Review and Pics: Adrian Hextall \ MindHex Media
A welcome return to the UK for Firewind and a warm reception for surprise stars, Manimal!
Scar of the Sun
Formed in London, UK the current line up of SotS consists of Terry Nikas (vocals), Alexi Charalambous and Greg Eleftheriou (guitars), Panagiotis Gkatsopoulos (bass) and Thanos Pappas (drums). Delivering powerful metal to the receptive crowd at the underworld, they look the part, for the most sound the part and can clearly play well, fast and hard.
Terry Nikas vocals suffered somewhat, possibly due to lack of monitor or lack of time to soundcheck but his voice sounded like it was reaching a bit at times in comparison to the solid Maiden-like riffage supplied by the band. A solid effort but some more work to do.
With a new album ‘In Flood’ out, give them a chance with the studio material.
Sweden’s Manimal definitely ratchet things up and there are many people in the Underworld there to see the band as much as the headliners. A classy choice in main support, the stage show, delivery and overall look of the band gives them an edge and keeps the crowd hooked from the off.
Sporting more black eye makeup than an Alice Cooper convention, the band, fronted by Samuel Nyman deliver their own unique brand of power metal with more than a hint of homage to greats Judas Priest and Queensryche. They hit the stage with intent. Conscious of the fact that they have something prove if they are to win the crowd over and (if you check their Facebook page) the suggestion is that they do on a regular basis. The crowds have been getting bigger, better and more responsive as the tour has progressed and as the band hits London there was a definite sense of anticipation combined with the typical “Go on then impress me” approach which gradually saw the crowd thaw and throw themselves into the set.
Maniacal glares from Nyman, wicked solos from Henrik Stenroos, and a rhythm section to die for in André Holmqvist and Kenny Boufadene on drums and bass respectively ensured a roaring response by the time they exited the stage only to return with Nyman dressed in a strait jacket that couldn’t contain him for long as he tore around the cramped stage. A great set, fantastic songs and a welcome introduction to a band that have finally managed to stabilise and release latest album ‘Trapped in the Shadows‘ Check out the official video:
And so to headliners, Firewind. Returning to the UK and delivering a full tour and not just a “London Show” in support of latest album ‘Immortals’. It’s been several years since we’ve had the pleasure of their company and the band make a point of ensuring that the show is one the crowd will remember.
Opening the final set of the night with the scene setting ‘Ode to Leonidas’ the band bring to the table the tales of Greek heroes and Persian adversaries from some 480 B.C.
The new material and the focus for the night sits comfortably with the old and uber guitarst Gus G peels off lick after lick like the consummate professional he is. That doesn’t stop lead singer Henning Basse teasing him with a few glances at his watch as Gus pulls another solo out of the bag.
(Henning) Are you done yet Gus….?
(Henning) Maybe I can help you…?
(Gus) Henning… GTF off my guitar !!
(Henning) Ok, Ok, Sorry Gus !
Aside from the comedic interplay at times, there’s no doubting that the two of them work together like a well oiled engine and whilst the band have had other singers over the years, Henning Basse has been a great find and is without a doubt the perfect fit for them, a notion that the crowd also clearly have given the roar that greets him when he looks to the assembled throng.
An excellent evening had by all and as ever, a great three band bill with sterling performances from Manimal and Firewind.
Ode to Leonidas
Head Up High
Few Against Many
Between Heaven and Hell
Back on the Throne
Hands of Time
Wars of Ages
Lady of 1000 Sorrows (With extended keyboard and guitar intro solos)
World on Fire
The Fire and the Fury
Live and Die by the Sword
Falling to Pieces