Dark Mental Festival - 2012

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

We had arrived at the third and final day of Dark Mental Festival, and the first band on the menu was Bulletsize.
With them we broke the all Danish league from the day before, and this Swedish band began a second wave of international trend for the festival.

Bulletsize was probably one of the more experienced of the upcoming bands at the festival, as their roots went back to 2004, where they started out under the name Steel Wings under which moniker they released one EP and two full-length albums before changing into Bulletsize in 2006 after which they have released another EP and one more full-length album.
The band has also had a change of direction during their existence; with Steel Wings it was pretty traditional heavy metal, but with the name-change came a change for the more aggressive genre of thrash metal. According to themselves, they have even moved as far as implementing some death metal into their sound, but what they presented for us at Dark Mental Festival sounded just like good ol’ thrash to this reporter.
All this have also happened with a minimum of personnel changes, only the original bassist has changed, and the band have expanded into a two guitarists constellation so the 2012 line-up looks like this; Andreas Persson on vocals and guitar, Niklas Gidlund on drums, Kristoffer Swahn on bass and finally Kjell Berg on second guitar.

“It’s good to be back in Copenhagen, Copenhagen I love you!”
- Kjell Berg (guitar)

It’s always a pain to be the first band of the day, especially so when we’re talking about the third day of a festival as many people are hung over and late in showing up.
Dark Mental Festival was no different, and so Bulletsize had only a limited amount of people to work with when they went at it, but especially Berg tried his best to break the ice and get the party started anyway by speaking the above comment in Danish! Of course with a broad Swedish dialect, but still!
The rest of his comments came out in English though, and when Persson had something to say it changed a bit between English and Swedish, so there was something for everyone here. One might argue that it would have been a good idea to take a united stand on how to do it before the show, but as we would soon find out, the differing ideas about what language to use was the least of Bulletsize’s planning problems.
You see, it was easy to see that they didn’t have a setlist lying around the stage. What was not so apparent, at least to begin with, was that the band hadn’t even decided on what songs to play today! More than once there was a break in between songs where the band members discussed where they should take it from there, and most of the time it was Gidlund who tried to pull it all together and got the final word. Now that is a different way of going about things!

Even with these small confusions going on, the band tried to deliver a solid show to awaken the Danish crowd, and it was definitely the new kid, Berg, who was in charge of the performance part – or put in other words, he was basically the only one performing. While he was busy striking power-poses, running around amongst the audience on the floor and making witty remarks between songs, the rest of the band mostly just stood there. I mean really just stood there. Sure, they played their instruments and screamed the vocals, but this was thrash damn it, and the least we could demand was a bit of headbanging, but there was nothing...
of course, this kind of behaviour, or rather lack thereof, was mirrored in the gathered audience, which also mostly stood around, preferably far from the stage, and at the most would allow themselves to nod gently along to the songs. Some shouts and applause were mandatory between songs, and when Bulletsize tried to score some easy points by mentioning that their music video for Terrorizer had been shot in Copenhagen they succeeded in pulling a bit more response out of people, but it was a slow and hard struggle. Things did lighten up towards the end, without going overboard, and when the band had reached the final song for the day, which was called Swallow Your Pain but they for some reason preferred to call Mildred, there was finally some shouting and applause worth their name.

In my opinion, Bulletsize did an ok job musically without being distinctly recognisable, but as with so many before them they forgot that a live show is as much about how you present the material as the material itself, maybe even more in fact, and to this end Bulletsize really needs to work on their performances. Berg was good, but the rest of the guys really need to step it up! Good thrash needs a thrashing performance.

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