Copenhell - 2012

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

The sun was shining, the weather was hot, and the conferencier had just left the stage with the words ”This is not for fun, this is serious”.
It was time for Immortal…

Immortal was one of the big pulls of this summer’s festival, and it was easy to spot the popularity in the very large crowd the band had amassed in front of Helvíti, the main stage of Copenhell.
Now, the conferencier may have said that this wasn’t for fun but in fact serious business, but you can’t tell me that Olve ‘Abbath Doom Occulta’ Eikemo – the trickster of black metal, didn’t show up in a very festive mood, with more than one entertaining card tucked away in his mightily spiked shin guards!
That’s not what the show began with though, what it began with was a taped intro being played over the speakers, as we saw the backdrop being raised high in the background and Reidar ‘Horgh’ Horghagen taking place behind the drums with a mighty axe swinging in a chain around his broad neck. Impressive mood-setter from the start, then Eikemo and Ole Jørgen ‘Apollyon’ Moe entered the stage as well…

“Copenhell – Danish fuckers! We have returned!”
- Olve ‘Abbath Doom Occulta’ Eikemo (vocals/guitars)

The stage may have been covered in smoke, but it did naught to hide a band that was dead-set on entertaining the living daylights out of the ten thousand blackened souls which visited Copenhell.
The set gave us live-favourites from the bands back-catalogue, like Sons Of Northern Darkness and Battles In The North to name but a couple, but it wasn’t the songs that lifted the show (well, if you’re a die-hard Immortal fan they might have helped) but the awesome mood the band seemed to be in – Immortal, and Eikemo in particular, is probably the only person who can pull off an extreme black metal concert and still be so goddamn openly happy at the same time!
This was certainly a frontman giving his best, doing what he loves to do. There were all the classic Abbath tricks in there; the crab-walk and the leg-lift were used extensively, and the crab had even been built upon as there had been added a headbanging to it at some points! If you wonder how this would work, just check the video for All Shall Fall, where it is used early on.
Of course, Horghagen and Moe (or Horgh and Apollyon if you will) also had good stage-presence, and Moe moved about just as much as Eikemo did, but he had a more natural (if you can call it that) black metal attitude as he mostly looked intense and pissed off. Eikemo, who can most closely be likened to a kid in a candy-store, was the one who stole the show with his heart-warming uniqueness though.

The band-members weren’t the only ones going at it though, the trusty Copenhell crowd, empowered by litres upon litres of beer, and so far one and a half day of festival life and good music, were well warmed up to the task to melt down the permafrost from the North.
Straight from the start the front rows were headbanging like crazy, and just a little further back there were both large areas of moshing and circle-pits, both of them ever lively and moving in and out of each other, creating new life where all before was nothing but frozen death.
The only place where the show dropped slightly in tempo was during One By One, where both guitar and bass (the instruments, not the players) had to be changed after some problems, and the song restarted. Other than that, things went smoothly, and the band was happy to squeeze a couple or so of encore songs in there, the last of which was The Sun No Longer Rises, which felt like an odd choice, given that the sun was still shining brightly and warm upon us in the summer sky...

I admit to having had some difficulty in the beginning of my relationship with Immortal, and I am probably not completely over it, but this day proved exactly why there was a reason to try and move forward.
I have by now come to realize that Abbath truly is the funny-man of the black metal world; he knows it, he embraces it, and the more he dives into it the better the shows become!

Setlist (incomplete):

Sons Of Northern Darkness
The Call Of The Wintermoon
One By One
Battles In The North
Blashyrkh (Mighty Ravendark)
The Sun No Longer Rises

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