Evergrey - LIVE: Islington Academy 2011
London - April 28
The big news in the world of Kamelot is that Roy Khan has finally left the band. Although it might not come as a surprise, the well loved singer's departure has still been a big loss for fans of the band. This made their headlining show with Rhapsody of Fire singer Fabio Lione a bit of a hard sell, though there was still a reasonably decent showing. Perhaps a deciding bonus for those that were in attendance was an interesting pair of support bands (unfortunately Sons of Seasons, who joined the bill in the rest of Europe, did not make it to the UK shows).
Opening band Amaranthe seem to be exploding in popularity right now. Apparently what people have really been craving is a blend of melodic death metal with outright pop music. Did these people just miss Deadlock? Not that it isn't funny hearing grown men scream with delight when the band open up with songs that sound more like Britney Spears than In Flames, as would be the case for Automatic's opening. Amaranthe are a guilty pleasure for the most part, but also incredibly divisive at the same time. Whilst they seem to have a cluster of fanatics, half the crowd seem to be bewildered by something so overtly poppy.
To be fair though, Amaranthe do play a rather good opening set, and whilst the music is relatively simple, the band themselves are difficult to fault. Where the band do struggle though is with their singers. The band's three singers do seem a bit cramped on stage, and for the most part it seems unnecessary. Clean male singer Jake seems rather redundant, his boy band vocals adding little to the songs, and spends half his time off stage. Meanwhile death vocalist Andy looks stiff and uncomfortable even if his vocal delivery is otherwise fine. Thank heavens for female singer Elize then, who frankly is the only one of the three that anyone probably cares about. Aside from having a top notch voice, she manages to come across as a charismatic and interesting performer despite barely saying a word between songs. A mixed affair to be sure, but entertaining enough.
Given how long its been since Evergrey last played the UK (especially given that their disastrous Metalfest appearance was cancelled at the very last minute), it seems a shame that the band are playing second fiddle to Kamelot tonight. Certainly the band seem to have a dedicated crowd, with many people coming specifically for them rather than tonight's headliners.
So with that in mind, it's a bit disheartening that Evergrey's performance isn't quite as strong as it should be. Most of the blame can be placed upon the venue's terrible sound. Whilst Amaranthe seemed to have a very good sound going for them, Evergrey don't fare so well. The guitars in particular seem awfully thin, unable to successfully convey the intricate melodies of the band's music. Of particular note was Monday Morning Apocalypse early in the set; the melody is almost completely missing, leaving the band not sounding like themselves.
This probably could be made up for if Evergrey put on a particularly exciting show, but something is really missing. They're far from terrible, but seem to lack the spark of enthusiasm. Near the end of their set, Tom Englund does make a comment about how a band is bigger than its members (in relation to Kamelot's recent difficulties) â€“ but given the average show tonight, one has to wonder if that's really the case. Perhaps the band are simply past their heyday.
Overall a mixed but interesting evening that had some significant disappointments, but was still mildly entertaining.
“ a shame that the band are playing second fiddle ”
Amaranthe Setlist: Leave Everything Behind / Enter the Maze / 1,000,000 Lightyears / Automatic / Call Out My Name / It's All About Me (Rain) / My Transition / Hunger
Evergrey Setlist: Leave It Behind Us / Monday Morning Apocalypse / Wrong / Blinded / The Masterplan / Recreation Day / Frozen / Broken Wings / A Touch of Blessing
Photo(s): Andy Lye
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