Gig review: POWERWOLF – Islington Academy, London, 9 September 2015

A triple metal bill in midweek, what a nice treat. Did feel sorry for openers Xandria as they were on stage at seven not long after the doors had opened. They are not really my cup of tea with the vocals of Dianne van Giersbergen veering too much into Nightwish territory. yes sacrilege to some but I can’t get into this cod-operatic metal. That said the band went down well with the crowd and ‘Valentine’ was a song that grabbed my attention.

Next up Orden Ogan, a band, along with the headliners, that I have discovered whilst reviewing for GRTR! and have become a firm fan of the band’s music. Frontman Sebastian “Seeb” Levermann has that knack of interacting with the crowd with ease and has a very dry sense of humour which went down well with the audience. The band kicked off with the ultra catchy ‘F.E.V.E.R’ of their latest album ‘Ravenhead’ and what a great start to the show.

Being lucky enough to interview Sebastian “Seeb” Levermann after the show it transpired that the venue only had one mic, so no backing vocals on the night from the rest of the band. Shame as some live backing vocals would have worked well on ‘We Are Pirates’, mind you the crowd more than made up for this! Great to hear songs like ‘Here At The End Of The World’ and the set closer ‘The Things We Believe In’ performed live.

Orden Ogan more than lived up to my expectations and are a cracking live band. Here’s hoping they make it back to the UK next spring time.

Powerwolf have been around a few years but since signing to Napalm Records they have seen their popularity really take off here in the UK. Distinctive for their werewolf/vampire guises they have the tunes to back up the stage theatrics.

Frontman Attila Dorn has a commanding stage presence and like the previous two bands soon had the crowd on his side. he was helped by organ/keys player Falk Maria Schlegel, who was a bit of a live wire bouncing between two keyboard rigs and for some reason reminded me of a band member from one of my daughter’s current favorite bands Fearless Vampire Killers.

A good mix of new songs of their recently released album, ‘Blessed & Possessed’ and older songs certainly hit the spot. Powerwolf have that knack of penning catchy metal melodies with sing-along choruses tailor made for the live environment. The trio of ‘Amen & Attack’, ‘Cardinal Sin’ and ‘Army Of The Night’ were like a power metal battering ram! Those of sensitive disposition leave the hall for ‘Resurrection by Erection’! Again the band could do no wrong in the eyes of the audience.

The set did dip for the drum solo, sorry but very few drummers my book are deserving a drum solo. the pace never really let up, bar the guitarists keep going to the side of the stage after each song.

Work night and getting back meant had to forgo the encores sadly, but from what I saw Powerwolf’s popularity will keep on growing. An excellent night of metal, with Orden Ogan and Powerwolf both equally impressive.

Review by Jason Ritchie

After their set I caught up with Orden Ogan’s frontman Sebastian “Seeb” Levermann for a quick chat…

So how was the gig?

It was great! There were a couple of people who have not seen us before and our fans enjoyed.

How do you find the UK fans compared to mainland Europe fans? Here you have a hardcore of fans but I would imagine you have a bigger following in Europe?

The problem in the UK is that you have to get over here first. You have to pay the ferry which costs 700 Euros, that’s £600? If you are not big band it is costly to tour outside of London. If it was left to me I would your more places in the UK, but it is the financial side that prevents this.

First time here was 2010 when we played the Underworld. Really great audience. Normally in Germany the bigger the city the more down to earth is the audience, in the countryside the audience goes more crazy. In the city they have concerts each day so they are okay, not going crazy.

You have a good sense of humour and do you think that goes across well with the audience?

I think so! (laughs)

How has the tour been going so far?

The tour is still very young. It is only the fifth show. The audience have been great everywhere. It is a very good tour for us.

We have had a lot of luck this year, combined with a lot of hard work. We were on tour with HammerFall earlier this year when the album came out. We played just some festivals in the summer as we didn’t want to play to much Germany. Now we have this tour which turns out to be a really, really good tour for us. Next year in March we will start a headline tour. It is the right time to do it.

What sized venues will you be playing?

We will be playing quite big venues from what has been confirmed so far. I am one of the guys who acts normal, keep it low and no huge expectations. It seems a lot of people want to see us on a headlining tour.

Just talking to the management we are also looking to come back to the UK in April time.

Have you been pleased with the reaction from the fans and reviewers to your latest album ‘Ravenhead’?

The reactions have been great. We went into the charts in Germany at number 16 and it was there for four weeks which was a huge success. It also went into the charts in Switzerland at number 56. Nobody was expecting that and the label called saying congratulations you are in the Swiss album chart. We are like what?! We have not played Switzerland much before.

You always fans that say everything was better in the past. Thinking about the last records we did likes ‘Easton Hope’ in 2010, there was so many parts to the music and so much stuff going on in the songs. I think the title track has something like 33 parts going on in it. Its insane in seven minutes. We knew we could do that and we then tried to strip it down. On ‘Ravenhead’ we had a completely different approach to songwriting. Normally we start with the riff like Metallica does. This time we did the choruses first and went from there. I think it is a strong record.

When you play live you use backing tracks but would you say use a keyboards player for live shows?

It is not much that comes from the backing tracks. There are some keyboards and a few choirs parts. People always complain about that, you can’t have a choir on stage. Tonight was different as we normally have backing vocals from the band but for some reason the venue just hadn’t any microphones. Next time we will bring our own!

The thing is that with a keyboard player you have less space on stage. But more importantly volume labels under control as in piano style they have a certain loudness and when they switch to another patch, like strings say, they can get louder or quieter. It is very difficult to control it sound wise. It is a pain, so it was an obvious choice to have backing tracks on a certain level.

Message for your fans…
The only message that I keep repeating for our fans is keep buying records, buying our merch and coming along to our gigs. I we didn’t have the massive support from our fans we wouldn’t be here. Thank you.


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Pete Feenstra celebrated his 300th show in October 2019. Pete heads up a five-hour blues rock marathon when “Tuesday is Bluesday” from 19:00 GMT. Listen out also for his interview-based Feature show on Sundays (20:00 GMT)

Power Plays w/c 28 October (Mon-Fri)

COLLATERAL Mr Big Shot (Roulette Media Records)
BABY HUSBAND Stop Thinking About Tomorrow (indie)
OF ALLIES Off The Map (indie)
EXPLORING BIRDSONG The River (indie)
MARISA AND THE MOTHS – Slave (indie)
CATTLE AND CANE I Wish I Knew Jesus (Like I Do)
KING VOODOO Creep (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 28 October (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 UNRULY CHILD Big Blue World (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 REDLINE Gods & Monsters (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 WILDWOOD KIN (Silvertone/Sony)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

MAGNUM Sleepwalking (1992)



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