Sanctuary @ Camden Underworld, London (UK)

SANCTUARY / MONUMENT / METASOMA

Date: 03rd March, 2015
Venue: Camden Underworld
Ticket: £18 ($27/€25)
Promoter: n/a


Despite it was a Tuesday, the crowd inside the The World’s End pub was steadily growing in number as it was getting closer to doors-opening time. For me, this was one of the most anticipated days ever. I’ve missed SANCTUARY on their earlier visits to Europe for various reasons. This was not going to be the case for this event.

The local guys of METASOMA hit the stage half an hour after opening time. I assume the Metal scene has grown in the UK the last few years and it’s always good to see new bands coming up. Even if modern melodic Death Metal isn’t my absolutely favourite, I really enjoyed what METASOMA delivered. The style and feel was very similar to the US band INTO ETERNITY and in my world this is absolutely a plus. When compared to other bands of this genre, METASOMA (as well as INTO ETERNITY) have a lot of structure and fines in their music; it’s not 3-chord pop music with a Heavy production as it can be, this is the real deal. It’s of course hard to grasp if this was a good performance or not, since I’ve never heard of the band prior to this gig. No matter what, I really enjoyed to watch them play as well as their music. By the way, ”Mirror Of Lies” was a fantastic heavy piece with lots of good melodies. Newly assigned vocalist Richard Ashton had a great voice and stage persona. As for the song, the mix between clean and harsh vocals fitted perfectly. Also, ”Life Decent” sounded amazing. It’s a bit strange with this type of music actually; I tend to appreciate it very much when seeing it live but I never get the same boost listening to records. A boost I got from METASOMA so I guess they deserve a chance on record too.

METASOMA

Metasoma @ Camden Underworld, London (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Metasoma @ Camden Underworld, London (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Metasoma @ Camden Underworld, London (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Metasoma @ Camden Underworld, London (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Metasoma @ Camden Underworld, London (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Metasoma @ Camden Underworld, London (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Metasoma @ Camden Underworld, London (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Metasoma @ Camden Underworld, London (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Metasoma @ Camden Underworld, London (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Metasoma @ Camden Underworld, London (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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Next was MONUMENT. Reading a bit about the band before the gig, I found out that the lineup featured ex members from WHITE WIZZARD which set the tone a bit on my expectations. I really like WHITE WIZZARD so, of course, I was curious to see what MONUMENT was all about. And everyone inside The Underworld was up for a treat. Many of the new Heavy Metal bands, as SKULLFIST, KATANA etc have adapted the fury the NWOBHM had during the early '80s and MONUMENT was no exception. It’s a lot of fun to watch these bands and it was a pleasure to listen to MONUMENT too. Their music is rather similar to WHITE WIZZARD so the IRON MAIDEN references were dominant. This doesn’t matter much when it sounds good and is not directly stolen from the originals. Vocalist Peter Ellis has a fantastic capacity and a great voice to carry the catchy melodies of MONUMENT. However, even if seeing the band performing was a true pleasure, it felt a bit too much of the same thing after a while. This may have to do with me not being familiar with MONUMENT’s music (either) but a bit more dynamics and variation wouldn’t be wrong. This is a petty to mark upon since the whole thing was much enjoyable to watch and what they did came across as perfect. So, MONUMENT surely is a band to look out for.

MONUMENT

Monument @ Camden Underworld, London (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Monument @ Camden Underworld, London (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Monument @ Camden Underworld, London (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Monument @ Camden Underworld, London (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Monument @ Camden Underworld, London (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Monument @ Camden Underworld, London (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Monument @ Camden Underworld, London (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Monument @ Camden Underworld, London (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Monument @ Camden Underworld, London (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Monument @ Camden Underworld, London (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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And then, the moment I’d been waiting for arrived. I remember seeing “Future Tense” on Headbanger’s Ball back in the day and after the first view, I did everything I could to find “Into The Mirror Black” record since that track was one of the best things I had ever heard. Getting both of them along and “Refuge Denied” and I had a new favourite band.

