Malmö Festival

support Darkest Hour + Beecher + Susperia + Entombed
author PP date 22/08/05 venue Malmö Festival, Malmö, Sweden

The annual Malmö Festival is held in mid/late August of each year in the very streets and parks of Malmö's inner city, in Sweden. The culture festival, which features everything from plays, sports events, art workshops to different kinds of music. Nearly ever genre of music is represented through the week, and it is not uncommon to be able to stand in the middle of the huge park "Kungsparken" and being able to hear blues, classical music and hardcore at the same time from three different directions. Whether it's hard rock, paintings or even paddle boating you're interested in, Malmö Festival has it all. And the best part of everything is that there is absolutely no charge. You can go watch the likes of Darkest Hour, Beecher, Susperia, Entombed, Mortiis, Flogging Molly, The Raveonettes, The Blood Brothers, The International Noise Conspiracy and others for exactly 0 euros. Rockfreaks.net visited the festival on the day containing the most hip & known bands of the festival.

Entombed

We arrived right on time to watch Entombed start their somewhat trashy death metal set. They had the biggest crowd tonight, possibly because they were an important band back in the days when Death Metal was still developing in Europe. But despite the occasional catchy riff here and a great solo there, I didn't get much out of their screamy set. The vocalists screaming sounded disturbing at its best and annoying at other times, and their song material just isn't something that catches onto you on the first listen, especially not when experienced live. They're one of the important death metal bands no doubt, but they were clearly the weakest band today.

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Susperia

Susperia, on the other hand, were far greater than Entombed. Great melodies and good showmanship inspired the crowd to go nuts; it was awe-inspiring to watch all the long haired metal fans in the crowd head banging in the same way as their vocalist Athera. The crowd was like an ocean of hair flowing up and down synchronized with the guitars. Speaking of synchronization, the highlight of Susperia's performance was when all of the band (except the drummer of course) lined up, filling the stage much in the same way as Mastodon, and proceeded to head bang in an instrumental part, causing their hair to encircle at a ridiculous speed. It's the small events like these that make gigs just so enjoyable in comparison to just watching bands on TV, the atmosphere is unmatchable out in the real world. Susperia finished off their set with a metallic cover of A-Ha's "The Sun Always Shines On TV", which inspired each member of crowd to enter the American Idol singing contest. It's amazing how shitty songs can be turned into great ones by adding some quality riffs, solos and somewhat harder vocals.

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Beecher

British hardcore newcomers Beecher were scheduled next. Now, either the Swedes don't follow the 'scene' too much, or else they are just plain stupid for not knowing Beecher. Beecher proved with their debut album "Breaking The Fourth Wall" that they are one of the most promising hardcore bands emerging from England, and in case that's not enough to put them onto the hardcore map, their upcoming album "This Elegy. His Autopsy" certainly will. It is one of the best hardcore albums I've heard this year, so high expectations were what I had for the band when they entered the stage.

Before seeing this show I thought Bert McCracken of The Used was a lunatic at their live shows, but Beecher's Ed Codby makes him look like a little confused boy. Ed staggered around the stage resembling a drunk, a drug attic, a serial killer and a vocalist all at once. The way he was holding the microphone stand up made me seriously afraid he was going to use it as a spear and kill one of the audience members with it, only to pull it out and stick it into the next person. Their two guitarists and the bassist used the entirety of the small 5m by 5m stage to their advantage, and damn nearly crashed into each other when ripping the stage apart.

Occasionally Ed collapsed all the way down to the stage, only to get up faster, louder and stronger with those ever so great screams. One of the most striking parts of their great performance was when Ed damn near fell off the stage, collapsed on the ground in order to give a couple of absolutely breath taking screams, jumped up against the fence separating the crowd and the photography sector right in front of the stage, bent down over the fence and screamed from the feet of the people. One lucky fan managed to grab Ed and the microphone, and for a few seconds that seemed timeless the two were alternating the screaming task: First ed would scream a line, then the fan would scream another line and so on. Something that really got the crowd involved. But it wasn't until the last song of the set that the band proved why this gig was one the best one I've seen since February. "Reach Up To The Gods", from the new album, gave cold shivers throughout its slow screams and riffs, the hypnotizing keyboard (I assume it was a keyboard) parts, the whispered vocals, and the amazing avant-garde guitar solo finish to the song. Beecher proved tonight that they are a band to seriously watch out for, because "Reach Up To The Gods" is the best hardcore song I have ever seen live, never mind heard on a record!

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Darkest Hour

The stage damn near had to be rebuilt for Darkest Hour after Beecher destroyed the stage with songs like "Man The Traps". But no worries, because when "With A Thousand Words To Say But One"'s introduction wailed through the speakers, the game was on again. The first couple of rows immediately turned into a huge mosh pit as soon as the guitars hit in. But goddamn the sound was shitty. Just before, Beecher had enjoyed a damn near perfect sound from the speakers, so I have no idea why Darkest Hour were punished this badly. It was impossible to hear anything else but a loud humming noise from the guitars, instead of the usual complex, aggressive riffs we're used to on the record, and at other times it was impossible to hear the vocals, which, by the way, didn't sound anything like on the vocals on the record. Gone with the 'thrown up' style vocals and in with the normal hardcore style screaming. But I blame this on the sound problems, as well. Understandably, this was immensely disappointing for all of those fans (like me), who have loved their newest album "Undoing Ruin" to death. Luckily, this didn't stop the Washington five piece from performing a hell of a live show, ranging from the jokes of their bad sound to the shredding apart of the stage. Like a continuous wave of Tsunamis, the band pounded back and forth on the stage with a hit after a hit after a hit, and the crowd was captivated all along. Songs like "Convalescene" were screamed out loud and clear, and "These Fevered Times" and "Sound Of Surrender" were moshed to like there was no tomorrow. As if to demonstrate the hardcoreness of their set, John started bleeding from his head only after the first song. "I sure hope...it will stop", he said, and went on to scream the next song.

It was such a shame that the sound sucked so bad, even though it improved drastically towards the ending. Just to quote their guitarist mike: "We sure as hell hope it sounds a hundred times better down there, because up here it sounds like the new Metallica record". Even though the band had countless problems in the beginning, where they had to hold somewhat long pauses between their songs, they handled it with such professionalism that it's admirable. Instead of continuously whining about the sound and thus avoiding sounding like whiny teenagers, they joked around during the problems. Mike, for instance, told the crowd how great it is to be playing in the country generating all of the kings of heavy fucking metal, and once the crowd failed to shout out loudly enough, he shouted "What do you say to someone who has just told you your country is the king of heavy metal' You shout like FUCK" and the 200-piece crowd chanted loud enough for those up in Stockholm to be able to hear it.

Despite the sound problems, Darkest Hour made it into the top10 gigs I've ever seen by far. Songs like "Sound Of Surrender" and the finisher "The Sadist Nation" were killer live, and even though it was difficult to hear the guitars, the show was still in the better ones out there. If it wasn't for the bad sound, this would've been worth a full 10er.

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