Therion @ The Islington Academy

January 2nd, 2014
by Metal-Rules.com UK Team

Therion

@ The O2 Islington Academy

20th December 2013

Review & Photography by Graham Hilling

The Concrete Shell

Therion

Therion

It’s been a while since Swedens Therion played in the UK so I was expecting a good turnout for this evenings gig!
However, the eye watering early start meant that that the openers this evening; Sound Storm from Turin in Italy, were playing to a pretty small crowd.

Sound Storm

Sound Storm

Shame really as they are actually not bad at all. Playing symphonic metal blended with something a little heavier and sporting live female backing vocals along with the main vocals of Phillipe D’Orange(!) they play their hearts out despite the lack of audience and are very well received by the small but attentive crowd.

Sound Storm

Sound Storm

The songs are well written and good enough on a single live listen to make me want to check out the recorded material. Not been able to say that of many bands of late.

Sound Storm

Sound Storm

Sound Storm Setlist

Back to Life
Wrath of the Storm
Blood of Maiden
Promises
Torquemada

Next up on this truly international bill are Coma from Poland. Fronted by the charismatic Piotr Rogucki, this is a difficult band to pigeon hole into any musical genre. For the most part they play rather middle of the road straight rock, with the odd metal nod thrown in for good measure. They are hugely popular in Poland and it’s obvious a few peeps in the audience hail from the same country and are very pleased to see their fellow countrymen on stage.

Coma

Coma

However, considering the extensive touring they do, the live show is a little bit of a disappointment to be honest, especially after the exhuberance of Sound Storm. Only Piotr Rogucki has any real flair on the stage, even if it does look at times like he has studied Freddy Mercury for inspiration.

Coma

Coma

Even his antics can’t really hold my attention for the complete duration of the set, with only “Eckhart” from the album “Excess” making me sit up and take notice. This particular song builds nicely and while it is a little too long it does have some definite hooks to latch on to. So, Coma come and go, in many respects the odd band out on the bill tonight.

Coma

Coma

Coma Setlist

Keep the Peace
Poisonous Plants
Don’t Set Your Dogs
Dance with a Queen
Rainy Song
System
A Better Man
When the Music is a…
Eckhart
Transfusion

Next to take to the stage are Arkona from Russia. This is a band I’ve seen before and been impressed with, they have incredible energy. Fronted by Maria “Masha Scream” Arkhipova, we have growled and clean vocals, both done well and enough energy just from this one individual to knock over a skyscraper. She really does not stop moving for the whole set. I could do without the fur draped around her neck mind – unnecessary in 2014 I think.

Arkona

Arkona

They play pagan metal, with a backing track to add texture and live wind instruments such as a flute and bagpipes. Indeed, this is the first gig I can recall seeing a bagpipe solo, which actually worked pretty well! “Goi Ride Goi” is a highpoint with many folks in the crowd thumping the air, clearly enjoying the set as much as the band appear to be on stage.

Arkona

Arkona

“Stenka na Stenku” see an accordian backing track deployed and with this it seems that at times, they seem to be having just a little bit too much fun on stage, a hurdy gurdy type dance to accompany this at the end kind of ruins any thoughts I might have had of them being a “serious” band which is a shame because the music has genuine weight and enough variation and twists to hold the interest.

Arkona

Arkona

Probably being a little harsh here. I’m certain that most of the punters in the now packed Islington Academy would disagree with me anyway, Arkona are well received and very popular.

Arkona

Arkona

They divide up the audience for a “Vault of Death” which is actually a wall of death as Masha Scream apologises for her lack of English and strong Russian accent! This turns out to be a wall of death set to a traditional folkish metal song, all a little bit strange but lapped up by the audience.

Arkona

Arkona

Arkona Setlist

Az’
Arkaim
Ot Serdtsa k Nebu
Goi, Rode, Goi!
Zakliatie
Pamiat
Slav’sja, Rus’!
Arkona
Stenka na Stenku
Yarilo

So, the scene is set for Therion from Sweden. This is a band that has always pushed the musical boundaries falsely imposed by genre labels and willing to go where many other metal acts feared to tread!

This evening Therion will be playing the whole of the “Vovin” album from 1998 to a now packed out venue.

Therion

Therion

The stage is also a little too small to comfortably hold the whole of Therion with them having to put the back of the stage to good use aswell as the front. This isn’t a problem and keeps the band moving around on the stage, taking it in turns to take the limelight. Founding Therion guitarist Christofer Johnsson looking particularly cool in a large top hat.

Therion

Therion

The dual female vocals of Linnea Vikström and Lori Lewis soar with the music and while they may be a little operatic at times for my taste they do a magnificent job this evening. Lori Lewis in particular almost teases the crowd and looks demented at times. They perfectly compliment the male vocals of Thomas Vikström. A solid job from Grizzly on bass and Johan Koleberg on the drums drives the songs along and the whole thing is finished off perfectly by the lead playing of Christian Vidal – fluid and accomplished.

Therion

Therion

The album playback progresses without too many surprises, the tracks sounding as I remember them from the album. Highlights are “The Rise Of Sodom And Gomorrah” which sets the scene for the rest of the gig. “Wine Of Aluqah” with it’s beautifully twisted beginning and “Clavicula Nox” which slows thing down a pace only to be sped up again with “The Wild Hunt”. There is precious little time for chat in between the songs as the stage time is squeezed by the inclusion of 4 bands on the bill.

Therion

Therion

There’s still time, however, to fit a few new tracks in before returning to more familiar ground with “Invocation Of Naamah” and “To Mega Therion”. An unexpected “Lemuria” finishes off the show in a suitable fashion with the band looking like they’ve enjoyed the gig as much as the audience. Top notch!

Therion

Therion

Therion Setlist

The Rise of Sodom and Gomorrah
Birth of Venus Illegitima
Wine of Aluqah
Clavicula Nox
The Wild Hunt
Eye of Shiva
Black Sun
Draconian Trilogy
(without The Opening)
Raven of Dispersion
Rock Opera excerpts
Overture
End of the Dynasty
Who’s Your God?
Onda Toner
Sad End
Flesh of the Gods
Muspelheim
(without intro)
Invocation of Naamah
To Mega Therion

Encore:
Asgård
Lemuria

Share

Tags: , , ,
Posted in 2013 | Comments (0)




Home | About Metal-Rules.com | Staff | Advertise With Us | Staff Openings | Donations

Content is © 2009 Metal-Rules.com. All Rights Reserved.
Graphics by Hammerblaze studio.