Prime is Coming

support Between Oceans + Nothing Noble + Lifesick + Cold Night For Alligators + Unseen Faith + Siamese + Defecto + CABAL
author KW date 12/03/22 venue Train, Århus, DEN

When it comes to modern metal, Prime Collective is one of the prime (heh) purveyors of what Denmark has to offer within the space. The annual (well, annual before the-virus-that-must-not-be-named ruined everything) celebration of their roster, Prime Is Coming, has hit Aarhus on their tour around the country and I am more than ready to see where all the bands have progressed to since I last saw them. It’s been 5 years since the first edition of the tour and I am personally looking forward to 5 more hopefully. Less chit-chat, more review! Let’s go!

Between Oceans

The first band on the bill is Between Oceans who play some fairly standard modern metalcore ala Architects. It’s synthy and chug-filled with the occasional guitar noodles and anthemic choruses. Two frontmen - one sporting the hardcore screams and growls, the other high pitched poppy post-hardcore sensibilities - try their best to get the crowd going but it never really amounts to more than a few steps forward and some modest nods of the head. The unclean vocals here from Nico Hansen are actually not bad and do the job decently, yet the clean singing, while ambitious in range, is simply not consistent enough. It constantly switches between notions of “hey, that’s not bad!” to cringe-inducingly off-tune which is too bad since the songwriting is good, which “Shallow Waters” and “Fade” are testament to. Add to that the underwhelming burial of the guitars in the mix and you have a serviceable experience but nothing more than average and forgettable.

5

Nothing Noble

The band name Everything Is Terrible is laid to rest and out of the ashes comes Nothing Noble. With a switch to a more “serious” sounding name, the band also seems more ambitious in their musical exploration and stage presence. Having seen them multiple times before, under the old moniker, the energy feels revitalized, and especially frontman Cornelius Qvist gives it his all both in providing ravaged screams and exuding the energy needed to pull in the crowd. And it is clear that people are more into this than the lukewarm reception to the opener of the evening and gets proper going especially during the dirty Meshuggah-rager “Bond of Blood” that’s backed by a crunchy guitar sound in front of the mix (perhaps a little too much as the bass could cut through more). It should be noted that Cold Night For Alligators drummer Nikolaj Lauszus fills in tonight for reasons unknown to me, and has learned to wear this difficult cape in just 3 days. A more than impressive feat considering the difficulty of these songs, yet he plays very naturally through all the angular syncopations and volleys of blast beats in “Rotting Away”. All energy is spent during the head-bopping “Risen” - guitarist Lui Broch Larsen flies around on stage - to conclude a very tight and stank-face-filled set that could have reached even higher highs with some tweaks in the sound department.

Lifesick

Time for some monkey mode hardcore from Fredericia. There’s already vast amounts of masculinity flowing from the stage and I can feel my biceps bulging from just looking at these big angry guys spewing out their hate-drenched metallic hardcore that throws nods to the wall of grinding sound the legends in Nails are known for. Frontman Simon Shoshan barks out one callout after the other while jumping between both sides of the stage like a rabid dog to rile up a crowd that is finally approaching the right temperature - the pit ninjas start to flail their limbs around in the center, as is the procedure to this kind of style, yet not all are as enthused as I see a beer getting thrown at one of the participants who bumped into said beer-thrower perhaps a little too hard. No one seems to care or notice and just keeps two-stepping in their frenzy. The Slayer-ish intro riff of “Suicide Spell” kicks everything up a notch and just when you think it cannot get any heavier, Simon Olsen from Danish death metal titans BAEST jumps in and commands the room with brutal roars before a savage breakdown knocks my jaw clean off. Caveman riffs, d-beats, smashing sound, and enough attitude to fill a fucking sea, what more could you want from a 20-minute hardcore set. As we say here in Jylland: “ik’ så meget pis.”

Cold Night For Alligators

Having just released a fantastic new album with “The Hindsight Notes”, Cold Night For Alligators is one of my most anticipated acts this evening. After a reinvention of their sound towards more melodic, focused nuances, hearing the light clean chord flourishes from the guitars and Johan Pedersen’s vulnerable vocals are a somewhat abrupt change of pace from the bludgeoning that was Lifesick before them, but a welcome one nevertheless. “Behind Curtains” is a very nice proggy piece of odd time-signatures and catchy melodic writing that perfectly encapsulates the new sound, topping it all off with bomb of a breakdown that doesn’t quite land the impact it deserves due to the guitar sound lacking some power. “Nostalgic” is probably the most “Cold Night For Alligators”-track out of the new ones but an effective groovy banger and also a favorite of mine due to some banging basslines that are brought right at the forefront in the mix, the quirky leads that the band has been known for and an earworm chorus that will stick with you forever. Yet it’s when the synthy pop intro to “Worn out Mannequin” rolls in that I am truly impressed, especially with Pedersen’s performance. It highlights how much he has grown through the years into a confident and unique vocalist and the gigantic chorus, backed by a soulful choir on the backing track, manages to give me the night’s very first chills. Having the shrill black metal screams of Kim Song Sternkopf from MØL added to the mix when he shows up on stage is also a welcome bonus. “No Connection” follows suit with one of the catchiest choruses of the year and some lovely falsetto singing, yet the guitars, unfortunately, drown here again at times. A fine display of the new chapter of Cold Night For Alligators that does not quite reach the highest highs due to an uneven sound mix, but a great performance nonetheless from a band with renewed energy and I cannot wait to see where they go next.

