Eluveitie + Amaranthe + The Charm The Fury
@ Islington Assembly Hall, London
November 3, 2017
Review by Torbjørn ‘Toby’ Jørstad
Photography by Graham Hilling
The Maximum Evocation tour recently stopped by the Islington Assembly Hall in London. Swiss folk metal giants ELUVEITIE, returning with their new acoustic album Evocation II – Pantheon still fresh, brought along Swedish AMARANTHE and Dutch THE CHARM THE FURY for a sold-out night celebrating the warm touch of heavy music as chilly November winds descended upon the UK capital.
Metal-Rules also had the chance to speak to Eluveitie frontman Chrigel Glanzmann prior to the show, and the interview can be found here: www.metal-rules.com/metalnews/2017/11/06/eluveitie-interview-with-chrigel-glanzmann/
The Charm The Fury might to some seem like a bit of an odd opener for a folk metal band. Their core-infused nu-metal is both loved and hated, but judging by the reception they received that night, they didn’t seem to be playing the right crowd so to say. Music aside, their short and sweet, energetic set was amusing to behold, and certainly got a few members of the audience warmed up for the bigger names to come later.
The most striking feature is undoubtedly vocalist and frontwoman Caroline Westendorp. Her charismatic appearance and one-of-the-guys attitude probably charmed many, although her vocal abilities are at times lacking. The transitions from clean to growling vocals sound sloppy and rushed, but she scores points for constantly trying to engage with the crowd.
The band last visited the UK this summer, playing Download Festival in support of their newest album The Sick, Dumb & Happy. The single “Echoes” sees the crowd singing along, and there are a fair few members of the audience nodding along to their catchy and somewhat melodic breakdowns.
The band seemingly had a few dedicated fans in the crowd. Calls for a wall of death are answered, but quickly turns into a half-assed circle pit dying out just as quickly as it started. Funnily enough, the band’s most well received song is a sped-up version of Metallica’s “Seek & Destroy”, which for once sees a crowd headbanging and moving along.
As the band finishes up their set with “Carte Blanche”, only a few are left chanting for more as the band leaves the stage. Despite a sold-out show, it’s not hard to notice that the at the time only half full hall fills up rapidly as the second band of the night enters.
2. Down on the Ropes
4. The Future Need Us Not
5. Songs of Obscenity
6. Carte Blanche
Swedish Amaranthe, sporting three vocalist and angering genre purists for ten years now were without doubt a big draw, and quite a few in the crowd were rocking the band’s merch. The band’s name is chanted in unison as the lights go out as bassist Johan Andreassen enters the stage on crutches, sitting down on a chair with his weapon of choice.
Kicking things off with “Maximise” from their latest studio album, the rest of the band takes the stage as the crowd erupts into cheering. Vocalists Henrik Englund Wilhemsson and the band’s newest member, Nils Molin, take turns singing harsh and clean vocals, supported by frontwoman Elize Ryd.
“Dynamite” off 2014s Massive Addictive gets the best reception of the night so far, and the band is shining up on stage, clearly enjoying themselves in front of the 1.100 strong audience. The sound is good and well-balanced throughout their set, and the open, yet somewhat intimate Islington Assembly Hall works well for a band of Amaranthe’s size.
Amaranthe’s live presence is only strengthened by the vocalist trio bouncing off each other, giving balance to their pop-infused melodic death metal. Still, it is not a stretch to say that female singer Elize Ryd steals the spotlight more than a few times during their show. She is confident in her role, performs her vocal duties flawlessly and maintains a charming connection to the audience as she walks from side to side, smilingly.
The soothing and melancholic “Amaranthine” sees the venue engulfed in loud singing, as the crowd does their take on the chorus.
“Digital World” is followed by a drum solo, arguably the low point of the set. Drummer Morten Løwe Sørensen is skilled for sure, but he has plenty of songs to showcase this on, rendering a drum solo pointless in my opinion. I am waiting for the day where a drum solo actually impresses and adds something to a show that a song wouldn’t.
After a quick interlude, bassist Andreassen returns on crutches for a hero’s welcome, and introduces the crowd to drummer Sørensen who kicks off “That Song”. A hit parade for the fans follows, as “Boomerang” is followed by “Drop Dead Cynical” before their set is ended with “The Nexus”.
After snapping one of their by now well-known quirky, after-show crowd shots for social media (have a look at their Facebook if you don’t believe me), the band leaves us in the hands of the night’s headliner.
2. On the Rocks
5. 1.000.000 Lightyears
9. Digital World
10. Drum solo
13. Call Out My Name
15. That Song
17. Drop Dead Cynical
18. The Nexus
Anticipation is rising as the spoken intro track for the 2012 Helvetios album is heard over the PA, and the somewhat surprising blast-from-the-past “Your Gaulish War” kicks off their set as the band’s nine members take their positions. Frontman Chrigel Glanzmann, the only remaining member of the band’s original line-up, is aggressive and furious in his vocal execution, yet down to earth and friendly in his banter in between songs.
“King” from 2014s Origins follows, and the folk metal party has by now commenced for real. The upbeat folk solo with violinist Nicole Ansperger and whistle player Matteo Sisti bouncing off each other is hard not to enjoy, and becomes a highlight of the night.
Lots have happened in the Eluveitie camp since the last time the band visited London (supporting Epica at the O2 Forum Kentish Town in 2015). Returning with a brand-new line-up following last year’s split with members Anna Murphy, Ivo Henzi and Merlin Sutter (who went on to from Cellar Darling), the ‘new’ Eluveitie’s first show on UK soil was perhaps a trial by fire of sorts. Did they deliver? Undoubtedly.
We are treated to four acoustic songs off Evocation II – Pantheon; all delivered back to back. “Lvgvs” and “Epona” being the singles, they are well-received by the audience, and the whole segment provides a nice change of pace and atmosphere in their otherwise metal-dominated set.
Vocalist Fabienne Edni sounds fantastic, and executes her vocal duties with admirable devotion and passion. “Omnos”, “The Call of the Mountains” and “A Rose for Epona” – all songs strongly linked and associated with Anna Murphy’s vocals are sounding just as good as before, and I find it safe to praise Edni as a worthy replacement. One is left wondering whether her harp is meant to make any sound at all though, or if it’s just a visual tool – perhaps the sound mix could have been slightly better after all.
Drummer Alain Ackerman shows off his skills in the night’s (unfortunately) second drum solo. Guitarist Jonas Wolf is confident in his role together with fellow string players Rafael Salzmann and Kay Brem. For a band maintaining nine members on stage at a time, and at least the same number of instruments, the sound is surprisingly well-balanced, and the folk instruments are clearly heard over the massive riffs and heavy drums engulfing the venue.
Glanzmann expresses his gratitude to the two support bands, as the night draws to an end. Finishing their regular set with the two strongest tracks off Helvetios; the title track and “Havoc”, the band leaves the stage with the crowd chanting for more.
“Inis Mona” is by now well-known as the band’s final song of a set, and this is no different in London. This becomes the band’s only encore for the night, and as they prepare to record their next metal album, one can only hope it won’t be too long before Eluveitie embrace the UK capital with their presence again.
1. Your Gaulish war
4. Omnos (metal version)
10. The Call of the Mountains
11. A Rose for Epona
11. Kingdom Come Undone
13. Drum solo
16. Inis Mona