The Word Alive
The Cellar, Southampton, UK - 1/12
support Eluveitie + Wisdom
author MST date 18/10/12 venue Amager Bio, Copenhagen, DEN
I think that even the most kvlt, church burning black metal fans or the most brutal, kitten-slaying goregrind fans have some guilty pleasures. Some just choose to supress their urges to listen to catchy, sing-along songs that would make them look less trve. Personally, I mostly listen to extreme metal, but I, too, have a guilty pleasure: Sabaton. I've always found power metal extremely boring, but Sabaton's energetic songs and Joakim Brodén's epic vocals are part of a cocktail that make Sabaton different from the pack. Thus, I accompanied MH and three of our friends on an adventurous quest to the far away land known as Copenhagen for a night of jolly good times.
Hungary's Wisdom are relatively unknown in Denmark as far as I've been able to gather, despite them having released their second album in 2011. They don't sound particularly original, but if their intent is to play competent power metal in the vein of Hammerfall and the likes, they're definitely doing it right. Gábor "Crossfader" Nagy's epic vocals tell tales of ancient kings and mighty warriors atop energetic power metal drumming and simple, but effective guitar riffs, with the occasional epic lead interrupting Nagy's storytelling. So musically, any true power metal fan should feel right at home with Wisdom. Now, unfortunately we arrived at Amager Bio slightly too late to witness Wisdom's entire set. The band had just started their cover of Iron Maiden's classic "Wasted Years" when we entered the venue, and after that there was only time for three more songs. Those songs were "Wisdom", "Heaven And Hell" and the title track from the band's latest album, "Judas". But as far as those four songs go, Wisdom need lots of practise and perfecting before their live shows can live up to their music. The band were convincing in their expression, with every single band member wearing riveted sleeveless shirts beneath their long, dark hair. But when you offer almost no movement and nothing exciting on stage, at all, appearance becomes less important. The guitarists and bassist would play their music while Nagy sang his songs, almost never leaving their safe spots on the relatively big stage for a band consisting of five members. Wisdom could potentially become huge in the power metal world, but with such a careless performance I don't foresee them getting many new fans in the near future.
Eluveitie's Christian "Chrigel" Glanzmann
Next up were a band that made the stage look a lot smaller than it was. Switzerland's Eluveitie mix modern Gothenburg/melodeath with folk metal, including the use of lots and lots of folk instruments. Thus, the eight man strong band filled the stage to the brim and made movement around the stage almost impossible. I listened to Eluveitie a lot in my younger years, but I've since lost interest in them and therefore I haven't listened to their latest albums. Sadly for me, Eluveitie had no interest in playing the good old songs: 7 out of the 9 songs played were from "Helvetios", the latest album released this very year. But the fans present in Amager Bio loved it, and with good reason. Eluveitie are a very convincing live band, and with everything going on on stage they make for an interesting experience without even trying. Led by Christian "Chrigel" Glanzmann on vocals, whistles and mandola, Eluveitie played song after song of catchy folk metal with confidence, and despite having very limited available space for moving around, the band made sure that their performance was always interesting as they would play their songs with passion, and in a convincing manner. 45 minutes of bagpipes, hurdy gurdy, fiddle, whistles and metal later, Amager Bio was properly warmed up for what was to come.
Sabaton's Joakim Brodén
A thunderous roar filled the room as the audience shouted in ecstasy. The Swedish power metal heroes ran on stage to the sound of the intro to "Ghost Division" off "The Art Of War" from 2008. Sabaton have visited Amager Bio before, and I was there in 2010. Since then, major line-up changes have occurred: three founding members, namely guitarists Rikard Sundén and Oskar Montelius and drummer Daniel Mullback left the band, as well as keyboard player Daniel M˙hr. That wasn't immediately clear to the casual member of the crowd, however, as new guitarists Christoffer Rörland and Thorbjörn Endlund were powerhouses of energy and confidence, which suggested that they had been an integral part of the band for some time. The remaining founding members, the constantly enthusiastic bassist Pär Sundström and, of course, vocalist Joakim Brodén, were brilliant on stage as they always are. The entire band were in contact with the crowd throughout the night, and with everyone changing places often and Brodén doing so by sprinting and jumping up the ramps on each side of the drums, you would have to be a depressed pessimist to not be thoroughly entertained. Between playing new tracks like "Gott Mit Uns" and "Carolus Rex" and older classics like the excellent "40:1" and "Cliffs Of Gallipoli", Brodén gave the audience the opportunity to choose some of the songs. A great idea, had it not brought along the impossible task of choosing between "Into The Fire" from the band's debut and the title track from the sophomore album, "Attero Dominatus".
No Sabaton show is complete without a powerful encore, and with the classic tracks "The Art of War" and "Primo Victoria" as well as Sabaton's tribute to their fans, "Metal Crüe", the party was ensured. Once again, Sabaton played a fantastic show and proved that even with line-up changes they are a formidable live band. Denmark may not be able to gather big crowds for metal shows, but I have a feeling that Sabaton will return to Danish soil in the not so distant future. And when they do, we will be waiting.
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