Lacuna Coil + Eluveitie + Infected Rain
@ O2 Forum Kentish Town
16th November 2019
Review & Photography by Graham Hilling
It’s a cold November night with winter chills starting to set in that sees the latest Lacuna Coil tour roll into London for the last UK date on what looks like a pretty gruelling tour schedule. Accompanying them along the way are Eluveitie and Infected Rain. Together this is a pretty impressive package and judging by the crowd that has gathered before the doors open, I’m not the only one expecting a full-on metal experience this evening.
First up are Infected Rain from Moldova. These guys have worked hard to get to where they are and it’s a great credit that they’re here in the UK on such auspicious touring lineup. Despite being the first band on stage, the Forum is looking pretty full as they rattle into “Mold” from the 2017 album “86”.
A good way to make a mark on the evening and sets the bar suitably high for everything that is to follow. The sound in the Forum tonight is uncharacteristically punchy too, maybe it’s all the extra people (this is a sold out show and it looks like a fair few of the sell out crowd have come early to see Infected Rain).
Next up is “Passer By”, which brings us bang up to date and showcases the strength of songwriting and musicianship very well. Frontwoman Lena is a powerhouse on the vocal front, effortlessly switching between vocal styles. If the band are daunted by playing in a large London venue, they’re certainly not showing it, in fact it is obvious that they are relishing it!
Most of the short but sweet set comes from the latest album, “Endorphin”, as you’d expect. “Lure” with its infectious riffing takes us into “Black Gold” which, for me, is the highlight of the set, really tying together a lot of the things that make Infected Rain a stand out act. All the more impressive when you consider that this evening they are a guitarist down and have had to “borrow” members of both Eluveitie and Lacuna Coil (Jonas Wolf and Diego Cavalotti respectively). You certainly wouldn’t know it though, the whole unit sounds tight and well rehearsed.
“Earth Mantra” is not a bad way to leave the crowd wanting more and showcasing a different side to the band but it turns out that they actually have time for just one more song and they end the performance with “Sweet, Sweet Lies”; personally I would have preferred another track from “Endorphin” because it is such a strong album but still not a bad way to finish.
They leave the stage to well deserved applause, and I can’t think it will be too long before we see Infected Rain back in the UK for a club tour and who knows what the future holds. An impressive start to the evening…..
Mold / Passerby / Orphan Soul / Lure / Black Gold / The Earth Mantra / Sweet, Sweet Lies
Next up we get Eluveitie and the Forum is now rammed. I’m sure most people are familiar with the format of this band, folk metal done right (IMHO)! The stage is filled with musicians, covering spots on the fiddle, tin whistle, hurdy gurdy and even harp.
Once again the sound is spot on (with only the harp struggling to cut through the mix). Frontman Chrigel Glanzmann is also on form (on my last outing to see Eluveitie he was under the weather and his voice was struggling. No such issues tonight though).
Opening with “Ategnatos” from the latest album of the same name, it is immediately obvious that they mean business tonight, this is no half-arsed support slot (and to be fair, I’ve never seen Eluveitie put in a half-arsed performance anyway). “De Ruef vo de Barge, The Call of the Mountains” sees a smiling Glanzmann asking if we want it rendered in English or Swiss/German!
This is a crowd pleaser for sure and one of the best tracks from the 2014 album “Origins”. “Deathwalker” brings us back to more metal roots while not straying too far from the path. All the while the whole band sound tight and in unison, no mean feat given the number of musicians and the complexity of the music.
“Quoth the Raven” slows the pace down a little. “The Slumber” follows close on its heels with a chorus to die for and which is crying out for audience participation. “Worship” pumps up the pace again and its chunky riffing and furious pace fill the Forum. Heads nod all round.
“Artio” sees a solo spot for Fabienne Erni. This is proper goose bumps time. Some of the most impressive singing I have ever seen, this song is so laden with atmosphere and majesty and so well executed it is the highlight of the gig for me. With no exaggeration, it is a real jaw dropping moment.
