Ex Libris with Chemikill, The Mariana Hollow & Divided We Fall @ The Robin 2, Bilston – July 27th, 2014 <¬-- Add fancyBox -->

Ex Libris with Chemikill, The Mariana Hollow & Divided We Fall @ The Robin 2, Bilston – July 27th, 2014

21/08/14 07:59PM

Originally organized to be headlined by Imperia, the band had to drop out of their UK dates with few days’ notice due to health issues of their vocalist Helena Iren Michaelsen. Dutch support act Ex Libris stepped into the headliner slot and Stafford-based Divided We Fall were soon added as the opener.

The night kicked off with Divided We Fall - who I last saw live at Dames Of Darkness Festival in May. The band have grown much more confident since I saw them last and now seem more than comfortable on stage and look like they’re having fun. Their overall sound is much tighter and Philippa Rickett’s vocals are on point and very emotive despite being unheard in a few passages towards the end of their set. The band powered through tracks such as Haunted, A Date With Darkness and Revenge all nice symphonic numbers with thundering guitars and lush key tones. Halfway through their set the band announced that they’d play Until I Win, which was interesting to hear live without the live voice of guest vocalist Melissa Adams who features on the track. Needless to say they pull it off with the backing track, and Philippa’s vocals take on a powerful edge. It was lovely to see them again and how much they have grown. (7.5/10)

                                                                                                                Philippa Ricketts (Divided We Fall) 

Photo: Anthony May                       

Up next was The Mariana Hollow from London. During their performance many members of the band looked bored and stiff; in comparison vocalist Rebecca Spinks was overly into it and seemed to contain the energy of five persons. Rebecca pulled off an edgy, rocky vocal style with short powerful bursts and tiny melismas often over powering the rest of the band. During The Unburned her vocals became aggressive and raw, a nice change in tone to the rest of her vocals. Musically I was uninspired, and felt that the band sounded like a lot of other alternative rock outfits. (5/10)


                    Rebecca Spinks (The Mariana Hollow)                  

                         Photo: Anthony May

Soon after Tamworth based metalers Chemikill took to the stage. The band formed in 1986 and having gone through some line-up changes has now seen the addition of a new vocalist and guitarist to their ranks. The last time I saw them was at Dames Of Darkness 3 when the band was fronted by Natalie Bradshaw where they put on a fantastic performance. Seeing them at again at the Robin 2 brought back many memories and it was great to hear the fresh touch the new members brought to the band. The band had so much chemistry from the off it was beautiful to see, and they really got the crowd going with the audience enthusiastically chanting ‘wise up, wise up motherfucker’ along to F**cked Up Wiser. The addition of Bexie James and Dan Hewson was clearly a good thing for Chemikill, and the new material they premiered sounds brilliant. While I miss the growls that Natalie threw in I really enjoyed Bexie’s vocals and the way she carries her notes across songs like Black Witch, Crimson and Atlantis. Chemikill bring the heavy from start to finish closing with Demons where it sounded like the drums took a beating. (8/10)

Bexie James & Garry Wain (Chemikill)          

Photo: Anthony May                       

After a short change over next to rock the house was Dutch headliners Ex Libris. The crowd were still pumped from Chemikill and the band was quick to encourage them throwing fully into numbers such as Murderess In Me, On The Ocean’s Command and Love Is Thy Sin. Their performance was fantastic throughout, with Paul van den Broek playing through impressive solos and Dianne van Giersbergen’s powerhouse of a voice. Dianne possesses huge charisma and delivers every note in a manner that makes it seem effortless and natural. Towards the end of their set it was announced that guitarist Paul would be leaving the band, the band brought a gift on stage for him and it was a lovely moment. Overall, a fantastic set that shows exactly why the band deserves a place in the progressive/symphonic scene. (10/10)


Peter den Bekker & Dianne van Giersbergen (Ex Libris)

                                    Photo: Anthony May

Author: Tayla Dickinson

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