As metal enthusiasts queued hours ahead of show time on 11th February, 2018 for the sold out show as Arch Enemy took on London’s Koko for the Will To Power European Tour it was bound to be an unforgettable Sunday night. An event I’ve been waiting months for with support from the sensational Wintersun and the dark and mysterious Tribulation. Be prepared to have your forces depleted from your body.
7pm and the venue was packed with a pumped crowd and that could only mean it was time to enter the death metal abyss with Swedish horror metal quartet Tribulation. This band seriously exceeded my expArcectations of the extreme, black metal bands you hear and see every day. They delivered a haunting show of hellish guitars and pounding double drum pedaling by Oscar Leander. The eerie melodies and catchy hooks were impressive. Bewitched by guitarist Jonathan Hulten, his extravagant performance had the crowd hypnotized throughout. Vocalist and bass player Johannes Andersson’s addictive, harsh vocal ability matched the lyrical theme perfectly and was well received by the crowd just two songs in. The short, alluring set came to a close with latest track “The Lament” which had the crowd craving for more.
That eagerly awaited moment had arrived for me to feel the symphonic elements of metal, it was time for Wintersun! The Finnish epic metallers made an award winning entrance met with a thunderous reception and as soon as vocalist Jari Maeenpaan appeared fists were pumping the air already. “Winter Madness” saw the first of many mass sing-alongs and Jari knew exactly how to work the crowd leading them like a conductor would lead an orchestra. The response was pure pandemonium in the pit! His vocal range reached unimaginable heights and battered our aural receptors during “Loneliness” which saw the crowd sway in unison absorbing the supremacy of the sound. The orchestral samples that the band use translated well in the live environment with multiple layers of guitar played live. Joe Satriani and John Petrucci come to mind, however the stellar guitar work delivered by Teemu Mantysaari truly made the set sensational putting him in his own calibre. He delivered a highly technical performance of flourishing riffs and intense solos. Credit where due guitarist Asim Searah is worthy of a mention as he produced meticulous rhythms with sheer intensity throughout the entire set which complimented the overall sound.
After the energy unleashed during Wintersun, momentum was high. It was finally time for headliners Arch Enemy to hit us with some melodic death metal as they entered the stage to backing track “Set Flame to the Night” and an intense strobe light show which set the crowd on fire and ploughed straight into the predictable “The World Is Yours.” Fans were delighted to hear set staples “War Eternal” which saw the first surge of crowd surfers and “You Will Know My Name.” Lead vocalist Alissa White-Gluz annihilated London with her intense guttural screams and skillfully worked the crowd with simple words “sing it!”. Her energy was uncompromising, and her aggression coupled with the heavy metal riffing radiated passion and enthusiasm throughout made it a cutthroat performance. The voice reminiscent of the beast belted out extraordinary clean vocals during “Reason to Believe” which demonstrated her versatility. It was chillingly spine tingling. Guitarist Michael Amott stepped out of Alissa’s shadow as he and drummer Daniel Erlandsson played out hair-raising solos before propelling straight into the next song. The legendary energetic set came to an end with three encore songs and their greatest hit “Nemesis.” Alissa was in her element and the crowd was lapping it up as they sang “we are one, one for all.”
Overall, this truly was an unforgettable evening of moshing, crowd surfing and brutal pit action all in the name of “Will to Power,” Arch Enemy’s latest offering. Tribulation can testify to their talents with their spooky, memorable set and eerie guitar melodies. Wintersun constantly delivered with perfection and created a captivating atmosphere which was incomparable. Headliner’s Arch Enemy’s destructive stage performance was met with a seething rage of aggression- one to remember for a lifetime! Catch them in a city near you as they continue with The Will to Power world tour.