Pumpehuset, Copenhagen - 2012

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

The old Canadian death metal band Gorguts turned back from the dead in 2008, and some four years later, they decided to grace Denmark with a visit at Pumpehuset.
The support had consisted of two Danish bands, Defilementory and The Cleansing, but both of their shows were over and done with by this time, and it was time for the main act.

Or actually, the story began a bit earlier than that – before either of the bands played, why, even before the venue actually opened, the guys of Gorguts took advantage of the lovely August weather and held an impromptu meet ‘n’ greet with the fans in the yard outside of Pumpehuset (where they later would play), in their newly opened outside bar section. Thus, if you were game, you could show up early and hang out and have a beer with the band, a type of interaction that is definitely appreciated by this reporter!
Actually, members of the band could be seen throughout the evening as well, walking around the venue as the other bands played, chatting with the concert-goers whenever someone was interested. Very cool behaviour indeed.

“Copenhagen, you are too much in place! We need to get things moving a bit.”
- Luc Lemay (vocals/guitar)

Anyway, back to the show!
As it was time for Gorguts to play, the crowd was finally starting to look a bit more serious. Sure, we weren’t close to filling up even the smaller downstairs area at Pumpehuset, but we were a lot stronger in numbers than we had been for either of the support bands – in fact, members of the support acts could be found side by side with the rest of us, ready to enjoy some old-school death from a band which was doing it when the old-school still was new!
After a semi-long intro of doomsday sounds, the band came up on the small stage and began tearing the place apart with its aggressive music. Not a word of greeting or anything, just straight for the throat action.
I admit I didn’t know this band before I went in, but since my tired driving had caused us to miss them at Metalcamp only a short time before, I owed Lunah (Lauridsen, our photographer) one, as she was very intent on seeing them. I had some fear this was not going to rock my boat as we went in, but somehow the band surprised me by giving me a feeling similar to that of Macabre (and that’s very positive indeed!) in the beginning of the show. Lemay’s vocals somewhat killed that illusion (they weren’t bad, just too different to keep up the appearance), but the mischievous glint in his eye kept it from completely disappearing.
I must admit though, that in the beginning, after the first Macabre feeling had died down, I wasn’t too impressed with what I saw, and I was beginning to feel that my initial fears would become reality; you see, the band members weren’t really performing as they were too busy checking out their instruments and what they were playing. Except possibly for bassist Colin Marston, who was rocking out with breakneck headbanging from start to finish, there just wasn’t anything going on, despite the furiousness of the music.

“It’s not the quantity that counts but the quality, and you are awesome!”
- Lemay (vocals/guitar)

The crowd was enthusiastic enough though, and when they weren’t competing in headbanging with Marston during the songs, they were praising the Canadians with loud cheers and applauds between songs, even as they made some minor mistakes throughout, one which even caused a short pause in the set.
It was possibly this hearty response to their efforts, or maybe just the Danish beers, but little by little the band began opening up, especially so frontman and only remaining original member Lemay, but also the others. Guitarist Kevin Hufnagel did keep a strict eye on his instrument, making him the least wild of the bunch, but he did join in on some headbanging from time to time, and even sent a smile flying when he the time.
One of my favourite moments (as noticed and retold by Lunah Lauridsen) was something that was easily overseen (in fact, I did it myself to begin with) was when Lemay mentioned that it was 19 years since Gorguts last visited Denmark, to which the vocalist/bassist of Defilementory, Thomas Fischer, was first seen cheering loudly (yes, he was in the crowd as well) but quickly quieted down after realising that he had almost only just been born at that time...

Charming is not a word often thrown around within the death metal genre, but it is still the defining word I would apply to Gorguts after their performance in Pumpehuset; even with the aggressive music, the band looked like they were having fun in a very relaxed and down to earth kind of way, something that was only solidified by their behaviour earlier in the day, as well as the crowd chats after the concert.
I know I was positively surprised by the low-key yet inviting performance quality of Gorguts even though I have still not become a master fan of old death metal as a genre, and upon heading home in the warm night air, I had to thank Lunah for making me go to the show.
Still, I would also like to add that I walked away with the feeling that this type of show was best suited for a close in your face event such as this, and don’t think that I would have enjoyed it as much on a large festival stage. I could be mistaken though, and given the chance I wouldn’t mind revisiting Gorguts at another show.


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