London, Relentless Garage
Boasting signings such as Children of Bodom, Spinefarm is known for distinction and, in association with Last.FM, they delivered a memorable show tonight. Two of the label’s most promising Swedish metal acts, Soen and Amaranthe, let loose their creative drive, direction and passion, which flow freely in the bands’ relatively early days, at London’s Relentless Garage. Given their supergroup status, it is difficult to believe that tonight is Soen’s first ever UK date; however, despite playing on new ground, they take possession of the stage with the confidence and charisma of a band which has been dominating the UK circuit for years; none of the experienced gained with their former bands was wasted. The group is led by the enigmatic frontman Joel Ekelöf (formerly of Willowtree) and standing alongside him are ex-Willowtree guitarist Kim Platbarzdis, Steve DiGiorgio, the onetime bassist for Testament, and Martin Lopez (whose reputation as a drummer for Opeth speaks for itself.) Soen’s work has been described as a triumph in rhythmic and melodic interplay between all instrumentalists and the vocalist (Ultimate-Guitar) and it is clear from the very first notes of Fraktal and Fraccions that this statement is warranted. Ekelöf lends his soul to each vibe of Last Night and Canvas which are glorious hymns filled with intense emotion. Occult meets passion and love in Hey You thanks to Platbarzdis’s technical, embracing riffs and Lopez’s powerful beats. The majestic closing with Savia is the perfect ending to an enjoyable and impressive set; however, London craves more! After a swift changeover, Amaranthe come bursting from the wings with speed and fervour as Andreas (Andy) Solveström belts the opening lyrics to Leave Everything Behind. In stark contrast to the melancholy ending of Soen’s set, Amaranthe thrive on glamourous and lively tones. Elize Ryd, lead vocalist and frontwoman, is on top form and her energetic demeanour and great voice feed the crowd. Olof Mörck’s guitar and Johan Andreassen’s bass come together expertly in Automatic and Call out My Name, resulting in a potent harmony. Tonight’s performance is a positive, uplifting experience filled with the joy of life. While the crowd needed some encouragement to find energy, Amaranthe will be playing the Headbanger stage at Wacken Open Air (www.wacken.com) in a matter of weeks and it is certain that no energy will be lacking there!