The very first edition of the UK's Quinphonic Festival took place on April 5th and was attended by fans from all over Europe, and even some from the US. The festival saw a five-way headline with female fronted bands from Europe and the UK sharing the stage. Initially Stafford based symphonic metallers Divided We Fall were due to play the festival, but sadly disbanded due to internal issues a week before the festival. Control The Storm were announced in their place.
Having had roughly a week to prepare and rehearse an hour set, festival openers Control The Storm sounded really tight and looked more than at home when on stage. With their album Beast Inside fresh off the press we had the pleasure of hearing the whole album throughout the course of the band's set. Opening with Day Of Days the band had the audience's attention from the off. Kate's vocals grew bolder as she visibly became more confident throughout the set. Sometimes the distortion on the guitars made it hard to hear the vocals, but it didn't seem to detract from the overall experience. The band performed with a great energy and enthusiasm til the end, often joking around with the audience between songs before launching into an explosion of glittering keys, strong riffs and blasting beats. Their set came to a strong close with triple whammy of Twisted Truth, Beast Inside and No Chance At All which saw the room billow out in a mass of hair as those nearer the stage head banged zealously. (7/10)
Next up, from Spain was Rose Avalon. Although the band had some technical issues towards the beginning of their set, their performance was incredibly captivating. The band's chemistry and energy was so massive it felt like the whole world was in the room with me. It was a real treat to see musicians performing with such emotion etched on their faces, and such expressiveness with each note. The vocals were delivered with great clarity, that really complimented each other and fused well with the music. Rose's accent put a nice spin on her vocals, often giving it a more sinister edge in lower passages, while also giving it a unique flair as she soared into higher, longer notes. The crowd seemed largely engaged, with many throwing their 'horns' up through numbers like Courage & Pain, Seven and Empty Hearts. My Northern saw the inclusion of more flute - which had been teased since the start of the set – and added a more mystical touch to the song. A lot of groaning ensued from the audience when the band announced their last song Capio Mea Fides, but that did not stop the energy as Rose Avalon's set came to a close on a solid note. (9.5/10)
Hailing from Italy and sounding like the continuous crash of thunder as they erupted onto stage was symphonic metal band Temperance. The electronics in combination with the pounding drums in Hero and Dejavú sounded like the room was being hit by a storm, and the room got pretty intense, really fast. The band's energy was incredible, and their sound was nothing like anything they had ever captured on CD in the sense that their live sound is in a different league of excellence. I felt completely spoilt by the immenseness the band both musically and vocally. Chiara's vocals proved flexible and light, with such limpidity that they soared with the music, or completely sliced through when she growled. Both vocalists contrasted well with each other, and Marco proved a gem to rival the likes of Kamelot's Tommy Karevik with his warm, silken tones and seemingly effortless power he presented with each note – all while playing the guitar. By the last leg of Temperance's set the urge to dance had done away with a couple of us as we jigged through Burning and my favourite: Tell Me. The band closed with a heart warming dedication to the room of their song To Be With You which was followed up with fervent round of applause from the audience. (9/10)
After the tempered chaos of the previous set, it was back to something that people might call “more traditional” for female fronted metal band. Dutch band Seventh Sin were the most talked about band of the night, and considering they had the largest following it only made sense for them to close the festival. Seventh Sin had a big stage presence which drew members of the audience in and kept them entertained with jokes and some travel stories in between songs. The band's performance was tight, and although the vocals often felt flat, they shined in slower songs Silent Tears, The Choice and the beautiful, moving ballad Just Another Day. Growls present in Alone Again and My Honor reminded me of Mark Jansen in their raspy, scratchy tones which felt out of place amongst the rest of the band's sound. A little surprise came when Seventh Sin were joined by ex-Divided We Fall vocalist Philippa Ricketts for a duet on their song The Screams, Philippa's vocals contrasted nicely with Monique's vocals and brought a whole new flavour to the song. Another surprise came when the opening notes of Nightwish's iconic song Ghost Love Score came on. I appreciated the band taking on a the challenge as well as their rendition of the song, and although Monique's vocals were not always in time they were some of the best of their set. (7/10)
Overall, the Quinphonic Festival proved to be a success. It was great pleasure to see five up-and-coming bands, many of who had never played in the UK before the festival – and all with equal footing on the bill. A big thanks to Ian for putting on the event and also for inviting us!
Author: Tayla Dickinson
Photography: Leisl Heath