Nightlord / Hysterica / Stuka Squadron
19 November 2011
Camden Underworld, London
Fuelled by glögg, following an afternoon trip to the Swedish Christmas market, we jumped in a cab and headed up to the Underworld, though unfortunately too late to catch openers Designs Of Chaos.
German Wartime Vampires Stuka Squadron were up next. Well, none of them are actually German and we strongly suspect they may not be creatures of the night. Still, with Vikings, pirates, Romans and trolls already covered, finding a different gimmick isn’t easy, but this one fits well with the overblown heroic metal the Squadron ply.
Four of tonight’s five songs reside in the epic territory with Iron Maiden frequently springing to mind. Frontman James Duke Fang-Begley was fully engaged in the storytelling, whilst surrounded by teeth baring band members. A special mention should go to former Blaze Bayley drummer Larry Paterson who completed his first mission with the band with flying colours.
If you weren’t clear that this is done with a wry smile and tongues in cheek, Begley’s sword brandishing during closer Zabulon’s Inferno was only upstaged by the band’s OTT guitar posturing as the song concluded. Once again Stuka Squadron left us with smiles on our faces.
Stuka Squadron setlist:
Tales Of The Ost / Stuka Squadron / We Drink Blood / On The Volga Bridge / Zabulon’s Inferno
There’s a lot of interest in Hysterica’s appearance tonight. A five piece all girl Swedish band with an image like a female Manowar unsurprisingly has garnered column inches and whilst not the finished article, debut album Metalwar proved there was substance to go with the girls’ style.
Tonight Hysterica are clearly focused on the future with 6 songs from their forthcoming album The Art Of Metal which is due next year. Four of these have already been made available and show a definite jump forward in quality. Older material We Are The Undertakers and Halloween hold their own, but the Metalwar title cut paled somewhat in comparison.
Wrongly billed as a thrash band in the pre-gig advertisement, Hysterica reside in the power metal genre with similarities to fellow Swedes Dream Evil & Hammerfall. Anthemic metal is the order of the day and it didn’t take long for heads to start banging.
In Anne De vil, Hysterica have a vocalist with a wide range, hitting the high notes with ease but also adding some guttural growls during Fighters Of The Century. She maintained a commanding presence whilst at the same time seemed genuinely surprised by the crowd’s warm reaction. Sole guitarist Bitchie also impressed, with a brooding solo during the menacing slow burner Message From The Dark of particular note.
On tonight’s presentation, the band’s new material and crowd response, Hysterica should make further headway in the UK when their album comes out next year.
Heels Of Steel / Metalwar / Fighters Of The Century / Halloween / Force Of Metal / Message From The Dark / Spirit Of The Age / We Are The Undertakers / Breaking The Walls
Tonight’s headliners Nightlord date back to the tale end of the 80s and early 1990s. Back in 1990 they issued their Approaching Thunder demo and later in 1993 split before having chance to release their Cult Of The Moon EP. Wind forward 17 years and these two works were revisited, revamped and finally released, with the demo expanded to an eight track album and the EP finished and bolstered by some live recordings.
Celebrating the releases, Nightlord reformed to headline this same venue last December and have since enjoyed support slots with Sepultura and Onslaught.
Professional in their approach, Nightlord take to the stage with their large logo backdrop hanging behind them. Combined vocalist and bassist Jamie Thorne took up an almost lunging stance, set for attack as the band launched into Reign with guitarists Ferenc Collins and James Mackenzie continually swapping sides.
Collins, who’s history includes a stint with anarcho-punks Conflict looked delighted to be stalking the stage chugging thrash riffs, meanwhile Mackenzie impressed with his lead work.
Thorne informs us the next song is, “How Peter Sutcliffe and Harold Shipman got better.” Practice Makes Perfect followed and it’s clear it’s a doctrine the band also follows as they presented a very tight front.
It’s true that at times some of the old material meanders and outstays it’s welcome, but Nightlord are no longer leaning on the past. Just when we think this is just an evening of nostalgia, Thorne revealed, “We may have misled you with the old school metal”. The band has been working on new material and The Sin Eater showed the band is not prepared to rest on their back catalogue.
Reign / The Final Book / Practice Makes Perfect / The Sin Eater / Vote For Me / Twisted Out Of Mind / Turn Of The Tide / Cult Of The Moon / Holy Inquisition / Dark Night Dance