DMeA – Amager Bio, Copenhagen 2008
After arriving at the Amager Bio, where the Danish Metal Awards once more was to be held, we soon treated ourselves to a welcoming drink from the bar, and gave a short glance at the merchandise stand. From what I saw, only the main attraction of the evening, Carcass, had some shirts hanging there, but then again, I wasn’t looking too closely.
Letting my eyes sweep the room, I saw many prominent people of the Danish metal scene and related businesses mingling with the regular guest in a relaxed atmosphere.
As the show was soon to begin, we finished our drinks and went to find a good spot in the main hall to await the coming attractions.
To start things of we got to follow Frederik ‘A Kid Hereafter’ Thaae around via big-screen as he roamed the building in search of Carsten Holm, the host of the evening. He was eventually found under a sofa, where he apparently had been in hibernation since last years’ event. After a quick run he did manage to pull himself up on the stage however and the show could finally begin.
Even though the place at this point was pretty barren, there were still a few shouts to be heard as the evening started out with some folk singing courtesy of Peter Skov Larsen. The song was Vi Voksne Kan Også Være Bange (= Us Grown-ups Can Also Be Afraid), but as it came to an end and Skov Larsen was getting ready for another song, he was abruptly interrupted by Thaae, marking the beginning of A Kid Hereafter In The Grinding Light’s concert.
AKHITGL (yes, it’s a mouthful so I’ve shortened it from now on) was the first of five bands to provide this event with musical entertainment. As leadsinger Thaae had just been up on the award-stage on the opposite side of the hall, stopping the folk-singer from running amok, he had to sprint through the crowd to reach the stage, all the while singing their first song.
AKHITGL gave an intense show which was very entertaining and really kicked the evening in the right direction -> up and away! There was also time for a promise; anyone attending the after-party would be allowed to have sex with their drummer.
The bands (except Carcass) had a short play-time to work with, about 15 minutes each, but as most of AKHITGL’s songs are very short they still had time give us several tracks and have time to talk in between. Some of the songs they gave us were Just Smile, The Samurai, Chosen One and Mad Arms.
After the first concert was over, and as the crowd had grown enough to fill about half the room, it was time for the first awards to be handed out.
There were two categories to go through before the next concert; the first one up was the award for the Best Cover Artwork. Handing it out was a band which was also playing later on; Dawn Of Demise.
With the ruling from the judges being; “… in a good, old-fashioned Vulgar Display Of Power style…” the winner was Last Mile and the artists Pascal Büenning and Christof Kather.
For the next category, Talent of the Year, the announcing job had fallen on Niklas Schneidermann from the DPA (Danske Populærautorer) and also guitarist of Magtens Korridorer. With the judging that they stuck out from the crowd as well as being very good with their instruments, the winner of this category was the death/thrash band Crocell.
The entire band was there to accept the award, but they let their bassist be the spokesperson. To begin with, he wanted to thank himself for being an inspiration to all the bassist’s around the world; furthermore he would like to thank himself for being the world’s best bassist and person.
After the first awards were handed out it was time for my favourite band of the evening to take the stage; the heavy folkmetal band Svartsot. In my opinion they should have had much more time to play in, but then again, this was an award show, not your regular concert, so I was happy with what I got.
As he had been missing on their last tour, it was good to see the return of their flutist Stewart Lewis, even though he seemed to have some problems with getting his instrument to agree with him at times. This generated the following comment from his bandmate Claus Gnudtzmann (vocals); “Oh my, I guess he’ll be paying for beer this evening!”
The songs we were treated to were Jotunheimsfærden, Skovens Kælling, Festen and Gravøllet.
Now it was once more time for some awards to change hands; the first category was Best Video and it was to be handed out by Danish radio P3’s Camilla J Lea. Here the judging was that the video managed to convey the same energy the band possess live, while still keeping varied in its expression. The winner was Pilgrimz with Shake-A-Feather, directed by Andreas Krohn. After this the video was shown on the big screens hanging on either side of the hall, and admittedly; it was a very nicely put together video. Not that I have seen all the other nominees, but it was a deserved win.
After the video was done a familiar face took the podium. It was Bill Steer, guitarist of Carcass, and he was hired to present the winner of the Debut of the Year award. He got a bit carried away though, and almost gave the winning name away before even the nominees were named.
In the end, with the ruling that they were proof of Danish metal having reached international standards, the winner was Scamp with their album Mirror Faced Mentality.
Next band on stage was Dawn Of Demise, whom we had earlier gotten a glimpse of as they were handing out the Cover Artwork award. Now, however, it was time to hand out some hard hitting death metal, and no fingers were put between when trying to blow our ears and minds to a bloody pulp on the floor.
Not that they did such a good job of it, in my opinion this was the most forgettable part of the evening. Still, there were a few that headbanged along to their wicked tunes.
