London Astoria - London - 18.11.2003
review by dalia "gryphon_spirit" di giacomo  - all pics © by Stefan "Absolut_Evidence" Vogelaar


live report Zürich

The public use of these photos   

is strictly prohibited without written permission



London, England again, after 2 years (when i was visiting these shores in occasion of the Xmas gig that Paradise Lost performed in Milton Keynes)! Moreover it's my  b-day, can  exist a better way to celebrate it than attending a Paradise Lost concert? So, after the brilliant gig seen in Zürich , i receive this unique gift: to have the possibility to follow again my fav band ever for the sixth time this year! At the same time,  i take also the occasion to see the "mythical" venue London Astoria. After a serene flight, the Swiss part of gryphonmetal, Stefan and me, is landing at 11:45 (Greenwich time) at Luton airport. After having reached the English capital, found our hostel near Soho, and met other die-hard fans of the band called "weepers" (i'm a weeper too for the record), here we are: at the Astoria around 19:00. I'm impressed: this venue was probably a cinema and/or theatre before, and now, has maintained that structure , but it is absolutely amazing: i heard a bit about its "claustrophobic" atmosphere, and yes , maybe it can appear a bit claustrophobic but above all, imo, is looking like the Thunderdome from Mel Gibson's Mad Max movie: something obscure, something belonging to a futuristic  post- civilization era, something absolutely fascinating, with a huge stage , able of guesting surely much more than thousand persons. Surreal, truly surreal!. cannot believe. And without delimitations for the photopit: of course it will be not agreeable for Stefan to force his way through the crowd while taking pics, but, at least, i can even put  my notebook on the very border of the stage. Like in Zürich: Paradise Lost very near , almost "hautnah" (very near to a person's skin) , like Germans use to say...

DEATHSTARS        deathstars               review Synthetic Generation        live report Zürich


20:14 Long sinister dark industrial intro that is fully suitable for this environment: Deathstars hit the stage assuming a line facing the drumkit, waiting for the intro to fade away in order to  turn to the audience and let their strings thunder heavy, and so much that already from the first track the floor and walls are  vibrating giving a particular feeling of impending reverberation that hits body and mind . New dead Nation opens the concert, and Whiplasher's voice sounds mighty and agreeable like it was in Zürich. His stage acting shows the same plastic and theatrical attitude, while bassist and guitarists tend to maintain their position in line, showing anyway the same energy and determination already seen at Abart. The stage is very huge, and therefore there is no possibility to re-create that motion and that acting that Deathstars are able to do in a smaller place, but anyway the optical impact is good, as the musical one is as well, and the more the band will play the more the interest of the crowd will grow. The biggest part  of the audience is very interested without doubt. And this interest is very clear :it filters out  from looks and faces. So i can say that the impact with the English audience is in general positive. After the first applauses given to New Dead Nation, singer Whiplasher thanks" All right! Thank you! We are Deathstars from Sweden!". Also with the second track, the electronic background is well balanced by the strings: everything sounds much more amplified here, and this amplification underlines the general darkness and heaviness,  though,  consequently,  some musical details suffer a bit. Anyway also  Semi-automatic gets through the test. At 20:24 Whiplasher asks us whether we like Paradise Lost. "Yesss!" Of course, practically the whole crowd is here exclusively for Paradise Lost , so Whiplasher goes on telling us that the band had a great time in the tourbus together with PL, during this tour. It is practically a nice good-bye and thanks, from the moment that this is the last date in which Deathstars support Nick Holmes and his mates. A tour that we can consider more than successful. And it's time for the third track :Little Angel that comes out like that jewel that it is: frontman Whiplasher puts simply his soul, modulating very good his vocals from bass to screaming: final bow and applauses. Perfect. It follows Modern Death where the band shows more mobility, though , like i mentioned before, less articulated than it was at  Abart Club. Modern Death sees also a kiss given from Whiplasher to his bass-player, again one of the best and lively on the stage. 

The Revolution Exodus is the track that Deathstars have added to their setlist in comparison to Zürich and gives us some hypnotic moments, though it sounds maybe too hypnotic and, after all,   boring  so that we can say that , mobility apart, this is a difficult moment for Deathstars and indeed the applauses sound a bit shorter and colder, this Revolution is not welcomed that much, though  the performance of guitarists and singer is great in itself. But fortunately with the following Syndrome the atmosphere is becoming more enthusiast again. And it is during this song that i can appreciate that particular acting, Deathstars' mark,  to remain  motionless but concentrated  with the hands on the guitars' strings in the short moments left to electronics . 

The show is closed by Synthetic Generation, song to which they have dedicated time, i  presume, and maybe during the tour too. Always precise and attentive the drums, while the white face painting is making a totall brilliant contrast with that black touch of latex of their clothes. 20:45: final instrumental thunders and greetings. Deathstars have proposed very well their mix of darkness, modernity, severity, and why not, androgyny too. With their touch of eccentricity they have gained the attention of the English audience, after having been appreciated by the demanding Swiss crowd. Do they want more? Very likely! And this is written in the future.

