Band: Leaves Eyes, Pythia & Atrocity

Venue: Rock City, Nottingham

Date: 16 January 2014

 

In today’s world of Rock and Metal genre status is the norm, but since 1985 Alex Krull and Atrocity have defied all an refused to be pigeon holed into any genre, as their albums bear witness.  They have produced Gothic Metal, Death Metal, Folk Metal and all points in between and with the bands latest album 'Okkult', some say they have returned to their Dark Metal roots.  Add to that this latest release is the first album of a trilogy and with a title like 'Okkult', well we weren’t going to get anything less than a dark, yet melodic, slice of Metal from the German / Dutch quartet.

With a tour that started way back in October last year and continues through to August this year, taking in not only Europe but also Puerto Rico, the US and Canada, before once again returning to Europe, with a few shows makingit to the shores of the UK, we made it our job to catch up with the band and of course Leaves Eyes.  

With early doors 6.30 pm I was glad to see a queue had formed so early on a Thursday night, with Atrocity set to hit the stage at 6.45 pm.  

With a fairly decent crowd in to not only see, but taste the might of Krull and the rest of the band Thorsten, Sander and Joris, as they delivered a powerful and awe- inspiring set of pure unadulterated METAL.  Kicking off the set with ‘Pandemonium’, the opening track from the bands new album ' Okkult', a powerful opening barrage that continued with another new track ‘Haunted by Demons’, with Krull leading from the front demanding the crowd raise their metal horns in salute of the metal and salute we did!

Before the set continued Alex confessed this wasn’t his first visit to Rock City, he was here in 1988 when he won the Headbanger of the Year contest, putting it down to his famous long hair, then it was time to turn the clock back to 1990 and the 'Hallucinations' album for ‘Fatal Step’, the first of only two older tracks, this one definitely fitted in with the current album, as the raw aggression of guitars and drums mixed with Krull’s monstrous vocal assault.  

It was back to the new album for ‘March of the Undying’, the mix of Symphonic backing tracks added to the atmospherics, before the tsunami of sound hit as the band propelled themselves into this one, with Joris pounding out an outstanding back beat to throughout.  

 

Before the next track Alex invited two female fans to join the band onstage to shake their metal booties, to German speaking ‘Satans Braut’, another blistering attack on the senses from the new album which was quickly followed by the anthemic raw ‘Death By Metal’.  Both tracks delivering full on Metal to the masses, the second a stripped down old school Metal assault.  No backing track, just guitars and drums and vocals ripping through like a freight train with no breaks.

The final track of their short but impressive set saw the clocks turned back to the 'Atlantis' album for ‘Reich Of Phenomena’, which once again brought that Symphonic Death Metal vibe back in waves, bigger enough to flood Atlantis itself.  This wrapped up another no holds barred set from a band that refuse to define the genres and long may it continue.  

Next up were UK Medieval Metallers Pythia but due to a scheduled interview with Alex Krull I only caught the opening and closing tracks, but what I heard impressed much more than the last time I saw the band back in 2008 at the Dames of Darkness Festival, at the Asylum in Birmingham.  A night when Emily suffered a major cold and the mix of red wine and cold remedies made for a night to remember for all the wrong reasons, but then the band were just starting out and I think the five years since has seen the band progress and what I heard tonight did seem to cement that fact.  

Now on to headliners Leaves Eyes, who I must admit have never failed to impress on all the occasions I’ve caught the live and with an impressive new album to promote, I was really looking forward to seeing them perform live once again.

The band got on stage to rapturous applause, even before a note was played.  The set opener really showed the class act that is Liv Kristine, as her vocals lit up the venue as the band opened up with ‘Galswintha’.  Instantly the whole venue erupted and with Alex joining her onstage for the first of many duets of the night.

With such a great back catalogue to choose from, this set really showed what Leaves Eyes are all about as they rolled back the years to the 'Njord' album for ‘Take The Devil In Me’.  Once again Liv’s vocals filled the room, I think even without a mike she would have done an equally impressive job. I would even be so bold as to say she could read a phone book and still make it sound majestic, such is the beauty and majesty in her voice.  

It was back to the new album 'Symphonies of the Night‘ for the wonderful ‘Fading Earth’, then it was to the wonderful 'Vinland Saga' album for haunting ‘Farewell Proud Men’, with this song you can almost smell the fiords.  One of the highlights of the night and a definite crowd favourite had to be ‘Velvet Heart’.

Returning to the excellent 'Njord' opus next up we had ‘My Destiny’, another song that like its predecessor, was a real crowd favourite, with Alex rejoining the proceedings as he encouraged the crowd to jump along to this one.  It was then back to the new album 'Symphonies of the Night' for the title track.  This song really goes out as one of the bands finest songs to date, the mix of melodic metal and symphonic tones is just pure ear-candy and live it just oozes class.  

'Meredead' for me was one of the albums of 2011 and it was to that album the set continued with the fantastic ‘Spirit Masquerade’, then it was a rare treat as the band rolled back the years for the superb ‘Melusine’, before the Mike Oldfield cover ‘To France’.  A great rendition of this classic that the band have really made it their own.  Returning to ' Symphonies of the Night', we had the haunting dark tones of ‘Maid Of Lorraine’, with Alex once again bringing the dark to Liv’s light.

The band returned to the ' Vinland Saga' for another crowd pleaser ‘Elegy’, which had the whole room singing and dancing along, before rounding things off with the massive ‘Hell to the Heavens’.  The band left the stage to rapturous applause but were quickly back to finish off the night with the massive ‘Froya’s Theme’, which wrapped up another sensational live set and a really great night of Metal from all three bands.  All I can say is it was definitely worth the 300 mile plus round trip down to Nottingham and I look forward to the next time they return to these shores.

Review by: Barry McMinn  

 

 

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