Copenhell - 2019

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

The warm-up day at Copenhell this year hadn’t really been doing its work right, and now all our hope lay in the final act of the day, Immolation. I must admit, my hopes weren’t high.

“Copenhell, how are we doing? We’re Immortal from New York, and this is our first time playing here!”
- Ross Dolan (vocals/bass)

The fact that the band was 15 minutes late due to technical problems didn’t exactly raise any hopes, even though it was understandable given the veritable downpour we had seen during Katatonia’s gig earlier. The weather had cleared up again by now though, and soon enough we were underway again. The band came out guns blazing, as it were. They had obviously not been demotivated by the delay, which was good.
All of the band members were giving a good performance, but it was especially Robert Vigna that caught my eye, as he was fully immersed in the experience, and gave a powerful performance full of expression and energy. The way he handles that guitar, it’s quite unique. Staccato-like movement and highly expressionistic. Dolan wasn’t far behind though, and he looked super cool when he let that long hair bang in the wind.

It may be seen as a small thing, but I want to congratulate the band on their choice of decoration as well. They sported a stylish black and white backdrop showing a skull with swarms of rats emerging from it, with a pair of snarling wolves one on each side. They also had some stage banners with other angry animals on them, all looking very good. Many bands forget or skip over this sort of thing, and it can’t make a bad show any better of course, but when the show’s good, it is a nice icing on the cake, that helps it stand out just that little bit more. So well done on that point.

For some reason, most of the crowd had gone home, or at least gone away, when it was time for Immolation to play. Maybe the bad weather from earlier had scared them off, or maybe there weren’t all that many old school death metal fans out today.
Regardless, it was obviously the cream of the crop that had stayed behind, and they were giving Immolation a warm Copenhell welcome. As soon as the music started, an enthusiastic moshpit erupted, and it just kept going throughout the show. Those not getting their asses handed to them in there, were more than willing to shout and cheer the band on as they delivered one crushing song after the other. There wasn’t much communication going on, but once in a while Dolan would say something that showed the band wasn’t just there in a physical sense. Dawn Of Possession was dedicated to the old school Immolation fans, and in return those very fans rewarded the band with the wildest circlepit of the day.

Dolan rounded off by announcing a November tour, and that he and his band mates hoped they’d be able to return here in the future.
Honestly, they put my low hopes for the show to shame. Immolation delivered a world class performance, and they well and truly got Copenhell 2019 going, something we’d been waiting for all day. For a festival that would go on to have a whole lot of great shows, this is one of the ones that is remembered. If they can keep this up, I too hope they return.

Setlist (incomplete):

The Distorting Light
Fostering The Divide
Dawn of Possession
When The Jackals Come

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