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Melancholy Finnish metal is the order of the night as Swallow the Sun, Insomnium and Omnium Gatherum join forces for a blast of a show. Opening is Omnium Gatherum who have played England numerous times within the last few years and have undisputedly gathered a fair following. Opening with ‘Nail’ from their latest well-received album ‘The Redshift’, the trickling of audience members appreciate the majestic melodies and a mature take on melodic death metal. The setlist focuses predominantly on ‘The Redshift’, with songs like ‘The Return’, ‘Chameleon Skin’ and ‘No Breaking Point’. ‘It Shines’ and ‘Sons Thoughts’ from their debut ‘Spirits and August List’ are the only songs in the set which extend back beyond the time of vocalist Jukka Pelkonen and he appears very comfortable growling along to these older tracks. His enthusiasm rubs on to the audience to an extent and he appears genuinely happy to be playing to the Underworld and such an attitude can only be considered commendable.
Monday 7th December 2009
Camden Underworld in London, UK
It would be safe to say that Candlelight Record’s Insomnium probably secure most of the ticket sales tonight as a large portion of the audience is rooting particularly for them and the number of Insomnium t-shirts on display outnumbers those of any other band. Commencing their show with the opener from their new album ‘Across the Dark’, entitled ‘Equivalence’, the crowd react extremely positively to this decision. Those who love the new album love the setlist, which features ‘Down with the Sun’, ‘Where the Last Wave Broke’ and ‘The Harrowing Years’ alongside others from this release. The barrage of new material is fragmented by a few offerings from ‘Above the Weeping World’ exclusively. ‘The Killjoy’ and ‘Mortal Care’ are received with great relish. It seems a shame that Insomnium’s first pair of albums are unacknowledged tonight but this no doubt increases the demand for another headlining show some time soon. Heavier moments in the set surprisingly (given the laid back nature of the band members on stage) ignite mosh pits and general excitement which begs again the question why Insomnium are not headlining over Swallow the Sun. It is excellent to see such a high calibre band finally attaining the recognition they deserve when taking into account that Insomnium’s frequent UK appearances in 2006 did very little for them. Their melodic death metal is a real breath of fresh air; they may be a young band but they never decided to take the easy route and recycle old In Flames ideas. Their metal is colder and haunting yet more focused than Omnium Gatherum’s, with a broader sense of frozen misery which could only have originated from Northern Europe. Closing with ‘Weighed Down with Sorrow’, chants of the band’s name coerce the quartet into returning to the stage, ‘Devoid of Caring’ their encore song. This is quite an impressive performance that Swallow the Sun may have issues surpassing.
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Reviews by Elena Francis; Photography by Graham Hilling
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With the melodic death metal done for the evening, events are to get more morose with the arrival of Swallow the Sun. Having made their debut UK appearance at 2008’s Bloodstock Open Air, the band have made quite a name for themselves since considering this headlining slot (they have since supported Apocalyptica). Almost instantly, the Underworld is plagued by melodramatic misery as the Finns launch into ‘These Woods Breathe Evil’ from their new full-length effort ‘New Moon’. This depressing observation had a few selections performed live in the manifestations of ‘Falling World’, ‘Sleepless Swans’ and the title track. The mood of the audience was subdued but not soporific, this being a band the crowd could not exactly mosh to. The icy death doom metal is appreciated by the multitude and the band make an effort to appear visually interesting by avoiding any temptation to remain static for extended periods of time. Drummer Kai Hahto, from Wintersun and Enochian Crescent, is a treat to watch as he deploys such fine intricacies that demand more appreciation. Having only been part of Swallow the Sun since earlier this year, he handles the older material with consummate ease. The beautifully sinister ‘Don’t Fall Asleep’ strike a positive tune with the audience and the clean vocals of Mikko Kotamäki ring deeply over the stinging melodies and provide a strong contrast over his grief-swelled growls. From the ‘Plague of Butterflies’ EP the band released last year, they play the ‘Plague of Butterflies’ section from the opener and this too is one of the songs that obtain a better reaction from the fans. ‘Descending Winters’ from the second album ‘Ghost of Loss’ closes the body of the set and the mood is disrupted as the punters plead for more Swallow the Sun. Surely enough the band return, with smiles contradicting their music, and create a two-song encore of ‘The Giant’ and ‘Swallow (The Horror, Part 1)’, the latter being the sole song from the fantastic first album ‘The Morning Never Came’ and through this encore it becomes understandable why indeed Swallow the Sun are playing over Insomnium. Leaving the gig with a smile plastered on your face is probably the antithesis of music like this but after such performances from each band, it is difficult not to.
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