Unholy Alliance Chapter III

support Slayer + Trivium + Mastodon + Amon Amarth
author PP date 21/11/08 venue Valby Hallen, Copenhagen, DEN

Valby Hallen, one of the largest concert venues in Copenhagen, houses somewhere around five thousand people at full capacity. Only the biggest and most famous bands usually play here, ranging from System Of A Down to other mainstream rock and pop bands, for the simple reason that Denmark is a small country and bands outside of the radio waves usually have significant trouble in drawing crowds here other than on Roskilde Festival, of course. That's why it's such a delight to see the hall 3/4 full at a metal gig, something I hadn't expected even from the biggest metal name out there, the fathers of thrash metal themselves, Slayer. And in attendace are people of all ages: some of them well in their forties and fifties, some in their early teenage years. I even saw an older woman holding a young boy who couldn't have been a day older than five years old with the stereotypical MASSIVE headphones... the training starts young, that's great to see!

Amon Amarth

I have to say I didn't have the biggest expectations for Amon Amarth after reading AP's review of their show in London, but I have to say, they were at least on the level of Slayer, if not better tonight. I've seldom seen a band able to convey their atmosphere so effectively as Amon Amarth did, the simultaneous headbanging, the big horn hanging on the side of the band's vocalist from which he kept drinking beer, the rattling vocals, the thunderous guitars... all of this made the crowd move back in time into an era where vikings were pillaging the villages and generally being bastards at all other cultures. The big 'HEY, HEY, HEY's were shouted back at the listener thunderously, making it clear that the crowd was fucking loving their set. Now that I think about it, it actually makes sense that the UK people hated them and Danes loved them, after all, why would English people of all love a band that sings about glorious battles about a culture that raped, pillaged and burned their towns a few centuries ago?

Mastodon

Mastodon is usually a bombastic spectacle in a live environment, but tonight they were missing their second guitarist due to an illness. "Blood And Thunder" opened their set, and already here you could feel that something was missing, a huge chunk of their sound just wasn't there, taking a toll on the strength and power of their otherwise excellent songs. The same repeated throughout the set, but it was audible especially in the newer songs from "Blood Mountain", where their normally rich and layered soundscape was missing the layers entirely. It's just wasn't the same, and the crowd noticed that too, as other than a small circle pit near the front, there was absolutely no activity from the crowd's side. Shame, cause usually these guys kick ass live, but tonight their songs just sounded like long derivatives of one another because of the missing second guitar.

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Trivium

Fourth time's the charm, eh? Before tonight, I've given Trivium a fair chance of impressing me live three times, and each time they have been the most boring band I've seen that day. Today, I thought, could be different, considering the band's new album is about ten times better than the abysmal "The Crusade"... but guess what? The band fucking sucked balls again. Even fewer people were responding to them in the crowd than for Mastodon, and it's honestly a bit sad to see a 3-4,000 strong crowd just standing there idly conversing with one another or just staring at stage without an expression. But what pissed me off even more was that the fame has definitely gone to Matt Heafy & co's heads, that or the band is like GWAR, a marketing experiment gone terribly wrong. All band members were wearing Trivium shirts (only Slayer/Judas Priest can wear their own shirts and look credible), and the weirdly shaped, colourful guitars all look like something designed for the purpose of attracting attention only. The funny thing is that Trivium has actually four albums out now, and still the only response they ever get in Denmark is when they play "A Gunshot To The Head Of Trepidation" and "Pull Harder On The Strings Of Your Martyr" - other than that, the band's songs just blend together into one meaningless blur, although it was pretty funny to watch Heafy try to get the crowd singing to the lyrics of some of their other songs without anyone knowing a single lyric.

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Slayer

I'll start off the Slayer review with a story about the band's show tonight. For the first 15 minutes or so, the band was at their best, having me thinking "this is a 9 show right here". For the next 30 minutes or so, the band slowly deteriorated down to a 6 mark from me, and for the last 45 minutes, they bounced up and down between those ratings. And here's why: Slayer's riffs are fucking evil, they are some of the fastest shredders in the world, and they play arguably the best thrash on the planet during their good songs - the "Reign In Blood" classics and the like. But like AP also said in his review earlier this month, they can also be really monotonous and repetitive over a period of 90 minutes. After all, it's not like the band variates much in their sound. And we have to remember her that although Slayer has a shitload of amazing songs, they also have a bunch that aren't so good, and because they played 90 minutes and Slayer songs are usually between the two and three minute mark, this means that they played songs from both categories tonight. Long story short, the better songs from the band were fucking awesome, especially with the oldschool SLAYER light-setup flashing behind them, and the worse songs were a bit boring in the long run. My advice to Slayer is to cut their set down to about an hour, and then they'd be one of the best live bands around. For now, they did well, but not great.

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