Concert Reviews

Delain / Evergrey / Kobra And The Lotus Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     November 15, 2016    
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Delain / Evergrey / Kobra And The Lotus - The Ritz, Manchester (UK) - 12 November 2016

It's a multi-national Metal night in Manchester and my first time seeing two of the bands play live. The lengthy queues outside gave an indication of the overall musical appeal and I was pleased to see the show was being well attended.

Canada's Kobra And The Lotus specialise in straight-ahead traditional Heavy Metal with a contemporary edge and though they have left me a little cold with their studio output (covers EP 'Words Of The Prophets' aside), I'm led to believe their sound takes on an extra dimension in the live environment. Their brief thirty minute set went by very quickly and I found myself nodding along throughout despite some unfamiliarity with the songs. Kobra Paige cuts a striking figure and is certainly very easy on the eye but fortunately it is not just style over substance. She has a great vocal range and her stage presence and delivery highlights an obvious passion for the music the band plays. Both lead guitarists riff and solo in an old-fashioned foot-on-the-monitor style and the bass/drums rhythm section provides a solid backbone. 'Trigger Pulse' brings things to a close and is a new song to be featured on the next album due in 2017. I'm still not completely taken by the music but can't deny KATL are an entertaining live act.

Gothenburg Progressive Metal quintet Evergrey I have seen before, though it is over ten years ago at a poorly attended show in Bolton. They have an epic sound that I can't help admiring and seem to have gone through something of a resurgence in recent times. This years 'The Storm Within' album is possibly the most commercial and easily accessible for the casual listener but still manages to incorporate some trademark nuances and powerful songs. The set tonight concentrates on the two most recent releases, the aforementioned '...Within' and 2014's 'Hymns For The Broken'. 'Passing Through' is a great opener but no matter where I watch the band from I can't find a decent sound mix. It is very woolly and the guitars of both Tom Englund and Henrik Danhage are lacking bite and clarity. Englund is an imposing front-man yet he has an easy-going between song persona that includes some light-hearted banter. I know all the songs but can't help thinking they may be quite challenging for those seeing or hearing Evergrey for the first time. The studio version of 'In Orbit' features a notable contribution from Nightwish lead-singer Floor Jansen and as the song is being introduced Englund manages to raise expectations that she may even be making an appearance, before revealing that he will be singing the song alone...what a tease. An unnecessary Danhage solo spot sees Englund stating that he taught the other guitarist everything he knows and this is followed by 'A Touch Of Blessing', which receives a very warm reception from the crowd. 'King Of Errors' brings things to a close and though it was great to see the Swedes again, it was also disappointing from a sound point of view.

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This is my first encounter with Dutch Symphonic Metallers Delain. Though they tour the UK on a regular basis, it is always at a time when other bands touring schedules clash. The new 'Moonbathers' album has garnered critical acclaim so it was no surprise that the set is weighted in its favour. The band take to the stage to the introductory 'The Monarch' then launch into 'Hands Of Gold'. Lead singer Charlotte Wessels looks stunning in a gold dress and the sound issues I had with Evergrey have disappeared completely. 'Suckerpunch' and 'The Glory And The Scum' follow in quick succession and are both full of energy and performed perfectly. I watched the show from various standpoints and could not help but admire how everyone around me was enjoying the show. With two guitarists in the band as well as keyboards, the musical scope is huge and enhanced further by subtle backing tapes. Delain have a rich catalogue of material to choose from and the one hundred and five minute set is nicely balanced between songs from the new album and fan favourites; it is difficult to pick individual highlights as there are eighteen of them. There are no solo spots to break the momentum and 'The Hurricane' is the only song remotely like a ballad. Wessels never misses a note and is both beguiling and personal during her interaction with the crowd. Guitarists Timo Somers and Merel Bechtold and bass player Otto Schimmelpenninck van der Oije cover as much of the stage as possible and though drummer Ruben Israel and keyboard player Martijn Westerholt are to the rear of the stage, their enthusiasm is evident. Older songs such as 'Sleepwalkers Dream', 'Stay Forever' and 'The Gathering' match the newer songs for quality and when 'Mother Machine', 'Don't Let Go' and 'We Are The Others' bring things to a close, I don't think anyone wanted to leave. The merchandise area is the busiest I've seen at a concert for a long time and I'm guessing the security staff struggled to get the building empty. Each new studio release has seen Delain move further from Within Temptation's shadow and the support slot days are now well behind them. Bigger venues surely beckon and I'll be sure to keep my calendar free from now on.

Dave Bott

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Dr said:

Why do you feel the need to state Korea Paige is very easy on the eye? How is this supposed to be a professional review
November 16, 2016
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