In the midst of London’s busy live music schedule across all corners of the capital, a Sunday evening spent relaxing sounds all too welcome at this stage. Alas, it was not to be on this night. A night of a hybrid of power, prog, classic and heavy metal graced Mornington Crescent which undoubtedly pleased a lot of the London scene who weren’t quite ready to take it easy just yet.
Opening up were Kobra and the Lotus, hailing from the Great White North and packing an anthemic punch in true classic heavy metal style. Frontwoman Kobra Paige had an exuberant presence, with an exceptional range and crisp delivery in her soaring yells. The other band members play with precision and aptitude where Kobra is not overshadowing them, although she is very much the focal point. I have never overly been one to sing the praises of bands who play with that Iron Maiden-influenced valour, but Kobra and the Lotus did well tonight. Fair play to them.
Up next were Swedish prog-meets-power metal shamans Evergrey, who I was exposed to mostly due to my other half playing songs off their new album The Storm Within every day at home. At the risk of growing tired of them prior to seeing the band live, this night they really struck a nerve in a positive way. Their exceptional guitar tone, meticulousness in unison and sky-high melodies make this a very eloquent set from start to finish. Songs such as “Passing Through” and “King of Errors” draw an excellent response from the crowd and the fluency is pervasive throughout. The more ominous and sombre moments are very articulately conveyed musically, and all in all, Evergrey delivered in spades. Will definitely check out again.
Headlining the evening was of course Delain, who had a brief absence from UK soil for a while but were welcomed back with open arms. Again, much the same as Kobra and the Lotus, their style is not something that I have much of an appreciation for, and guiltily I don’t have the ability to differentiate between practitioners in that genre. However, Delain have a strong presence both visually and sonically, with confidence in their performance and an unmatched aura onstage. Widely regarded as one of the finer bands in the field of European heavy metal, Delain’s ability is unquestionable, and the crowd is receptive in a way that suggests such even to the most narrow-minded of fans. However, there are times when it drags and feels repetitive. The hooks are enjoyable and the Koko’s sound is very complimentary to their set, but it fell flat as the songs just, when flowing together, didn’t resonate in the way that I had hoped.
Evergrey were undoubtedly the best band of the night and many probably would agree that they are next poised for another run over this side of Europe again soon. Delain and Kobra and the Lotus were solid but when matched up with this Gothenburg squadron, they are always going to be outshone.