Copenhell - 2014

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

Holding almost singularly the torch of progressive metal at Copenhell, Mercenary was a band to see, and that we did as we let them open our second day at the festival.

“Goddamnit Copenhell, you’re the most beautiful I have seen!”
- René Pedersen (vocals/bass)

Playing the Hades stage at 15:30 meant that the fatigue of the opening day was gone and we were ready to rock again, and after a short electronic intro and a “Copenhell” shout by Pedersen Mercenary got started on the soundtrack for doing just so.
Pedersen and the boys looked firmly pleased to finally be visiting their homelands most prolific metal festival, as they just like Týr the other day at long last made their debut gig at Copenhell. The loosely packed audience in front of them were happy to reply to their greetings with shouts of encouragement, and it looked like this was going to be a good way to start the day.

Admittedly, I am still not the greatest encyclopaedia of Mercenary material, but it seemed like they pulled out some classics together with some newer material, keeping a good beat and power to the set throughout.
What I know a little bit more about is how they perform and sound, and pleasingly Mercenary had been blessed with a rather good sound this morning, and with a smile I noticed how well Pedersen’s clean vocals have developed over the years since Mikkel Sandager’s departure. In the beginning they weren’t all too impressive and Pedersen wisely concentrated on his harsher screams, but the set this day gave plenty of room to display that he’s been working hard and can now deliver a strong and convincing delivery in the clean sections as well.
Apart from that, all of the string-benders of the band played around a lot on the stage, delivering pose after pose, and in general looked like they had a great time – the newest guy in the band, Peter Michael Mathiesen, looked happy too of course, but there is little you can do in the way of posing when your weapon of choice is the drums.

Even though they were one of the earliest bands to play, Mercenary still enjoyed a good deal of support from their local followers where appreciating shouts and raised arms were not constricted to the frontline but stretched well back in the crowd – I myself was seen smiling broadly throughout the concert.
The response was well deserved – Mercenary held a good fire burning through their gig, and even though it never completely exploded, it was a strong and highly pleasing way to start the day. They also discretely displayed a sense of humour, as all of the logos on their stage-amps spelled Mercenary but in the classic Marshall styling.
More of this in the future please!

Setlist (incomplete):

The Endless Fall

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