@ 02 Islington Academy
Review by Ben Spencer
Photography by Graham Hilling
After wrapping up an interview with Deal’s Death, it was time to race from their tour bus to tonight’s venue for the opening act Smash Into Pieces. The crowded venue raised their arms as the last few seconds of one of the songs drew to a close. What followed was a tight array of metallic riffs and soaring clean vocals, full of depth and passion, as well as plenty of heavily rigged drum work to match.
Surprisingly, the band pulled out some electronic samples amidst its heavily induced metal sound. One of the band’s most notable qualities was their well measured use of singing and deep throated growls, which worked flawlessly with the transition of thrash driven riffs and carefully laced guitar led melodies.
What’s more, it appeared that they also had a strong following with several fans cheering back as their songs would begin to unravel and they certainly had a positive energy about them that kept the audience locked in.
These guys were a solid opener and for a band who were able to conjure up this much interest so early on in tonight’s bill they were most definitely a much welcomed addition to tonight’s bill.
Without any deliberation Deals Death burst into their set with harsh sound growls, solid riffs with the vocalist shouting “Hey hey hey” as the crowd chant back. Their music has a more aggressive sounding backbone than the first band and a greater sense of urgency as they plunge through one vicious sounding onslaught to the next.
The gritty sounding ‘Collapse’ carves it’s way through with relentless drum work and gritty guitar work as the infernal screams plough through with a strong range throughout. The track displays a good use of melodic symphonies from the keys, adding a deeper tonality, whilst the solos scaled upward around half way through with fans cheering them on into the final moments.
Personal highlight, ‘Flatline’ barged forward with an all out drum attack that gets the crowd moving along into their violent sounding beast that showcased the band’s unwavering focus toward anarchic noise.
‘The Separation’ leaks out with a more ominous setting, as the use of keys and cathartic riffs take centre stage. Full of head banging vitality and plenty of depth, this is track that comes with a strong sense of unity as a wall of raised fists from onlookers shot up at the melodic lead guitar section pulling everything into a climactic finale.
These guys had a great stage presence and certainly pulled no punches in their set. Full of demonic growls and strong song writing abilities that kept their tracks interesting through its textured sound, they are certainly a band who will hopefully be onto playing bigger things for the future.
As Tonight’s headliners Amaranthe take to the stage a mass roar of applause greets them, ‘Future on Hold’ wades out with an electronic intro and plenty of hard hitting metal crunch from the outset. The piercingly clear vocals from all 3 singers functions surprisingly well, considering how different they are. The galloping drums keep the pace soaring high, as Elise’s vocals are one of the band’s highest points as the energetic solos take flight, elevating their sound to a higher standard.
Next up, ‘100,000 Light Years’ keeps the momentum going as the gritty sounding guitars pervade throughout. The fast drum work and infectious chorus is met by the crowd singing along back.
‘Infinity’ showcases the band’s European Dance influence with a stronger prominence as the Amaranthe’s hard rock edginess plays out in a complementary fashion, with a strong use of lead guitar and hard hitting drums.
The tight sounding ‘razorblade’ bursts out with a strong sounding guitars and a punchy beat that keeps the crowd nodding along in approval with raised arms as the electro beeps sweep along the speedy drums and cathartic vocals, “Surrender to the beat of the pulse of your heart”.
Around halfway through their set, the intense rush of their set is met with an impressive interval drumming solo as Morten unleashes an all out drum solo that keeps the fans cheering throughout his tight array of cymbal crashes and bass drum kicks.
Taking a more sombre stance, ‘Burn With Me’ strums out with a more melodic tone. Full of well written lyrics, steady drums and an impressive guitar solo the track feels charged with emotion and explores the band’s more reflexive side.
Picking up the pace, the euphoric trance beats of ‘Afterlife’ glides along effortlessly as the chorus kicks in with “So wake me up to a never ending afterlife” keeps the head banging and dance hybrid running high.
The melodic touches in ‘Amaranthe’ reveal a more sensitive side to the band as Elise’s vocals take centre stage and attain a top form as the ballad led drums fortify the weightiness of the track.
Going out in style, ‘Call Out My Name’ bursts with energy, a strong guitar led prowess and heavy drum slams. The grittier sounding metallic elements collide at full force as the band keep the crowd singing back throughout.
What was great about Amaranthe’s performance was their sheer level of energy and seamless ability to converge different influences into a cohesive whole. With great stage interaction from all members and plenty of variation in their sound, their set remained both consistent and exhilarating throughout. Although this may not be the type of music for everyone, witnessing it live, makes it hard not become pulled in by and on this merit alone that makes them worth your time.