Midwinter Meltdown 2007
Venue: Underværket, Randers, Denmark
Date: January 20th 2007

The small Danish town of Randers hasn’t exactly made its mark on metaldom. But, lo and behold, this could very well change now. The general rise of quality metal in Denmark has had a positive impact here as well, with bands getting their acts together and now this fine new initiative; the Midwinter Meltdown event.

Five quite diverse Danish bands have been lined up to entertain the approximately 200 paying guests here tonight.

Right from the opening act, end:my:sorrow, it is clear that we we’re in for an evening with excellent sound, however a tad lower than what you get at many other venues.

end:my:sorrow launch into something I’d describe as a varied mixture of prog and goth. It’s not a bad mixture as such, and you have to respect the band for trying something that isn’t exactly common for the Danish metal scene – but, although the history of the band goes back almost a decade, the quartet seems uncomfortable on stage and stands fixed to the spots like a band that still need time in the rehearsal room.

Most lively is guitarist Snade who makes an effort connecting with the friendly but hesitant crowd (it’s only six p.m. at this point)., whereas, at the other end of the spectre, bassist Jens is completely introvert and doesn’t look up at the crowd until somewhere during the fifth song (!).

Front woman Liv does a decent job at first and the interplay between her voice and growling guitarist Christian works well. As we reach the sixth song, Liv sadly looses momentum and almost disappears in the mix. This lasts for the remainder of the set and leaves one with the feeling that this is less than satisfactory.

Rating: 55

end:my:sorrow - not quite there yet...


Next up are Broadmoor, an outfit made up of slightly geeky looking youngsters (the drummer most of all looks like Devin Townsend…say no more!). The boys are clearly fit for fight and ready to show us what they’ve got when they take to stage.

And as they launch into a heavy and convincing intro to the first song, vocalist Søren lifts the mike, starts to sing and…nothing comes out of the PA.
Oh, bugger.
On stage, uncomfortable looks slowly wash away the self-confidentiality as it takes the soundman a painstakingly long time to figure out what is wrong and finally fix the problem.

I bet these boys jerk off to Dream Theater whenever they get the chance. Technically adept and addicted to mad soloing Broadmoor impress quite a bit although Søren, once he gets the PA on his side, proves not exactly to be a LaBrie.
But when it comes down to it, I personally prefer to jerk off to less intellectual things in life and soon begin to look forward to a Pepsi and the next band on the bill.

Rating: 60

Broadmoor - do they in fact jerk off to Dream Theater?


Clonecircle released their debut, ‘Superimposed’ from Midget Records in September 2006. As our own Benny Skou pointed out in his review of the album, the album does have its flaws, although I think there are songs on there that only need a couple of spins to stick quite firmly with the listener plus that it signals a clear potential.

My impression of Clonecircle’s performance tonight only confirms this signal. From the first tones of the title track of the debut to the last stomp of the hit song of the album, Waiting for the Kill, the local heroes never stray from their convincing industrial-goth-metal path.

Clonecircle has something that few Danish bands have: a thought-out visual concept that includes loads of green light, weird coats, white make up and a bit of fireworks – and not only that; they have sufficient musical skills and stage presence to back that up.

Compared to the CD, the songs come across a lot more potent in the live setting. I notice that especially Waiting for the Kill benefits from the live production. On the album, Morten’s vocal becomes a tad annoying on this song because of the exaggerated use of distortion. Now it seems more balanced and everyone seem more than pleased with the effort of the homeboys.

Rating: 80

Not as green as they might seem...Clonecircle


Did I just say stage presence? Blimey, if anyone are harbingers of stage presence tonight, then it’s got to be Mercenary. With more than a decade of experience and loads of international recognition and live efforts behind them, the six young men have the professional attitude it takes to play a great gig in front of a crowd of 4000 or 200. And this IS indeed a professional gig, and in that sense (and not really surprisingly) the best performance of the evening.

Mercenary have clearly twisted the sound engineer’s arm and forced him to turn up the volume somewhat to gain that festival sound they’re accustomed to. The effect is naturally there as the powerful material from ’11 Dreams’ and ‘The Hours that Remain’ are effectively hammered out, most notably Into the Sea of Dark Desires/World Hate Centre, Redefine Me, Simplicity and the title tracks from both albums that conclude tonight’s gig.

It’s a pleasure to see Mikkel Sandager displaying suitable amounts of confidence as a frontman and new man Rene Pedersen filling out departed bassist/second vocalist Kral’s shoes with seeming ease. Very, very solid performance indeed!

Rating: 85

Mercenary give another proof of their professionalism


My expectations to the next band are high. Svartsot from Randers have only been around since the beginning of 2005 but have already gained quite a reputation for their live performance and have supported e.g. Illdisposed and Volbeat. This is the first time I’m going to witness what the fuzz is all about. The four-song promo I received last week was very promising indeed – the four songs are a fantastic blend of Norse mythology and folklore, flute and something I can best describe as melodic black metal (is that a contradiction in terms?!?).

Let’s just say that I’m not disappointed when Svartsot enter the stage, wielding axes, painted faces, kilts and leather. Front man Claus Gnudtzmann, a short, somewhat portly fellow, is dressed in a coat of mail. By the sound of it, he’s an amiable guy, but make no mistake; he’s also become one of Denmark’s best growlers.

Svartsot manage to balance show and musicianship in way that makes it possible for you to actually listen and enjoy the melodic riffing, accompanied by Stewart Lewis’ flutes. It’s simply impossible not to get into a good mood when beholding this spectacle.

As a bonus, the band leaves space during the set for a fair young maiden who performs with a flaming stick, accompanied by the beautiful sound of the flute. Spectacular indeed (even if the sweet lady accidentally drops the stick a couple of times – luckily the entire place isn’t set aflame as one could’ve feared).

Svartsot are the perfect folkloristic full stop to this fine evening of metal – nice one!

Rating: 82  

All in all, a big thumbs up to Midwinter Meltdown – there ought to be a firm foundation for a repetition next year!

Good growl, great show - Svartsot

See the rest of the pictures from Midwinter Meltdown here (and, yeah, I need a better camera...)

Attending: Thomas