Xandria, Stream of Passion and Apparition
Camden Underworld, London
9th May 2014
Review by Victoria Fenbane
Photography by Ashlinn Nash
Xandria are back in the UK for a headline show. Their first after the departure of long time vocalist Lisa Middelhauve in 2008.
Since then they have had three vocalists, Manuella Kramer left last year and has now been replaced by Dianne van Giersbergen.
Local UK talent Apparition opened the show. They have no fixed vocalist, instead an ever changing ‘guest’. For this show that guest was Grace Meridan from the US. Grace has a good yet not quite strong enough soprano voice. Once of those voices which sounds so delicate that it could break at any moment. This was ruined by too much cymbal in the drums, which clashed with her voice.
They were further let down by the music itself, which was not cohesive enough. They are the same on record, I had hoped they would sound better sound live and it was just low production,values but the live sound also doesn’t quite nail it either. Once to keep an eye on to see how they improve, but from my experience of the genre they sound like they need more work.
Main support came from Dutch/Mexican act Stream of Passion, who pulled the same crowd as Xandria and the two bands combined resulted in a queue around the block before doors. They didn’t disappoint the fans with their note perfect performance.
In particular their cover of Radiohead’s ‘Street Spirit’ blew me away. One to catch if you can but they may disappoint the more bombastic symphonic metal fans due to being more a ‘rock’ act in many places.
Xandria took the stage to much anticipation from some, this being the first time many had encountered Dianne, however from the high number of German fans who had followed them across the channel not all were unfamiliar with the new front-woman.
The travelling fans definitely helped bolster the numbers in the venue, which was much fuller than Xandria’s last Underworld gig in 2008.
Xandria stormed through the set which featured only one pre-’Neverworld’s End’ song (‘Ravenheart’). Xandria are very much leaving past behind and aren’t really the same band. Some suggest that the fact they are still called ‘Xandria’ is misleading, since they sound nothing like the band Lisa Middelhauve fronted.
As fantastic a front woman Manuella was, the band have benefited from her departure. Dianne’s voice is unreal in a live settling and really takes the music to the next level. She has one of those voices you almost cannot believe you are hearing live, so powerful and perfect.
The Underworld seemed far too small a venue for a performance like that. Despite the set only consisting of two albums worth of material, it is was full of songs which already feel like classics.
More so with material from the recently released ‘Sacrificium’. Things are looking good for Xandria. I want to see them play live again as soon as possible and any fan of symphonic metal should do the same.