23,000 metalheads, 42 bands, 3 stages. Grab the 666 bus to Refshaleøen and walk the Highway to Hell to enter the gates of Copenhell, Copenhagen’s annual metal festival. Days after I was still running off of the excitement from spending three days, surrounded by thousands of metal fans (okay that and maybe a few too many cups of coffee due to trying to recover from the late nights of being at the festival).

Unlike other festivals that cram in a lot of acts that run in tandem throughout the festival grounds, Copenhell spreads the acts out throughout the day and gives artists ample time to perform a full set.

Taking on to the Pandæmonium stage, Every Time I Die performed without their frontman, Keith Buckley, but were lent the talents of Sam Carter of Architects to fill in vocals for the set. Nevertheless, they put on the high energy show they are so well known for ans drew a large crowd early on in the day. Every Time I Die is one of those bands that will fill whatever space they are given to perform in — whether it be a small venue with no barrier or a large festival stage like at Copenhell.

In Flames had the privilege of opening the main stage, Helveti, on the first day of the festival and drew a very loyal crowd. Walking by at least an hour before their set, many fans had started gathering to claim their front row spots at the barrier.

Something that is often lost during festival performances is the performer’s interaction with the crowd because the stages are set a distance away and sit high up. During the performance by Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, that was not the case. It felt like Carter performed just as much from atop the crowd as he did on stage.

When I think of festival season, images of sunny days and shorts pop into mind. That is not the case for the festival season in Denmark, where summers can bring lots of rain and cooler weather. Closing out the evening, Architects and Ministry performed at the same time on two stages that sat across the festival grounds. Just as their sets started, the skies opened up and the line of photographers turned into quite the sight as the raincoats and camera rain sleeves came out. Copenhell organizers did a great job pulling a variety into the lineup for the first day which also included, Prophets of Rage, System of a Down, Carcass, Saxon, and Invocator.