New dead Nation

Semi - automatic

Little Angel

Modern Death

The Revolution Exodus


Synthetic Generation

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PARADISE  LOST        paradise lost          reviews Symbol of Life        live report Zürich
20:56 the stage is prepared for paradise Lost with flawless attention and precision, sound check for drumkit, guitars and microphones are obviously carried on. The pit is really crowded. The crowd is very varied , from heavy metallers to gothic lovers and students. All ages represented. Old Paradise Lost T -shirt are worn with proud by young people too (a boy near me has a Summer festivals 95 T- shirt on)  , as well the newer ones. But also Marilyn Manson , Slipknot, Anathema  and Lacuna Coil are represented on the textiles. Extreme looks and more common ones  are waiting for our eclectic band side by side, men and women, boys and girls. It means that PL in England too are able to reach a varied and wide target. The time runs in an agreeable way, speaking with some fans, while waiting for the "entry" of the band.  After having seen Paradise Lost in such wonderful gig as it was the one of Zürich, that is  the latest of a very good succession of PL concerts this year,  i'm wondering which new detail will be the definitive mark of this upcoming one. We will see that this mark will be the aggressive determination. For the moment i'm just very excited at the idea to see them engaged in their (father)land, and above all in the important  capital town. The giant backdrape with the gorgeous orange serpent is absolute protagonist. It will glow in the dark wonderfully during the gig: symbol of life, symbol of mystery.

Finally lights, which seem not to be that violent here, so that you have always that impression of darkness, fade down.  21:25 an avalanche of applauses welcomes the 5 lads from Yorkshire. Lee is greeting everybody with a stick raised high  and smiling, from his drumkit placement,  Greg, Nick , Aaron , Steve: warmly welcomed by the pit. Erased is again the opener and begun in an impressive way. Greg and Aaron: full dynamism and banging, again. Nick determinate. Yes, Nick is fully determinate and his vocals appear at once solid, not low, well shaped and self confident over the instrumentation. Paradise Lost are again extremely heavy and precise. If things will go on like now, we will not only attend a metal concert but an aggressive one.  "Good evening! How are you tonight?" Good reaction of the audience. The ice is already broken and melt down . Erased has just confirmed the enthusiasm.  So free way ! Let's dive into Widow which is a  success :  Nick has been caught in the big sin of  smiling, while Steve is very lively, showing a full involved stage acting. Spectacular solo by Greg. Nick's vocals are velvety , round and spread all over the Thunderdome

 21:34 it follows Behind the Grey and again you hardly think it's coming from the much discussed and electronic Host. High weeping lead, heaviness with harmony.

A formidable intro by Aaron is opening Mystify, while it's clear  even to a deaf and blind that Paradise Lost are ready to begin an era full of determination, aggressiveness, energy. It's metal again,  and with this style it's not easy to gift you with a full immersion metal feeling: the lads who created a  song like Shattered in the far 91 are now here with the same mentality and  with a total confident stage-acting.  Greg's playing is awesome: determination, exactness, banging, interaction with the crowd, singing, full consciousness. Aaron is the rhythmic relentless pillar. Steve is delivering a great bass work which will reach its peak with  As I die. Lee: precise, lively and even banging a bit. Nick full integrated with the band, with a more aggressive attitude, inspired, interactive, showing a rather good mobility.   And no one is disappointed.  The famous "worshipping looks" that the metal bands are receiving from the more fanatics are a physical thing starting from the first rows  . Jealousy! I'm jealous! i would take the lads  away from here and let them play for an exclusive restricted group of long-time admirers. Who are these young ones near me , born yesterday,  that listen to them and look at them with hungry rapture? Eh ....but well!,  a big emotion is  growing in me: i can only be happy  (again, may i be happy? we deal with the Masters of darkness!) for this success, and for the old and new enthusiasm. After all, it is the Symbol of Life effect: new fans who "join" the older ones. 

With these characteristics the concert goes on.  Determinate, heavy and even raw ,  PL deliver also  their unmistakable  melodic and magic touch. Just  a couple of slight defects  in rhythm or tuning ,  more than obvious during a live event, and a Symbol of Life  begun perfectly and ended with the not usual giant compression are the flaws that can be seen only under a microscope by a very meticulous and maybe pedantic observation, among simply perfect and energetic performances song after song.  

Emotional vibes , singing along, banging like hell, hand-clappings, arms raised high underline the whole gig from the side of a good part of the pit. Shadowkings is dedicated to the weepers; Pray Nightfall flies evil, atmospheric and mysterious. As I die is a masterpiece: Death pressure together with doom, groovy passages, and powerful bass chords. Perfect Mask (paraphrasing the title Nick  dedicates it  to Deathstars) is evil as well , rhythmical and obscure and totally metallic.  Mercy is superb .

22:24 the encore is called with enthusiasm : applauses ,  feet stamped strongly on the ground, approvals, a  chorus  that sound like "play more, play more" , but you know, it's difficult to understand English people shouting in English !

22:27 the bands hits the stage again. Nick announces Isolate, which falls like a hammer. And even the famous case Small Town Boy is taking up a sour and pure metallic profile, fact is that i can really  enjoy it for the very first time. This encore sees a person that gets up on stage at the very right side of Greg,  he seems a bit too excited. Anyway , blocked promptly by the security, he tries an improbable  stage diving but the only result he gets is to smooch violently the ground.  One second is the usual gothic, romantic good bye. 22:41 Final applauses and launch of the sticks by Lee. An excellent gig , full   with  temperament,  and me, i can only feel PROUD to have been  and to be a die-hard fan !

dalia di giacomo

Behind the Grey
No Celebration
Symbol of Life
So Much is Lost
Pray Nightfall
As I Die
Perfect Mask
Say Just Words
Small Town Boy
One Second
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