It’s a hot Wednesday night, I’ve baked in the car all the way from parents’ evening and the Snooty Fox in Wakefield is not helping: let’s just say Eden’s Curse bring a crowd. And what a crowd. There’s fist pumping, gyrating, howling, clapping, word-for-word lyric-singers and wall-to-wall sweaty bodies, all eager for this set. These are some hardcore fans; some have come all the way from Japan!
For those that have never been to the Snooty Fox, it’s not a huge venue by any stretch of the imagination but it’s big on lights and sound, and has a fond following among the local Metal scene. Many an up-and-coming band has trodden the well-worn boards there; hell, even I’ve played there in my misspent youth. I was a little surprised though that Eden’s Curse had chosen this venue, knowing the size of their following and considering such achievements as opening for Dream Theater; I was a little concerned that they may struggle in a smaller venue.
I needn’t have worried.
From the opener, new album title track Symphony of Sin, there is a palpable energy that spreads through the crowd and one can close one’s eyes and imagine being in a huge venue with several thousand people. Eden’s Curse make the venue as big as their sound.
Above: Eden’s Curse in full swing
Eden’s Curse have played all over the world, yet this is their first headlining tour in the UK. Travelling all the way from Glasgow to London over the space of a week, playing every night, in the humid English May; quite a challenge. Yet the band are brimming with energy and there are no signs of fatigue. They clearly love this and want more, which makes the crowd want more too.
Nikola Mijic is the band’s new singer and a capable frontman, but really it’s bassist Paul Logue who is running the show. He struts the stage with an easy confidence that is all charm and no arrogance, giving shoutouts to loyal fans and catching eyes and grinning, winding the crowd up even more. Nikola’s vocals seem a little over enthusiastic at first – a bit over keen and piercing on the high notes! But as we get a few songs in this seems to settle and wow, this guy can sing. Backed up by Paul and new keyboardist Steve Williams (Power Quest, ex-DragonForce), the vocal harmonies are mostly flawless and add to the rich, multi-layered melodies that are the Curse’s trademark.
Above: Bassist Paul Logue
The term ‘Melodic Metal’ often seems to make people think of a softer kind of Metal, something less rocking, and fair enough, this isn’t grindcore and no one is going to die from a double-bass-pedal induced seizure. But these guys rock. It’s not just the fact that the songs are good, catchy tunes; Falling from Grace and Turn the Page particularly stand out from Wednesday night. These guys slam into these melodies and bring them to wailing life. There’s a sense of theatre that is dramatic without being cheesy, and a sombreness tinged with humour and balanced by such obvious camaraderie between the band members that it’s impossible not to smile. There’s no pretention here; these guys enjoy what they do and they are good at it.
Above: Noise master Steve Williams at work
Guitarist Thorsten Koehne (Code of Perfection, Demon Drive) makes his Dean Razorback (that’s a sexy guitar) sing and howl in equal measure. All the more impressive as he’s a left handed guitarist who doesn’t string the guitar the other way around; very unusual! The range of sounds that come from that guitar is fantastic. New drummer John Clelland (self-proclaimed ‘one half of the Scottish rhythm section’) is as tight as they come and a great addition to the line-up.
Above: Guitarist Thorsten Koehne coaxes unearthly sounds from his Razorback.
So it’s hot, and it’s humid, but these guys have everyone moving including me. As the gig progresses Nikola’s energy just seems to build and build until he is practically vibrating off the stage, he is bounding around so much! As the gig comes to its crashing close, he demands everyone ‘raise the fucking roof off’ and I’m almost surprised when the ceiling remains intact… A performance that is truly Evil and Divine.