Dragonforce, Amaranthe bring fire, flames and Infected Rain to the Roundhouse, London, March 24 2024

Warp speed warriors provide the perfect catalyst to avoid infection in London

Words and Pictures: Adrian Hextall / (C) MindHex Media

SOLD OUT said the sign above the box office. Proof positive that modern energetic bands can pull in a crowd and there were none more energised, full of fire and grit than this epic three band bill of Infected Rain, Amaranthe and Dragonforce, the latter navigating the UK on a co-headline tour and rightly so. Amaranthe and Dragonforce have consistently delivered unique, grandiose and more often than not, overblown, bursting at the seams, releases that contain everything bar the kitchen sink to keep fans happy.  With that in mind, could Infected Rain, our openers, also deliver the goods and stand shoulder to shoulder with their touring partners. 

Infected Rain

Brand new to me, Moldova’s Infected Rain have been around since 2008. As such it’s quite shameful that I’ve not been to see them live before. It’s either down to laziness on my part or as is typical, it’s a saturated market and sadly too much emphasis is placed on bands celebrating 30 , 40 and 50 years plus in the industry. It’s like missing a band in the 80s because you were still fixated on seeing Vera Lynn live because her 40th anniversary tour, ‘Let’s Meet Again – Vera 40’ was in town. 

As such, avoiding the latest decades shows in town, we got into the Roundhouse early and took up our spot to watch the band who from the off deliver a show that feels like a natural sibling to both Jinjer and Skynd and will probably attract a similar crowd. Lead singer, Elena “Lena Scissorhands” Cataraga, with her bright yellow dreadlocks, leather outfit and mah-hoosive boots absolutely dominated the stage, as did partner in crime and co-founder Vadim “Vidick” Ojog whose playing style was matched only by the intensity of the songs on offer. 

With some six studio albums behind them including recent release, ‘TIME’, Infected Rain proved yet again just why it’s absolutely key to get into the venue in time to watch the support. After all, you bought the bloody ticket… go and get your money’s worth. If the support is an act like this, you won’t be disappointed and might actually, as I have, discovered something wonderful. 

Hugely recommended:

 
  • 2024 03 24, Infected Rain, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Infected Rain, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Infected Rain, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Infected Rain, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Infected Rain, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Infected Rain, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Infected Rain, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Infected Rain, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Infected Rain, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Infected Rain, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Infected Rain, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Infected Rain, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Infected Rain, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Infected Rain, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Infected Rain, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Infected Rain, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Infected Rain, Live at the Roundhouse, London

Amaranthe

It’s fair to say I have loved this band for years. There’s something really impressive with a band that can effortlessly juggle strong clean vocal work, raw rock vocals and the sort of growls that feel like they’ve been dragged kicking and screaming up from the very depths of hell. Combine that with , metal, electronic and rock melodies and how can you not be onto a winner. 

Wandering through the pit as I along with my fellow music photographers waited for the band to come on stage, the intro tape was strangely inviting. It was a song I didn’t recognise yet felt compelled to sing along during the chorus. “Who was this mystical singer?” I asked my self and a couple of the people around me. David Hasselhoff  you say? Singing ‘True Survivor’ from the rather awesome ‘Kung Fury’ short film that came out a few years ago. It was almost like a sleeper cell command phrase. It had been lying dormant in my head for several years only to be reawakened as Amaranthe arrived on stage. All hail the Hoff! 

If the intro tape can awaken the metal fire in your blood then Amaranthe’s set more than maintained the vibe. Tapping into new album ‘The Catalyst’, it’s clear the band have hit a huge creative streak and whilst the response from the crowd was initially a little muted, if there’s one thing that Amaranthe can do, it’s energise an audience. Within a few songs the crowd were bouncing, punching the air and cheering. Crowd surfers gathered in numbers and before long a steady stream of happy, sweaty bodies was travelling over the heads of people to be unceremoniously dumped into the arms of the ever attentive security guards. The ‘bodies’ then disappeared back into the crowd and the cycle commenced once again. Rinse and repeat! 

All the time the crowd was gleefully surfing, the band powered through track after track from their impressive back catalogue. Highlights for me included recent single ‘Damnation Game’ as well as the title track from the album that got me into the band ‘The Nexus’. 

