Copenhell - 2014

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

Just like Taake from Norway had been the day before this, Watain from Sweden was the big black metal hope of the final day of Copenhell.

That anticipation for this show was high was easily seen, as the band had gathered an impressively large following in front of the Hades stage, where their elaborate stage decorations had for some time now bore silent witness to the upcoming darkness.
And exactly the visual style is one thing that really sets this band apart from so many others of the same style and taste in music. This evening saw large, corroded metal plates decorate the stage, giving it a Silent Hill reminiscent feel. Two large inverted crosses also decorated the stage, and when the band took the stage, Erik Danielsson entered with a torch in his hand and used it to light them up – while the flames roared, which was possible now since the wind had died down compared to when Behemoth (who used the same trick) played earlier in the day, the music screeched at us like a mare-ridden banshee, and Danielsson threw the torch out into the audience.

Not being especially acquainted with their back catalogue, or very interested in them from a purely musical stand-point, I will not go into details about what they played and when, but I will say that the fires kept on flaming up as the show progressed (I did mention that this is a very visually oriented band, didn’t I?), and the set-pieces did theirs to create an atmosphere, but the band-members themselves gave off a terribly mundane performance. It was as though there was no real intent behind the delivery, no interest in taking us to the many hells that the lyrics describe. Sure, they headbanged and moved a bit about, but I didn’t that they connected with the crowd very well.
Watain’s show was also one of the few that I had to cut short due to pressing matters at another stage, but to be honest, it didn’t pain me as much as one would have thought. Big hope or no hope, a band must do better than this to pull home a memorable concert.

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