The Ghost Inside

support Deez Nuts + Stray From The Path + Devil In Me
author PP date 04/02/13 venue Templet, Lyngby, DEN

Monday nights tend to be show stoppers for most bands visiting Denmark. Most young people are still suffering from the consequences of the weekend's festivities, others have work the next day, no-one's drinking, and so the atmosphere is never the same as it is from Thursday onwards. Nonetheless a significant congregation of Danish hardcore fans had decide to take the trip up to the small confines of Templet, Lyngby, where four hyped and critically acclaimed bands awaited. It's really the perfect venue for a small hardcore show, because with maximum capacity at 160, all shows are going to feel intimate and energetic from the crowd's point of view.

Hyper-energetic Devil In Me getting some airtime

Devil In Me

I've seen Portugal's premiere hardcore act Devil In Me once before (incidentally also here, that time supporting Comeback Kid), yet it doesn't cease to amaze me just how much energy these guys put into their live shows. It's a flurry of jumps, bounces, karate kicks from their vocalist alone, and the rest of the band doesn't fall short energy-wise either. But more importantly, they wear their heart on their sleeve, resulting in a continuous display of heart and soul in their most honest form. It's already evident from the way they enter the stage, where their vocalist screams "We are Devil In Me, we are a hardcore band, and this is how we do it", but the rest of their set is also riddled with inspirational speeches, whether about stage diving, staying true to what you believe in, loving your mother and your closed ones, and that sort of thing. For many bands such outcries can quickly become stereotypical and cliché, but Devil In Me live and breathe their beliefs, which translates into a dominant stage persona. Heads are bobbing around, people are two-stepping in the middle. People love this shit, and I have to admit that Devil In Me have also progressed as songwriters immensely since the last time I saw them, given how songs like "On My Own" indicate a more melodic flavoring to their usually straight up hardcore songs. What a way to open the night.

8

Stray From The Path vocalist is apparently a Barcelona fan

Stray From The Path

Speaking melody, none of that is found at the chaotic and angular form of hardcore that Stray From The Path throw at us from the get go. Displaying elements of mathcore and chaotic hardcore, their material absolutely requires some pre-listening, getting into it live for the first time just won't allow you to appreciate its nuances properly. You could argue they resemble Every Time I Die somewhat given the sheer unmelodic barrage of violent aggression their sound represents. That's why the band really needs to move more on stage, because in comparison to Devil In Me, they look almost static (even though there is some movement present of course). Nonetheless, a big, intense circle pit ensues and lasts for about the whole of their show, culminating in highlight song "Death Beds", which is probably the closest this band will ever come to writing a track that can be categorized as catchy. That said, their unusual groove has people stage diving left and right, but yet they feel like the weakest band on the bill tonight, mostly because of the relative lack of stage energy compared to all other bands playing tonight.

7

Deez Nuts

But if there's one band that can properly be called unusual tonight, it's Deez Nuts. Entering the stage to the tune of a hip-hop intro before breaking into clean vocal hardcore, they are as close as I can imagine how hip hop might sound like if it was played by a hardcore band. It's an effect caused by the odd rhythmic delivery of their vocalist J.J Peters, which is at least as unique in its own right as Verse's Sean Murphy. It's pretty cool and definitely original, and since hardcore's a genre where originality is more like shunned upon than practiced often, it's no wonder the band are one of the fastest trending hardcore bands around at the moment.

Deez Nuts captivating the crowd

Their influences lie within the 90s style hardcore of Shelter and Champion (given the clean vocals), so that part is in check, but they bring in their own personality on top. Coupled with a bobbing stage presence that (again) resembles a bunch of hip-hoppers on stage, they're one of the most interesting bands I've had the chance to witness live lately. That's also why there are sing alongs to "Band Of Brothers", "Rep The Hood", and "DTD" from a sizable portion of the crowd, who seem to have come here just for Deez Nuts alone. The pit never stops, people are grabbing the mic from the singer and stage diving whenever they can, which means there's a solid dynamic going on throughout their show. When the band also avoid bullshit and simply just play their songs with almost no interruptions or inspiration speeches, they impress just about everyone at the venue, including those who had never heard of the band prior to tonight.

8

The Ghost Inside

The Ghost Inside open their set with the first two tracks from their critically acclaimed album "Get What you Give", "This Is What I Know About Sacrifice" and "Outlive". Given how powerful and aggressive chug-chug hardcore oriented these two tracks are, there's an intense pit in the middle straight away. But it isn't until "Chrono" from the equally acclaimed "Returners" that we hear tonight's first great sing along, and the first proof of why The Ghost Inside have become synonymous with the textbook definition of melodic hardcore done right. The lingering melodies that they inject within their otherwise heavy sections are back-chilling to say the least. Even the oldest songs from debut album "Fury And The Fallen Ones", such as "Provoke", receive a big sing along, here during the 'on and on' part specifically. The band stack the old tracks to the middle, while intentionally playing their heaviest and most chug-friendly songs tonight to display a powerful and dominant stage presence as they've become known for over the years. Half of the venue is jumping up-and-down in an ecstatic manner, mirroring what is going on stage nicely. The other half, well, they seem to have left sometime between now and the end of Deez Nuts show, which is kind of disrespectful if you ask me, but that's the way the crowd swings in this scene sometimes. That said, the rest of us are enjoying the band's professional set, where you can tell they're used to playing much bigger venues just from how their vocalist has key breaks in his vocals to signify the lyrics that the crowd and sing/shout along to.

Or are we? Either it's the venue's sound or that their vocalist is sick, but I swear that his delivery is way more raw and less decipherable than it is on especially their new album. Most of the cleans in any of the new songs are skipped, at first I thought because it would allow the crowd to sing along, but later when they are actually included, it turns out it's because the band are horribly, horribly out of tune in this department. Pitch correction is missing - it seems like production has played a huge factor from translating their sound on record. That's a huge disappointment for someone who thought they actually took a significant step forward in songwriting for the new album. Still, people crowd the stage for "Between The Lines" right before the classic "WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR?" gang-shout, and if you discount for the somewhat muddy vocals (in comparison to the crisp and crystal clear album ones), The Ghost Inside still deliver the goods. That said, they're clearly designed for much bigger venues these days to reach their full live potential.

Photos by: Lykke Nielsen

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