Amaranthe + Engel + Santa Cruz at the Islington Academy, London

Spread the metal:

Amaranthe

With Engel & Santa Cruz
@ Islington Academy, London

17 March 2015

Review by Rowena
Photography by Michelle Murphy

Amaranthe
Amaranthe

One of the good things about reviewing is that you will often be asked to review bands you have not seen before and actually I think that can be a benefit as you see them fresh, with no expectations or previous experiences to judge them against.  The slate is clean and it’s down to that performance to form your opinion.

Having never seen any of the bands on tonight’s list this was one to those nights that, lets face it, could either prove entertaining or rather bland.

The first band up was Santa Cruz and with their second self-titled album having been released in the UK just two days prior tonight was a prime opportunity for the UK crowd to hear those songs live and like me for the first time.

Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz

One thing I noticed straight away was that they looked a little squashed onto the front of the stage, with everything behind them.  Though it did give a good indication of how well they wold suit the smaller London venues they had played previously such as The Underworld.

Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz

Moving straight into the second song ‘Velvet Rope’ you can already hear the easily likability of their songs, and like this song I did because it makes it easy for the crowd to get into.

Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz

‘My Remedy’ is another example and one more known by the crowd around me.  There’s a nice guitar riff at the start and an easy to sing along to chorus.  There’s more depth to this song but it still have that simplicity of attachment.

Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz

‘Let Them Burn’ brings a harder edge to their sound with a sharper prominence of the drums and cymbals and was a favourite of the crowd – this slightly more brutal style suits them well, which is followed up at the end of their set by ‘Wasted & Wounded’.

Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz

I realise I have mentioned easy likability a few times already but that’s a core element to their songs and live performance; it’s not difficult to like them and within a song or two I was in agreement hat this was good and by the end of the set I had decided I would be more than happy to go watch them again.

Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz

As far as building a fan base goes, that type of easy likability is a definite asset.
www.santacruz.fi

Set List

  1. We are the ones to fall
  2. Velvet Rope
  3. My Remedy
  4. Let Them Burn
  5. 6(66) Feet Under
  6. Wasted & Wounded
  7. Aiming High

Given the pop/metal style of Amaranthe and the more rock sound of Santa Cruz, I was genuinely not prepared for Engel.

Engel
Engel
Engel
Engel

With their musical style completely at odds with the other bands on the line up, immediately the stark difference sealed my attention.

Engel
Engel
Engel
Engel

The contrast could not really have been much different as their first song ‘Salvation’ smacks you around the face with force and volume; blowing away any lingering thoughts of the previous set by the marked difference in styles.

Engel
Engel
Engel
Engel

The atmosphere of the gig changed which initially created confusion in me (how did this band fit with the other two?) but after a short while that went away because well, I didn’t care.  This was aggressive, unapologetic energy.

Engel
Engel
Engel
Engel

‘Question Your Place’ off their third album ‘Threnody’ was possibly my favourite of their set with its tech sound backdrop. It was a more challenging song than the ones before it and really suited their style.  The second part of the song was just brutal and brought all of their elements together.  The crowd agreed and if you’re looking for a song to start with, I would suggest this one.

Engel
Engel
Engel
Engel

‘Burn’ was another favourite and it’s easy to see why as the chorus effortlessly draws you along with the rhythm.  This is one that would work well live, or played back at home or wherever.  Press play and just go.

Engel
Engel
Engel
Engel

Thinking back though there is one similarity between all of the bands and that’s how easy their songs are to connect with and settle into.  Different styles across the board but they all have that easy likability about them and their songs.

Engel
Engel

www.facebook.com/Engel.Propaganda?fref=ts

www.youtube.com/engelpropaganda

Set List

  1. Salvation
  2. Your Shadow Haunts You
  3. Question Your Place
  4. Fading Light
  5. Six Feet Under
  6. When The Earth Burns
  7. Burn
  8. Casket Closing
  9. Sense The Fire
  10. Until Eternity Ends
  11. Amaranthe

I had only listened to ‘Drop Dead Cynical’ before this evening and so I had a good glimpse of what to expect of Amaranthe but live was definitely better.

Amaranthe
Amaranthe
Amaranthe
Amaranthe

One common thing throughout their set was their energy; both from their songs but also themselves.  They do in fact make it look effortless and despite the length of their set list and though tired later, they maintain that first impression, that first bout of energy and performance throughout their set.

Amaranthe
Amaranthe
Amaranthe
Amaranthe

Take ‘Invincible’ as an example.  Moving seamlessly from it’s predecessor to start this track with high energy and tempo.  Leaving the crowd with nothing much else to do but move along with it.  A quick time check shows we’re already past three songs in under ten minutes, so yes, high energy and fast pace indeed.

 

Amaranthe
Amaranthe
Amaranthe
Amaranthe

One thing I had been previously keen to watch is the balance between the three vocalists.  You could easily listen to each one, with each balancing the other.

Amaranthe
Amaranthe

Especially Henrik’s harsher metal vocals which gave the songs a more rounded element and really complimented the songs, for example in ‘Afterlife’ and ‘Call Out My Name’.  I would have liked to hear more from him though to be honest.

Amaranthe
Amaranthe
Amaranthe
Amaranthe
Amaranthe
Amaranthe

Five members of the band lining up on stage it is a strong line up and so there is generally a lot going on visually.  With three singers there is also the opportunity to have short breaks which given the hour and a half set list is well earned.

Amaranthe
Amaranthe
Amaranthe
Amaranthe

Another option that Elize Ryd took was to get the crowd to sing to her for the start of Amaranthe, which lets face it they were more than happy to do.

Now you may not be a fan of the strong pop element and prefer a stronger metal sound, or you may prefer a different style altogether but one thing you cannot deny is that each song is very catchy.

Amaranthe
Amaranthe
Amaranthe
Amaranthe

It stealthily weaves its way into your brain and is easy to pick up so before you know it you can sing parts back.  Or you can wake up the next morning with a chorus on repeat in you head with no idea where it came from – Drop Dead Cynical if you’re interested.

Amaranthe
Amaranthe
Amaranthe
Amaranthe

Each song is distinctly Amaranthe with a similar catchyness and energy and so you are carried along throughout the set with on an equal high, which is helped by the speed with which some of the songs are linked together.

Amaranthe
Amaranthe

As if they are not risking any breaks so as not to loose any of the crowd’s focus.

Amaranthe
Amaranthe

As I mentioned this was my first show  and as a reviewer I’m always interested in watching the crowd’s reactions and it was very pleasing to see that they had a strong, dedicated fan based that were very much enjoying the show with rapt attention, especially in the centre in front of the stage.

Amaranthe
Amaranthe
Amaranthe
Amaranthe

Having just this night to go on I can say that if you are a fan I don’t think you would have been disappointed with their performance that evening.  It was solid, high energy, and clear that they really enjoying playing live and appreciate the audience.

Amaranthe
Amaranthe
Amaranthe
Amaranthe

www.amaranthe.se

www.facebook.com/AmarantheBand?fref=ts

Set List

  1. Digital World/Intro
  2. Hunger
  3. Invincible
  4. Razorblade
  5. Lightyears
  6. Serendipity
  7. Over And Done
  8. Trinity
  9. Massive Addictive
  10. True
  11. Afterlife
  12. Intro/Electroheart
  13. Leave Everything Behind
  14. Amaranthe
  15. Call Out My Name

En Core

  1. Automatic
  2. Dynamite
  3. Drop Dead Cynical
  4. The Nexus

 

, , , ,

About Metal-Rules.com UK Team

View all posts by Metal-Rules.com UK Team →