Epic / Eluveitie / Scar Symmetry

Dutch maestros blend grace and grit

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SCAR SYMMETRY [6] are the odd band out here tonight, and the muted reception for their melodic death metal is in direct opposition to the amount of toil they put into their performance.

ELUVEITIE [7], however, are a perfect fit. They play a full hour set plus encore with a production that is far grander than many headlining bands, and captivate those present throughout. It helps that they are far gruffer than many of their folk metal contemporaries, the pure death metal vocals of Chrigel Glanzmann giving them an edge of genuine heaviness. But there are a few too many moments when they drift too close to the clichéd and twee, such as teaching the crowd to yodel. Yes, really.

Eluveitie play Pied Pipers with Epica’s crowd

Eluveitie play Pied Pipers with Epica’s crowd (Image credit: Marie Korner)

There was no way EPICA [8] were going to be overawed by the sight of a huge production, and they themselves bring enough flash bulbs and strobes to illuminate all of London. Obviously the Dutch maestros have designs on following fellow countrymen Within Temptation into arenas over here as the show is as slick and bombastic as any you’d care to mention in this genre.

Simone Simons has a dexterous pair of lungs and a vocal range that can seemingly go anywhere, but, again, the added dose of growls from Mark Jansen means that Epica have the guts and grit to one-up many of their peers.

Stephen Hill

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.