Origin, Psycroptic, Leng Tch'e - Copenhagen, Denmark Feb 17th 2012

I came to see Psycroptic. I left remembering Origin...

I love Copenhagen. I have fond memories as every time I visit it’s always either for a gig or to hit the pubs with a mate or two. Its nightlife has a vibrancy and underground energy that you can’t find in any Swedish city.

 

I’m here tonight to see Psycroptic, arguably Australia’s biggest death metal export and one of my favourite bands. Alongside is Belgian grindcore act Leng Tch’e and American tech-death patriots Origin. Ite Missa est from France was also due to join, but after a van accident only a week before had to pull out of the tour.

The lady behind the hostel desk where I am staying, only a few streets over from the gig, tells me this venue had been closed down for a while before reopening in September 2010. “Get there early” she warns “it can sell out quickly”. It is Stengade 30, a couple of km’s west of Copenhagen Central Station. After a couple of pre-beers with an Aussie mate who I hadn’t seen for many years, I weaved my way between the multitude of bicycle riders (fact: 36% of Copenhagen residents use a bike to get to work) to the gig.

With a menu of international bands, coupled with a Friday night gig date, I was surprised when I walked into this tiny joint no bigger than the Enigma bar in Adelaide (the SA readers will know what I’m talking about). A bar to the left. Merch desk to my 2 o’clock. Then around the corner, a stage that couldn't be bigger than 5x3m, sitting perhaps a foot off the ground. However, the venue was almost at capacity when I arrived, only a couple of minutes into the set of Leng Tch’e.

The name Leng Tch’e originates from the word “lingchi”, a method of torture originating from imperial China. It’s not surprising then that the vocalist introduces themselves as “razorgrind”. To me they felt more like a thrash/death band than grind. The vocalist also tried a little too hard to sound like Phil Anselmo for a dude from Belgium. But he had spirit, jumping into the crowd a few times and passing the mic to some drunken crowd members which was entertaining. I remember this band mostly for the fact that before the last song, some wanker threw a full beer (in glass) at me and hit me in the shoulder, which fucking hurt like hell (but not at the time, thankfully). To summarise; not as raw as your typical grind band, but solid.

A 20 minute interval between sets gave me a chance to chill before the almighty Psycroptic. I was pumped when they started, and in a semi-drunken state, felt it was my obligation to show my enthusiasm up the front. So sorry readers, I wish I could remember the song order, but I was having too much fun. They played an even split off the three most recent albums, except for the lone gem Lacertine Forest from Sceptre of the Ancients in the middle of the set. In fact, talking to Joe (Haley, Guitarist) after the show I am told tonight is the first night on tour that they have played any track of the first two albums. Vocalist Jason Peppiatt could not attend the tour due to working commitments back home, so filling in was Zdenek Simecak  from Godless Truth. He does everything right; he is energetic and lively while careful not to take the focus off the music. Also filling in for this tour is Joe Payne on bass, who does an acceptable job. But let’s face it; the backbone and creative force of Psycroptic are the Haley brothers, and although looking a little flat tonight played flawlessly as always.

After a quick sound check, it was Origin’s turn. This was my first time witnessing them live, and holy shit, are they brutal! Even in a venue as small and acoustically-challenged as this, the mixer managed to pull a sharp, clear sound that just hit you like a tonne of bricks. The triple-vocal onslaught had enough evil energy to power the Carlsberg brewery, fronted by Jason Keyser (latterly of US death band Skinless). I’ll be honest; I’ve never really heard much Origin before, but was ready to go buy the whole discography after 5 minutes. Technical death metal entwined with arpeggio sweeps and outstanding bass runs, it’s hard not to be impressed.  And I was not the only one, along with the dozens of crowd surfers and sweaty Danish fans that showed Stengade who they came to see.

Once the hour long set was done, I dragged myself to the bar for more beer and the opportunity for a quick chat with the Haley brothers and a few of the guys from Leng Tch’e. They are off to Berlin tomorrow to do it all again, and one could forgive them if they looked a little tired.

Europe is known for its large metal festivals, but what would you prefer; taking a photo on full-zoom, 50m away from your favourite band, or shaking hands with them after the show?

Give me the dingy club any day.