LIVE PHOTOS: Kamelot, Delain, Battlebeast
Review by Jeff Maki
During March and April of 2018, we have provided in-depth coverage of symphonic metallers Kamelot. From an early review of its new album, “The Shadow Theory” (read here), to our exclusive interview with frontman, Tommy Karevik (read that here), to videos, tour dates and more, we’ve been doing our best to promote this great band and new album. This April was also special because our metalhead dad, Roger was celebrating his 70th birthday, so we brought him along for the show.
So now that the new album has been released, would our endeavors and excitement be awarded with a killer live show from Kamelot? I think we all know the answer to that question, but read on.
The Fillmore Silver Spring is a venue we frequent quite often. It has easy access, it’s a larger, more open, newer venue and always has great sound. There was a decent crowd for a weeknight filling in to about three quarters full as the evening progressed. And there were even drink specials in honor of Kamelot.
Finland’s Battlebeast opened the show and had a few fairly enthusiastic fans in attendance. But you don’t have to be a full-fledged fan of Battlebeast to pump your fists, headbang and clap to charismatic vocalist Noora Louhimo and her band’s style of classic ’80s hard rock and metal. Think Twisted Sister, Grim Reaper, Accept and others in this memorable era. Standouts included “Straight to the Heart,” “Familiar Hell” and “King for a Day,” all of which are featured on the band’s latest release, “Bringer of Pain” (Nuclear Blast, 2017). Battlebeast was also Dad’s favorite of the bands performing.
I was impressed with Delain. I have been a fan of the Dutch band for the past few years and thought its latest release, “Moonbathers,” had a chance to be its most successful album to date. But it wasn’t until after seeing this strong live set that I realized how deep of an album “Moonbathers” is. I’ve been re-listening to it ever since. Released in August 2016, it also says something that the band still is touring strong for the album.
Vocalist and centerpiece Charlotte Wessels got the crowd involved early in the set, with chants of “Char-lotte! Char-lotte!” being heard. It’s hard to notice, but there is a band up there—co-founder and former Within Temptation member, keyboardist Martijn Westerholt, bassist Otto Schimmelpenninck van der Oije, lead guitarist Timo Somers, rhythm guitarist Merel Bechtold and drummer Joey de Boer. But it’s hard to take your eyes and ears off Charlotte.
Roughly half of “Moonbathers” was played, and even the deeper cuts could be singles for Delain and probably would be for any other band. “Hands of Gold,” “Suckerpunch,” “The Glory and the Scum,” “The Hurricane,” “Danse Macabre” and “Fight Fire With Fire” were all featured in the set. The latter three are the ones that caught my attention—these songs have a timeless feel to them and brings me back to the fledgling days of “female fronted symphonic metal” of the late ’90’s and early 2000’s.
I think it’s safe to say that Delain fulfilled fans’ hopes, delivering a strong and infectious set, and also, without a doubt won over some new ears in the crowd.
Delain Set List:
“Hands of Gold”
“The Glory and the Scum”
“Fire with Fire”
“Don’t Let Go”
“We Are the Others”
Let me just start with saying that Tommy Varetik is the perfect frontman, both in the studio and onstage. He is tall, broad and larger than life centerstage, and even more imposing atop of a riser he stood on for a good portion of the set. Another thing that sets him apart from other leads, is that he’s genuinely happy. He doesn’t yell at the crowd and curse and act like an animal. There is a certain amount of prestige surrounding he and the band.
The vocals and overall sound of the band—rounded out by guitarist Thomas Youngblood, keyboardist Oliver Palotai, bassist Sean Tibbetts and drummer Johan Nunez (recently replacing former longtime skinsman Casey Grillowere)— were clear as day. The setlist consisted mostly of older cuts (some of which I had to think hard to recognize), with some new songs, of course, featured also.
The standout for me was the opener (that I correctly predicted in my review of the new album), “Phantom Divine (The Shadow Empire).” The song features all aspects of modern-day Karevik-fronted Kamelot, with a soaring chorus. Other new tracks were heard from the stage for the first time like the highly melodic “Ravenlight” and the catchy “Amnesiac. “Liar Liar (Wasteland Monarchy)” was the set closer and is probably the highlight of this current era of the band.
Kamelot brought a special guest on this tour: vocalist Lauren Hart of the U.S. death metal band Once Human. She was featured on the aforementioned “Phantom Divine (Shadow Empire)” and also appears on the studio album and in the music video. But it didn’t end there. Standing behind the band on a platform, Hart’s tight, black leather wardrobe (the same seen in the video) resembled something of a Cenobite (except much prettier). She would walk out to the forefront when her parts came up (see below) and provide demonic backing growls, adding an injection of heaviness and energy, completing Kamelot’s range of sound. She even filled the large shoes of Alissa White-Gluz for her vocals parts on “Liar, Liar.” Think of her as her prodigy and check out Once Human—I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. The fans got an extra special treat towards the end of the set when both Hart and Charlotte Wessels joined Karevik on vocals for “Sacrimony (Angel of Afterlife).”
This was a great start to the 2018 concert season. It was my first time seeing all three bands and I wish every month of the year we could be occupied with a band as good as Kamelot and an album as good as “The Shadow Theory.”
Kamelot Set List:
“Phantom Divine (Shadow Empire)” (with Lauren Hart)
“Rule the World”
“The Great Pandemonium”
“When the Lights are Down”
“End of Innocence”
“Veil of Elysium”
“Here’s to the Fall”
“March of Mephisto” (with Lauren Hart)
“Sacrimony (Angel of Afterlife)” (with Charlotte Wessels & Lauren Hart)
“Forever” (with keyboard solo/intro)
“Liar Liar (Wasteland Monarchy)” (with Lauren Hart)
KAMELOT On The Road: THE SHADOW TOUR 2018 – Silver Spring USA