Serenity & Xandria @ Underworld, Camden

10th February 2016
Review by Jacob Ovington

symphonic metal nights

The bombastic sounds of a genre like symphonic metal always seem too big for a venue like Underworld, and this occasion was no exception creating quite a juxtaposition with such powerful sounds coming from a tiny stage.

The evening was opened by Jaded Star, although due to conducting interviews with Serenity and Xandria beforehand, I only caught a few minutes of their set. What I did hear was good, though, some solid symphonic metal with powerful melodies.

Jaded Star Set List:

The Mask
You’ll See
Into the End of Time
Healing the Inner Child
Keep on Fighting
Wake Up

The second act of the night was Serenity, a symphonic metal band from Austria who have just released their Da Vinci themed concept album, ‘Codex Atlanticus’. Their style of music is straight up, predominantly male fronted symphonic power metal with historic themes. First up on their set was ‘Follow Me’, a pounding power metal anthem with some darker undertones which made for a great introduction to the band.

On ‘Royal Pain’ we get to hear more of a female voice complimenting the music, although the male vocals are still leading the way. Musically, everyone in the band was on top form and live they’re certainly an outfit to be reckoned with, delivering with force. Another stand-out track from them was ‘Legacy of the Tudors’ with its tudor-esque melodies making it reminiscent of the period it’s about.

Serenity Set List:

Follow Me
Sprouts of Terror
Royal Pain
My Final Chapter
The Perfect Woman
Heavenly Mission
Spirit in the Flesh
Legacy of Tudors
Serenade of Flames

Caught in a Myth

Finishing off the night was Xandria, a symphonic metal band from Germany who seem to have a different lead singer every time I check up on them. Currently they’re fronted by the Dutch Dianne van Giersbergen – maybe there’s something in the water over there with the amount of symphonic metal bands and vocalists the country has produced in recent years.

Their style is extremely operatic and they projected a bombast almost too powerful for the Underworld to contain, just like the crowds they’d drawn in this evening. It looked as though it must have been near capacity, and I suspect this was the band that most people came to see.

Opening the set was ‘Little Red Relish’ which got things off to a great start. From the beginning it was evident that despite the world of operatic symphonic metal being so oversaturated, Xandria still manage to have a trademark sound, one all of their own that makes them recognisable. That is most likely the key to their success.

Throughout the set they performed many more of their classics from ‘Nightfall’ right through to ‘Ravenheart’, and were on top form for the duration. Dianne managed to cover the territories of all of their previous vocalists with ease, while bringing her own touch to the music at the same time. To top everything of was fan favourite, and possible their best song ‘Valentine’, as an encore.

Xandria Set List:

Little Red Relish
Blood on My Hands
Call of the Wind
The Undiscovered Land
Ravenheart [‘Fire & Ashes’ Version]
Voyage of the Fallen