My introduction to the chromatic world of Death Metal took place exactly twenty three years ago and one of the albums responsible for my immediate conversion was Paradise Lost’s debut “Lost Paradise”. It was not at all surprising, then, that I jumped at the opportunity of reviewing the band’s 25th anniversary show on the 3rd of November at the legendary Camden Roundhouse.
After a long drive down from Leeds, from this year’s Damnation Festival, to London’s Hendrix-approved venue the Roundhouse I walked in to see Katatonia, the first of the two high-profile support acts, on stage and already fifteen minutes into their set.
Katatonia are currently on tour promoting the 10th anniversary edition of their 2004 opus “Viva Emptiness”, an album that single handedly dragged these Swedes out of the undergroud and helped them make the first assured steps towards commercial recognition. It was only appropriate, then, for Jonas Renkse (vocals) & Co to perform said album in its entirety – something that they did with a twist: just like at Damnation Festival, the band had opened with “Inside The City Of Glass” (the last song of “Viva Emptiness”) and then proceeded to perform the material in reverse order.
Did any of their numerous fans filling most of the venue mind? Highly unlikely. Choreographed to perfection and assisted by a pretty good sound, the quintet came across as both professional and engaging, with Renkse’s voice in top form, especially in the dark/mournful tunes of “One Year From Now”.
It has been five years since Per Eriksson (guitar) and Niklas Sandin (bass) joined the band and the chemistry they have achieved with the remaining members has ensured that every time songs like “A Premonition” and “Sleeper” are performed, they inflict sheer emotional damage on the unsuspecting listener.
I am quite sure that I was not to the only one, following the band’s killer rendition of the all time classic “Ghost Of The Sun”, who felt sad to see the members of Katatonia leave the stage of the Roundhouse, but I truly hope that it won’t be long before we see the quintet performing again on UK soil.
Italian Metallers Lacuna Coil have been enjoying massive sucess for a few years, especially since the release of their fourth studio album “Karmacode” back 2006, however their specific blend of Goth Metal never managed to truly capture my imagination. What I soon discovered, however, is that I was to be part of the very silent minority as throughout their twelve track performance, the band received the most enthusiastic of reactions from a packed-to-the-reafters venue.
Even though “Dark Adrenaline” is almost two years old, it seems to still strongly resonate with the band’s fan base: compositions like “I Don’t Believe In Tomorrow”, “Kill The Light” and “Upside Down” were received with vehemence. The vocal interaction between Andrea Ferro and Cristina Scabbia is the main feature of the band’s music and with the latter in super form, a successful show was pretty much ensured from the word go.
Totally engaging with her fans and in a very positive mood, Scabbia stretched her vocal chords to the maximum and her performences in both “Fragments Of Faith” and the pop-infused “Intoxicated” were by far the absolute highlights of the show.
When the band decided to take its last bows and leave the stage, following a tightly performed set, it would not be an exaggeration to say that a significant proportion of fans decided to follow their lead and found themselves heading towards the exit.
Even though I have been a massive Paradise Lost fan since day one and am naturally inclined to support all of their musical endeavours, I will be the first to admit that the last few times I have seen the band perform live, it has been close to disappointing – the main issue have been Nick Holmes’ disengaged attitude on stage towards all those classics that we all know so well.
Though far from transforming himself into a top quality entertainer overnight, both his attitude and the quality of his vocal delivery were substantially improved this night and so the prospect of the show becoming an actual celebration seemed promising.
With good quality sound and with the assistance of great projection images in the background, the band kicked off the proceedings with “Mortals Watch the Day”, much to the crowd’s delight.
Having been informed in advance that the show would be recorded for a future live release, the crowd seemed quite energized; even material of a more, let’s say, “controversial” nature, such as “So Much is Lost”, was received quite well, and such classics as “Remembrance” and “Gothic” saw Holmes making a decent attempt to recreate the growls that helped him make a name for himself back in the early to mid-90s.
The second part of the main set incorporated material from the band’s more recent releases and though “Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us” prompted the crowd to clap along, it was the duet “Isolate” / “Say Just Words” which made the maximum impression.
The band’s exit from the stage was a very short affair and their return was followed by what I consider to be the biggest surprise of the show. “Rotting Misery” can hardly be described as representative of what Paradise Lost stand for in the year 2013, but the rendition provided was killer and the same can be said of the follow-up Goth infused melodic opus “One Second”.
The band’s old-school fans ought to have been particularly pleased with the addition of “True Belief” to the set list, while 2005’s “Over the Madness” finished the show on a rhythmical and emotional high.
Celebrating 25 active years in the business is an important milestone for any band and, even though their performance was one of the best that Paradise Lost have offered us these last few years, is fell somewhat short of justifying the occasion that it was meant to promote.
Katatonia, on the other hand, have once again proved what an incredibly tight and well naturally talented outfit they have become these last few years, while Lacuna Coil used their highly contagious energy to maximum effect. A very good night for good quality Metal in one of London’s most impressive venues!
By Yiannis (John) Stefanis.
Katatonia “Viva Emptiness” Anniversary Set List:
- “Inside The City Of Glass (Instrumental)”
- “Wait Outside”
- “Walking By A Wire”
- “One Year From Now”
- “Burn The Remembrance”
- “Will I Arrive”
- “A Premonition”
- “Ghost Of The Sun”
Lacuna Coil Set List:
- “I Don’t Believe In Tomorrow”
- “Kill The Light”
- “Fragments Of Faith”
- “Heaven’s A Lie”
- “The Game”
- “Our Truth”
- “Upside Down”
- “Without Fear”
- “Trip The Darkness”
Paradise Lost Set List:
- “Mortals Watch The Day”
- “So Much Is Lost”
- “Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us”
- “Tragic Idol”
- “Never For The Damned”
- “Say Just Words”
- “Rotting Misery”
- “One Second”
- “True Belief”
- “Over The Madness”
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