Copenhell has firmly established itself as a Mecca for those seeking an unparalleled rock experience. From the sizzling riffs to the thunderous drum beats, this festival captures the essence of rock and metal in its purest form. With an impressive line-up of internationally renowned acts and emerging talents, Copenhell consistently delivers an unforgettable feast of headbanging and adrenaline-packed performances.
The festival’s roots go back to its humble beginnings in 2010 when it first kick-started the Danish music scene. Since then, Copenhell has grown exponentially, capturing the imagination of fans around the world and building a reputation as one of Europe’s premier rock festivals. Maxazine’s Mark Vilstrup Pedersen and Morten Holmsgaard Kristensen visited Copenhell. After a great opening day on Wednesday, an incredible second day, and a third day with a surprise, Copenhell ended with a blast on day 4.
Mammoth WVH was a great choice for an opening act on the last day of the festival. The band, formed by lead singer Wolfgang Van Halen of the Van Halen clan, played a sort of upbeat hard rock. It’s very clear that he wanted a sound different from his famous father, and he very much succeded in doing so. The music is actually fairly mellow, compared to some of the other bands performing at Copenhell, but for many, this was a welcome change of pace. The more energetic people are of course up front, giving it their all, but the rest of the audience mostly sat on the hill with a cool drink, enjoying a well-performed show. Not only was everyone on stage performing well, but it’s also easy to tell that Wolfgang is used to the stage. He did probably the nicest introduction of his bandmates, which says a lot about a band. If you ever have the chance to see Mammoth, we would recommend it to everyone, metalhead or not.
Billy F Gibbons
Billy F. Gibbons is pretty much a living legend when it comes to rock and blues, and he’s a man with a LOT of experience under his belt. Among his many accomplishments, are stuff like playing with Jimi Hendrix, Queens of the Stone Age, Hank III, Vivian Campbell from Def Leppard, and of course bringing one-third of the world-famous ZZ top. He’s done so much more, but Saturday he was gracing the main stage at Copenhell.
The first few numbers had very limited lyrics, since the guitar did most of the talking. And what a treat it is to hear that man play his guitar live. The crowd was spellbound until finally, we heard the well-known lyrics from “Sharp Dressed Man”, the spell is broken and the singalong starts instead. What can you say, the man is a consummate pro, and anyone with any kind of interest in guitar should do themselves the favour of going to one of his shows, given the chance.
Fishbone was by all means an anomaly at Copenhell. First of all, there’s very little metal in their sound, being more of a mix of funk ska, soul and old-school rock. And while mixing in different brass instruments at a metal festival isn’t unheard of, I’ve rarely seen it done better.
They start the show off by introducing themselves with the words ‘Hello Copenhell, we’re bringing the black’, and the tone is set. They have a great stage presence, the lead singer sporting a multicoloured, but mostly orange suit jacket with no shirt underneath, plus a crisp white tophat. They have great energy, dancing around the stage in a weird funky way, sometimes almost seizure-like. Even the keyboard player, normally a pretty stationary role, gets tired of standing in place and with his rather hulking frame, easily picks up the entire keyboard set, playing it while moving all over the place, while the lead singer screamed: ‘THIS is why we get to play at a metal festival folks’. The band has a very special vibe and was a welcomed break from the norm.
Speed is an Australian hardcore band, formed in 2019. They performed fairly well at Copenhell, even though the music itself is pretty cookie-cutter hardcore without any discernible features. The lead singer has an angry vocal and tried his best to command the crowd, by pointing out and making specific people start things like moshpits, with some success. The set was rather short, and the band needs to expand their repertoire, but they have the right energy for sure.
Spiritbox was a surprise, to say the least. You can tell there’s a lot of passion from everyone, especially the lead singer Courtney LaPlante. She has a great stage persona too, making the music relatable, fun and heartfelt. They have both ‘songs to shake your ass to’, and songs about belonging no matter what you look like and come from. The music itself is quite hard to put a specific genre to, but it borrows heavily from progressive metal, with some elements of electronica, and just a smidge of metalcore or hardcore. One of the cores at least.
At times the songs seem almost spiritual in nature, and the lyrics seem to be centred mostly around positive messages, which is really nice and fits their brand. Other than some pretty good lighting, there wasn’t really a stage show as such, and thus much of the focus is on Courtney. I would perhaps have liked to see the other musicians a bit more, but at least she has a good stage presence. As for the crowd, I think a lot of people weren’t expecting to be as mesmerized as they were, and I think Spiritbox will be added to quite a few playlists in the near future.