Opening up the show very quickly after the doors open, Imperial Age are a six piece Symphonic Metal band hailing from Moscow, Russia – Aor (Alexander) keyboards/vocals, Corn (Jane) keyboardist and stunning vocals, Alexandra Main Vocalist all work hard front of stage to interact the sparse crowd that has assembled very early on this Friday night while Alexandr (Guitar), Dmitry (Bass) and Igor (Drums) give us with a really solid and interesting background to the vocal gymnastics, this is a really good band that would be able to show even more with a headline set, songs like ‘Turn The Sun Off!’ and ‘Aryavarta’ offer a lot of variety and quality along with the epic ‘Anthem Of Valour’ there is so much more to this band than wonderful vocals, some excellent and heavy riffing and drums, and a nice touch for the theatrical. Those that chose to get involved with the band seemed to be really getting into their set and they really started off the show well.
Ego Fall, I have to say, are a new band to me, outside of the obvious, it really isn’t very often you come across a Metal band from Inner Mongolia, but Ego Fall are most certainly worth checking out, they are so full of energy, passion for what they do and most importantly a happy demeanor. Vocalist Chao Yu’s stage presence is excellent and every member of the band look like they absolutely love what they do.
Special mention has to go to the opening of their set where Bass Player Chaoluomeng plays the two string Morin Khuur (a type of fiddle) along with Khoomei (a form of Mongolian throat singing) and a little support from drummer Wenbo Zhang to create a bit of musical magic for a prelude into their set. Musically they range from Metal through Metalcore through some more traditional folk vibes, and they use Samples better than most bands that attempt to, where they actually mix in and work with the music and not as a distraction that’s miss-timed or wildly over the top. It’s not easy to pin down a band that Ego Fall sound like, which is another good thing.
There’s not much messing around with their set, but Chao Yu does try to interact with the crowd quickly between songs, which is great, and he really is a metal vocalist. Throught the set Wenbo Zhang’s drumming is really excellent, the band are at their finest during the frenzy of a song like ‘Wind The Horn, which is just incessant, really just wind this band up and let them run riot, do check them out, and if you get the chance then check them out live they will not let you down. The played the Tuska Festival in 2014, so hopefully they will get the chance to come back to Europe later in the year, as I watched them play I thought they could go down brilliantly on the Sophie Stage at Bloodstock, or any other Festival for that matter. The crowd grew throughout their set and were really getting into this band. A great start to the night has been massively escalated, great set.
Luciferian Light Orchestra is the brainchild of Therion’s guitarist and founding member Christof Johnsson and they play a 70’s vibe Rock music, and it really is making for an interesting night, another different style of band, Mina Karadzic handles the vocals and although they have an interesting sound and vibe to them, quite funky in places thanks to some nice runs and playing from Sixten Jaskari (Bass), overall it falls a little wide of the mark for me. The music is good, the delivery fine and some of the tracks are really good such as ‘Dante And Diabaulus’, the slow pondering ‘Church of Carmel’ and ‘Taste The Blood Of The Altar Wine’ where there is definitely a similar style to bands like Lucifer. There seemed to be a lot of good reaction from the crowd and they are certainly very much into what they do, maybe it was just a little too sedate after the Ego Fall guys, but on the flip side of that they lead in very well to the main attraction.
Finally it’s time for the headline act, Therion arrive to the stage to a long into of Richard Strauss’s ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra’ (2001 A Space Odyssey opening sequence) with the musicians taking up their places before launching into the excellent opening track ‘Ginnungagap’, tonight we are going to be treated to a Greatest Hits set of sorts, encompassing tracks from no less than eleven of the bands albums over the last twenty-six years, and the choices for the set are excellent. Twenty one songs in a two-hour set that not only entertain but they also allow all the members of the band to display their personal talents.
The set is somewhat symmetrical with the first half made up of tracks from the first half of their career, Therion produce the type of music it is very easy to simply close your eyes at the show and allow yourself to be carried away on the waves and layers they produce. At times if becomes a little disorienting to watch the bands as you are compelled to watch one player or another at different parts of the stage at the same time, Nalle Pahlsson (Bass) has a stage presence unlike most and he plays even better than he acts. Christofer and Christian are jumping from side to side slamming out riffs when needed and have that ability to be subtle when required, almost sliding into the background, the same can be said for the immensely talented Chiara and the father and daughter combination of Thomas and Linnéa Vikstrӧm, while everything is held together from the back of the stage by the excellent drumming of Johan, it’s just a joy to watch.
There is of course a great theatrical aspect to Therion’s shows and their music, and that was at the fore when they brought out Mina from Luciferian Light Orchestra joining Thomas and Chiara for the mini Opera of ‘Mon Amour, Mon Ami’ and as with the rest of the set everyone in the room is lapping it up, there is a great atmosphere building from the time they arrive on stage and it really does get better and better. It’s great to see a room being enveloped by a performance, and for the band to reciprocate, this is another special night, as always brought to us by the great team at DME Promotions, we really would never see an amazing show like this without them. Tonight Thomas appears to be extremely excited to get to play ‘Black Fairy’ for the first time on the Tour. Great renditions of ‘Melek Taus’, ‘Son Of The Staves Of Time’ and the beautiful ‘Lemuria’ are all wonderful to hear, but at the end of the day everything is trumped by the last song of the night ‘To Mega Therion’ which every member of the band just attacks with gusto, it sends the crowd to fever pitch and I doubt anyone would be sad to hear them play another hours worth of songs. Really brilliant set.
Already thinking that this is going to be one of my favourite shows of the year, it’s always an amazing way to start your gig year with a night that reaffirms why you love going to see Live Music in the first place, and this was one of those nights, stunning talent, new bands and a terrific variety, all in the company of like-minded people.
Overdrive live rating – 5/5
Therion Setlist –
The Beauty In Black
Innvocation Of Naamah
Cults Of The Shadow
The Siren Of The Woods
Wine Of Alugar
Mon Amour, Mon Ami (Feat Mina Karadzic of Luciferian Light Orchestra)
Kings Of Edom
Dreams Of Swedenborg
Sons Of The Staves Of Time
Rise Of Sodom And Gomorrah
To Mega Therion
Words – Stephen Brophy
Photography – Steve Dempsey / Down The Barrel Photography ©2016
Content – ©OVERDRIVE 2016
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