Indelibly different yet united in the principle that all bands are fronted by women, The United Principle features atrifecta of morose tonalities from Oceans of Slumber, the high energy Symphonic Metal of Epica and the Avant Garde Black Metal of Danish born Myrkur. Each band has something beautiful to offer with a varied line up that ensures that Metalhead’s with an open mind will have so much to take home from their performances at the Kentish Town Forum tonight.
As silence is blanketed over the audience as the imperious gaze of Oceans of Slumber is fixed upon its audience, the band almost ask for quiet before beginning their set with “Fleeting Vigilance“. Comprised entirely of The Banished Heart material the band’s emotional punch is heightened with the delivery of these poignant songs. Each tugging at the heartstrings of the audience as singer Cammie Gilbert’s soulful serenades worm their way through the crowd, bringing a tear to even the most hardy of Metalhead. The only drawback from the band’s performance is the brevity of it all. Given that each track is a lengthy affair, it just makes you hungry for more. Given the level of performance from each member tonight, London will be welcoming Oceans of Slumber back with open arms for a headline tour.
Following on from the weep-fest from our Houston troupe, I wish the same emotional connection could be said for Myrkur. Unfortunately the Danish one woman Black Metal extravaganza appears without saying a single word and much of the impact, of what is on record, very interesting atmospheric Black Metal is lost on the audience here tonight. Powering through a setlist that consists of both material from album M as well as 2017’s Mareridt, the singer employs all manner folk instruments, yet personally, it almost seems to be more of a gimmick. With a line up that might have the consistency in its front-women, the genre change you could argue was somewhat too severe. Not to mention that the sound is not on Myrkur’s side and not even speaking to the audience never really does an artist any favours in my book. Overall a somewhat disappointing mismatched sound that fell short of the mark.
After the avant garde wailing was over, the main performance burst out from The Forum’s stage as the introduction of “Eidola” moves the audience directly into the “Edge of The Blade” of The Holographic Principle. Instantly beaming with delight the Dutch Symphonic Metal powerhouse absolutely dominate the stage, understanding not only themselves but how create a real buzz from the crowd simultaneously. With material spanning throughout their career, the biggest cuts come from the Buddha worshipping Quantum Enigma, seeing the largest amount of movement from the crowd on “Reverence (Living In The Heart)” whose cinematic touches bring the audience jumping.
Despite their stature, Epica’s performance remains one of intimacy with band members making terrible, yet charming small talk and not to mention the band’s instrumental ability. Belting out the likes of “Unchain Utopia” from the top of her lungs, Simone Simmons proves that she is wholeheartedly one of the most talented and multidimensional front-women in Metal today. Ending on the three hits of “Sancta Terra“, followed by “Beyond The Matrix” and finally “Consign To Oblivion” Epica close an absolutely triumphant set, that if anything fuels the fire for their potential to perform in even bigger venues in the future. Bringing together three very different bands, from very different genre backgrounds was a gamble that somewhat worked but fell slightly short of the mark, nevertheless a fantastic showcase is some of the best bands going in Metal.