Monday, April 15, 2024

Amaranthe and Dragonforce join forces in Manchester

Co-headline tours are rising in popularity and the most recent expedition sees the unlikely partnership of Swedish dance melodic death/power metal act, Amaranthe, and British power metal video game enthusiasts, Dragonforce. You can make the argument that there were more people there for Dragonforce in Manchester but almost everyone left with a new appreciation and respect for Amaranthe. 

Infected Rain opened the show with their first appearance in Manchester in five years. Infected Rain are a mix of nu metal and melodic death metal fronted by the formidable Lenas Scissorhands, a supremely talented harsh vocalist who has been slowly gaining attention over the past few years. 

Infected Rain

Their set was full of down-tuned nu metal ragers like ‘Vivarium’ and ‘Dying Light’ which got the crowd moving and geared up for a long night. Their set ended with ‘Fighter’ which saw the mess of braids that is guitarist Vidick put his all into stomping around the stage, the audience would follow his lead as they opened up a pit that took off a massive portion of the room. It’s safe to call Infected Rain’s set a success and hopefully this will lead to a headline tour in the near future as they support their latest album, Time

Infected Rain

Dragonforce was the first headliner in Manchester and they opened with the absolutely colossal ‘Revolution Deathsquad,’ a sweeping epic rager that starts out with a full-force punch in the face and just continues wailing for the next eight minutes.

Dragonforce

It should go without saying the whole set was pure maximalism, the giant arcade cabinets which acted as platforms, the blaring strobe lights, the video game footage and of course, the guitar solos… sweet Jesus, the guitar solos. Herman Li and Sam Totman have already carved their names in the pantheon of twin shredders alongside the likes of Downing and Tipton but seeing them in action is an incredible experience. 

Dragonforce

It’s no wonder people thought Dragonforce was all studio trickery, the guitar work on tracks like ‘Cry Thunder’ and ‘Fury Of The Storm’ are both incredible to witness and even their goofing around on stage is jaw-dropping to witness. ‘The Power Of The Triforce’ saw their special guest Cucco (the chicken from The Legend of Zelda), crowdsurf across the room. Vocalist Marc Hudson instructed the audience not to stab the chicken and upon his request, Cucco lived to surf another day. 

Dragonforce

The word “epic” has been watered down over the past few years but epic is the only way to accurately describe ‘Soldiers Of The Wasteland’. A 10-minute-long monolith that hits unbelievable speeds and hits the sound barrier before slowing down for the breakdown that could slay dragons. All this happens as Sam and Herman drop every preconceived notion of restraint and unleash some of the most furious guitar work to come out of this century. 

Dragonforce

The set was a bit shorter than usual but it still included massive classics like ‘Fury Of The Storm,’ a behemoth track that includes one of the best tapping segments ever written as well as another monumental chorus worthy of the gods of metal. It’s totally understandable if a Dragonforce set is too much to handle but to an ADHD-riddled, social media-addicted, brain-rotted individual like myself, it’s the absolute perfect amount of stimulation. 

Dragonforce

This was bassist Alicia Vigil’s first time playing in Manchester with Dragonforce since she joined the band in 2019 and she fits the band perfectly with her backing vocals coming in with just enough punch to cut through the damn near perfect mix. You can also check out our interview with her on RAMzine here

Dragonforce

Dragonforce’s set even contained some classic pop songs by the likes of Taylor Swift. ‘My Heart Will Go On’ is an Oscar-winning song from Celine Dion that deals with a love that transcends time and a bond that couldn’t even be broken by death itself as two lovers join together for a brief moment in time only to be split apart by tragedy. It’s now got a kickass guitar solo and double bass drumming by Dragonforce. 

The time had come for Dragonforce to play the song. The track that broke millions of plastic guitars across the world and inspired a new generation of people destined to become six-string warriors: ‘Through The Fire and Flames’. This song has been mythologised ever since it came out and people are still sceptical about how it can be replicated live even after witnessing it first hand. Everything about this track is perfect, the vocal melodies, the over-the-top lyricism, the massive guitar solos, the breakneck drumming, the synth work. It all culminates in a gargantuan epic that comes around once in a generation. Even listening to it makes you feel like you’re standing on top of a mountain. 

This co-headline show in Manchester was closed out by Europop/dance/metal act, Amaranthe. It would be a difficult act to follow Dragonforce even without their gigantic set design but the Swedish sextuplet gave it their all as they were introduced by the Sci-fi-themed intro which led into ‘Fearless’. Everyone on stage was supremely well dressed and had a futuristic Blade Runner aesthetic that fit the tone perfectly. It’s also worth noting that Amaranthe guitarist, Olof Mörck wins the best-dressed award, that’s one sharp-dressed man. 

Amaranthe

Amaranthe’s appearance in Manchester is a strange one considering the last time they were set to play was impeded by transport issues but they made it this time and they brought their A game. The majority of their set was made-up tracks from Manifest, which was somewhat disappointing considering Amaranthe just dropped one of the strongest records of their career so far. 

Amaranthe

‘The Catalyst’ features some of Amaranthe’s best work and the energy they bring to these songs on stage elevates them to new heights, the Castlevania inspired ‘Damnation Flame’ shows an ability to write darker material without sacrificing that catchy dance-pop fusion they’ve perfected over the years. ‘Re-Vision’ shows their ability to create melodies that just bore into your skull and refuse to leave. Considering how many earworm-penning songwriters are on this bill, none have topped ‘Re-Vision’ and his odd synth riff. 

Amaranthe

Naturally, there have to be some cheesy piano ballad moments at a power metal show and for many, this was their introduction to Amaranthe. Amaranthine is a beautiful mixture of 80s power ballad/first dance at your wedding cheese and screaming at the top of mountain power metal pomposity that this genre was built upon. The chemistry between vocalist Elize Ryd and guitarist Olof Mörck is unmatched, the guitar solo may not be the most technical but it makes up for it in sheer power. 

Amaranthe

The absence of early classics like ‘Hunger,’ ‘Call Out My Name’ and ‘1,000,000 Light Years’ is somewhat disappointing but there are a wealth of modern classics like the Euro dance headbanger ‘Maximise’ which balances all three vocalists and makes use of their talents perfectly. The show ended with the mega drop of ‘Drop Dead Cynical,’ a dance track that radiates positivity and has just enough metal edge to get the most stationary metal elitists moving. 

Amaranthe

This was truly a co-headline tour for the ages. Full of maximalist power metal chaos, dance club anthems, well-dressed cyber swedes, Dovahkin and a chicken. There was so much incredible power metal action to take in that it just became overwhelming in the best way possible.

Amaranthe
Lamestream Lydia
Lamestream Lydia
Self-proclaimed journalist, Progressive rock enthusiast and the most American sounding person you're ever likely to meet in the North of England

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