Power of Metal.dk Live Review

Location: Underværket,
Randers, Denmark
28th of January, 2012
  Evile, Dr. Living Dead, Clonecircle, Portrait, Diamond Drive, Prevail, Nepalm

It is finally time for the annual Midwinter Meltdown in the city of Randers in Denmark. Arranged by members of the local band Clonecircle, the band funnily enough always finds its way into the billing for the event. But, hey, wouldn't you?!

The first band on this cold January evening is a bunch of 15-year-old school boys who've formed a band called NEPALM. And more power to them for doing so! As awkward as the young fellows look on stage, as vehemently do they insist on lashing out a nu-metal, Slipknot inspired burst of metal they have labelled rapcore in one of their songs (their first song ever, we're told!). However not a big moment in music history, nevertheless entertaining and fun to see the youthful energy and obvious talent lying in wait. Oh, and guys; when you end a gig, tell the audience - usually this is done just before that last song...

With a lot more clout and much more recording and live experience under their belts, local outfit PREVAIL take to stage with a fistful of rock'n'death. No strangers to the live setting, three of members of this Prevail parted ways with folk deathsters Svartsot some time ago, exactly because they wanted to form something less folky and more direct. Despite a somewhat weak first half of the gig, Prevail win hearts during the second half of Swedish-inspired, down-tuned rock'n'death and former Svartsot fronter Claus' deep growl. Not a revolution, but something I'd always find pleasure in listening to.

The band I've been looking forward to the most before this evening is the Swedish crossover retro-outfit DR. LIVING DEAD! who won my heart completely with their debut album in 2011. And the four masked and bandana carrying Swedes who're part of the Evile/Portrait touring package do not disappoint. This is just as good live, if not better, and hits directly into the crossover vein of this old beast who grew up on this shit. A shame that the audience here in Randers is holding back, because it could explode into a real thrash feast if they'd been in on it. Reptile Beneath is such a cool song! I dig!

Change of scenery entirely. From bandanas and shorts we move to bullet belts and spandex! It's not, I repeat NOT a pretty sight as PORTRAIT's by the way very cool intro and the band pose with their backs to the audience. There are some things that I certainly don't miss about the 80s. There is just something fundamentally wrong when the guy in the band who wears a painted face and a big inverted cross on his naked chest is the one who looks LEAST geeky of them all! There's a little Mercyful Fate hiding inside Portrait, and it shares home with a Priest and a tiny Maiden, too. Niklas Svensson sports a falsetto vocal that, sadly, possesses none of King Diamond's coolness, and after a short while, this hurts more than I like. Entertaining and well-played? Yeah, I suppose. Good? No, not really.

Local heroes CLONECIRCLE haven't released new material since 2009 ('Behind the Wire', MSM Production), which of course means that there are no real surprises in the set tonight. Nevermind, Clonecircle have such a penchant for concept and visual effects that their concerts won't be boring. The industrial induced metal of the Randers four-piece works well live, and especially when the production is as good as tonight. I'm certain vocalist/bassist Martin's voice has been dubbed, because he sounds overwhelmingly impressive. This is a band that don't mind using technical gimmicks of all sorts, and I suppose it's alright. In true Clonecircle fashion there's a cool video backdrop during the entire concert. As a stark contrast to guitarist Morten, his contraband on the right hand side of the stage, Thomas Y, acts like an emotionless robot - or does he just have a hard time getting into the music tonight? I'm in doubt. Anyway, good gig.

DIAMOND DRIVE  from Aarhus play modern thrash, or extreme metal, or whatever we call it these days. And they're not half bad at it, either. Clean voice, screams and growls are mixed by singer Troels and has a nice, varied approach to his singing, even if the quality isn't consistently good. Overall, the band comes across as being professional with a good sense of writing songs, and they, well, sound good for the most part. Diamond Drive definitely have the kind of stage presence many bands could learn from, and that in itself is a big plus. The sound is also more than decent for this gig, but what on earth is going on with that snare drum sound? It sounds like a veritable explosion!

EVILE are such a sympathetic bunch! These are four friendly, polite chaps who obviously love playing music. During the soundcheck, guitar geek number one, Ol Drake, can't stop playing around with his guitar, constantly making little noises, making weird sounds with his effects, playing little bits of tunes. And the thing is: where you'd typically see in bands with massive egos and perhaps a little less love for the music irritation and hard looks, Ol's band mates smile, nod and just go about their own sound business.

When the four-piece finally open the thrash ball, there's no stopping them. With a humble approach to both being on stage (Matt: 'How many have heard of Evile before?' Almost entire audience: 'Raaaaargh' Matt (slightly surprised expression): 'Oh, excellent?!') and their metal heritage, Evile fire away on all thrash cylinders. Metallica, Megadeth, Annihilator, many of the greats can be heard in the vintage brew that is served.

With Killer from the Deep, We Who About to Die, In Dreams of Terror, Cult, Thrasher, Descent into Madness
, Infected Nation, Eternal Empire and a few other cuts, we get a choice selection from the three full-lenght albums the four Brits have adorned the world with so far. Nice one!

This concludes the Midwinter Meltdown. As we head home, snow is slowly falling from the skies, but our hearts are warm after an evening with a lot of retro-metal. Let's see what Randers can come up with next year - I'm already looking forward to it!

Thomas and Philip

Local heroes - Clonecircle

Professional modern metal - Diamond Drive

Sympathetic thrash metal machine - Evile



The power of youth - Nepalm

More mature, heavier songs - Prevail

Crossover galore - Dr. Living Dead!

Satanic falsetto - Portrait