Tonights opening band is Sludge Metal trio Iron Swan. Hailing from Nottingham, the bands sound can only be described as an assault on the senses. Their set is a brief 20 minutes but its end is welcomed by myself and the poor lad who has actually fallen asleep on the barrier to my side. While their is no denying the strength of technical guitar work on display here, the songs blend to the point that it may as well have been a 1 song set. What at first is interesting and engaging soon became harrowing and quite annoying, which is a shame because as mentioned these musicians have some serious talent. Maybe the genre is somewhat lost on me, I can't say for sure, but I just feel they need to mix it up a little bit and bring a little more to the table to really impact on me with their music.
Next we have the mighty Soilwork, a band that have remained ever prominent on the Swedish Metal scene for almost 20 years. For me the chance to see them live is incredibly exciting. I joined the bands fanbase around 2005 with the release of 'Stabbing The Drama' an album that even now remains prominent on my playlists. So the personal hype was strong for this one and the hope they lived up to it was niggling my mind on the journey to the show. The fact I was also photographing created more pressure in my mind for the band to not let me down. So I am over the moon to be able to say they were on form in every way. The energy I had witnessed in Youtube videos from shows the world over was present. Björn Strid's vocals were flawless, his strength in a live environment was mesmerising. The overall musicianship on display was electrifying, the rooms energy pulsed and flowed like I had hoped and throw in the fact they played one of my favourite songs 'Stabbing The Drama' to close, and you've got a guy who's expectations were met and more.
Next we have our headliners Arch Enemy. I have dabbled with their music over the years, more prominently when former singer Angela Gossow was at the helm and my love for female fronted Metal dominated my musical tastes. But over subsequent years they dropped into the back of my mind as my tastes changed. When Gossow departed in 2014 and Alissa White-Gluz became the bands vocalist my interest had long gone. So 2 years down the line and the chance arose to photograph and review the band live crossed my path I decided to grab the opportunity, with the mindset that I wouldn't research any of Alissa's live shows before going in. I wanted to let my first ever experience of her fronting the band do the talking and I can officially say I have been reintroduced to a band I had long forgotten. Alissa commands the stage in a way I have only seen a few times, her electric blue hair a blur as she head bangs away and with vocal growls full of a ferocity and fire that add strength to the bands catalogue of songs. While for many fans this is the face of the band they recognise and have done now for over 2 years, for myself seeing tonights display for the first time was incredible. The previous energy that was ignited by Soilwork's set, was magnified ten fold. With songs new and old dominating the setlist, I have been left with the desire to backtrack on the years I have missed and play some catch up with Arch Enemy. Swedish Metal took Sheffield for a ride tonight and it was a ride I didn't want to get off.
Arch Enemy - https://www.facebook.com/archenemyofficial/?fref=ts
Soilwork - https://www.facebook.com/soilwork/
IRON SWAN - https://www.facebook.com/ironswansludge/?fref=ts
Photos - Friswell Photography