Review and photos by our friend Jayde Ashford, who if you wish you can follow on twitter here.
The atmosphere within the venue cannot be described as being electric, although there is a sense of anticipation in the air as Vreid takes to the stage within mere minutes of the faces outside making their way in to the Scala. If anyone was unfamiliar with Vreid prior to the show then I would hazard a guess at that not being the case after receiving a warm response, clearly benefitting from some of the faithful within the amassing crowd. Consisting of former Windir members and hailing from Norway, Vreid began their musical journey in 2004 – after the untimely death of Windir’s frontman and founding member. That is not to say that they did not hold their own tonight, offering us a taste from a spectrum of albums including tracks from their latest release (2011’s “V”).
The arrival of the next band, Finland’s Insomnium, results in the crowd beginning to participate fully. No one can deny this band’s stage presence, the last time Insomnium visited London was for their first headline show in the UK in November last year at the Underworld in Camden and I distinctly remember the crowd on that night being insatiable. This being said the band does not fail to deliver, jumping in to “Through the Shadows” after the intro of “Inertia”, the former being the current lead single from the band’s 2011 offering “One for Sorrow”. The setlist shows the band’s continuing support of the album but with older favourites such as “Mortal Share” and “The Killjoy” from “Above the Weeping World” serving to appease those more familiar with the band. Here’s hoping Insomnium receive more credit from the metal masses after a number of successful support (and headline) shows in the UK.
Paradise Lost being the headline act of the night you’d be forgiven in thinking that the crowd would be almost foaming at the mouth by the time the long serving stalwarts of British metal take to the stage, and this much is true for those ardent fans here tonight. I know at least one fan from the USA was present in the crowd, having travelled over for the show – now that is dedication. If you are somehow not familiar with the band then take a moment to check their extensive history, beginning with their formation in 1988 (The year I was born, might I add). I won’t go in to any classification of the band with regard to subgenre’s as with a band as long running as Paradise Lost you would have to be something of a superfan to be able to accurately pin them under one genre or another. T
hat being said, it feels as though the band is an anti-climax of sorts after an energetic two bouts with such strong support acts as Vreid and Insomnium. Paradise Lost have deservedly relished in praise after the release of 2009’s “Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us”, the single of the same name being somewhat seminal in the albums success with its haunting and memorable video. The band’s most recent release, 2012’s “Tragic Idol” having only being released this month, is strongly supported with the setlist consisting of four tracks out of sixteen being from this album while only the one song from Faith Divides Us (the title track) is included in the set. Fans are treated to a selection of older songs, but it appears that there will be some that will have left the venue feeling less than fulfilled.
The five or so minute wait for the encore dragged, with only one over-zealous fan shouting the band’s name for the duration. It felt that the band themselves were almost apathetic throughout the performance, or at least that is the impression I felt – with fans failing to remember the words to numerous songs and this being vocalised by frontman Nick Holmes on more than one occasion. One could almost say an off night for the crowd, rather than for the band.
Despite this, whether new to the band or having seen them for the umpteenth time, I am sure that Paradise Lost will continue filling venues to capacity and be an inspiration to those up and coming bands who have a long road to travel before they can in any way compete with Paradise Lost’s reputation, or at least headline such a line-up as was present tonight.
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