Tonight was my first gig of the year, and what a great way to kick the year off – three great live bands on one bill.
First up were Finnish band Battle Beast here on only their second visit to the UK. Last time they played London they gave headliners Powerwolf a real run for their money coming close to blowing them off stage, so I was expecting good things tonight, and I wasn’t disappointed. If you haven’t heard Battle Beast before their music is mainly what I’d describe as traditional heavy metal, but they do throw in other elements particularly through the use of keyboards.
They kicked off with a nice heavy song – “far far away”, and it didn’t take long for the crowd to show how much they loved it. As well as the great heavy guitar sound and solid rhythm section, the song allows vocalist Noora to show some of the power she has in her voice, and as they moved into “Black ninja” she let rip with even more power – when she lets loose a scream you really know about it.
The surprise part of their set was the inclusion of “Touch in the night” – a song from the new album (released that day). It’s not a typical heavy metal song – in fact it’s more of an 80s pop song, so I was really surprised they played it, but their gamble really paid off as it went down very well with the fans.
It really was a superb set and watching the crowd you could see how much people were enjoying it – a superb start to the night. Let’s hope Battle Beast come back to the UK soon for a headline show so we can enjoy a full set from them.
Battle Beast setlist:
Far far away
Touch in the night
Out of control
Next up were Dutch symphonic metal band Delain. Delain have toured the UK a lot so have a good strong fanbase here, and this was confirmed by the cheers that greeted them as they came on stage. Bassist Otto is back with the band having recovered from a very painful and serious injury sustained on their UK tour late last year. Missing tonight was guitarist Timo Somers who was replaced by Dutch guitarist Merel Bechtold from MaYaN.
Delain are always good live, but whenever there is a lineup change in a band, things can change, but Merel fitted in perfectly and you wouldn’t have guessed it was her first show with the band on this tour. All the band members looked to be enjoying themselves (Otto was probably relieved they weren’t using confetti cannons on this tour), and Merel was headbanging like crazy and interacting well with the others. Charlotte is a great frontwoman and as always makes sure the crowd are involved and having fun.
Musically Delain are quite different from either Sabaton or Battle Beast, but not so different they don’t appeal to a similar group of fans. In fact the lineup on this tour is perfect as all three bands are different enough from each other that you get plenty of variety, but all still appeal to a lot of the same fans so it works well – with some gigs however the support acts can be so different to the headliner that it just flops.
Get the Devil out of me
Army of dolls
We are the others
Finally it was almost time for Sabaton and as the crew prepared the stage they cleared away the kit from the support acts and revealed an enormous tank that serves as a drum riser. When I say enormous, I mean it – the thing reportedly weighs two tons, and takes up a huge amount of space, but it looks seriously impressive.
Sabaton are one of those bands that never disappoint when it comes to live performances – they are always full of energy, great playing, and fun. The band charge around the stage as they play and really make it a a visual spectacle to enjoy as well as being spot on musically.
Sabaton have very devoted fans and it was no surprise that many of them had been queuing outside the venue for several hours before the doors opened, just to get s spot at the front of the crowd. With devoted fans and great anthemic songs from Sabaton then it’s not surprising to hear large numbers of people singing along.
Sabaton like to get the fans involved so it’s not long before Joakim first jokes about the English not being known for our knowledge of foreign languages before he gives the crowd the first choice of the night – do they want to hear the next song in English or Swedish. The crowd chose to have “Gott mit uns” sung in Swedish. That proves to be just the first of several times where the crowd influence the setlist, either by choosing one song over another, or demanding a song that isn’t on the setlist at all, and Sabaton were happy to oblige by playing the fans what they wanted – “Swedish pagans”.
It’s a superb set of great fun power metal, and showed just why they are so high on the bill at this year’s Bloodstock festival. My only disappointment was the lack of pyrotechnics. The last time Sanaton played the forum we had enough flames to outdo any other band with the exception of Rammstein, but this time nothing.
A great gig with three top quality bands all putting in excellent performances.
To hell and back
Soldier of three armies
Got mit uns (In Swedish)
The art of war
Far from the fame
Resist and bite