And so it was once again to time to turn our heads away from the stage, and up the balcony from which already a lot of bands had walked away with their prices. There were still a few more to go however, and the next one up was the prominent price Best Production; presented by Tomas ‘Obeast’ Koefoed (bassist of Mnemic). The not so surprising winner was Jacob Hansen of Hansen Studios for his work on Guitar Gangsters And Cadillac Blood by Volbeat. I say not so surprising as Jacob Hansen was behind four of the five nominated albums in this category; so congratulations are definitely in order I say.
After this it was time to hand out the Honorary Price, which was on stage presented by Thomas Grønkjær of the DMeA board, but also praised on video by several outstanding Danish metal personalities counting among others Lars Ulrich (Metallica), Tomas Koefoed (Mnemic), Michael Poulsen (Volbeat) and Mikkel Sandager (Mercenary).
The award was given for a tireless effort to promote Danish metal, and was given to Steffen Jungersen, writer at one of Denmark’s largest newspapers; BT.
After this prestigious award it was time for the last Danish band of the evening, and this honour had befallen the death/thrashers The Arcane Order.
Their set was, as indicated by the genre, fast and hard, and they had a good grip on the audience. Especially vocalist Kasper Thomsen (also in Raunchy) was in charge of this part as the rest of the band did their best to keep the crowd insane.
Although they made a good job of it with their show, this was again a concert that will not last long in my memory, simply as the music didn’t grab me in least.
Back at the podium it was now time for the last three awards of this year’s Danish Metal Awards to be handed out to some new lucky owners. One might say they had kept the best for last, at least you must admit that Best Live-act, Best International Album and Best Danish Album are three very heavy categories and some that are not easily dismissed.
First of was Best Live-act, and this was to be handed over by two fellows we had had a great time with earlier this evening, namely Stewart Lewis and Claus Gnudtzmann from Svartsot. Although in my mind they should have been at the receiving end of this award rather than handing it over, it was still good to see them again, and there’s still hoping for next year. The actual winner of this coveted award was the Århusian metal-machine The Burning.
The next award, Best International Album, was presented by the ever-lively Frank ‘Hellboss’ Gottschalk (Illdisposed, ex-Volbeat). Not surprisingly the winner was Metallica with their new album Death Magnetic, and as we listened to Lars Ulrich’s pre-recorded thank you to the Danish audience, it was with just the tiniest hint of a feeling that this might have had something to do with “I scratch your back if you scratch mine”... Then again, as I said before, it wasn’t too much of a surprise, considering which band it was.
Last, but certainly not least, was the award for Best Danish Album of the Year. Here the speaker was a bit unexpectedly (to me at least) Max Vegas, vocalist of the earlier in the evening winning band Pilgrimz. He was really going at it, literally climbing the walls as he made the announcement the undisputed winner for Best Danish Album of 2008 was... Volbeat with Guitar Gangsters And Cadillac Blood!
A great cheer erupted; this was something people could understand. And it was certainly about time Volbeat won something for themselves (I’m counting the production award more to credit for Jacob Hansen than Volbeat seeing as he was the producer), considering that they been nominated for every single category it was possible for them to be nominated in!
As the band was out touring, Jacob Hansen received the award on their behalf and had a short greeting to say from the band, something that really summed it all up; “Fee Metal!”
After all the awards had been handed out there really was only one way to go, and that was to the front of the stage, eagerly awaiting the full-length show of British grindcore heroes Carcass.
“So this is an award show? We ain’t never won an award. Ah fuck it, we know we rock!” These words from bassist/vocalist Jeff Walker really set the mood for this awesome finale of the evening. The show was well made, definitely the liveliest Carcass show I have witnessed yet, and remember that I have been positively surprised by these gents every time I’ve seen them thus far. This felt like just the type of venue that fit them, and they were getting a great response from the audience.
Only thing that might have sat a bit bad with a few of the hardcore fan-base of Carcass might have been this comment coming a bit later; “We’ve only got an hour to play so we’ve had to cut all the grindcore out.”
Yeah, I have heard voices saying they missed a bit more of the really old stuff, but hey; they are just beginning anew, who knows what the future might hold?
Well, according to Jeff Walker, there were only four reasons for Carcass to get back together and play; I missed the first one but then there was money, girls and Ken Owen. Ken Owen of course being their former drummer, who sadly doesn’t play anymore due to a stroke. He was feeling up to giving a drum solo towards the end of the show however, and I think this does earn him a great deal of respect. At least in my book.
So, to conclude this year’s event, I must first of all give praise to the ones organising it. The whole evening was very well put together, and everything seemed to run smoothly. Never was there a longer pause or a dull moment in the program; there was something happening all the time, and that is impressive with an arrangement of this magnitude.
There were a few forgettable shows, but more that were really entertaining; and while having five very different bands playing, I suppose not everything has to be loved by everyone. There was more or less something for everyone, and that is how this type of event should be. Metal should not exclude anyone, and I don’t think that this evening did.
Text: Tobias Nilsson