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Beyond The Black / Mister Misery Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     November 20, 2019    
 
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Beyond The Black / Mister Misery - Corn Exchange, Bristol (UK) - 29 October 2019

Beyond The Black are, as far as I'm aware, a pretty popular band. Their videos get a couple of million views, their albums get rave reviews, and yet here they are playing to a couple of hundred people in a tightly packed Bristol venue that rarely hosts anyone you've ever heard of. Whilst the mind boggles, we're very happy to get to see them up close and personal, as it were, on their first UK headlining gig. Before we get to them, though, it's the turn of Swedish moodiness merchants Mister Misery.

Straight away we realised this could go one of two ways as four pale lads in all black clothing and jet black hair took to the stage and started singing songs about pushing people down wells, slitting their wrists and other subjects yet to be covered by Taylor Swift (more's the pity). The things is, although we couldn't help giggling like fools at the intense seriousness of the band, we ended up being entertained anyway. It all really started when they played 'My Ghost', which is like something from the 'Nightmare Before Christmas' soundtrack on amphetamines. Their invisible keyboard player (keyboards are all on backing) hammered away at a tune that is both jaunty and disturbing and a lot of fun. Vocalist Harley Vendetta (I am not making this up, although I wish I was) has a great voice that can do melody and menace with equal aplomb, and the band are tight behind him. We nearly lost it when he introduced 'Rebels Calling' by asking if there were any rebels in the room, and to a man the Bristol audience just stood there silently, as if it was a trick question. Despite the panto villain feel, Mister Misery are rather entertaining, and if you're into a bit of horror Rock and own a black hat they are definitely worth checking out.

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Germany's Beyond The Black are a different kind of beast, though. Three albums of very high quality Symphonic Melodic Metal have seen them get better and better, and the audience were salivating as they came on stage and kicked off with 'Hysteria' from their 'Heart Of A Hurricane' album. Understandably, most eyes were on the stunning lead vocalist Jennifer Haben, who looks and sounds utterly amazing. As with Mister Misery, Beyond The Black use sampled keyboards as well as some backing vocals (so Jennifer can harmonize with herself), and although it takes away some of the rawness of a live performance we could see that the band were still giving it their all. Guitarist Christ Hermsdorfer provides shouty/grunty vocals as well as more tuneful backing, and along with Tobi Lodes wields his axe with consummate skill. The set list was just great tune after great tune, with the band plucking from an embarrassment of riches, song-wise. My own favourite track 'A Million Light Years' was a particular highlight, yet it's merely one amongst many. Jennifer is a magnetic frontwoman, with a happy look on her face as she delivered an hour and forty-five minutes of faultless vocals. About two thirds through the road crew set up a keyboard for her to sit at and we were treated to a beautiful acoustic version of 'Through The Mirror', along with 'Song For The Godless' and the classical 'Salve Regina'. After this Jennifer finally got a short rest as Kai Tschierschky got to flex his muscles with a drum solo. What can I say, except as drum solos go it was a good one, and you can take that any way you want! My legs were aching like a bastard as the band closed up the gig with 'Hallelujah' and the encore 'In The Shadows', and it occured to me that even though I'm getting too old for this shit I am so glad I came to see Beyond The Black, because they were simply amazing. Miss them at your peril.

Alan Holloway

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