Pick Your Rock and Metal

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Cultures colliding in harmony - Darkest Era and Wintersun rock the Limelight

A COMMON theme between Northern Ireland's Darkest Era and Finland's Wintersun is their musical roots in death and black metal; but the expression of those musical roots also speaks to the roots in their country's of origin.

Both are unremitting powerful on record, and live they step up to another level; Celtic roots from Fermanagh with Darkest Era and the Finish power from Helsinki of Darkest Era.

Darkest Era erupted on to the stage with rejuvenated line-up in the rhythm section, powering from an intro from the Final Fantasy game the band reached new levels - their recent appearances at the likes of the Ragnarock festival have tightened the sound.

The twin guitar attack works with Sarah and Ade harmonising and complementing a full-on assault on the senses. Despite the cramped stage they managed to maintain composure and much headbanging.

Krum's engaging personality often belies the sheer power of his vocals; whether it was the new tracks aired from the forthcoming album, or standards like The Morigan or Ancient Fire the sheer delivery took the performance to a new level.

With the room well and truly warmed up by Darkest Era and sweltering temperatures inside and out, a tight turnaround saw Wintersun on stage bang on time, and inspiring an almost cult-like adulation amongst many in attendance.

While guitarist Jari Mäenpää has always been known through his work with Ensiferum in the past, what began as a side project has blossomed into something more significant. Where the adulation comes from for a band seemingly removed from the so-called metal traditions is a mystery to many, but it was there in evidence on Ormeau Avenue.

One tradition the band have adopted is to briefly video each audience during the intro for their Youtube channel and Belfast was no different.

What Wintersun have brought to the metal table is a range of influences and a technical prowess, bound up in intricate song structures and almost complete disregard for taking the conventional route.

Other bands pitch a song at the audiences, but Wintersun pitch a concept, wrapped in an delicate aural blast.

Playing almost the entire Time 1 album they kicked off with Sons of Winter and Stars, Wintersun stormed through increasingly complex songs, with the highlight being Time and Winter Madness.

The detail in the playing - which at times was blurringly fast - was complemented by an increasing use of pedals to alter and enhance the guitar sounds, allowing the songscapes from the album to blossom.

Rounding off with Starchild Wintersun proved that despite the detail and attention needed to enjoy them on the album, live they added an element of participation and genuine conviction.

Whether Wintersun can further develop on the adulation remains to be seen when they finally release Time 2, but it seems that a fair proportion from the Belfast's audience on 20th June will be eagerly awaiting their return.

Wintersun and Darkest Era proved that with a common root, their divergent geographical locations can provide a different take on those roots, but also bind

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