Good things do indeed come in three’s as the saying goes. With tonight playing host to a varied and downright wicked unholy of trinities, Sweden’s own Tribulation, Finland’s bards Wintersun and multi cultural warmongers Arch Enemy band together for what was one of the best performances throughout all three acts. Arriving at the sold out Koko, with the line stretching right round the front of the venue, you would be daft for not turning up early for one of, what I personally think, are one of the best bands to have come out of the Black Metal scene.
Tribulation, a band that don’t do anything by halves. Theatrical down the last moment of their performance, its a spellbinding unison of Heavy Metal, Horror and Black Metal. Opening with the ripper of “Lady Death” before moving into Children of The Night territory for double whammy of “Melancholia” and “The Motherhood of God”, its a sight to behold just how far that Tribulation have come in such a short span following their luminary Children of The Night. Yet it doesn’t horde all the limelight here tonight as “Nightbound” and performance closer “The Lament” prove that this is merely the beginning. With elastic guitarists Adam and Jonathan flanking either side of the stage amidst smoke machines, it almost feel as though we’re watching a beautifully choreographed piece of dance. Taking their leave with a heroic outro, you would be easily mistaken that this was Tribulation’s headline performance, yet never is there a hint of arrogance, they are just quite simply, that brilliant.
Up next, somewhat different in the music spectrum but no less spectacular are Finnish Folk legends Wintersun. At long last emerging from the cryostasis that was the studio the band are fresh out and ready to perform material from their new opus. Despite only performing six tracks, the band ensnare a packed out Koko with 14 minute plus opener “Awaken From The Dark Slumber (Spring)“, no mean feat! Though not a huge fan of the band I must admit, the sheer energy that the group bring together in the surge of “Sons of Winter and Stars” is enough to put even the most miserable of Metal fan into a state of nature infused bliss even for its thirteen minute run time! Its also worth noting just how brilliantly mixed Wintersun’s sound is, an essential component with a band that is as musically busy as the Finn’s. Ending their performance with grand finale “Time” its a testament to the staying power of a band like Wintersun’s and the sheer dedication of their fanbase. Sipping from what looks like a tea, Jari Maenpaa gleefully looks over the crowd here tonight rounding off what has been an absolutely phenomenal performance, that could well have turned me round to their wizards and warlocks magic.
Currently campaigning throughout the world on their tour of Will To Power, Arch Enemy hit London tonight for the capital’s own taste of just what Will To Power can do. With the crowd waiting with baited breath, all eyes are center stage as the imperious introduction signals the arrival of “The World Is Yours“. Working as the perfect introduction to this evenings proceedings, its a testament to Arch Enemy’s live ability to truly execute a flawless set that would have even the most miserable of Metalheads’ jaws hit the floor.
Weaving in between new era cuts the likes of “War Eternal“, “You Will Know My Name” and “As The Pages Burn” its evidence that the band’s new material can stack up just as well against the classics of “Dead Eyes See No Future” and “Dead Will Bury Their Dead” from Wages of Sin, though the curveball performance of “The Eagle Flies Alone” surprises more than just myself as truly one of the highlights of the band’s performance today. Nevertheless, you can’t beat the classic war cry of “We Will Rise” and of course the encore of “Nemesis”, which still to this day reminds me of being sixteen in my bedroom air guitaring, a sentiment which temporarily escapes in the world whilst watching these heroes of mine. Performing magnificently together this evening the crowd and band come together forming a beautiful marriage understanding the true spirit of heavy metal, in the words of “Nemesis” “we are one!” couldn’t be more apt. A stunning headline performance and one for the books!