Unseen Faith

The locals in Unseen Faith are known by now for their highly effective live shows and tonight’s no exception. I am pretty much from the get-go blown away by what can be described as almost perfect sound, that just elevates the modern melodic deathcore bangers to a whole new level. I’ll admit that I might not listen to the band much on record but my god are they an international tier band in the genre almost every single time they step on stage and deserve much more recognition outside our Danish borders. Proof of this is seen in the fact that Unseen Faith by far draws the biggest and most energetic crowd of the night up till now. Frontman Alexander Eriksen growls, grunts, and brees his way through the endless waves of sub drops and chugs with decisive force and the instrumentation is razor-sharp and airtight. It’s just the full package really: sound, lights, and atmosphere combine into what can only be described as a demonstration of power. The flickering, exotic leads of “Dystopia” sets the tone for their most popular song and a banger and a half at that, which leaves people, including this reviewer, in awe. I have seen the band countless times by now but they seem to be on a never-ending journey of improvement and tonight is the best I’ve ever seen them. Their sound might not be the most original thing in the world, but when your execution is this god damn good, it’s hard not to get completely pulled in.

Siamese

Now for the house band of the night, you could probably say. Frontman and owner of Prime Collective Mirza Radonjica is all smiles as he walks on stage. “What are we fighting for!” is shouted as the signature catchy pop-metal sets the floor on fire, complete with EDM breaks and stadium level singalong. Siamese is unapologetically a band all about writing hooks and in the game one of the best in the country, yet their newest effort has reintroduced some much-missed heaviness into the mix that does them wonders tonight. Mirza’s screams are on point and through the incredible banger “Home”, Between Oceans vocalist Nico Hansen replaces the album featuring Drew York in the second verse surprisingly well. The marriage of mainstream sensibilities and heavy rock attitude is perfectly summarized in “B.A.N.A.N.A.S.”, sampling Gwen Stefani and sporting some fast r’n’b vocalizing, before a heavy breakdown makes the crowd burst out in a moshpit. Mirza & Co simply own the stage. Consistency is the name of the game and tonight ticks off that box as well. “Can’t Force The Love”, a personal favorite of mine, is delivered exemplary and finally makes the violin on stage audible in a great solo. “Ocean Bed” is the only song that is not off the new record tonight but is a welcome return and closer, as it has one of the strongest choruses of the band's career in my humble opinion. What more can be said: Siamese always deliver on their promise of catchy tunes and singalong worthy moments in droves. It’s almost like it’s on auto-pilot at this point but not in the way that it’s boring. Just admirably consistent.

8

Defecto

I have to be perfectly upfront and proclaim that Defecto is not my cup of tea, so take this as you will. Yet walking up to the stage I still try to keep an open mind about what’s to transpire. What I’m greeted with is some very well played melodic bro metal with a thrash tinge. Think Volbeat mixed with Metallica and a pinch of power metal. There are some fiery solos, on-point power-vocals, and tight playing. It’s objectively really well played but does absolutely nothing for me musically most of the time so it’s hard not to do anything else than stand with arms crossed like the snobby reviewer stereotype. “Savage” is a catchy enough song but you’ve heard it all a thousand times and the overall “rawk ‘n’ roll baby” attitude of it is just boring. “Ball of Hatred” elicits a greater response from me and the crowd too with its down-tuned chugging and one-million-note sweeping solo. It’s professional and big for sure and I cannot fault them for that. But I think it’s a little bit of a problem when the biggest moment in your set that also gets the room going is an, admittedly, fantastic cover of Metallica’s “Battery” to close things off. Not your music, but an over 30-year-old classic.

6

Cabal

The Danish masters of the brutal breakdown, Cabal, are here to squeeze the last bit of energy out of the crowd with their signature grim deathcore. And grim it certainly is. No matter how many times I see this band (and it’s a lot at this point) I can’t help but laugh at how ridiculously heavy they always are. The sound mix is on point, the lights follow the music perfectly and it’s not hard to understand why they’re finally getting the attention they deserve overseas as well. People are luckily not dead yet from having watched 7 bands before this and by far gets the biggest moshpit going of the night. The ungodly screams from frontman Andreas Bjulver rattle me in an earth-shattering rendition of “Bitter Friend” while the increased tempo in the gnarly “Death March” causes a circle pit to erupt. Luckily we are also treated to the song that put the band on the map back in 2015, “Innocent Blood” with its sludgy doomcore aesthetic and it feels like the roof is going to collapse at any point with how these sub drops shake the walls. As a surprise, we’re also treated to some brand new material from an upcoming record and while it sounds very familiar, it is also at the same time just as diabolic as we’ve come to expect - count me in as officially hyped. All in all, Cabal delivered the same high quality as they’ve always been doing, but also not anything exceptionally out of the ordinary for their standards. Their standards are amazingly high though.

8

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