I have to admit that I was disappointed when it was announced that High Voltage was to close and move to a new location. It almost never becomes the same when clubs are to be recreated. And the events I've attended at the old place were nothing but fantastic. I think they've managed to recreate the atmosphere in a very good way though. Perhaps the nature of the evening made it feel more hysteric than the other place. But what can you expect when, apart from a free entrance, there's also free beer for the first part of the night! Only in Denmark... (certainly not in Sweden at least)
The reason for queuing up this night was MANTICORA. They really killed all competition at ‘Nordic Noise Festival’ with an outstanding performance, and since the “To Kill to Live To Kill” album is a true masterpiece made this a no miss. And there were quite a few more with the same mindset as me at High Voltage because as soon as things started moving on stage the frontline got packed out. The new venue is of course still a small place but a good place for shows too. The layout of the stage certainly has improved with the move which both did the sound and lights good. (Oh, well... Lights, only partly)
Fabulous “The Black Circus” started the show and was followed by “The Gypsies Dance”. I was thrilled to see that particular song on the list. The thing though, I was hoping for Pt 1 as that is one of my favorite songs from MANTICORA. But I'm not complaining, Pt 2 is great too and that the dynamics came through the way they did in massive epic is another thing that sets the band apart from others hitting the stage. What impressed me at 'Nordic Noise Festival' was how distinct at tight MANTICORA's sound was. There are intense riffs in virtually all they're doing but it sounded absolutely perfect. Standing right in front of the speaker and Kristian H. Larsen's guitar-amp perhaps didn't make this one outstanding when it comes to sound, but for sure intensity. It doesn't get more straight-in-your-face than this and it's really fascinating to get to study someone as skilled as Kristian from up close. The attack in the riffs and the fines and tone in melodies and solos. At a place like this there's really nothing to hide behind and it's a pleasure to experience it all. I bet it would have been the same on the other side too, where Sebastian Andersen was standing too... I'll check that next time.
Everything they do is absolutely flawless. The precision and drive is amazing. But, they also fun to watch. Tech-Metal/Prog-Metal tend to be rather stiff or pretentious on occasion but MANTICORA seem to have a very good time up on stage and it's definitely not stiff. Much of that is of course signed to Lars F. Larsen who most likely can wake the dead with his energy but it works, he gets the response and impossible to net be affected by his performance. When I first heard MANTICORA, back around when “Hyperion” was released I though his voice was odd but once it settled I see it as unique rather, it has character. And he sure sounds as good live as on record. The “8 Deadly Sins” album has lately become as one favorite in the catalogue. It's moody, melodic and dynamic. The dark nature of the songs appeal to me so I was thrilled to get to hear “Playing God” and “Enigma” as both are super.
But they couldn't really measure up to the first outing from “To Kill To Live To Kill”. The dramatic and super-intense “Echoes Of A Silent Scream” which wrapped up the set for MANTICORA. Lars took the opportunity to promote his novel with the same title as the album before leaving the stage which tags on to the same class as the record.
So yes, both the band and the place get good grades for this event.
01. “The Black Circus”
02. “Gypsies Dance”
03. “A Long Farewell”
04. “Keeper Of Time”
05. “Playing God”
07. “Echoes Of A Silent Scream”
(click to enlarge)