Life of Agony, Prong & Tarah Who?, 3rd November 2023, Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, Denmark6th November 2023
At The Gates, Illdisposed, Saturnus, Hatesphere, The Arcane Order, Lifesick, Endarken, Kollapse, 4th November 2023, Studenterhuset, Aalborg Metal Festival, Aalborg, Denmark9th November 2023
Konkhra, Dawn Of Demise, Maceration, Panzerchrist, Solbrud, Bloodgutter, Steel Inferno, Ferocity, Lightchapter, 3rd November 2023, Studenterhuset, Aalborg Metal Festival, Aalborg, Denmark
Annual event for all devoted worshippers of heavy metal sound is Aalborg Metal Festival, a festival which was held every year since 2004 (expect for a couple of years due to the coronavirus pandemic). 2002 was the first time I attended this two-day festival and I was coming there regularly until the the COVID-19 pandemic broke out. Now, after five years of absence I decided to pay a visit Studenterhuset, meet a couple of old friends, have a few beers and enjoy the very strong line-up with 16 mainly Danish bands and a grand-finale with Swedish old-school death metal giants “At The Gates”.
As you can see, this year, Aalborg Metal Festival presented a large pile of Danish bands, which sold out both one-day tickets and partout. I hope it will result in a stronger line-up with various genres and bands from abroad, next year.
Apart from tired and aching legs and constant pain in your neck, another thing that changes when you get older is the accountability and responsibility to other people than yourself. In my case this ment that I had to pick up my daugther from school and catch the next train to Aalborg. This entailed that I didn’t make it to see the first band opening the first day of the festival, Vægløs. Actually, local lads from Vægtløs were not even supposed to play at this festival, but due to some personal issues, Lightchapter were not able to perform. Instead it was Vægtløs, which were’ve presented at these pages earlier, when our writer said that their lyrics (all in Danish) make it very present and authentic, with fantastic credibility and intense performance, at least what I’ve been told, was also the case early friday afternoon in the Northern Jutland, Denmark.
Next was a band that I can tell a few more words about, Steel Inferno. This young and enthusiastic danish band are rather an unique band on danish scene, as they’re playing a classic speed metal. Despite of their young age, they spread positive energy to the audience. It’s all about having fun and establishing this reaction with the audience which began to show up in larger numbers now. Band’s lead-singer Chris Rostoff really manages to perform and communicate in his unique manner and 45 minutes performance went really fast.
Bloodgutter were next to enter the stage. Founded in 2019, Bloodgutter is another promising groovy & nasty death ‘n’ roll quartet from Silkeborg. Dawn of Demise is another act from this town, but more on that later on. Bloodgutter was in the right mood on the opening evening of AMF 2023. The band’s playin’ brilliantly, and their lead singer, Mikkel Lau, was especially sharp on today’s occasion, both when it comes to raw performance and cheeky Jutland humor in conversation with the audience. Bjørn Jensen (bass) seemed also to have played tight both with Bloodgutter and later on with his first band, Dawn of Demise. The band presented the audience to the most tracks from their brand new full-length debut entitled Death Mountain.
I was very exited to see the next band, as I’ve heard much about them, but never really had the chance to witness the magic of a Copenhagen-based black metal act Solbrud. Grey skies, cold weather and overall murky atmosphere seem as perfect settings for a band like Solbrud. One of their coolest songs is called “Tåge” and the audience was ready and settings were sat for one of the best and most convincing live performances on the first day of AMF 2023. The melodies were strong in the uncompromising universe when Solbrud gave AMF it’s black metal kick. This was definitely one of those evenings I’ll remember for a long time.
Panzerchrist have existed for three decades now, but it’s first time that I’ve seen them a completely new constellation with three new members; a guitarist, drummer and most notably a new lead singer in the form of Sonja Rosenlund Ahl. With a new lead singer, has obviously been in a change of the lyrical universe, where it was repeatedly announced at the concert that now it’s about witches rather than tanks. It’s fast, heavy and deadly, yet the tempo was occasionally turned down a bit, and harmonic twin leads were tried on the guitars. Panzerchrist seemed convincing and well together despite that it’s more or less a new experience for all of the band members.
1. Turn the Rack
2. At the Grave
3. The Devils Whore
4. Weep No More
5. Baptized In Piss
7. Sabbath of the Rat
8. Metal Church
Danish death pioneers from Maceration were the next band to enter the stage. In now far 1992 they released their highly-aclaimed full-length A Serenade of Agony. After almost three decades of silence, Maceration returned last year with the release of their sophomore album It Never Ends… As much as I was exited to listen to a new material from Dan Swanö, Jakob Schultz & Co. I was almost equally exited to see if they could still deliver it live. Friday evening in Aalborg showed with all clarity that the young and new bands had a better hold on those present than the likes of Maceration. Despite of the decent performance, Maceration delivering not more not less than what’s expected from them, the legacy of the Danish death metal deserves to live on and be celebrated for the movement they helped start there in the early nineties.
Dawn Of Demise is a completely different kind of death metal than Maceration. It’s groovy, and probably almost on the verge of progressive death. There are so many breaks and quirks in their tracks that they are just insanely exciting to listen to. Their vocalist was once again entertaining, talking about women, beer and showing his belly off. The hall was well filled during their concert, and they had no problems getting people involved. Damn, that was just cool, what a birthday the entire concert hall managed to hold for Astór Kristian Palsson. One can say that Dawn of Demise brought a party to Aalborg, and there was a fantastic and cozy atmosphere once again. Dawn Of Demise came, saw and won for good in Aalborg.
The main name this evening were old-school danish veterans, Konkhra. The band has existed for more than a quarter of a century, with changing line-ups along the way. Frontman Anders Lundemark has been the only one with them all the way, while both bassist Martin R. Patterson and Johnny Nielsen on drums have taken breaks along the way. Guitarist Kim ‘Hakim’ Mathiesen has been in and out of the band two times before, 1994–1996, 2002–2003, 2015–present. Konkhra had packed a longer set list with several releatively new songs, but also lots of goodies from the long career that has roots back to 1989. Konkhra moves in the extreme metal genre with clear roots in death metal, and their music has the right no-nonsense attitude which is almost impossible not to be carried away by. This night in Aalborg was no exception.
* What a satisfying way to end Friday’s program. We were completely blown away, but we are waiting, because tomorrow is a new day here at Aalborg Metal Festival.