When a tour contains two of the biggest band names in the metal scene, you know it’s going to be good. Primordial and Moonsorrow teamed up for the Heathens Crusade tour around Europe, and along with German new-borns Der Weg Einer Freiheit, visited the oddly sunny London on a Monday night to deliver their goods.
I arrived at Islington Assembly Hall the moment Germans black metallers Der Weg Einer Freiheit hit the stage. I was introduced to their sound only a few weeks ago and had been very interested in seeing them perform live. The band started playing at 6.30, early enough for the sun to be still out before setting and around dinner time on a Monday, but this did not seem to hold the crowd back from filling the venue. Even though Islington Assembly Hall is quite a big venue, I was surprised enough to see so many people there early on.
The band sounded very good, delivering an almost flawless sound. Their songs were varying in length, some were quite short but others were around 10 minutes. Even though, I did not find them boring or tiring. The band goes well beyond a typical black metal band; they incorporate post-metal and some more atmospheric elements in their sound, having a range of both soft and raw elements which kept me on the edge throughout their set. Their stage presence was also A+, very energetic on stage setting up the atmosphere of what was about to come. Having to open up for two very demanding bands when it comes to atmosphere, I would say that they aced it, with their melodies and solos blasting in the arena and having me (and the rest of the crowd as I noticed) watch them in awe.
Next band on stage was Moonsorrow. I can’t say I am a huge fan of this type of sound but they definitely caught my attention from the minute they started playing. The epic atmosphere they created from the first chord that blasted through the speakers definitely changed my opinion on that. The sound in the venue was amazing, allowing everyone to listen to the keyboards and the epic melodies of their songs. The band’s energy was almost transferrable and as more and more people started to come, I could see clearly why the crowd was charmed by their folk magic.
The members were extremely energetic on stage, interacting with the crowd, where people were mercilessly head-banging and singing along to the lyrics. Towards the end, they even played a song from their newest album, which (as the singer kindly explained) they have never played live in London before. What I particularly liked about the band was the way they directed the atmosphere from threatening and raw sound, to more melancholic and epic/folk pieces, all of them tied together as if they were in a theatre performance.
Last but certainly not least, my favourite band from the whole line up was about to come to the stage. Having seen Primordial many times in various countries, I knew from the outset what I was about to witness, even though I was agonising over listening to their new album live for the first time. I knew that they were to deliver a breath-taking performance and I couldn’t wait for my thoughts to be confirmed. From the first second, Alan (the singer) did not hesitate to interact with the crowd, explain the story behind every single song and travel us all to Ireland, the hometown of the band. Alan’s performance and his effect on the crowd is in my opinion the trademark of the band that makes it so unique when performing, apart from their sound.
Their setlist consisted mostly of songs from their latest album (“Exile Amongst the Ruins”), but with a few hidden gems from their older ones. The atmosphere they create is like a melancholic journey in time back to Ireland, which made me feel like I was taken to another place and era. The crowd filled up the venue and enthusiastically banged and sang to the songs, especially throughout “Rome Burns” and “Empire Falls”, where Alan raised his mic in the air for the crowd to sing big parts of them both. The way the band performed was beyond amazing, conquering the crowd with their display of their new album, keeping everybody on edge.
Even though I knew what to expect from this gig, I was still surprised by how the band manages to deliver a concert, with their music and atmosphere, striking a very good balance between rage and melancholy, spreading the emotion and the vibe of every song around like a virus and engaging the crowd into taking part in all of their songs, even if most of them were brand new. The last thing that was on my mind before leaving the venue after being bearing the emotional burden of the set was again the thought of how good this band is. Never getting boring, always delivering the best of performances and Alan always making me think about the next time I get to see this man on stage again.
Overall impression: 9/10
View the rest of the photos here – https://flic.kr/s/aHsmi11LKu