Headbangers Ball Tour – Gimle, Roskilde 2010

MTV’s Headbangers Ball Tour is an annual event which has existed for several years now, and it would seem that it, just as a good wine, only gets better with age.
This year it kicked off its tour through the country in Roskilde, and Metalmoments was invited to behold the three class-acts which had been chosen for this edition; Invocator, Raunchy and The Burning.

The concert took place at Gimle, a venue in Roskilde which hosts more and more shows, and although there have been several concerts there which we have been interested in, this would prove our first visit, and I must say that we were off to a good start!
The place can take about 700 people at a time, but when we arrived, just as The Burning was taking the stage, it was a number smaller by far than that which was visiting this night, and we had no problem making our way into the concert room and quickly found a good spot…

The Burning:

I first saw The Burning at a small Copenhagen venue two years back, but I couldn’t quite remember what I truly thought of them at that time, so it was with as open a mind as one can have that I listened to what these young men from Aarhus had to say.
Well, “say” would prove to be an understatement by far! Already from the very beginning, The Burning was kicking and screaming, and tearing Roskilde a new asshole with their violent thrash groove metal and impressively lively performance, which held an equal part of ear-pummelling heaviness and sordid, drunken Jutland humour.
Vocalist Johnny Haven took the show to a new level for every song performed by getting more and more into it, and especially him and bassist Thue Møller proved to have great performing skills well-suited for the type of music they are involved with. Haven also literally took the show to a new level as he, in a good attempt at getting the crowd in the mood left the stage, and screamed and thrashed around on the floor instead. This may not have had as profound an impact as intended, but I was entertained, and as he later ascended the stage again, Haven pulled a muscle; this did not seem to affect his wild performance, but it did give rise to a joke he returned to a couple of times afterwards, about a pain in the ass…
Haven’s half-drunken humour proved a nice counterweight to the ferocious music, and The Burning far exceeded my expectations and proved a highly entertaining and perfectly picked opener to this night of Danish heaviness.

As the stage was rebuilt for the next band, there was time for a quick glance at the merchandise-stand which held several items for all three bands at very reasonable prices, before we all headed for the bar in the room cross the hall.
Also here Gimle proved to be a classy place, with nice facilities and decorations, and most important of all, a well-run bar, which provided some liquid nourishment before the next act...


I had avoided Raunchy for the longest time, with the feeling that this was nothing for me, but last year at Brutal Assault they completely won me over with their gripping live-performance, and so, in stark contrast to The Burning with whom I had had no real expectations, I was very much looking forward to once again be blown away by this modern metal sextet.
It would seem as though seeing them in their official shape would prove harder than one would think however, as just as last time guitarist Jesper Tilsted was absent (this time because he chose to attend his honeymoon instead, go figure...), this time he was replaced by Flemming C. Lund, who incidentally is the guitarist of headliner-band Invocator as well.
Raunchy once again proved to be a band who definitely knows how to rock a stage, and even though the crowd was still small, people were definitely getting more into the mood by now, and were better at headbanging along to the music (although a little bit more enthusiasm wouldn’t have hurt). The band-members themselves were quite the lively bunch as well, and as the stage could hardly fit such a large number of people who actually knows how to perform, they were constantly bumping into each other, but as true professionals they didn’t let this affect the show, and only seemed to have fun with it.
Not as much fun as The Burning had had though, and even though the music was rocking and the sound was great, the actual connection with the audience was lacking. Vocalist Kasper Thomsen made a few attempts at comments which were meant to lift the mood, like the time he introduced one of their Wasteland Discotheque tracks as being the song Slayer always hoped they would have written (I seriously doubt this to be true), but in failing to follow up on such remarks they never made much impact.
Instead of fun and games, Raunchy went for the fast from-song-to-song style of concert, and as a fan you would probably enjoy the heightened amount of songs the band can pull of this way, but as an uninitiated person, I lacked something to hold my interest all the way through...

Intermission II...
Yet another break between bands found us quickly grabbing a beer and taking control of one of the corner tables to rest our weary legs before the main attraction of the evening would commence.
We also managed to bump into some acquaintances of ours, with whom we shared a glass, before heading back to the concert room, where more people were filling in now compared to the previous concerts, and people finally dared to approach the stage as well as the lights went down and the audio intro began playing.


After the short intro, Invocator went directly for the throat by kicking the show off with their classic track Dying To Live.
This pioneer of Danish technical thrash metal, led by internationally famed studio owner/producer/more Jacob Hansen (Hansen Studios), was actually celebrating the 10th anniversary of their resurrection in 2000.
By his side, Hansen had Carsten Mikkelsen on bass and Jakob Bundel on drums from that line-up, but even though Flemming C. Lund, who had just played with Raunchy, is still listed as a member of the band, it was not him, but the older band-member Perle Hansen who shared axe duties with the singer this night.
Invocator was the band I had the highest hopes for this evening, but I was afraid I was in for a disappointment, as Hansen’s vocals sounded very weak as if he was holding back for some reason, and they lacked that certain punch needed for a good thrash-show which I know from their recordings that he can deliver...
The music didn’t lack anything however, and the sound could be compared to being ripped up from the floor and tossed into the nearest concrete-wall, this was how much power it held. Be it the joy of playing, or just warm-up time needed, but soon the voice was also in a position to match the rest of the musical performance. It wasn’t hard to see why this band had been given the prominent position of headlining this tour, the audience loved them, and for the first time tonight some real action was seen on the floor (not counting The Burnings’ Johnny Haven’s short visit earlier that is). During the last two songs there was even a small but enthusiastic moshpit wreaking some havoc, something which had been sorely missed for a long time. Of course, Hansen’s comment about the last song approaching and it being the last chance to have a dance might have had something to do with it...
Invocator was generously handing stuff out material from both the old albums and the “new”, and although he wasn’t present for the whole show as one might have expected, Lund still came on as a guest-musician and thrashed to the title-track of their 2003 release Through The Flesh To The Soul. Invocator also had another special guest, as long-time-ago member Jakob Schultz came on and rocked out in the title-track from Invocator’s debut album Excursion Demise.
After this, the show was ended by the excellent Through The Nether To The Sun, and anyone who didn’t at least try and acquire a whiplash injury here had only themselves to blame!
Invocator lived up to their responsibilities, and delivered the best show of the evening.

After it was all over, I had a strangely split sensation of both feeling very uplifted and yet at the same time totally drained, a good combo after this sort of affair.
The bands had all done their job, and the sound, which deserves a note of its own, was simply outstanding (well done Gimle!). The whole setup was actually very professionally executed, and everything ran smoothly from the time you put your feet inside the door until you left again.
The only thing which actually proved disappointing this evening was the audience. Even though the crowd grew throughout the evening, the attendance as a whole was very small, and most of the people who had shown up were a pitifully lazy bunch. The bands certainly deserved a better crowd than this, and I can only hope that the rest of the tour brings more active visitors to the halls.

Invocator setlist:

Dying To Live
Breed Of Sin
From My Skull It Rains
Desert Sands
Through The Flesh To The Soul
Flick It On
Doomed To Be
Shattered Self
The Afterbirth
Condition Critical
Excursion Demise
Through The Nether To The Sun

Text: Tobias Nilsson

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