Arch Enemy @ Shepherd’s Bush Empire with Chthonic and Warbringer
6th December 2011
Review by James Griffiths
Photography by Graham Hilling
It’s a very cold Tuesday night in Sheppard’s Bush but that hasn’t deterred the army of metallers queuing up outside of the Sheppard’s Bush Empire well over an hour before the doors open. Personally, I found it much easier to plant myself in the pub next door where its warm and cosy and can drink a few beers before the bands start!
7:30pm and the doors have opened and the queue diminishes very fast and the venue soon begins to fill out just in time for tonight’s first band.
Chthonic – They are a Taiwanese metal band, formed in 1995 in Taipei. The group incorporates influences from traditional Taiwanese music including the classical Asian instrument erhu.
As Chthonic took to the stage they were greeted by huge cheers from the crowd. This has to be the first time I have seen an opening act get such a huge reaction from a crowd.
They had great stage presence and from the outset shredded their way through their setlist. Their symphonic black metal sound at times reminded me of Dimmu Borgir, which really impressed me.
They really played up to the crowd and gave them what they wanted, Pure unadulterated metal! Throughout a few of their tracks vocalist Freddy Lim would start playing the Erhu (see above) and even though this was black metal it seemed to fit in extremely well and sounded amazing.
The crowds response to this band was just great, pits were breaking out all over the place throughout their set.
All in all this was a great opening to what seems like will be a great night. 8/10
Second on tonight are Warbringer – These guys are a thrash band from Ventura, California. Formed in 2004 these guys were signed by Century Media in 2006. That is a pretty impressive timescale to say the least.
Warbringer had the crowd doing circle pits and even a huge wall of death which was fun and also painful to watch!
Vocalist John Kevil had me and quite a few others in fits of laughter throughout the set, with his insane headbanging and his belief that his microphone was actually a machine gun while shooting at the crowd!
Funny stuff aside Warbringer were pure thrash and everyone loved it.
Sounding like Kreator at times each song was just a hit with the crowd as they soaked up the power and energy from the band on stage.
To be honest 30 minutes wasn’t enough time for these guys, myself and the crowd could have definitely settled for another 30 minutes added on they were that great and fun to watch. 9/10
The headline band of the night really need no introduction as they are the mighty Arch Enemy!
When they took to the stage I swear the roof nearly came off the venue the crowd were that loud.
The melodic death metal that we have become accustomed to with Arch Enemy throughout the years blew each and every member of the crowd away.
Playing songs from their whole back catalogue no one here could of asked for more.
Even more impressive was the fact that while playing they had each of their music videos playing on screens to the side of the stage and precise timing to them playing live, this really was a great sight to see.
One of the highlights of the night was when vocalist Angela Gossow stated that this was the start of the European tour and she felt that it couldn’t get any better than tonight.
This truly was an amazing gig as they found time to have a 5 minute drum solo, plus guitar solos.
Arch Enemy were on fine form tonight and not a note or beat was missed, this has to go down as one of the best gigs of the year without a doubt!
They need to come back to London soon to give us more of that amazing show we all witnessed tonight! Truly outstanding. 10/10