1/2 Odense Metalfest 2023 Wrap

Odense Metalfest 2023 Wrap

1/2 Odense Metalfest 2023 Wrap

Towards the end of October, 2023, Slow Dragon Music made our maiden voyage to Odense Metalfest…

We arrived in Denmark early on in the week, and did some sightseeing in both Jutland and Funen. Thankfully, we were based very close to the venue, since someone didn’t pick up on the fact that the doors were at 2:30, not 2pm. Just being a few doors down from our hotel and the train station was a bonus, as Storm Babet began to show its face.

Organiser, in-house fest All or Nothing Tattoo owner, and Maceration guitarist (playing next year – early bird tickets here), Jakub Schultz, had put together a stellar line up over two days at Odense’s rock haven, Musikhuset Posten. Walking in, this looked like a real smooth operation, in a mid-sized, but professional venue. Both the small and big stages are in the same room, so there’s basically no chance of missing anyone. It’s worth pointing out that the local beer, Odense Classic, was actually one of the cheapest pints in town, so far. Unusual for a venue.


Odense Metalfest 2023 - Chokeholder

In the limited time we had Odense we’d decided not to go to Odense Zoo. No problem though, the zoo came to us in the form of openers, Chokeholder, who brought an energetic display of both hard hitting post-hardcore beats (and maybe some funk..?), and disregard of both lighting rig and the bar. A tone of madness brewing was set as the vocalist went for a shoulder walk through the audience. A planned guest vocal spot was reportedly denied by the storm, although despite such bad weather, Posten was starting to fill up quite rapidly for early Friday afternoon. Going out on a huge groove, after whirling up a pit, they left us all ready for more.

Odense Metalfest 2023 - Endarken

Sticking with the small stage, thrash metallers Endarken followed up, guitarist Henrik Rangstrup pacing up and down, grinning ear to ear like a hyena out for the kill. Things were already getting heavier, as grooves and death thrash abound, and the rise in energy was palpable. Playing tracks from both their albums, Endarken showcased their growth over the past couple of years, including The Plague of Truth, from their debut album of the same name. March, Obliterate kicked up a storm; the second single from second release Post Mortem. Antidote seemed to be a firm fan favourite, and fuck it lads, why not smash out a brutally tight Seps cover? Arise! Arise! indeed! Only two bands in, and we might have a new favourite. 

The first band on the big stage, Panzerchrist are even heavier, and we’re starting to wonder how far this can go.

Festival hostess Sonja Ahl, who introduces every band, had to flip the switch here, jumping from compering her own band to taking on vocal duties. It was just one indication of the strong community spirit in evidence here. The scarcity of drummers doesn’t seem to be just unique to the UK, for Danni Jelsgaard was a familiar face in a few bands over the festival (as well as currently playing for others) and you can see why. Danni was captivating to watch and you could feel every thunderous pummel like an aortic rupture! Metal Church, the cover from 2003’s Roomservice album was a crowd favourite amongst a sea of well-worn and well-received tracks from their three decade catalogue. Truly a standout performance from the first day.

1/2 Odense Metalfest 2023 Wrap

After a good chat with a local called Soren about gigs gone by, and international metal travel, we caught Frederikshavn’s Chronicle, (small stage) who played blackened, melodic thrash. The title track to May 2023’s release, Where Chaos Thrives, was a staggering eight-minute assault on what seemed now too small a floor for the crowd. A special mention went out to drummer Jari Holopainen who (we believe) played the show on his birthday – Tillykke med fødselsdagen!

The belly started rumbling at this point, so it was off to the rather handy (but sole) food truck, Fars Fede.

Decent portions, not too overpriced, and very tasty. An odd highlight, but memorable none the less. Meanwhile, hitting the big stage like there was no tomorrow were Germany’s Rykers. If you don’t know them, this is straight up, old school, US style hardcore metal.  Having formed over three decades ago but with quite a substantial hiatus in the noughties, we’d heard a lot about this band, but never caught them in the act. High energy pugnaciousness filled the room, and passion erupted, as bodies flew in Jackson Pollock composite.

The 2nd stage was where it’s at for me at this point (Slow Dragon). Shadowspawn were hammering out doomy death metal to mass effect. There might not have beeen as much physical action, but the floor was packed, and the air tense. Despite half the band sporting Death shirts, they actually sounded more like Bloodbath. With a little twist of Carcass. Pummeling out tracks from new third full length album, Blasphemica, (Emanzipation Productions) these Copenhagen death metallers were heavy duty contenders. Echoes of Human Debris and last song, Vanity of the Wicked were well received amongst the throngs, disinterring punters from any hazy, boozy daze.

1/2 Odense Metalfest 2023 Wrap

Odense Metalfest 2023 - Sacramentum

Breaking a first, Sacramentum were up next.

The Swedish, melodic, black-death metallers had apparently never played Denmark before, but this was one of the performances of the day for myself (AVZD). Far Away From The Sun offered up all the good stuff; loud guitars, punching drums and a hell of a lot of blood. This was proper black metal, with an appropriately theatrical, demonic front man in Nisse Karlén. You want blood? Probably some sweat and spit too? You got it. Thrashing and dripping red all over, gesticulating wildly like a mad prophet, he preached to a receptive congregation, liquid gore flowing constantly over his saturated, sanguineous belly, and we lapped it up.

By this point, the exhaustion of cutting about several different towns and cities in the run up to the event was starting to tell.

Finding places to lean, and double tapping ibuprofen was a necessary respite (you’d think we’d have learned by now, but no). However… We were determined, and it paid off!

Demolizer ended things on the small stage, with their own brand of powerful, straight up street thrash, evil, sneering vocals setting it apart from the more comical likes of Municipal Waste.The energy in the room was just as impactful as it was when Chokeholder opened, and it seemed the Copenhagener’s know their way around a festival or two. Heavy riffs carried a hell of a lot of crowd surfers, as they were joined by guest vocalist, Plaguemace‘s Andreas Truelsen, who seemed intent on causing chaos single-handed.

Odense Metalfest 2023 - Hatesphere

So now, we were down to the band I’d been looking forward to the most on Friday (Slow Dragon).

With feet begging, back crying, and knees sobbing uncontrollably, it was time to troop on over Friday’s final hurdle – Hatesphere. The award winning, self acclaimed Danish “Dukes of Thrash” concluded the first day, and it was totally worth it! Somehow, the aches seemed less, the energy heightened.

We’d never seen these guys live before – which is amazing being that they are European Open Air Fest alumni and have toured with the likes of, (take a deep breath); The Haunted, Exodus, Kreator, Morbid Angel, Soilwork, Dark Tranquillity, Chimaira, Raunchy, Volbeat, Aborted, Dagoba, Dismember, Sepultura, Hypocrisy, Finntroll, Soilwork, Metallica, Crowbar and Decapitated (still with me? – AVZD) They were phenomenal. Yet another guest vocal spot came from Chronicle frontman Lars Bo Nepper (?), adding a jolt to what quickly passed, and felt like a lightning fast performance. Hatesphere hammered their way through a masterful set, proving the difference which makes them a choice headliner for day one. You can’t go wrong with the party-hard, live-fast concoction that Hatesphere brings to the table, as we made our way out of the venue, onto the streets of a rain-soaked Odense for further mischief. 

Read part 2/2 here.

1/2 Odense Metalfest 2023 Wrap

Please note that despite all efforts on a popular language learning app to improve, our Danish is limited. If there are any mistakes in our translation of comments made on stage, or song / album titles, this was made purely by our drunken, Scottish-talkin’ arses and corrections can be made if you let us know! Apologies in advance, we’re trying…

Odense Metalfest 2023