Nevermore / Firewind
18 March 2005
Prior to tonight`s gig, in the World`s End pub above the venue, Century Media hosted a listening party for Nevermore`s new album This Godless Endeavor. We were treated to five new tracks, all of which bearing the familiar and unique Nevermore sound and most importantly the Andy Sneap beefed up production. With Sneap also giving the Enemies Of Reality album the production job it deserved, there is plenty indeed for Nevermore fans to look forward to over the next few months.
First up tonight were Gus G`s multinational outfit Firewind, who hail from Greece , Sri Lanka and Norway. Gus seems to come back with a different band every time he visits London, having previously visited with Dream Evil, Mystic Prophecy and Nightrage.
Opening duo Steal Them Blind and Kill To Live suffered from some serious technical problems with Bob Katsionis keyboards, with some very painful noises emanating from the PA. The band soldier on and thankfully things are sorted and vocalist Chity Somapala has some of the crowd singing along for Beware The Beast.
Chity looks delighted to be here and occasionally his excitement seems to get the better of him, with the band conscious of time constraints comically having to start up songs whilst he`s still chatting to the crowd. You can`t fault Chity`s enthusiasm though, whether engaging the front rows or actually venturing into the crowd, which he did during Tyranny. On record he had reminded me of Klaus Meine, but live, there`s also a Tony Martin texture to his vocals.
Of all his bands, Firewind really is Gus G`s baby and the one which probably most showcases his impressive guitar playing. None more so than during the technical instrumental Feast Of The Savages, which also pushes keyboard player Bob Katsionis into the limelight. Keyboards can often be nothing more than an embellishment, but Katsionis` work takes on the role of a second guitarist. At times his playing mirrors Gus G`s guitar work and the duel between the two during the instrumental was a highpoint of the set.
Steadily through the set the crowd reaction grows with the end result a solid UK debut for Firewind. Hopefully they will return in the not too distant future.
Firewind set list:
Steal Them Blind / Kill To Live / Beware The Beast / Tomorrow Can Wait / Burning Earth / Feast Of The Savages / Between Heaven & Hell / The Forgotten Memory / Tyranny / I Am The Anger
Nevermore are of course in the country holed up at Andy Sneap`s studios working on their sixth full length album, This Godless Endeavor. So tonight`s one off performance is I`m sure a welcome break, but also an opportunity for the band to premier some of that new material.
The Underworld is absolutely packed, as it should be. It`s now 17 years since I first saw Warrel Dane and Jim Sheppard performing with Sanctuary and the pair have not been involved with a bad record, period. It is beyond me why Nevermore`s profile is not higher in this country.
Dead Heart In A Dead World favourites Narcosynthesis and The River Dragon Has Come commence proceedings. The latter featuring a great dual solo from Jeff Loomis and Steve Smyth. Smyth seems perfectly at home in the Nevermore line-up and the band have obviously finally found what has proved to be the elusive fifth member.
Never Purify demonstrates that despite the dreadful original production, recently fixed by Andy Sneap, the Enemies Of Reality album did indeed live up to Nevermore`s high standards in terms of song writing.
The crowd is so packed stage front, and buoyed by Engines Of Hate, that one stage diver had to attempt three times to leave the stage. Warrel Dane seems perfectly happy sharing his stage for a short amount of time with such invasions. His call of "let`s keep thrashing" prior to Enemies of Reality indicating where his roots lie. Dane is absolutely unique in terms of sound. He may not use his falsetto as much as in his earlier days , but nobody sounds like him and his voice is the trademark of the band.
Of course there`s great interest in what the new Nevermore material will sound like and four new songs are aired tonight. Born featured a ferocious opening leading into a typically huge Nevermore chorus. Bittersweet Feast contains a solo from Smyth using a similar wacky sound to Tom Morello. Major guitar shredding punctuated Final Product, whereas the title track This Godless Endeavor was bordering on black metal in its middle section. Very promising stuff.
Dane advises that the band are not going to indulge in the pretence of leaving the stage to return for an encore and warns us we have three songs left to enjoy. Of those three it`s Inside Four Walls that really caps the night off in style with the crowd screaming back the chorus.
If I`m not wrong I believe this was Nevermore`s first headline gig in the UK and in fact only their third show on these shores, which is ridiculous given their 10 year history. Tonight they turned up plugged in and laid waste to this London crowd. On tonight`s response it will make no sense if the UK does not become a regular stop off for Nevermore in future.
Nevermore set list:
Narcosynthesis / The River Dragon Has Come / Never Purify / Engines Of Hate / Born / Bittersweet Feast / The Heart Collector / Enemies Of Reality / This Sacrament / Final Product / This Godless Endeavor / Who Decides / Inside Four Walls / The Sound Of Silence