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Pain of Salvation in the UK is generally a rare sight, so the presence of fans is strong when the progressive metal Swedes support, oddly enough, Apocalyptica on their UK stint (while headlining continental Europe). This is their first London show in five years and with only forty-five minutes to compel the audience and promote their new album 'Road Salt One', the show is set to be a cherished one. The quintet opens with 'Of Two Beginnings' from the ‘Remedy Lane’ album, an interesting choice for an opener. Following this, still choosing a cut from the same release, is the beautiful 'Ending Theme'. The energy and power of Daniel Gildenlow's vocals is very apparent with this number and the challenging yet emotive guitar riffs are simply beautiful and bold, with a measure of metal attitude that shines in the live environment. Evading the predictable, 'Diffidentia (Breaching the Core)' follows although does not particularly raise passionate applause from the audience, possibly because of its seven minute length or its experimental content. The new song 'Linoleum' provides plenty of excuses for physically rocking out with its smart heavy riffs and muscular drumming in its chorus pitted against slower, thoughtful melodic within the verses. A crowd request for love-it-or-hate-it 'Disco Queen' is promptly shot down by Gildenlow. The first usual Pain of Salvation staple rears its head with the beloved 'Ashes', the only song from ‘The Perfect Element’ aired tonight with plenty of adoring supporters singing along to the chorus. The band is keen to be playing with guitarist Johan Hallgren racing back and forth with energy that, Gildenlow remarks, Apocalyptica will lack considering their huge cellos. Pain of Salvation revel in the live atmosphere, at ease with themselves and sounding flawless, bar a guitar cutting out completely a couple of times towards the beginning of their set, thinning the sound totally. Their technicality is quirky and a taped rendition of 'Of Dust' provides a brief interlude for the band to gear up for ‘Scarsick's 'Kingdom of Loss', a song that came out of nowhere. Most of the lyrics are spoken, which appears to be lost on the Apocalyptica fans, probably unsure as to whether it is part of the song or merely stage banter. Although a great song on record, 'Kingdom of Loss' loses its poignancy live and this song is the one that seals the set. The band receives a rapturous applause from the audience with grins plastered on their faces. Hopefully the Swedes will return to London very soon for a headlining effort as the ovation they received was strong, proof that Pain of Salvation do have a fan base over here.
Tuesday 2nd November 2010
Forum in London, UK
Reviews by Elena Francis
Apocalyptica’s entrance on stage is greeted by a flurry of vocal applause, the female contingent very noticeable. As the tour is promoting the Finns’ newest studio effort, ‘7th Symphony’, the first track thrown to the crowd is ‘On the Rooftop with Quasimodo’. This instrumental effort is absorbed by the audience hungrily, with the fans reacting positively to the interaction between the band members and themselves. Wielding their cellos with immense and commendable dexterity, Apocalyptica’s lack of singer does nothing to impede them as Eicca Toppinen, Paavo Lötjönen and Perttu Kivilaakso masterfully string their way through heavy symphonic metal, backed by drummer Mikko Siren. ‘2010’ seamlessly picks up where the opener concluded, again retaining the audience’s attention. Unafraid to remind the audience how they accumulated such popularity, an instrumental cover of Metallica’s classic ‘Master of Puppets’ is served up by the Finns, with plenty of audience members singing the lyrics to the vocal melody provided by the cello. This is not the only cover to be aired out tonight; later in the show, the audience is treated to Metallica’s ‘Seek and Destroy’, alongside Sepultura’s ‘Refuse/Resist’ and ‘Inquisition Symphony’, while showcasing fan favourites from throughout their career. ‘Beautiful’, ‘Sacra’ and ‘Bring them to Light’ from ‘7th Symphony’, while devoured thankfully by the fans, seems somewhat uninspired musically, with cellos manipulated to sound like guitars rather than cellos, which would provide a more interesting angle on Apocalyptica’s metal. Vocal duties were handled by Tipe Johnson from Finnish rock band Leningrad Cowboys, who thoroughly got into the performance with vocals that met the demands of the music. A solid amount of ‘Worlds Collide’ material is on the setlist with selections such as ‘Grace’, ‘I Don’t Care’ and ‘I’m Not Jesus’, the latter harnessing plenty of positive reaction. The band is in high spirits and enjoys putting on a spectacle, refusing to be pinned down by their large instruments and bounding around the stage. After ‘Inquisition Symphony’, Apocalyptica leave the stage only to return shortly for their three song encore, beginning with a hail to England in the form of ‘God Save the Queen’, complete with Siren dropping his trousers to reveal Union Jack underwear, and ending with a cover of Edward Grieg’s classical piece ‘Hall of the Mountain King’. With a promise to return to the UK some time soon, Apocalyptica leave London with a night of cello metal beloved by many.