It’s Sunday evening in Bristol, perhaps an unusual time for a concert. But that hasn’t prevented a good turnout at the gates of The Marble Factory, a new venue in an industrial building in the city centre. It’s a small place, which gives it a good, intimate feeling – though it also means the services are fairly limited, with no disabled viewing platform, for example. Still, those with chairs can just about see in the confined space.
The opening act are Santa Cruz, a Finnish glam metal band who look like they’ve just turned up from 1980s California. A bit of an odd choice for support, they nonetheless put on a good show and wake up the crowd after a long week. They’re followed by Engel, whose placement on the bill is more understandable – this Swedish melodeath band have more in common with the headliners, though their sound is darker and heavier. Lead singer Mikael screams and sings his way through a highly enjoyable set. A band worth checking out if you’re a fan of the likes of In Flames.
But for Muses of Metal, it’s headline act Amaranthe we’re waiting for. When the lights go dark and a computerised voice starts announcing the names of the band members, we know we’re in for a treat. Things kick off with upcoming single Digital World, which they bounce through with unlimited energy. The vocals do sound a little wonky – it becomes clear why when Elize Ryd tries to talk, only to realise that her mic hasn’t been switched on. After some amusement at the expense of the soundman, it gets sorted. Elize does have persistent problems with in-ear monitors throughout the rest of the show, unfortunately – but nonetheless, she gives it her all and does a stellar job.
Once the opening is out the way, the band bring out some of their past material to a great reception: Hunger, Invincible and Razorblade all go down a storm, with everyone jumping and singing along. Then it’s time for some new stuff from the latest album: the slower Over and Done, anime-esque single Trinity and stomping anthem Massive Addictive. Amaranthe’s triple vocalist approach (Jake E on clean vocals, Henrik Englund on harsh) actually works really well, and the sight of all three of them at the front of the stage is a rather unique one.
the band a bit of a breather, there’s then an impressive drum solo from drummer Morten Løwe Sørensen (as we later notice, this is affectionately labelled on the setlist as “Morten Goes Apeshit”).
Elize then engages the crowd in a sweet singalong of ballad Amaranthine, and the band bows out with Call Out My Name. They’re not gone for long, though, as chants of “Amaranth!” and “We want more!” quickly spread around the venue. They return with yet another catchy classic, Automatic. At one point Elize gets so cross with her earpieces that she ends up leaving the stage to get someone to sort them out, but thankfully there are two other vocalists to hold the fort. She’s back with a smile to close the show with Drop Dead Cynical and The Nexus.
All in all, it has been a great night, and – sound issues aside – one of the most fun concerts you could witness.
Author and photos: Sophie Cleverly-Edwards