Home / Opinion / Event Reviews / Stratovarius & Gloryhammer – Islington academy, London – 3rd November 2015

Stratovarius & Gloryhammer – Islington academy, London – 3rd November 2015

The night kicked off with Divine Ascension, an Australian band here on their first trip to the UK. Sadly as is often the case with opening acts at midweek gigs, the venue was only half full for their set, but the fans who were there were definitely the lucky ones as Divine Ascension were very good.  More Progressive metal than power metal they put in a great show – the band are all very good and the vocals of Jennifer Borg are very good – plenty of power but also quality, and she’s got a good range too.  An excellent start to the night and I headed to the merch stand after their set to pick up copies of their albums.

Next up were Gloryhammer.  During Divine Ascension’s set they’d asked the crowd if they were looking forward to Gloryhammer and the cheers nearly blew the roof off – a similar question about Stratovarius also got cheers but noticeably quieter, which really showed how many people were there primarily for Gloryhammer.

Wearing their stage outfits of armour or robes they took to the stage to a great reception and kicked off with a couple of songs from their new album.  Thomas Winkler is a great frontman and makes the job of getting the crowd involved look easy.  The whole band are in great form and all look to be having a great time on stage.  Tonight’s set is a mix of material from the new album alongside stuff from the debut album and it all goes down very well – the new material going down just as well as the more familiar older stuff.  It’s a stunningly good set that just begs one question – why on earth arent they headlining bigger venues rather than supporting Stratovarius?

Setlist:

Rise of the Chaos Wizards
Legend of the Astral Hammer
Hail to Crail
Universe on Fire
Angus McFife
The Hollywood Hootsman
Magic Dragon
Goblin King of the Darkstorm Galaxy
The Unicorn Invasion of Dundee
The National Anthem Of Unst

After Gloryhammer’s superb set, I’m sad to say that Stratovarius really didn’t impress me.  They’re all very talented and the music is technically very good and they have some very good songs, but it just lacked anything to excite me – to be blunt it felt very much like a generic power metal performance that didn’t stand out in any way.  Yes they had plenty of fans in the audience (although Gloryhammer seemed to have more) but in my view this was a disappointing end to the night.

Setlist:

My Eternal Dream
Eagleheart
Phoenix
Lost Without a Trace
SOS
Paradise
Bass Solo
Against the Wind
The Lost Saga
Keyboard Solo
Black Diamond
Unbreakable

Encore:
Forever
Shine in the Dark
Hunting High and Low

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About Ant May

I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.