Machine Head, God Forbid & Caliban
Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, Denmark

November 2, 2004

From the outset, a gig on a Wednesday evening doesn’t sound promising – not in front of a Danish crowd, anyway. Mid-week events oftentimes tend to enjoy a somewhat timid reception and therefore I fear that I’ll regret that I’ve driven the 325 kilometres to Copenhagen in spite of a sore throat and an employer who’s expecting me to be behind my desk the next morning. Luckily, my initial fears are put to shame this time.


German support band Caliban’s homepage informs me that they are “already seen as veterans of the European metal-core scene” despite their young age. I beg to differ. At first, I’m mildly impressed by their energy and convincing display of jump-friendly metal-core, but when they’ve played the same song six times, I’m starting to get bored. If you insist doing stuff others have done better before, at least try to vary the songs throughout the set.


God Forbid

I’m entirely unfamiliar with God Forbid and, frankly speaking, it’s not entirely my cup of tea. Admittedly, this US five piece is more accomplished and complicated than Caliban’s recipe metal, and at times I think that if I’d known this beforehand, I would really have enjoyed moments of their thrash-come-hardcore metal.


Machine Head

After a short break, a grandiose classical intro announces that it’s Machine Head time. The thing with Machine Head and me is that I don’t think they ever made the perfect album - the closest shot probably being the debut “Burn My Eyes” from 1994, with  contenders “The Burning Red” and latest effort “Through the Ashes of Empires”. However, they have created a string of fantastic songs that will go down in the annals of metal history as some of the greatest and for that they deserve respect.

And as you would expect, the live situation is where these great songs can be aired, and they are. “Imperium”, the opener from “TtAoE” begins the cannonade from Mr’s Flynn, Duce, Demmel and McClain. As mentioned at the beginning of this review, my fears of a timid Wednesday evening crowd are put to shame as the near-sold out Pumpehuset launches into a fabulous mosh, singing and shouting throughout the set, only interrupted by a not-so-great mid-set ballad whose title slips my mind.

“Old” and “Davidian” are hailed like dear old friends by the crowd, and the biggest mosh pit I’ve seen in a while is created. “The Blood, The Sweat, The Tears” hammers through as does “Ten Ton Hammer” and “Take My Scars”.

Machine Head’s ballads are fine on the albums, but live the band is just not up to it, and therefore I personally would have swapped “Descend The Shades Of Night” with two up-tempo songs, but, hey, this is still Machine Head’s night.

Obviously very pleased with the crowd’s reaction throughout, Rob Flynn and his crew decide to put in an extra set of encores. This spontaneous extra set turns out to consist of ultra-cool cover versions of “Territory” by Sepultura and Pantera’s “Walk” and "A New Level". Hell, yeah!


Attending: Thomas