I’ve seen NEVERMORE countless times so I’m fully aware that Warrel Dane always delivers, but it still feels nervous seeing a band for the first time. Then, in the front row, earlier sparsely populated Underworld quickly filled up after MONUMENT finished their last song. So I wasn’t the only one eager to see SANCTUARY play. Openers from last year’s release “The Year The Sun Died” were “Arise And Purify” followed by “Let The Serpent Follow Me” and it took just half the first song to wash away all doubts I had prior to the show. Damn, SANCTUARY sounds good and Warrel’s voice is perfect. It was good to see that they got a very decent response on the new songs as well. Else it can be that people don’t care about the new stuff and just show up at the concert for the classics.

Of course, the classics got bigger cheers but I do think this depends on, just as for me, people have been waiting so long to hear these tracks live. Before the show, I was wonder which songs would be picked and if Warrel still would be able to deliver. I mean, both “Die For My Sins” and “Battle Angels” are crazy high-pitched. But it all sounded amazing and add to this the fact that the band enjoys being on stage and today’s SANCTUARY sure is charged to do so. The stage-front was handed over to Jim Sheppard to kick off “White Rabbit”. The track is good and SANCTUARY’s version is damn good but I still would have preferred another original in place of this one. Warrel’s ad-libs in the beginning and the way he can scream in such a high pitched with some effects added sounded damn cool.

The hit parade continued with “Future Tense” and “Mirror Black”, again in perfection while the response from the crowd was really strong. I guess it took a few songs for all to wake up because after that it really didn’t matter what SANCTUARY were playing because everything went down really well. And why not, the recent album is just as fantastic as the classics. One of my favourites, or the favourite from the new album is doubtless “Question Existence Fading”, so having that one in the set really made my day. For this track, Warrel started a bit early, I doubt many realized it because the save was very smooth. If it hadn’t been for the rest of the band laughing, he really could have gotten away with it. Not that it matters, it’s always fun to see that favourite bands are humans and since it was solved as smooth as it was, it just made the show even more special.

One of the main reasons for me selecting the London show was that this was a headline gig, the rest of the tour, apart from two shows in Greece, SANCTUARY were a part of OVERKILL’s ‘Killfest’ as openers. In London, it sure was value for money when it come to amount of music and songs. A set clocking around one a a half hours passed by in no time and it’s hard to pick the absolute highlight of the show. Of course, it is amazing to hear the classics and a few more were actually up before the show was over, “Taste Revenge” is a true favourite. But how good the new songs sounded live; they’re great on record but having the band at arm’s reach enhanced the whole experience. Also, the intensity and dynamic got better live, even in such a small venue as The Underworld. Anyway, it was long since I felt this elated after a show which means it was really good and leaving the venue I kind of wished, knowing what were delivered, that I still was waiting for the show. Sure, wouldn’t mind seeing SANCTUARY again... ‘Killfest’ up next then!!!

SANCTUARY setlist:

01. "Arise And Purify"
02. "Let The Serpent Follow Me"
03. "Seasons Of Destruction"
04. "Die For My Sins"
05. "Battle Angels"
06. "White Rabbit"
07. "Future Tense"
08. "Mirror Black"
09. "Exitium (Anthem Of The Living)"
10. "Question Existence Fading"
11. "Soldiers Of Steel"
12. "Taste Revenge"
13. "Sanctuary"
14. "Frozen"
15. "The Year The Sun Died"

SANCTUARY

Sanctuary @ Camden Underworld, London (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Sanctuary @ Camden Underworld, London (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Sanctuary @ Camden Underworld, London (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Sanctuary @ Camden Underworld, London (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Sanctuary @ Camden Underworld, London (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Sanctuary @ Camden Underworld, London (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Sanctuary @ Camden Underworld, London (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Sanctuary @ Camden Underworld, London (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Sanctuary @ Camden Underworld, London (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Sanctuary @ Camden Underworld, London (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Sanctuary @ Camden Underworld, London (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Sanctuary @ Camden Underworld, London (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Sanctuary @ Camden Underworld, London (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Sanctuary @ Camden Underworld, London (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Sanctuary @ Camden Underworld, London (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Sanctuary @ Camden Underworld, London (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Sanctuary @ Camden Underworld, London (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Sanctuary @ Camden Underworld, London (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Sanctuary @ Camden Underworld, London (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Sanctuary @ Camden Underworld, London (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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