Serenity + Pythia + Lost In Thought @ Bogiez, Cardiff – 24th March 2012

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Review by Paul Quinton

I’d been looking forward to seeing Nemesea a lot, finding their layering of electronic influences onto the standard gothic/symphonic metal template really intriguing. But sadly, it was not to be, so the evening’s proceedings were opened by local prog metal band Lost In Thought. I’d seen them before, supporting both Delain and Threshold last year, and after an unimpressive first encounter, they’d improved a lot by the second gig. Tonight’s show continued the trend as this was a pretty enjoyable show. They really have improved a considerable amount in the last 12 months, with hints of Dream Theater, Kamelot and, for the real prog metal connoisseur, the American band Ring of Fire. Lost in Thought only had enough time to play four songs on the night, but what we did hear sounded really good. Allowing for the limitations of the venue, they could do with a bit more stage presence, but well worth looking out for.

It’s always a pleasure to see Pythia live, as they never fail to put on an entertaining show, and for me it was good to finally see them in a venue where the PA did them some justice. They’re one of those bands who you suspect would be much bigger if they were Dutch or Scandanavian, but I think it’s a bit of a mistake to automatically put them in the female fronted gothic/symphonic metal stereotype. Yes, Emily Alice Ovenden has an opera style voice (contralto?), but the music has much more of a power metal base. They opened with ‘Cry Of Our Nation’ from the new album, then gave us a great version of ‘Sarah (Bury Her)’ from their debut, before playing more new material. I can’t help feeling that UK audiences might be a bit too cynical and wary of the costumes and imagery, but the new material sounds great, so hopefully it will get Pythia out to a wider audience.

As Serenity pointed out, they’d travelled a long way for this gig, “1400 kilometres” as singer Georg Neuheuser informed us, and it’s credit to them that they could put on a really good show in what could have been somewhat dispiriting circumstances. The stage was so small that keyboard player Mario Hirzinger was invisible to most of the crowd; although there was a healthy looking crowd outside the venue, it looked a disappointing turnout once inside, and, later in the gig, the behaviour of some of the latecomers, who’d quite clearly never been to a proper gig in their lives and had obvious trouble in understanding why Simon Cowell wasn’t present, must have made them want to throw it all in. Nonetheless, throughout the set, they showed a real determination to show us what a good band they can be. The set had a healthy proportion of songs from their latest album, Death and Legacy, which sounded really good live, and the band were obviously  keen to make another mark on UK audiences after their impressive stint with Delain last year. Neuheuser is a fine singer, in the Roy Khan mould, and this time around they augmented their sound with ex-Whyzdom singer, Clementine Delaunay, which gave the songs even more of an epic feel. Overall, the playing and especially the vocals were consistently excellent throughout the set. This is a really good band.

Despite the outside issues, this was a pretty good gig, outstanding value for the ticket price, with some good music from all three bands. It’s a shame there weren’t more there to see it, but I’ll look forward to seeing all three bands again sometime.