“Ambiramus” lightens the atmosphere and sees Eluveitie getting closer to a traditional rock song, with some interesting tin whistle lines to give the song an unusual twist. “Havoc” takes us back to more familiar territory, Glanzmann’s growls filling the large arena.
“Rebirth” mixes so many styles that should, on paper, all jar against one another: breakneck speed, growls and angelic vocals. Strangely, it all works perfectly and is a great opportunity for some stunning guitar work too. Closer “Inis Mona” will be familiar to anyone who has seen Eluveitie before and is also a great way to end a fantastic set.
The whole band take a well deserved bow and push out some heartfelt thanks to the audience. They then spray the crowd with picks and drum sticks. I’ve seen Eluveitie a lot of times through a lot of lineup changes but can safely say this is the best I have seen them, they are a band at the very top of their game.
Ategnatos / King / De Reuf vo de Barge / Deathwalker / Worship / Artio / Ambiramus / Havoc / Breathe / Rebirth / Inis Mona
So to the climax of the evening, Lacuna Coil. With a freshly released new album under their belts, “Black Anima”, and a heap of new songs to play live I was particularly interested to see how the new songs would sound when overdriven in a live atmosphere. The new album is a welcome return to form, showcasing heavier tones than we’ve seem on the last few releases and choc full of cracking riffs and hooks.
Richard Meiz on the drums is first on the stage and encourages the crowd to prepare for the arrival of the rest of the band. Soon we have a full compliment of painted up musicians and the last set of the evening is kicked off in style with “Blood, Tears, Dust” from Delirium.
The duel vocals that Lacuna Coil have made their own working like a dream. Both Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro are on their game, Ferro in particular looking like a man possessed. “Trip The Darkness” keeps up the pressure and this is followed by a trip back in time with “Our Truth”. The crowd lap it all up, singing along in all of the right places!
“Layers of Time” is the first track from the “Black Anima” album and I’m pleased to say it sounded just as good as the recorded material with the added benefit of an injection of a compliant crowd and live energy to supercharge it along. A nice mix of older favourites and new material continues with “My Demons”and then “Downfall”.
Scabbia and Ferro dominate the stage, with Marco Coti Zelati and Diego Cavalotti taking positions on the sides. It would be wrong to say they’re not as invested in the show but there is no doubt as to who the focus of the show is on. Both vocalists deliver a stunning performance, so different and yet they work so well together. The lighting and sound are all working well together too, to make for a truly memorable show tonight.
“Reckless” and “Veneficium” bring us bang up to date again and it is clear that the these new songs will prove to be the favourites of tomorrow with the perfect balance of heavy and catchy, riffs as big as a house, and some very impressive songwriting.
“Sword of Anger” is another classic in the making and live it sounds pleasantly heavy with Meiz’s drums propelling it along at a pace. Here the dual vocals work really well. “Enjoy the Silence”, the Depeche Mode cover, closes the set with the whole of the Forum joining in after Scabbia tells them to “be loud, be clear…” – the crowd obliges!
Then we have a few minutes before the encore starts with “Naughty Christmas” (well, it is almost December!). This is followed by the classic “Heaven’s a Lie” which we knew was coming and is very well received! The evening ends with “Nothing Stands in Our Way” – as if anything could!
Blood, Tears, Dust / Trip the Darkness / Our Truth / Layers of Time / My Demons / Downfall / Reckless / Veneficium / Cybersleep / House of Shame / Sword of Anger / Enjoy the Silence / Naughty Christmas / Heaven’s a Lie / Save Me / Nothing Stands in Our Way
So, a cracking evening draws to a close. Three bands, all on form and great sound and lights from the Forum, complementing some faultless performances. Not much to add here, looking forward to the next shows from all of the bands that played tonight. Can we do this again some time? Maybe soon?