The Headbangers Ball Tour has become an annual event in Denmark. The concept has from the outset been a great oppurtunity to see new and old Danish bands live, and this year is no exception.
The bill includes the real old-school in the shape of producer/guitarist/vocalist Jacob Hansen's reawakened outfit Invocator, the somewhat old-school sounding The Burning as well as the modern-pop-metallers Raunchy.
This is the last night of the tour, and it will have some impact on the quality of the music, but also on the fun factor.
The Burning's front man Johnny Haven is not a quiet guy. Yeah, he likes to talk. For the most part, the Popeye look-alike is quite amusing, I've got to hand him that. But fair's fair and enough's enough, so in some instances you feel like asking him to shut up and get on with it.
Over the past couple of years, The Burning have worked themselves into a cycle of recording album, touring, recording album, touring, and in a bit, the third album is ready. The band have matured as a live band and usually form a tight unit, but tonight it seems a bit hard for the quartet to ignite the spark. The mood is fine, and the crew is taking the piss out of the band by replacing the setlists and putting porn flick soundtracks in the monitors. It's probably more fun to be on stage than in front of the stage, and the conclusion is that The Burning can do a lot better than this as the grip on the audience is only momentarily there throughout the gig.
Think what you will of Raunchy, but fact is that they make a difference and represent innovation and courage unlike many, many other Danish bands. They also happen to be a great live band which they prove again tonight. Singer Kasper from the outset announces that he's pissed, but he does quite well despite that fact.
All in all, this turns out to be the most chaotic yet fun Raunchy gig I've witnessed as past members of the band are hauled onstage every now and then. An extra keyboarder here, an extra clean voice there, at some point four guitarists. Yup, there's a whole lot going on during this event and the stage seems crammed with people. The many sources of sound create a slight muddle in the soundscape, but on the whole, Raunchy show how strong and solid they really are on a stage as they tear through Warriors, Rumors of Worship , The Bash, Curse of Bravery, Phantoms and a number of other tunes.
You have to understand that Invocator and I go back a long time. In fact, one of the very first concerts I went to back in 1988 was an Invocator concert. By then I had only seen Artillery and Anthrax/Suicidal Tendencies, so you can imagine how the technical underground thrash of these young fellows could impress me.
This was when they had recorded a couple of demo tapes (yes, tapes) and the debut, 'Excursion Demise' (1991), was still something to come. I'm still the proud owner of their 'Alterations' demo and would have been the owner of the 'Genetic Confusions' demo too, if it hadn't been stolen by some cunt in 1992...
Seeing Jacob Hansen and Invocator play one of the stages at the Roskilde Festival 1992 was fantastic. An underground band I liked at Roskilde! I mean...how likely was that? And to see Invocator support Psychotic Waltz later on. And then Paradise Lost. It all made a lot of sense.
Anyway, Invocator released 'Excursion Demise', the imminent 'Weave the Apocalypse' (1993) and the also brilliant 'Dying to Live' (1995) before disbanding. Jacob Hansen went on to pursue a career as producer as you probably are well aware, drummer Per M. Jensen joined The Haunted, and otherwise little was heard until Hansen reformed the band with a new line-up and released 'Through the Flesh to the Soul' in 2003 and did a tour, only to disband again.
Reformed again for this tour, with guitarist Perle back in the ranks, the scene is set for a walk down memory lane. And the quartet doesn't disappoint. The thing you should keep in mind is that Jacob Hansen doesn't have a great voice. Not at all, in fact. But, mind you, it was one of the first voices of metal I heard, that voice has always been there, if you know what I mean. And the coolness of the music from 'Weave the Apocalypse' and 'Dying to Live' cannot be questioned.
On this evening, the majority of the material is taken from exactly those two albums. Only the title tracks from the debut and 'Through the Flesh to the Soul' are aired, and that is how I prefer it to be. The title track from 'Dying to Live' opens the ball and it from the first minute clear that we get a great sound tonight. And wouldn't it strange otherwise with a producer in the band?
For me and many others who are my age, this is a true best of session with tunes like Desert Sand, From My Skull It Rains, Astray, Condition Critical, Breed of Sin as well as my absolute favourite among the old Invocator songs; Doomed to Be.
Handling the bass tonight is Kasper from The Arcane Order who, I'm told, had two or three days to learn the set as he accepted to stand in. And he did so by listening to the CD's - no tabs, no nothing! Impressive and convincing job!
Hansen is an odd front man because he seems like a very shy and quiet person who forces himself to get out there. He tends to be a bit awkward onstage, especially when the sampled farting sounds sound from the monitors as a part of the jests of the last evening of the tour, but because of the music that pours from the instrument in his hands, you can only decide to see through that and enjoy the sounds.
As a curiosity, Flemming (Arcane Order/Raunchy) joins on stage for Through the Flesh to the Soul (he was in Invocator at the time) and Jacob Schultz, the original Invocator guitarist joins for Excursion Demise.
The last cool event of the evening is Through the Never to the Sun where Invocator is joined by a plethora of members of the other bands and crew members, Raunchy's Kasper sharing the vocal duties with Hansen. Would be interesting to hear a rerecording of some of the old tunes with someone like Kasper handling the vocals, one could think, eh eh?
All in all a fantastic evening in Kolding that shows that both old and new bands in our wee country still have something to offer the audiences.
Attending: Thomas Nielsen
|The Burning - Johnny the talkerRaunchy - slightly intoxicated, but still some of
the prime movers of the Danish metal sceneInvocator - old-school greatnessSchultz joins Invocator on stage for an Excursion DemiseMore pictures here