Live review and photo credit : Adrian Hextall (Writer \ Reviewer \ Photographer – Myglobalmind Webzine)
Photos Copyright: MindHex Media
Sometimes, somebody simply “gets it right”. Very often we cover gigs where the support bands are simply ‘on the same label’ as the headliner. Typically the label is just looking to promote a band that has no place being in the same building as the main act, as their musical styles are poles apart. Not so with this line up. Someone with a clear eye (and ear) for the right mix has wisely blended some of the finest symphonic and power metal acts you’ll find in Europe at the moment. As such a three band bill (that often can result in you standing there wishing the time away until the headline act appears) for once is very very welcome indeed.
New to me are Xandria. A quick check via the font of all knowledge (Google / Wikipedia) tells me that I’ve 7 albums I need to catch up on, with the latest, ‘Fire & Ashes’ released in July 2015. It’s the second release Dianne van Giersbergen has made with the band since joining in 2013 and sees 7 tracks on offer. 3 new songs, 2 remakes of well known Xandria classics, and 2 cover songs.
The crowd warmed to the band very quickly and Dianne’s place as lead singer is a self assured one having replaced Manuela Kraller less than two years ago. She looks every inch the consummate front woman as well, dressed in a tight leather outfit with skulls and chains adorning her shoulders giving her the look of a character you’ll find in Game of Thrones.
The band sit comfortably in the same space occupied by the likes of Within Temptation, Leaves Eyes, Nightwish and more. Tight, slick and hook laden songs are delivered one after the other with highlights being ‘Blood on my Hands’ from 2013’s ‘Neverworld’s End’ and ‘Voyage of the Fallen’, one of the new tracks from their current release.
It’s always heartwarming to discover a new band and one with such a rich catalogue will provide many happy hours of investigation to bring me up to date. An excellent start to the night.
Blood on My Hands
Voyage of the Fallen
I’ve waited a long time to see Orden Ogan. They don’t get the opportunity to play in the UK very often so the chance to catch them live was a welcome one.
Bounding onstage in a mixture of leather and (probably fake) animal skins, they looked every inch the neanderthal tribe that you might find at an exhibition in the Natural History Museum. Their high speed power metal and lyrical content that covers everything from mystical dark ages magic to post apocalyptic events fits their outfits perfectly and they rapidly start to own the crowd with hit single ‘F.E.V.E.R.’ opening proceedings.
Clearly happy to be in England playing in front of the London crowd, Sebastian “Seeb” Levermann seems unable to stop grinning for most of the show. As the band fly through ‘We Are Pirates’ , ‘Ravenhead’ and ‘Here At The End Of The World’, Seeb even tries to get the crowd involved in some “audience participation”. As the typically British crowd politely mutters “oh we don’t do things like that..” and “thanks awfully but we paid for you to entertain us” Seeb’s perseverance pays off and before long the crowd are bouncing and punching the air, singing along at prescribed intervals as requested. As they play ‘The Things We Believe In’ , the crowd chant “COLD, DEAD AND GONE” at the top of their voices and finally, his grin gets wider and wider as he confirms that we finally “made more noise than Belgium” [I should bloody well hope so too…]
If you don’t know Orden Ogan, the last two album ‘To The End‘ and ‘Ravenhead‘ are an absolute must for any fan of blistering power metal.
Deaf Among the Blind
We Are Pirates
The Lords of the Flies
Here At The End Of The World
Sorrow Is Your Tale
The Things We Believe In
Another nod to whoever put the bill together. By the time Xandria and Orden Ogan had played, I could have gone home happy. A grin a mile wide having just seen two great bands on top form performing excellent heavy metal. What follows then is simply, for me, the icing on the cake.
The last time Powerwolf played in London, they sold out the notably smaller Underworld venue, supported by Battle Beast, Ashes of Ares and Majesty (MGM REVIEW). The stage size and their elaborate sets made it difficult for them to put across their full show although they did admirably but to now get them at the Academy with a bigger stage, more people (again it’s sold out) and the ability to deck the stage with the appropriate banners and props mean we get to see Powerwolf at their theatrical best.
As the lights dim, the band burst onto stage with the Greywolf brothers a roaring whirlwind flying from stage left to right constantly to stand on the illuminated podiums with fans blowing their feral manes in a swirl around their faces. Attila Dorn stalks his way onto the stage looking every inch the priest with a massive silver crucifix on his mic stand. His robes and the outfits of the other members of the band typify the legendary and mythical stories that their lyrics allude to. Werewolves, the fight of good against evil, exorcisms, armies of the dead rising… if there is an eastern European myth to be told, then Powerwolf have it in their 17 strong set.
Falk Maria Schlegel, never content with simply being stuck behind a keyboard, can often be found stage front and centre whipping the crowd into a frenzy before he returns to one of the two keyboard setups he has on stage. Roel van Helden, looking every inch the manic skeletal drummer keeps the power [natch] going for the entire show.
The packed Academy bounces as one, chanting the choruses back to the band on ‘Blessed & Possessed’ and ‘Amen & Attack’. ‘Armata Strigoi‘ one of the highlights of the latest album is played with unbridled energy and leaves us in no doubt that the band is definitely in the ascendency at the moment. Bigger venues, higher festival slots and magazine cover articles await this exciting, dynamic and highly original band. Name another band that uses church organ riffing as if it were a third guitarist on stage. Name another band where there is no bass player in a metal band… exactly. Original, unique, dynamic and a wonderfully entertaining live event.
Here’s hoping that one day we’ll see them headline a venue like Brixton Academy that will allow them to truly deliver a theatrical event.
Blessed & Possessed
Amen & Attack
Army of the Night
Resurrection by Erection
Dead Boys Don’t Cry
Werewolves of Armenia
Let There Be Night
In the Name of God (Deus Vult)
We Drink Your Blood
Sanctified With Dynamite
All We Need Is Blood
Wolves Against the World