With summer bleeding into autumn it was a perfect night to catch Season's End. Oozing class and professionalism they took the stage with singer Becki Clark putting her indelible stamp on proceedings as the rest of the band, crashed into life behind her. My eyes were distracted by a cocky as hell show from drummer Paul White as he put on a fine stick twirling display without missing a single beat. One Sadness, which is from the debut album The Failing Light, sumptuously drew us in, before a flourish of instrumentation swiped any hint of minimalism away. The two doctrines perfectly contrasted each other as the rich tapestry of the song had you headbanging one second and shoe gazing the next. The somewhat brief show embellished by Dave Stanton's confident vocals counter-playing and flirting with Becki's feminine charms. Perhaps the Ice Queen has some competition from these shores. One thing is certain, there is nothing teasing from Season's End they are in it for the ride and theirs is a name you will no doubt be hearing shouted from the rooftops before long.
After being completely bewitched by Leaves' Eyes beautiful Vinland Saga, there was no way I was missing this somewhat low key performance. They really didn't deserve to be playing such a dank miserable venue but with such power behind them they truly made shit sparkle. Liv Kristine looked resplendent in red as she announced their first highly anticipated London show and strangely enough her Norwegian tongue sounded demurely English Rose in its annunciation. They charged into a heavy bombastic number that was no doubt from Lovelorn as I did not know it. Liv tinged the instrumentation with a voice like honey and one that was pure nectar and had the audience melting under it's treacly morass. Farewell Proud Men stormed in with perfect sound in the mix, which crunched, crashed and uplifted us all into its powerful arms. I really hadn't expected to find myself headbanging to this band but as this anthem ploughed its way through the venue that's exactly what I found myself doing. Into Your Light certainly shone through from the early numbers and had everyone happily clapping along to it. Alex Krull occasionally joined in and added some huskiness to proceedings but it was the beautiful song for his and Liv's son Leaves Eyes itself that really hit the mark. With parents constructing such soothing lullabies as this, he is one hell of a lucky baby. As Elegy wrapped things up and I headed off for a much needed beer I could only reflect that this performance had been nothing but pure perfection in every respect.
Intrinsically the same band but with man and wife swapping over lead duties, Atrocity were very much a different beast. It also has to be said that having never played the UK before in all their years there were a fair few here (myself included) not knowing quite what to expect. More of a death metal venture Atrocity are hard to describe as those in the know describe them as a band who have never released two albums that sound the same. Much of the set stemmed from latest album Atlantis with the first 4 tracks being kulled (sorry) from it. Reich Of Phenomena was a leaden assault that took no prisoners and as Alex Krull cursed the Gods Of Nations I began to grow accustomed to his somewhat harsh Germanic tones and enjoy the show more. Enigma although from the same album really changed pace. I couldn't help thinking that it sounded more akin to Moonspell which although no bad thing, proved the versatility of this band. At times this didn't work fantastically in their favour and my notes have one word describing The Great Commandment and that is simply, "cheese". "Are you creatures of the night?" we were asked as Season's In Black unravelled from the speakers and at last I got a song I knew in the form of B.L.U.T. Got to admit this sounded particularly good with the winding guitar passage of the songs central structure tore a new arse through the venue. It was almost as though they had saved the best till last as we got a cover song from the legendary Tears For Fears (bite me, I like them). Shout wrapped up the night in pure party mode and playing their hearts out Atrocity turned a tiny venue on with a sound that was purely the stuff of stadium rock.