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AnantA (which means infinity in Sanskrit) is a young French metal band formed in 2005 in the area of Montpellier. With their debut album ‘In Media Res’ under the belt, they were invited to support Soilwork for the European leg of the tour. The pit is still pretty empty when they hit the stage but that doesn’t seem to destabilize them the slightest. This is what a first support act should be all about in my opinion: giving everything they have and enjoy themselves regardless of the audience size or reaction. That’s exactly what they decide to do and whilst the Academy is filling up, the atmosphere is improving. Although their metalcore sounds are far from original, it does work and the base rhythms are definitely impressively strong. With plenty of catchy moments, it is without a doubt a very suitable first act for what’s to come next.
Thursday 20th November 2008
Islington Academy in London, UK
And if you like French metal, there is more to come. Back in 2005, these five friends decided to add a bit of spice to their established careers and form One-Way Mirror. With Guillaume Bideau (Mnemic) and Dirk Verbeuren (Soilwork) in the lineup, they were unlikely to fail. The band’s self-titled debut album was released last summer and this tour is certainly a great opportunity for them to show off their new tracks. Opening with the groovy ‘Destination Device’, the crowd doesn’t need any encouragement to warm up to the tunes. The venue is now nothing in comparison to the quiet low key mood that filled it when we arrived. ‘Sockracer’ and ‘Danger Calling’ leave place to the slower ‘As You Are Now’. The band describe themselves as Rock/Metal which does include a wide range of sounds and this fourth song is definitely more on the emo/nu-metal side of the spectrum. Just after Frank (guitar) spits a mouthful of beer at Guillaume’s (vocals) face, it’s time for their cover of the 80s hit ‘Relax’. It’s fun, contemporary and entertaining but I’m not convinced as I think they should have made it a bit more personal and individual than they did. The set is nearing its end and Dirk is introduced as the crazy drummer that he is to play 2 gigs in a row. Pantera-like ‘Deprived of Connection’ and heavier ‘21st Century’ close the show and prove that the French can rock. As they admit themselves, their music could be defined as easy listening metal, ideal for new metalheads recruits. You have to start somewhere and this will show you the right direction.
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Reviews & Photography by Kristell Gathoye
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Now it’s time for the mighty Soilwork. These guys need a bit less of an introduction and have been touring the world for over 10 years now. Coming from Sweden, they started off following the popular Gothenburg style but have now evolved for a more American sound. Islington Academy is finally looking rather full but it seems that it failed to sell out, purely and understandably because prog titans Opeth are also in town tonight. Tough choice for some, but one none of us would regret. Elegantly dressed in a white shirt, waistcoat and black tie, shaved head Björn “Speed” Strid is not your typical looking metaller but don’t let that unusual image fool you. Kicking off with their last album title song ‘Sworn to a Great Divide’, it’s hard for us to stay still and not be totally emerged in the groove. After two older tracks, ‘As We Speak’ and ‘Needlefeast’, the Swedish death metallers are back to their new album with the amazing ‘Exile’. Showing off Björn’s vocal range, this recent hit perfectly blends fast beats, fist-pumping choruses and melodies. Off ‘Natural Born Chaos’, ‘The Bringer’ introduces more epic rhythms and thrashy riffs and as hard as I try, I can’t help but think that Sylvain Coudret on guitars has an air of Bill Bailey. Somewhat distracting. But back to the music as ‘One With the Flies’ brings a fast running mosh pit at the front. Metal Mayhem has started and will become very jumpy with ‘Overload’, showing the band’s gradual drift from Gothenburg sounds. Another new track, ‘As the Sleeper Awakes’, highlights Dirk’s drumming abilities and proves that you can play 2 gigs in one night without showing any sign of tiredness. ‘Black Star Deceiver’ and ‘The Chainheart Machine’ announce the heavy end to this main set causing a headbanging fest at the front that leads to ‘Stabbing the Drama’ and finishes with Björn singing in the crowd. Because of the delay and the strict curfew, the guys have to reduce their encore to 2 songs and give us a last chance to enjoy their performance fully. Crowd favourite, ‘Follow the Hollow’, turns the place into a massive deadly pit. It now feels like a big intimate party and whatever the ticket sales say, the crowd size and the atmosphere are just perfect. ‘Nerve’ closes the set with Björn warmly thanking the crowd for turning up, mentioning that when they heard Opeth were also playing they thought that “only 2 people would turn up but plenty came down in the end”. This was the night to attend I say.
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