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Eluveiti and Amaranthe at Islington Assembly Hall, London - live review

Folk and power metallers pool their forces

Art for Eluveiti and Amaranthe live at Islington Assembly Hall, London

It’s a testament to the commitment of fans of this brand of metal that, in a world increasingly obsessed with finding the next quick fix, uber-cool subgenre or movement, a power metal and a folk metal band can join forces to co-headline, and pack out, such a prestigious venue as this. It’s impressive, but that doesn’t mean that AMARANTHE [5] are particularly enjoyable. For a band who feature three vocalists there is precious little in the way of diversity within their bombastic heavy metal. In fact, it’s really only when two of them step aside and allow Elize Ryd to front the band on her own and truly stretch her wonderful vocal range that Amaranthe ever look anything other than perfunctory. It’s a completely different story when ELUVEITIE [8] hit the stage, with each of their nine members feeling like essential components to the music and live experience. They also stand out from many of their contemporaries by managing to achieve a genuine level of heaviness alongside the plethora of the traditional folk instruments, from bagpipes to hurdy gurdy, they use. It gives songs like The Call Of The Mountain a really diverse quality, stopping them from relying on pure brutality and keeping them too rough for the tweeness that handicaps many of their peers. Frontman Chrigel Glanzmann takes the man of the match award, always the focal point, expertly directing the madness going on around him. Tonight it’s very much a case of folk 1, power 0.

Since blagging his way onto the Hammer team a decade ago, Stephen has written countless features and reviews for the magazine, usually specialising in punk, hardcore and 90s metal, and still holds out the faint hope of one day getting his beloved U2 into the pages of the mag. He also regularly spouts his opinions on the Metal Hammer Podcast.