Kadavar

support Devil + Below
author EW date 08/11/13 venue BETA, Copenhagen, DEN

Having travelled from London with the express purpose of seeing live Devil, it transpired through joyous wonder that they would be teamed up with the up-and-coming doomsters Below and one of the acts pulling away from the pack in the retro scene of recent years, Kadavar. All at Rockfreaks.net's own All Killer No Filler event no less. In what turned out to be one of those evenings that I look back fondly for years to come, here is what went down to conclude my Danish Invasion pt II...

All photos courtesy of Kenny Swan

Below

The name of Below intrigued me through a small introduction in Britain's best metal mag, Iron Fist, but finding anything from the act online was tricky. You see they only have a split with fellow Swedes Anguish released to date but mercifully two tracks for listening pleasure at this soundcloud page, and boy, what a teaser these were! Crashing, epic, heavy doom metal in the finest tradition of Candlemass with the vocals of Zeb sounding particularly reminiscent of Control Denied's Tim Aymar. Clearly I wasn't the only one to think so highly as their debut album, due out in 2014, will be released on Metal Blade records.

Musically Below are not as innovative as the likes of Pallbearer or Procesion out there today, but like Anguish they have injected such a fierce spirit of passion for the genre into their songs that the idea of reinventing the wheel suddenly seems redundant. In a splendidly clear sound at Beta with only a sparsely populated room to soak up the doom their songs did ring loud and true - abridging the archetype modern sound with classic influences from Candlemass and Trouble all suddenly felt calm in the world, as if this further reassurance of the solid state of doom metal was the answer to all life's problems. Perhaps to fill out the set through the lack of original material Below finished with a Black Sabbath cover (nothing new there you might say). However the choice of the under-appreciated "Headless Cross" was a fine one with which to close proceedings and solidify their doom credentials. Watch out for their debut album with intent.

Devil

I have fallen in love with "Gather the Sinners" since being first exposed to these groovy Norwegians earlier in 2013, so much so that without a British date in this short autumn tour of theirs it seemed a no-brainer to head on over to Copenhagen for the chance to hear these tunes live. With Beta by now filling out to the tunes being provided by my colleague Bo Vinberg and I, Devil's entrance onstage was typically understated as befitting their all round no-frills style.

Following on from the more enigmatic Below this performance carried the air of a band playing within themselves; none of the members exhibited the natural confidence and showmanship of Below's Zeb, with Devil's rake-thin singer Joakim Trangsrud offering only subtle backing besides the expected duties placed on him. Despite (or perhaps, because of) this tendency to simply stand and deliver, the reproduction of "Southern Sun", "Ladies of the Night", "Coffin Regatta" from "Gather the Sinners" was pleasingly accurate (and very much what I had in mind from their set) and ably displayed the positive vibes buried within these rocking doomy tunes. The addition of tracks from their pre-"Gather..." discography and the ensuing number of drinks by this time of the evening did no harm to Devil's delivery which though a little rough the edges was a tasty mains in this deluxe three-course affair.

7

Kadavar

Having only very recently had my first taste of the live Kadavar experience it was with great delight that a second opportunity was so soon thrust upon me. If Graveyard have been the first of the current wave of 70's inspired retro/psychedelia bands to burst free from the underground with their arena support slots for Soundgarden then I am going to put my money on Germans Kadavar being the second. Judge them on songs, show or style, they have got it all and it feels a privilege to have witnessed them at two small venues by now.

Most of this down is down to guitarist/vocalist Christoph Lindemann. While barely speaking between songs he possesses the rare ability to shout with his body language and all-round image: he is a man drowning in nostalgia without appearing kitsch, imbuing every song with charismatic vocals and an adroitness on axe that can be easy to ignore in their overall make-up. This reflection is aided by his emotionless and sidewards facing cohort Simon Bouteloup on bass (drummer Christoph Bartelt adds his own value) but nevertheless, Lindemann would hold his own on stage with Ozzy, Jimi Hendrix and Keith Moon.

The other side to Kadavar is, of course, the songs. Rather than being a dry hack of the 70's template with period instrumentation and production, their two albums to date feel like a worthy addition to the rock cannon of that era. Whether it is the rising excitement of "Doomsday Machine", the bass-heavy rumbling of "Black Sun" or the caustically catchy "Come Back Life" (replete with a video which oozes style) their construction allows for accurate portrayal live and a depth for enjoyment that is not easy to hone. The bustling reaction to every track and copious chanting throughout leaves no trouble deciding on Band of the Night; there might been two worthy bands in support but for sheer conviction and enjoyment Kadavar are going to be a blast at every gig they play. Let's hope the formula works as well for the larger venues they will be filling in the near future.

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