Heartfelt thanks were issued from the stage as the show brought to a close the tour that they had embarked on with Dragonforce and from the packed Roundhouse, which reflected most other dates on the jaunt around Europe, it’s been a massively successful one. Definitely an argument for the pairing of great bands that not only give the crowd value for money but also give the bands a packed house because a full crowd will naturally bring with it the energy to inspire the artists on stage. 

 
  • 2024 03 24, Amaranthe, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Amaranthe, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Amaranthe, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Amaranthe, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Amaranthe, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Amaranthe, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Amaranthe, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Amaranthe, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Amaranthe, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Amaranthe, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Amaranthe, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Amaranthe, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Amaranthe, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Amaranthe, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Amaranthe, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Amaranthe, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Amaranthe, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Amaranthe, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Amaranthe, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Amaranthe, Live at the Roundhouse, London

SETLIST: 

True Survivor (David Hasselhoff song) (Intro Tape) / Fearless / Viral / Digital World / Damnation Flame / Maximize / Strong / PvP / Crystalline / The Catalyst / Re-Vision
Boom!1 / Amaranthine / The Nexus /

Encore: Archangel / That Song / Drop Dead Cynical

Dragonforce

The last band of the night, playing to a home crowd, simply couldn’t fail. For a band rooted firmly in fantasy driven lyrics and playing unashamed power metal, Dragonforce should have no place headlining a venue like the Roundhouse. British audiences for some strange reason have never embraced the genre and style of music as much as our mainland European cousins where the likes of Helloween, Hammerfall, Rhapsody, Primal Fear, Gamma Ray and more have gone on to become huge headline acts in their own right. Whoever thought to add Dragonforce’s seminal ‘Through The Fire And Flames’ to the ‘Guitar Hero’ video game wants a medal as it has to have been one of the best marketing exercises for a band to propel, no, launch them into the big leagues. 

Support slots with Iron Maiden and more have also done Dragonforce no harm at all and with Marc Hudson celebrating over a decade front and centre with the band, it’s good to see just how well the outfit, formed back in 1999 by guitarists Herman Li and Sam Totman, have grown in what now is there 25th anniversary year. 

With giant (and these things were huge) arcade game cabinets on either side of the stage that served as risers for the guitarists and incoming bassist Alicia Vigil who has now replaced Frédéric Leclercq permanently in the band, the entire set played to the band’s love of video gaming with Herman even introducing ‘Power of the Triforce’ as one for the fans of the ‘Zelda’ video games

With rotating LED 3D lighting rigs on the front of Gee Anzalone’s drum kit, and neon lit glasses worn my Herman, Sam and Alicia, the colours coming from the stage were more than even Bob Ross could have used in his heyday but it summed up Dragonforce perfectly, overblown, over the top, epic, extreme… all of the words the band themselves will use to describe their music and style. Heck, we even had giant stuffed toy chickens thrown into the crowd at one point to throw around, because, well, you can… 

If you’ve never been to a Dragonforce gig before then you’ve probably never seen a giant circle pit taking place during a cover of ‘My Heart Will Go On’ the epic number from ‘Titanic’ courtesy of Céline Dion. In the same breath, crowd surfing to Taylor Swift’s ‘Wildest Dreams’ is also something I’d never expect to see at a metal gig so it’s fair to say Dragonforce are full of surprises when out on tour. 

They closed of course with ‘that song’ and the crowd lapped up every single manic, warp speed warrior driven note. We staggered out of the Roundhouse breathless and buzzing. What a night! 

  • 2024 03 24, Dragonforce, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Dragonforce, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Dragonforce, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Dragonforce, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Dragonforce, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Dragonforce, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Dragonforce, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Dragonforce, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Dragonforce, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Dragonforce, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Dragonforce, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Dragonforce, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Dragonforce, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Dragonforce, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Dragonforce, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Dragonforce, Live at the Roundhouse, London
  • 2024 03 24, Dragonforce, Live at the Roundhouse, London

SETLIST: 

Revolution Deathsquad
Cry Thunder
Power of the Triforce
Soldiers of the Wasteland
The Last Dragonborn
Fury of the Storm
Doomsday Party
My Heart Will Go On (Céline Dion cover)
Wildest Dreams (Taylor Swift cover)
Through the Fire and Flames

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