Killswitch Engage

Copenhell - 2012

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

Killswitch Engage were not only the first real band seen by Metalmoments at this years’ Copenhell, they were also the first band to play Helvíti, the main stage of the festival.
That was quite a responsibility to place on their shoulders, and I wondered if they were up for the task…

In fact, it had been years and years since the last time that I saw Killswitch Engage. It was shortly after they had changed their original vocalist, Jesse Leach, out with Howard Jones, back in 2002-2003 or something like that. At first I didn’t take to the new singer, as I had only heard a bit of Killswitch Engage before the show, and it had all been with Leach, but he seemed a good performer as far as I can remember, and it was an ok evening.
Fast-forward to 2012 and Copenhell.
Now recently Jones had left the band to pursue other ways of entertaining himself, and back in the band from a break of about ten years was Leach to handle the microphone. For me, this was a positive new direction, as I remembered liking him back in the day, but on the other hand, Killswitch Engage was not a band I had really listened to since that evening back in the cold ages, so in approaching this show I had no real expectations of how it would turn out.
If this was a blessing or a curse I cannot say, but when the band came on stage, playing Fixation Of The Darkness, I was impressed by the energy they were bringing at such an early time of day, and judging from the reaction in the already large crowd, I wasn’t the only one. Straight from the start there was a good amount of jumping and headbanging, and there was a strong enthusiasm for the band in the Danish crowd which was not to be mistaken.

None was so active however, as Adam Dutkiewich (known for often using quite silly apparel while playing); even though he had apparently injured his knee in some way (he was wearing a supportive stocking over it) he was still the one who ran and leapt across the stage almost constantly, sometimes with his guitar behind his neck, sometimes above his head, but never giving up playing it while he did all this.
Dutkiewich even improvised a little song for the Danish fans, which I’m sure only brought the band even more respect than they had before – it went a little something like this; “Copenhell you are fine, Copenhell we love you!”
Ok, so maybe it wasn’t the bands most serious effort ever, but it got people to turn up the action just that extra little notch that turned the show from good to great.

“How many real headbangers do we have here?”
- Jesse Leach (vocals)

On this comment, Leach was answered by a lot of shouting and several raised arms, to which he dryly replied; “Ok, not all I see.” It was with a wink in the eye though, and was certainly not meant in a bad way. Karma didn’t care however, and directly afterwards the band was temporarily shut down by a technical malfunction, during which Leach kept the geist of the audience up keeping the conversation alive.
Soon enough the music was up and running again with This Is Absolution, and the crowd dived straight into a mighty moshpit to celebrate it.
The loudest cheers did not come for an original Killswitch Engage song though, but for the final song of the set, where the band mentioned they would like to dedicate a song to a lost great one. This was no one less than Ronnie James Dio, and the song was Holy Diver, a song which Killswitch Engage have previously recorded for a Kerrang compilation (they have after this released themselves as well, both as a single and as a bonus song on the re-release of As Daylight Dies).
With this, the party was complete, and all parties could go away smiling.

Obviously, having Leach back behind the mic was not a bad move for Killswitch Engage, and obviously putting them as the opening act on the main stage was not a bad move from Copenhell.
Killswitch Engage were clearly up for the task of opening this festival, and they did it with a blast that will not soon be forgotten. My faith in metalcore was restored, if only for a while.

Setlist (incomplete):

Fixation On The Darkness
This Is Absolution
My Curse
My Last Serenade
Holy Diver (Dio cover)

Latest uploads: