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ConcertsDelain + Trillium + Halcyon Way at HMV Institute Birmingham, UK 05/12/12

Posted on Tuesday, May 15 2012 @ 00:37:19 CDT by Dean Pedley
Progressive Metal

A long queue is snaking its way outside the venue well before the doors open for this latest visit to the UK by Dutch symphonic rockers Delain, touring in support of soon to be released third album We Are The Others. SoT's Dean Pedley reports from Birmingham where the headliners are in irrisistible form.

The three band line-up is kicked off by Atlanta's Halcyon Way who are rewarded with what is already a tightly packed room when they hit the stage just before 7 o clock. Their confrontational blend of modern metal contains elements of death, prog and thrash with plenty of precision drumming and grinding riffs. With the band kitted out in uniform black work shirts to go with a menacing stage presence they launch into "The Age of Betrayal" with its screaming harmonics. Although very proficient in what they do the reaction is, aside from the twenty or so punters front and centre, somewhat muted and is very much a case of wrong time, wrong place for a band that are light on melody and heavy on aggression.

Expectations were high for what was the very first live performance in the UK from Amanda Somerville and her metal project Trillium. Alloy, the Frontiers released debut album from 2011, has certainly found its fair share of admirers and is the perfect showcase for Amanda's compelling vocal talents. "Machine Gun" makes for a promising start with its urgent melodies and strong grooves, the four piece band sounding very tight and well prepared. Making her claim to be the Stevie Nicks of melodic metal Amanda holds the audience in her spell with a captivating stage presence that sparkles throughout the forty minute set. The well –crafted songs encompass a diverse range of styles, arranged in such a way as to highlight Amanda's versatility from sweeping epic passages to alt-metal effects in the vein of Lacuna Coil. The atmospheric powerhouse ballad of "Into The Dissonance" is a dramatic highlight and they end with the gothic edged "Coward" to a huge ovation. If Amanda can continue to find time for Trillium amongst all of her other musical projects then they seem destined to make a real impression on the female fronted metal scene.

Delain appear to be following in the footsteps of Within Temptation, keyboard player Martijn Westerholt's former band, in growing both their fan base and reputation as an impressive live draw. In Charlotte Wessels they have a seductive star attraction with a dazzling stage persona that matches up to her incredibly strong vocal talents. Although the release date is still a few weeks away the set is made up roughly 50-50 between We Are The Others and its two predecessors with the new material coming across as dark and powerful and yet still insistently catchy. The title track, inspired by the Sophie Lancaster case, is a soaring anthem with a huge chorus and, like all of the new songs, goes over extremely well. Charlotte and the band appear overwhelmed at times from the response they receive from the Birmingham crowd and it is clear Delain stir strong emotions in their audience.

The social media inspired "Generation Me" and new single "Get The Devil Out Of Me" both suggest that the album will have been well worth the wait. The older material is even more warmly welcomed with the hard hitting "Stay Forever" and ethereal beauty of "Sleepwalkers Dream" just a couple of highlights across a set list that is nineteen songs strong. Musically the material is dripping in Westerholt's orchestral keyboard layers together with plenty of headbanging and fist-pumping moments as they rip through "Virtue and Vice", "April Rain" and "Control The Storm" before the Celtic-tinged "The Gathering" brings the show to a fittingly raucous conclusion. The ninety minute set seemed to fly by in half the time and if they can maintain this level of momentum Delain will be filling even larger venues next time around.

Dean Pedley

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