With support from Wintersun and Tribulation.
Rock City Nottingham 10th February 2018.
First gig of 2018 and what a show lay before us! You always know it’s going to be a cracking night when you turn up at the venue twenty minutes early and people are already queuing around the block, but when you hear it’s a sell out, well, we really are in for a good night! Arch Enemy have been touring around Europe, with Jinjer who sadly, didn’t make the UK leg of this tour as they are soon to embark on their first North American tour with Cradle of Filth, so in their place, we have the lesser known (to me) Tribulation and the awesome Wintersun.
Sadly, the box office didn’t have the press list in time, so several togs missed Tribulation’s first song of the night but we rushed up to the stage as soon as we could, for tracks 2 and 3. Not to be confused with an earlier Swedish band of the same name who were active in the early 90’s, as these guys only formed in 2004. They released their debut album ‘The Horror’ back in 2009, followed by ‘The Formulas of Death’ in 2013, with ‘Children of the Night’ being released in 2015. The band have recently released their latest album ‘Down Below’ in January of this year, via Century Media.
Having listened to their latest offering, I knew to expect dark and heavy, however, I wasn’t expecting as much energy from the band, as they displayed during tonight’s set! The band opted for a speedy brand of death metal in their earlier material yet as time has gone on, they’ve become darker. In their own words, this new album “From its obsidian core to its fluttering expanses, ‘Down Below‘ is a triumph of darkness and death. Or, very much Tribulation”. Evolution is inevitable with any band, as producing the same album twice is pointless. This band are aware of this and feel their evolution has kept true to themselves and the genre.
I’m not going to pretend I know everything about this band, quite the opposite in fact but I know what I saw on the night and they impressed me greatly. There were some hardcore fans who made the effort to come down early, to catch these guys play, I’ll be honest, I don’t know how often they tour here in the UK, as I’ve not seen them before. One thing was very evident though, they are passionate about the music they produce and they deliver it with true conviction, which, as a live music fan, you can’t ask for any more from a band. As a result, I am now trawling through their back catalogue and am enjoying the process immensely! For fans of death metal and I know a good few, be sure to check this band out!
The word Tribulation means, a cause of great trouble or suffering and as any good death metal fan will tell you, this is a key ingredient, for a truly morbid receipt, which we all love to devour!
I last saw Wintersun, back in July of 2013, when they headlined the Rescue Rooms. On that occasion, they had my favourite Savage Messiah line up and Bloodshot Dawn supporting them.
Looking back on the images I took that night, I only recognise two of the members, the vocalist Jari, who plays guitars, but wasn’t tonight, he gave that honour to someone else but sadly, I don’t know his name. The only other face I recognised was Teemu’s, the bands other guitarist. Everyone else in the band tonight were new faces to me, but as it’s been nearly five years since I last saw this band play, that’s a pretty long time for things to have changed.
The band are from Helsinki, in Finland and are signed to Nuclear Blast. They primarily play symphonic metal and I distinctly remember the lack of gear on the stage back in 2013. Tonight however, they had all the bells and whistles, being played by five very talented musicians. Jari is a great front man and entertainer, who put in one hell of a shift tonight and the crowd showed their appreciation for his efforts. I’ve seen some great support bands here at Rock City in my time, but few get a crowd react to them like they are the headlining band, as Wintersun did tonight! I’m going to predict, I’ll be seeing these guys appear at a few summer festivals this year! Cough cough!
Arch Enemy are signed to Century Media and are from Sweden but they really don’t need an introduction, as they’ve been a stable metal band since 1996, in one incarnation or another. Metal fans are always approachable and happy to talk so I asked a few questions about the band and discovered a wealth of history, like, did you know the bands current lead singer actually attended Canada Got Talent – a singing contest for aspiring musicians! No, I didn’t either. I also listened to a recent interview with Alissa who admitted, for her first band, she got the job by accident, as she couldn’t find anyone else more suitable, so a friend recorded her singing and she gave the midi disk to them and they were shocked to discover it was her! It’s safe to say, they signed her up, in an instant. She is a powerful singer, there is no denying it.
The bands new album ‘Will to Power’ is a stunning record, which I’ve only listened to after tonight’s event, through fear of disappointment. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case and they leveled Rock City to its core, through shear brilliance. Listening to the new album is a great reminder of tonight’s event, which makes me smile every time I now listen to it, as I got to photograph the band for the first time which was a great honour, even if the pit was full!
Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)