The set finishes off with "Surfacing", after which we can only conclude: the Slipknot institution still delivers a smashing set that's among the best you'll see live, even if it occasionally starts to show some wear and tear, 'another day in the business' type of vibes.

Setlist:

  • 1. Insert Coin
  • 2. Unsainted
  • 3. Disasterpiece
  • 4. Eeyore
  • 5. Nero Forte
  • 6. Before I Forget
  • 7. New Abortion
  • 8. Psychosocial
  • 9. Solway Firth
  • 10. Vermilion
  • 11. Birth of the Cruel
  • 12. Wait and Bleed
  • 13. Eyeless
  • 14. All Out Life
  • 15. Duality
  • --Encore--
  • 16. 742617000027
  • 17. (sic)
  • 18. People = Shit
  • 19. Surfacing

Photos by: Stefan Thor Straten

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