support Altar Of Oblivion
author AP date 06/08/13 venue Beta, Copenhagen, DEN

Day two of the now-annual Dirty Days of Summer concept at Beta appeared to be somewhat worse attended than the previous evening; perhaps owing to Eyehategod appearing at this very event last year as well. But as the night grew older and the DJing darker and heavier, more and more people started crowding into the venue, eager to take in the local act tasked with support duty.

Photos courtesy of Thomas Dyregaard

Altar Of Oblivion

Altar of Oblivion have existed since 2005, though as vocalist Mik Mentor remarks in jest, they may as well be from the 1980's. Such is the nature of the band's music at least; a retrospective take on melodic doom infused with the characteristic croons of classic heavy metal. On paper it sounds enticing of course, but I find it puzzling that a band with two studio albums ("Sinews of Anguish", 2009; and "Grand Gesture of Defiance", 2012) in the bag still carry themselves with such lack of confidence. Mentor in particular looks positively awkward (though his singing remains top-notch), never once landing into a comfortable groove with his behaviour on stage. It does not help the impression either that the band's compositions are punishing not only in length, but also in their lack of intrigue. The result is an audience which, in the beginning, seems enthralled at first - especially during the standout tracks "Graveyard of Broken Dreams" and "Salvation" - but then descends into collective disinterest and remains in that state for the remainder of Altar of Oblivion's performance. On a positive note, it must be said that the two axemen of the band - Allan B. Larsen and Martin Meyer Mendelssohn Sparvath - excel at their tradecraft, delivering a persistent barrage of intertwining riffs and melodies and showing a decent amount of excitement on stage in the midst of it all.



Eyehategod delivered an excellent performance at last year's Dirty Days of Summer, so it most likely wasn't a particularly tough decision whether or not to present them again, one year and three days later. True to tradition, vocalist Mike Williams appears on stage with almost ironic nonchalance, introducing his outfit with an expression that makes no attempt to obscure the rock of snow that has undoubtedly gone into his nostrils just before. Indeed, he spends an unusual amount of time sniffling and sucking up the residue - but fortunately that makes absolutely no difference in terms of the show that Eyehategod are able to provide. Forget all about living up to the bar they set last year; they're even better tonight, busting out "Story of the Eye" and "30$ Bag" early to rile the audience up into a frenzy.

Moshing is not something that I usually associate with the stoner genre, the classics "White Nigger" and "Sisterfucker (Part I)" send the room pitting in no time, transforming the front half of the venue into a maelstrom I decree too demanding to participate in right now, especially given the suffocating heat inside the room. In contrast with the previous night, tonight's concert is actually sold out despite the audience looking much thinner early on, so the amount of body heat being disseminated around the venue is hardly a surprise. Neither is it a bad thing per se, as just as with Orange Goblin, the high temperature feels oddly appropriate for music of such a dirty and (predominantly) trudging nature.

Eyehategod sound much groovier and... well, much more stoning than I remember from the previous year, having anticipated them for some reason to focus more on the nasty, really sludgy and extreme aspect of their discography. But I'm in luck, it seems, for tonight is all about the riff, and those are provided in ample quantities, and with all the prowess one would expect from guitarists who have been writing such material since 1989 and 1993 by guitarists Jimmy Bower and Brian Patton respectively. Indeed, tonight bodes another master-class in the performance of stoner metal live: be on a sufficient, though not excessive drug trip, exude authority, and let your music do the rest of the talking.

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