LLNN

support Demersal + Rot Away
author AP date 04/02/22 venue Templet, Lyngby, DEN

Four days before this concert, the Danish government decided to lead the way in Europe by lifting all COVID-19 related restrictions and declaring it no longer an illness critical to the functioning of society. This was welcome news for many a gig-starved Dane, who had once again been denied the opportunity to watch live music without debilitating curbs since early December, and when we arrive at Templet in Lyngby just outside of Copenhagen, we are pleased — albeit not surprised — to find the venue packed with festive attendees (one of whom is even donning a suit!), all eager to experience the thrill of live music again. It is a diverse assortment of music we can look forward to, with the ‘post-apocalyptic’ metallers of LLNN headlining, Demersal unleashing classic screamo anxiety before them, and Rot Away warming up the audience with their brutal beatdowns.

All photos courtesy of Peter Troest

Rot Away

This hardcore punk quartet has a basic motto: make stage dives great again, and as such it comes as no surprise that vocalist Jonathan Albrechtsen has little else to offer when addressing the crowd than “F***ing stage dive!” at every opportunity. No one on the floor seems willing to adhere to his demands, however, so the band’s merch salesman is possessed into leaving his station to engage in some good ol’ fashioned crowd-killing during the first song. Needless to say, his arrival in the pit is poorly received by an audience not even remotely interested in participating in such antics. “Stage dive! Stage dive! Stage dive!”, Albrechtsen tries again to no avail — and then seems to succumb to not having a mosh-disposed audience tonight at last. This is not a problem though, as the group’s frenetic showmanship is more than enough to carry the weight on its own. A true hardcore punk frontman, Albrechtsen is never still, spending the entire duration of the 30-minute set jumping and stomping across the stage and showing off his spin kick abilities to loud applause, while his brother Andreas transcends his role as the drummer to act as a kind of extra frontman further inciting the audience to kick up some mayhem. He is also that special sort of drummer that actually performs, the vigour with which he strikes his kit often rendering him a blur of hair and flailing limbs. Neither guitarist Christian Hammer Mattesen nor bassist Ole Palm Schwartz are short on energy either, resulting in one of the most dizzyingly intense concerts I have witnessed in a long time — and not just due to COVID-19 putting a stop to most gig activity during the last two years. Indeed, Rot Away’s performance is so extreme that it almost becomes a parody on metallic hardcore punk, with every parameter dialled up to the absolute maximum. It is amusing, yet also completely exhilarating to watch, and as the four-piece simultaneously nails the balance between savage breakdowns, infectious grooves and darker, atmospheric segments that made their début album “Nothing Is Good” such a satisfying listen, it is impossible to not be impressed by their efforts here tonight.

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Demersal

In terms of their musical expression, Demersal are miles apart from the opening band, but there is no shortage of intensity in their performance either. All four members of this classic screamo act tune their bodies to the dissonance of their music, flailing themselves around the stage as if they were entranced, their movements as erratic as the twists and turns in their songs. Many of those are taken from their latest outing, last year’s “Death Routines” EP, which carefully balances those bursts of unbridled anxiety that bands like Sed Non Satiata and Kaospilot are renowned for, with moodier, contemplative passages with a distinct post-rock air about them. Like Rot Away just before, Demersal too derive additional strength from the fact that drummer Emil Lake is just as engaged in the show as his standing compatriots, who themselves create extra intrigue and unpredictability by readily swapping guitar for bass and vice versa multiple times during the set. But while the quartet’s showmanship leaves nothing more to be desired, I have to admit that it is a little bit harder for me to immerse myself in their music, which has little by way of catchy anchors to latch onto. It is intense to the extent that one is able to feel the emotion packed into their songs without any knowledge of the lyrics, but the dissonance is often so pronounced that I find myself counting the seconds until one of the quieter segments makes its entry again and provides some respite. Demersal do a fine job as a support act here, but it makes me shudder to think about watching such engulfing, overwhelming music played much longer than the 30 minutes allocated to the group here.

7

LLNN

After four studio albums (the latest of which was released last year in the shape of “Unmaker”) under their belt, LLNN have well and truly chiseled it down into stone that they are one of the heaviest bands Denmark has to offer. But as their track tonight, “Imperial”, so vividly reveals, this sound of the universe ending that the Copenhagen four-piece strives to capture is not only apocalyptic noise — it is also emptiness. This emptiness is not easy to describe in words; it is a kind of tangible absence that exists between the bass and guitar strums, key strokes and drum beats, an absence that fills the entire room and gives me the shivers. LLNN is the only act that has this effect on me, which speaks to the uniqueness of their music, often described by the band as ‘post-apocalyptic’ metal, and it is especially felt at concerts. Indeed, the atmosphere conjured by LLNN is one of claustrophobia and otherworldliness, which would explain why so few people in the audience are reacting to it via movement vis-à-vis shut eyes, crossed arms and hypnotic headbanging. This is the stature that I also automatically adopt as the crush of tracks like “Obsidian” and “Interloper” is unleashed into the venue, despite the fact that all four musicians — particularly frontman Christian Bonnesen and bassist Rasmus Furbo — are operating with a level of energy that is on par with the two opening acts.

Bonnesen delivers his screams with such ferocity the veins on his forehead and temples look like they’re about to pop, while the arc of Furbo’s headbanging ensures his neck is going to be aching something fierce once this weekend’s concert activities have been brought to a conclusion. In the rear of the stage, drummer Rasmus G. Sejersen seems to be having the time of his life, wearing a million dollar smile as he leads his band into “Parallels” with some inspired tribal percussion, and on the left side, his keyboardist brother Ketil is dropping eerie electronics and carrying himself like the foe from some isolation horror film. Witnessing the pandemonium unfolding on stage, certain parts of the audience have awoken from their trances and by the time “Scion” is played, the room is thick with spontaneous crowd surfers — no doubt much to the annoyance of Rot Away. There is plenty of moshing happening now as well, which inspires Bonnesen to abandon his station on the stage and join the fray on the floor, delivering the entirety of a song I believe to be “Tethers” from that position, sharing his microphone with one of the band’s devout fans. “Desecrator” brings the concert to a violent conclusion, before, in the encore, Nicholas Meents (vocalist of Violence) takes over vocal duties whilst flying off the drumkit and into the audience to end things once and for all with “Monolith”. LLNN have thus managed to translate their suffocating music into a deserving live performance once again, cementing their status as a live force to reckon with not just in Denmark, but also abroad.

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Setlist:

  • 1. Imperial
  • 2. Forger
  • 3. Division
  • 4. Obsidian
  • 5. Interloper
  • 6. Parallels
  • 7. Scion
  • 8. Tethers
  • 9. Desecrator

— Encore —

  • 10. Despots
  • 11. Monolith

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