Female Metal Voices Tour 2019
@ O2 Academy Islington, London
26th November 2019
Review by Kira Levine
Photography by Graham Hilling
The Female Metal Voices tour began with Kassogtha, a melodic death metal band from Switzerland, who described performing in London as “a fucking dream come true for us.”
‘Welcome To The Machine’ was a Pink Floyd cover which went down very well as the band were cheered right after the song. This was swiftly followed up by ‘Pale Horizon’, which saw lead singer Stephany Hugin alternate effortlessly between singing and growling.
She thanked the crowd “for being here”, informing all that she would be at the band’s merch stand after the set to meet and greet people.
Before they left the stage, Kassogtha took a selfie with Islington Academy’s guests, much to their delight.
1. Kassogtha (The Call)
2. The Greatest Fall
3. Welcome to the Machine [Pink Floyd cover]
4. Pale Horizon
Finland’s Lost In Grey followed right after, opening their set with ‘Revelation’. They had three main vocalists: Emily Leone and Anne Lill singing the female vocals, as well as keyboardist Harri Koskela providing the male vocals.
After ‘The Waste Land’ they announce that it is their first time in the capital, which grants them a welcoming applause.
‘Wolves Among Men’ saw vocalist Emily play the violin as well as singing duties, sounding more operatic than before. The triad of vocals worked especially well on this track, and the song received a hearty applause.
Self-styled as a theatrical metal band, Lost In Grey thanked their audience, bowing in unison as their outro played.
Lost In Grey setlist:
3. The Waste Land
4. Wolves Among Men
5. Dark Skies
6. Far Beyond and Further
Alternative metal band Forever Still, hailing from Denmark, were the third act to take the stage. Frontwoman Maja Shining commented on “seeing a lot of familiar faces” and being glad to be able to return to the UK, going on to explain the band’s latest album had been inspired by “a lot of things going wrong in the world … but it’s all about perspective.”
Maja plays two different keyboards during ‘Say Your Goodbyes’ and ‘Is It Gone?’, and an upright bass drum throughout ‘Breathe In Colours.’
Even a theremin makes an appearance for ‘Rewind’, her hands twisting around the antenna of the electronic device as if she were casting a spell. Surely, that must be some sort of record for most instruments played by one person in the shortest amount of time at this venue? Clearly wowed, Islington clapped enthusiastically as they cheered.
Just ahead of their last song, ‘Miss Madness’, Maja states “We take card, we take cash, we give hugs, we take pictures!” inviting guests to meet her after their set to check out their merchandise, which quite a few do.
Forever Still setlist:
2. Awake the Fire
4. Say Your Goodbyes
5. Is It Gone?
6. Breathe In Colours
8. Miss Madness
Then the torch was passed to Sirenia, a gothic metal band founded in Norway by multi-instrumentalist Morten Veland, who is also a main vocalist alongside mezzo-soprano Emmanuelle Zoldan.
After a great response to ‘Dim Days of Dolor’, Morten says “Thank you so fucking much London! Fantastic to be back, as always!”
Zoldan playfully posed a question between songs: “I want to hear you, Islington… are you there?!” receiving a lot of whooping and whistling in response. She is a pleasure to watch and hear, a smile on her face whenever she spoke or danced throughout the set.
‘Meridian’ sees some beautiful singing from Emmanuelle, contrasting successfully with Veland’s unclean vocals, and had the audience captivated, as half displayed their raised horns and the other half clapped along to the riffs in-between lyrics.
Final offering “Path To Decay” sees some persistent head-banging from the audience, especially when the male vocals are introduced before the last chorus.
The performance of the track also featured a great solo by guitarist Nils Courbaron, succeeded by choral vocals in the same melody that did well to provide added emotion to the bombastic song.
1. In Styx Embrace
2. Dim Days of Dolor
3. Treasure n’ Treason
4. Queen of Lies
5. The Twilight Hour
6. Into the Night
8. My Mind’s Eye
9. The Other Side
10. The Path to Decay
For the first few songs, Elina Siirala’s mic seemed to be significantly higher in volume than Alexander Krull’s, with her singing being much louder than his vocals as the musicians played.
“Good evening, London!” Elina grinned excitedly. “Join us on this adventure to ‘Serkland’!”
Third track ‘Across The Sea’ had all jumping to its beat, with male vocalist Alexander Krull getting everyone to wave their hands side-to-side.
‘Swords In Rock’ is the first song were the male vocals are audible over the music, with Krull filming the crowd clapping along to the wind instrument intro to the song.
They announce that their latest EP is only available signed on the current tour before commencing with ‘Black Butterfly’. This song saw Elina Siirala wear an eye mask shaped like butterfly wings and wear a maxi coat over her long sleeved mini dress.
‘Jomsborg’ saw Alexander wielded a round shield throughout the song, similar to some seen in its music video. He thrust it into the air as he bellowed lines such as “Blood of brothers! / Jomsborg warriors!”, with some mirroring his actions by punching their fists in the air.
Siirala asked “We are back to London and do we have any warriors here tonight?” which was answered with a unified “YEAH!” from the attendees.
The soprano vocal intro to ‘Hell To The Heavens’ caused the crowd to sway with raised horns left and right, before welcoming the later heavier beats with chants of “Oy! Oy! Oy! Oy!”
Elina explained that she had only started gigging in 2012 to smaller audiences, and recognised some familiar faces from then. She went onto state that she is proud to call them her friends and happy to see the new faces as well, causing a well-deserved applause.
‘Night Of The Ravens’ really showed off Elina Siirala’s vocal capability, consisting of long and soaring notes, also being the only title of the evening to host solely female vocals.
For ‘Blazing Waters’, Alexander Krull came out dressed as an armoured Viking in a metal helmet, a lamellar cuirass, gauntlets and armed with a sword, swinging his weapon about himself occasionally. “We love you, England!” he proclaimed, before he kissed his sword.
It is a pity that the male vocals were not loud enough until five songs in. Apart from that short-lived technical issue, everyone appeared to be having fun and to be enjoying the headlining show. An impressive quintet of female-fronted metal acts.
Leaves’ Eyes setlist:
1. Sign of the Dragonhead
3. Across the Sea
4. My Destiny
5. Swords in Rock
6. Black Butterfly
8. Edge of Steel
9. Hell to the Heavens
10. Farewell Proud Men
11. Night of the Ravens
12. Blazing Waters