Having had their name exposed at last year’s Bloodstock, Inner Eden grace the stage in front of a crowd who are not quite ready for what they have to offer. The opener can be labelled particularly brutal, working within the stretched confines of extreme metal. What particularly distinguishes the track from others of a similar ilk is the female vocalist. Unfortunately, the creativity of the South Londoners pauses here; the female vocals are of the clean, insipid and clichéd variety. The lead vocals are frail and fall short of measuring up to the prowess of the bold groove/thrash Inner Eden perpetuate, not to mention the accompanying growls. With lyrics containing a bucket load of profanity and vocalist Holly Bolus utilising a tremendous amount of it in her stage banter, the entire performance comes across as a desperate attempt at trying to be as ‘metal’ as possible, very much like the teen who listens to Slipknot and Pantera while proclaiming to be as metal as thou. The group can be commended for doing something different but substituting Bolus for a stronger female voice would be a wise step. It feels like the band are relying on the novelty of a female vocalist to elevate them to a position of recognition.
Saturday 20th March 2010
Islington Academy in London, UK
Being ‘retro’ is a momentarily trendy movement in all of metal’s subgenres and White Wizzard have used this to their advantage, not fearful of directly embracing the heavy metal revival with their own renditions of Cloven Hoof and Judas Priest classics. Their eighties heavy metal with hard rock decoration make them the perfect appetizer for Edguy. Fun music that strongly echoes NWoBHM is greeted warmly by the audience and the Americans are clearly enjoying the receptiveness of the audience. Although the music has a thick vein of ‘80s traditional metal, it sounds unmistakably modern; they sound like imitators rather than innovators but this is not necessarily a negative. Supporting their new debut release ‘Over the Top’, the setlist harbours the lengthy ‘Iron Goddess of Vengeance’, the sing-along ‘Out of Control’ and the title track. Not forgetting their well-promoted ‘High Speed GTO’ EP from last year, the band unleashed its title track and ‘Celestina’ into the venue with great relish. For an EP’s worth, the music is pleasant but it does lack variation for an entire album’s duration. Fortunately, the band members are keen to fasten smiles on to the faces of the audience live so the concentration is not fixated on the music exclusively. Closing with ’40 Deuces’, the band vacate the stage with strong audience appraisals.
WHITE WIZZARD; INNER EDEN
Reviews by Elena Francis
The fun-lovin’ Germans are back after fourteen months, as ever-flamboyantly dressed frontman Tobi Sammet is keen to precisely remind the venue. Opening with ‘Dead or Rock’ and following it up with ‘Speedhoven’ and later in the set the more typically Edguy-esque (that is, the one the nostalgic fans rebel least hard against) ‘Ministry of Saints’, it is clear the band is still proud of their latest trail-blazing album ‘Tinnitus Sanctus’ but the omission of the light-hearted ‘Pride of Creation’ seems worth complaining about. Unlike the last time Edguy visited these shores, the setlist spotlights the band’s tail end of their career but ‘Tears of a Mandrake’, ‘Vain Glory Opera’ and the epic ‘The Piper Never Dies’ beautifully represent Edguy’s more power metal days. Of course ‘Lavatory Love Machine’ is not abandoned but Sammet inconceivably screws up the first verse and admits that he forgot the lyrics. Anyone with any experience of an Edguy concert would not fail to mention his incessant ramblings between songs and despite a strangulating curfew at the Islington Academy tonight, each opportunity for banter is still seized. The outspoken vocalist constantly jokes and entertains, self-conscious of his time-wasting capabilities in light of the early conclusion of the night. Another instance of indulgence is the drum solo which showcases nothing brain-bending and can be condensed with ease. ‘Save Me’ (preceded by a hilarious tale of guitarist Dirk Sauer’s sexual encounter with a San Francisco transsexual) is one of Edguy’s less memorable ballads and something like ‘Scarlet Rose’ would have done a better job at occupying this position on the setlist. ‘Fucking with Fire (Hair Force One)’ lightens the mood again and acts as the closer. Their encore is not too unpredictable, although the inclusion of half of Iron Maiden’s ‘The Trooper’ wedged into ‘Babylon’ is slightly unexpected (they played half of the same song back on their 2006 tour, supporting DragonForce). Naturally, ‘King of Fools’ is the closer and eye-brows are still raised over the second Edguy tour to forsake the brain-meltingly stunning ‘Mysteria’. Nonetheless, the quintet’s playful stage presence can win over many stubborn cynics and the show is a fantastic piece of melodic metal to get teeth into.