A psytrance hippie at a metal concert – Kylesa LIVE in Malmö

By Kai Teo
Photos: Alicia Kertzscher

Event: Kylesa LIVE in Malmö
Venue: Babel, Spånggatan 38, Malmö, Sweden
Date: 11th June 14
Headliner: Kylesa (US)
Accompanying acts: Tellusian (Malmö), Lazer/Wulf (US)

I’ve always hated growling vocalists and lyrics about death and Satan and shit.

I mean, you know how metal bands and metal fans always try to look and sound so fucking evil it’s almost cheesy. Like everyone wears black, has long hair, loads of tattoos and piercings, and looks as if everyone else owes them money.

And like how these bands always make people think they’re Satan worshippers. Look, if anyone has sold his or her soul to the Devil, it’s Lady Gaga, or the Gangnam Style dude. Just look at the views on Youtube, you’d know they got a good bargain.

So I was standing in front of the stage, expecting to be plunged into the eternal pits of burning evil.

Tellusian, Malmö’s homegrown band, sounded the part. I had no idea what they were singing about, but I could only assume the lyrics consisted of doomsday prophecies that entailed sacrificing 48 goats on the high mountains of the mythical land of Telluse, where suicide victims go to repeatedly relive the final second of their lives, for eternity.

If I said I liked the music, I would be a lying bastard. I mean, it’s not stuff I would put on my iTunes. But hey, watching them live is kinda something. Clenched fists, clenched jaws, intense head banging and hair flipping. The energy was electrifying. I didn’t see the devil. But what I saw in their music, was very, very animalistic.

The growling vocalist sounded like an angry panther attacking Bambi. I could almost feel the guitar riffs tearing the poor little deer’s limbs off, one by one, with a lot of blood splattering around. And the heavy drums were carnivorous elephants trampling on the already lifeless body of the cute animal, splashing venison and deer soup all over themselves.

It’s kinda cool. But the set felt like a repeated mutilation of cute animals. The only variation was the type of animals that were being mutilated.

Bambi, then baby kangaroos, fluffy yellow ducklings, even innocent kittens, were all flung into the ferocious jaws of Tellusian, chewed up into a pulp, then spat out into the audience, who bathed themselves in the glorious sacrifice.

The growling stopped. And everyone snapped out of their devilish trance and returned to their normal state, and started to flood the bar, fuelling their red hell flames with Blue Ribbon beers.

And then the destruction of dreams and hopes tore through the air once again with the arrival of Lazer/Wulf.

To my surprise, they weren’t evil at all. Just nice dudes rocking it out on stage. No vocals. No Satan shit. Just pure power.

They belted out tunes that sounded like the soundtrack to a chainsaw massacre. The deep bassline set the groovy, catchy vibes that made Leatherface tap his feet and bob his head as he oiled his chainsaw. The double drum pedals sounded like his poor victims running through the woods. And the unconventional riffs were the little twists in the plot, you know, like the car that wouldn’t start but eventually made it at the last split second.

These guys could make the slaughter of innocent people sound cool. Have them playing in the background when you’re doing dishes, and you’d feel like you’re Dishwashing God unleashing his fury onto the poor specks of leftover food and blessing the plates with everlasting shine and cleanliness.

And that’s when I heard her scream shatter the hearts of little infants and strike pain into unborn foetuses.

Kylesa was on. And they were furious. Double drums, fucking impressive. Double yin-yang vocals, mind blowing. The power, breathtaking. It felt like punk met power metal, had sex in a jacuzzi of doom, and gave birth to a kid with four eyes.

Yes, there was some incomprehensible growling involved, but it seemed to sit in harmony with the other sounds, and sit comfortably with my ears, and soul.

Now the crowd was really head banging with the fury of a thousand wounded lions – at least the front row. The rest are kinda standing around and swaying gently while putting on their “I’m impressed” face. Despite the intense power, the crowd wasn’t at all wild.

Well, that’s Swedish metal fans for you – all the pain, anger, and murderous thoughts are kept deep inside their darkened souls and can only be unleashed when they slash a razor blade across their wrists. And their blood is deep purple. On the surface, they seem nice and kind and they look like they like people in general, but in their heads, they’re already thinking of a hundred ways to cook your head when they decapitate you. That’s why they don’t dance too much. They’re afraid they might accidentally cut off your head.

I’m listening to Kylesa right now as I’m writing this, which explains why this article seems a little dark.

Nope, I still wouldn’t have any of these bands in my iTunes playlist. But right now, I do feel like destroying a wall or something. Maybe I’d smash an apple on the pavement. That’s badass. That’s Satanic.

And would I go to another metal concert? Hell yea!