Live Review: Beyond The Black @ O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, London 03/02/2017
Female-fronted symphonic metal outfit Beyond the Black headed over to the UK earlier this month and we caught them live at O2 Shepherds Bush Empire supporting Epica and Powerwolf.
Having been reduced to but one member in mid 2016, Beyond The Black have returned with a vengeance. Opening with their single “Lost In Forever” it’s apparent that this new band truly enjoys sharing a stage together. Frontwoman Jennifer (the only remaining original member) is full of smiles whilst guitarists Tobi, Chris and Stefan throw knowing laughs to each other every so often. As the first support, I was really happy to see a rather large audience in attendance – one that fed off the great stage presence of the symphonic/power metal six-piece. Accompanied by the growls of guitarist Chris, Jennifer’s vocal performance is incredibly strong and frankly mature for her years. The band have me rocking my head contentedly only wishing their set had been longer; their popular repertoire contains more than that which they played so I’ll definitely be catching them the next time they’re in town.
Then, Powerwolf stepped things up a notch.
Hailing from Germany like Beyond The Black, Powerwolf are a sight to behold. With golden birds flanking the drums, white corpse face paint and crosses for mic stands, they take gothic power metal to dizzying heights. Vocalist Attila has an impressive voice and I mean impressive. He’s confident and steadfast across his entire range, which borders on ridiculous. There are moments you almost forget you’re watching a metal show and not a rock opera - at which point a face-melting guitar lick will reassert you right back into the pit. Perhaps the defining moment of their set was before and during “Armata Strogoi” which features a good old-fashioned sing-along. Whilst it’s not exactly Queen at Wembley, Attila’s grasp over the crowd makes me grin like an idiot. With the guitarist “Greywolf” brothers on either side, keyboardist Falk running around the stage and drummer Roel bringing up the rear, Powerwolf set the stage for the main event: Epica.
Epica are one of the quintessential symphonic metal bands with a stage production to match – their light show is blinding in all the best ways. The soprano of singer Simone never ceases to amaze. The set features mostly new material from the band’s most recent album, “The Holographic Principle” but does include older material, much to the crowd’s delight. The mix of Simone’s operatic voice and Mark’s screams is well established, but it just works so well. Epica don’t show any signs of slowing down with yet another tour scheduled to support their new album.
Words and Photos of Rhys Haberfield