Female Metal Voices feat. Sirenia + Forever Still + Lost in Grey + Kassogtha @ The Asylum, Birmingham on 29th November 2019

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Taking to the stage pretty much as soon as the doors open finds Kassogtha playing to just a handful of people which is a shame because they deserve a bigger audience. Hailing from Switzerland they bring a sound that hits the crowd like an avalanche and play with an energy that renders them extremely likeable. From their latest EP The Call we’re treated to a brutally heavy version of Pink Floyd’s ‘Welcome to the Machine’ which, like an anchor tied to a drowning man, drags the listener down to delirious depths. Also from The Call ‘Pale Horizon’ evidences a lot of variety and ensures they bow out on a high.

Lost in Grey describe their sound as Theatrical Metal and that’s a pretty apt title as they proceed to create cinematic soundscapes. Opening with the monolithic ‘The Waste Land’ Lost in Grey have a sound that ululates and almost breathes. With the musicians hidden beneath cowls they cut an imposing figure as the two female vocalists, Anne Lill and Emily Leone, add some divine harmonies. ‘Wolves Among Men’ is augmented by some fine violin which give things a folky feel while the haunting keys give the music an otherworldly quality. With songs verging on the epic four tracks make up their set of which ‘Dark Skies’, a tune which captures the essence of their native Finland, is a song of icy, glacial proportions and a definite highlight.

Forever Still are operating as a trio tonight and immediately dispel with any niceties and attack all senses with a sonic assault. Anything but stationary drummer Rune Frisch is a blur of sticks while guitarist Inuuteq Kleemann is all over the stage like a rash. To call vocalist Maja Shining hyperactive is an understatement as she covers every inch of the stage like an athlete and whips the crowd into a frenzy. Tonight’s show is not only a celebration of the female voice but also the wide spectrum of metal it inhabits and Forever Still are amalgamating modern and alternative rock to create a unique hybrid. There’s lots of nuances to Inuuteq’s playing, especially on the powerful ‘Survive’ and, in a set full of high points, ‘Breathe in Colours’ sets the venue aflame.

An unbearably long intro ramps up the tension before guitarists Morton Veland and Nils Corbaron appear and crush the first few rows with the brutally heavy riff of ‘In Styx Embrace’. Vocalist Emmanuelle Zoldan materialises like The Woman in Black to add some  gothic glamour to proceedings. ‘Dim Days of Dolor’ follows and by the time we get to third track ‘Treasure n’ Treason’ Sirenia have the crowd in the palm of their hands. ‘Queen of Lies’, from their ninth, and latest, album Arcane Astral Aeons shows the band still have plenty in the tank and points to a bright future. It’s something of a career spanning set as we visit the bands genesis with ‘Meridian’ then onto the haunting ‘My Mind’s Eye’ which juxtaposes Emmanuelle’s operatic vocals with Morton’s harsh and, each acting as a foil for the other, they work very well in tandem. ‘The Other Side’ exists within a swirling vortex and speeds us towards set closer ‘The Path to Decay’. It’s Sabbath-like in it’s crawl and builds to a monumental crescendo and ensues Sirenia bow out on a high.

Reviewed by Peter Dennis.

Sirenia Set List:

  1. In Styx Embrace
  2. Dim Days of Dolor
  3. Treasure n’ Treason
  4. Queen of Lies
  5. Into the Night
  6. Meridian
  7. My Mind’s Eye
  8. The Other Side
  9. The Path to Decay.

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