Copenhell - 2017

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

After a terrific start, the final day of Copenhell wasn’t exactly amounting to much. Not going by my taste, that is. Now, I’ve seen and heard New Jersey’s thrash gem Overkill before this, but they’ve never really gotten under my skin, never really made it to a spot of importance. Still, they deserved another chance, and now was as good a time as any to give it to them.

“Well, well, well, motherfucking Copenhell!”
- Derek ‘The Skull’ Tailer (guitar)

Overkill was beating up the Hades stage, and they were doing it in just the style you’d expect them to – their classic bat-skull mascot, Chaly, was squeezed in between large cogwheels on the backdrop just like on the cover of their still fresh album The Grinding Wheel, but except for that, the band was keeping the visual side very down to earth.
What they didn’t put in visual extravaganza, they did their best to make up for in music and performance however. Bassist Carlo ‘D.D.’ Verni was definitely the one keeping the show best together, with an enormous amount of attitude and general coolness in his performance. Don’t mistake this by thinking that the others weren’t doing their job though, they certainly were. Dave ‘Linsk’ Polinski and Derek ‘The Skull’ Tailer smiled and moved about as well, although they never managed to quite live up to Verni. Bobby ‘Blitz’ Ellsworth mostly hung out by his microphone stand, and often left the stage when not singing. His vocals were up to their usual, shriek self, but I had a hard time focusing on anything else than that huge horseshoe moustache he was sporting.

“Feeling pretty fucking good this weekend, aren’t you? Feel like you’re all fucking teenagers again, ain’t you? Well, you ain’t.”
- Bobby ‘Blitz’ Ellsworth (vocals)

In front of the Hades stage, an impressive amount of people had gathered. Sure, I know Overkill is one of the classical thrash bands, but they’re not one to frequent conversation most often, so I really had no idea how good their following was going to be.
It was good, and they managed a few crowdsurfers through the show. Mostly though, we were in good old headbanging land, and raised fists and horns. The classics never go out of style, do they? Still, I was surprised that the Copenhell crowd didn’t grace the band with a large moshpit – the music was right for it, the weather was looking up, and the festival guests were no strangers to the wild throng.
Still, what the band had to give was very much appreciated, as was evident by the loud cheers the bands got, and the laughs Ellsworth’s jokes produced. The shouts became just a little bit louder when he ventured to saying “tak” in Danish, a sure hit with the local fanbase.

Overkill delivered a relentless thrash attack on Copenhell, and did everything right for who they are, but still, I can’t claim to have been won over. I’m absolutely certain their fans loved the show though, and got everything they wished for. Especially that final “Fuck you” sent people into a frenzy!
Why they didn’t play Let’s All Go To Hades from their latest album I don’t understand though. Given the stage they were on, it seemed like such an obvious choice.


Mean, Green, Killing Machine
Rotten To The Core
Electric Rattlesnake
Hello From The Gutter
In Union We Stand
Goddamn Trouble
Wrecking Crew
Fuck You (The Subhumans cover)

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