September 6, 2007
New York, NY
* Live Review and Photos by Shaq
With easily one of the best tour packages I can remember in support, it was time for Katatonia to launch their first ever headlining tour of North America. It wasn’t too long ago that they were supporting Moonspell in what was another well built tour package. Along for the ride this time were Swallow the Sun and Insomnium, both hailing from Finland, as well as their fellow Swedes in Scar Symmetry. I guess sometimes Finns and Swedes can get along! To say I was excited for this lineup would be the understatement of the year. Without a single bad or local band on the bill, it was certain to be a good night for metal.
This was the only band on the bill I was not already a fan of prior to the show, only because I had never heard them before. Unfortunately for me, the sound at BB King’s for their set was beyond atrocious, so bad that I literally couldn’t make out anything they were doing. Since I did happen to catch another stop on this tour a few nights later in Poughkeepsie, I’ll base my review of them off of that show. I can see exactly why they belonged on this tour, and am very happy they were included because I can now call myself a fan. Swallow the Sun play a sort of melodic mix of doom and death metal, drawing similarities to bands like Katatonia and Opeth (anyone who knows me can tell you that I don’t throw around comparisons to Opeth easily). There were a few times in the set where I felt the songs were dragging a little, but seeing as I’m not usually a big fan of the doom genre I can pretty much chalk it up to that. I hope these guys make it onto another tour over here because I would enjoy seeing them again now that I know the material a little better.
I have been a fan of Insomnium for awhile, and always hoped they would be able to tour here but never figured it would actually happen. Lucky for me, I was sorely mistaken on that conjecture. The band was definitely focusing on their newest album ABOVE THE WEEPING WORLD, from which almost the entire setlist was drawn from. The band began the set with the first three tracks off of that album, “The Gale,” “Mortal Share,” and “Drawn to Black.” Much to my surprise, the crowd reaction was massive. I didn’t think many people would be familiar with Insomnium here yet, but just as before I was wrong. With the crowd headbanging along, the band did what they do best and delivered their unique style of melodic death metal which is much like a hybrid between Dark Tranquillity and Amon Amarth – quite a potent combination to say the least.
Next up in the set was “Killjoy,” also off of their newest album, and became even clearer that the band loved the positive reaction from the crowd and played off of it. After this, Insomnium gave a nod to 2004’s SINCE THE DAY IT ALL CAME DOWN by playing “Daughter of the Moon” followed by “The Day It All Came Down.” This would be the only older tracks we would get in the set, and while I can go on and on listing songs I would have loved to hear, I left with no complaints. To close out the set, they whipped out a crushing rendition of the ever-so-catchy “Devoid of Caring” and then left the stage to the screams of a very satisfied crowd.
Drawn to Black
Daughter of the Moon
The Day It All Came Down
Devoid of Caring
Scar Symmetry made their US debut not too long ago opening for Dark Tranquillity and now they were back, and this time with a substantial set length. They are without a doubt one of the best new bands around today, having released two absolutely stellar albums and have a lot of talent to keep that trend going. The first time around, I wasn’t too impressed with their stage presence and live sound in general, but time they put those complaints to rest. In the interim between then and now, Scar Symmetry had truly become a tight live band and learned how to play the crowd exceptionally well. They were here to show they meant business and establish themselves as one of the premiere acts in the metal scene today.
Their setlist was a great mix of both of their albums, which was nice to see since both are great pieces of metal. Opening the set was a brutal version of “Slaves to the Subliminal” off of PITCH BLACK PROGRESS, followed by “Reborn” off SYMMETRIC IN DESIGN. The tour with Dark Tranquillity definitely did these guys a lot of good, because the crowd was quite loud during their set, singing along to entire songs – not just the choruses. This was particularly impressive during the chorus to “Mind Machine” where Christian could simply stop singing and let the crowd take over. On another note, not enough praise can be given to Per Nilsson’s guitar work which was absolutely flawless throughout the entire set, even while providing backing vocal harmonies.
As expected, they closed out the set with their single “The Illusionist” and prompted the crowd to sing during the chorus, which as stated earlier would have happened with or without that prompt. Scar Symmetry put on nothing short of an amazing show and with a setlist of ten songs, there is not much room for complaint. Hopefully the success of this tour will boost them into the next level where they can come and headline their own tour, but I will be at any tour they come with, be it headlining or not.
Slaves to the Subliminal
The Path of Least Resistance
Calculate the Apocalypse
It was hard to believe that after three great bands had come and gone there was still the main act to go, but that was the case and it was Katatonia’s turn to take the stage. This time they were touring in support of their new live CD/DVD LIVE CONSTERNATION so it should come as no surprise that they chose to open their set with “Consternation.” A lot of the setlist is pretty similar to what they played on the Moonspell tour, but is obviously slightly longer due to this being a headlining set. I’ve noticed with Katatonia that they can be a little hit or miss live; when they miss it’s not that they’re bad but there’s just something missing. That being said, this show was a definite hit.
While the setlist was similar, it had a few additions that were definitely not there the last time around. In a totally surprising move, they played “Dissolving Bonds,” which is off of the MY TWIN EP. The only album they ignored (not counting the death metal albums of course) was DISCOURAGED ONES, but aside from that they did a very good job at covering their many albums while still keeping the setlist fresh by picking a few different songs from what they had chosen the last time around. On a side note, they did play “Deadhouse” in Poughkeepsie, so they were not ignoring the album altogether.
The band itself delivered another quality performance, especially given the somber nature of much of their catalog. As per usual Katatonia fashion, the evening was closed out by a performance of the track “Murder,” taken from their essential death metal album BRAVE MURDER DAY. Unfortunately this seems to be the only track they ever really touch on from that era, but that is to be expected. Overall it was a great ending to a night packed with true metal bands and no filler. If you missed this tour, simply put: you made a huge mistake.
Ghost Of The Sun
Will I Arrive
Don’t Tell A Soul
Future of Speech
Had To (Leave)
Right Into The Bliss
I would like to thank Dave Brenner at Earsplit for the press pass.