Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Twilight Force continue their heroic journey through Manchester

Valiant warriors from The Twilight Kingdom (Sweden), Twilight Force, continue their epic pilgrimage through Europe arriving in a cold windswept Manchester. Silver Bullet and Seven Spires would aid them in their quest for glory as they bring metal and magic to our desolate isles.

Finnish power metal band, Silver Bullet, took to the stage on their first-ever UK set and they were immediately electric as they opened with the first song of their new album, Shadow of a Curse. Silver Bullet at times sound like a mix between Blind Guardian and 80s-era Scorpions, which should be a glowing endorsement. Their ability to blend clean old-school heavy metal style riffing and thrashy power metal stylings made for a really engaging show that quickly won over the crowd.

The heaviest track of the set was ‘The Witches Curse’ which also offered some immensely technical dual guitar work from Henri Asikainen and Hannes Horma as well as some soaring vocals from new vocalist, Bruno Poveschi, that at times felt reminiscent of Queensryche. Silver Bullet released a brand new album this month entitled Shadowfall which is available on most major streaming services.

Next up was Seven Spires, an American outfit that leans more towards symphonic metal and were arguably the most serious and reserved band of the night, despite this they still put on an engaging show filled with grandiose power metal with an impressive mix of clean vocals and growls. Seven Spires injected an element of theatricality with ‘The Cabaret of Dreams’, which is a song that will likely become a classic for people trying to convert theatre kids into metalheads.

Seven Spires strongest material was towards the end of the set with immensely heavy tracks like ‘Dare to Live’ and the dual operatic vocal attack of ‘The God is Dead’ which featured Kristen Starkey of Twilight Force which complimented Adrienne Coway’s already impressive vocal range.

Finally, our intrepid heroes of Twilight Force took to the stage to tell stories of high adventure, mighty warriors welding glorious magic. They began by telling of “The Dawn of the Dragon star” as keyboardist and wizard, Blackwald, proclaims “may the power of the Dragon guide us” before leading into a massive wall of some of the most optimistic and fun-filled power metal to come out in the past decade.

The majority of the set was unsurprisingly made up of tracks from At the Heart of Wintervale, ‘Twilight Force’ and ‘Dragonborn’ are sweeping powerful songs that will be glorious once Twilight Force begin packing larger venues and going on greater adventures in the near future. Both of these songs have such strong and prominent melodies – they could potentially work as instrumentals and still be worthy of sing-along sections from massive audiences.

At the halfway mark of the set, a warrior from the audience was given a great and terrible task that would determine the fate of the quest; they were given the lofty decision of deciding whether our heroes would play ‘Enchanted Dragon of Wisdom’ or ‘Long Live the King’. This decision made everything rethink their loyalty to the guy on stage as he chose ‘Enchanted Dragon of Wisdom’, which is the superior song in this scribe’s opinion as it wastes no time invoking the feeling of grand adventure with its symphonic elements and pounding drums.

A particularly strong aspect of Twilight Force’s set is their ability to inject humour into their set while still committing to the bit, a particularly engaging segment was a mixup with potions as vocalist, Allyon, attempted to finish an incredibly difficult vocal line. Luckily bass player and potion maker, Born, was on-site to assist. The dual vocal attack from Allyon and Kristen Starkey added some variety and the contrast between the two added some real power, which each vocalist possessed a great deal of as the two belted their way through Twilight Horizon.

An absolute highlight of the night was the title track of their latest album, ‘At the Heart of Wintervale’, an epic track that was about a dragon awakening from a frozen lake from an ancient slumber, much like a majority of the other songs on the set. ‘At the Heart of Wintervale’ leans on the band’s folk elements and feels like a story being told by the most metal Bard in existence.

Twilight Force have experience with grand sweeping epics and ‘Blade of Immortal Steel‘ is perhaps the most notable of all of them with its piano opening that sounds vaguely Japanese before launching into its massive and intricate harmonised guitar lines that perfectly encapsulate just how talented the lead warriors are at their instruments.

The adventurers of Manchester commenced their final battle with ‘The Power of the Ancient Force’, a triumphant track that has the potential to become a power metal classic and in certain circles, it already is one. With the night drawing to a close, wonder and whimsy filled the hearts of all who dared brave this glorious task.

If it hasn’t been made abundantly clear throughout the rest of this article, your enjoyment of Twilight Force is determined entirely by your ability to surrender yourself to the bit and embrace all the magical silliness. The easiest way to describe this show was a panto for adult nerds and there’s always a place for something as profoundly ridiculous, outlandish and unserious as Twilight Force.

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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  1. I’ve been a pro and Simi pro musician for decades thanks to Jon Davison. Back in the 90s I was a guitar player in Seattle and really wanted to get in a band. But guitar players were everywhere at the time so I decided to play bass. But I absolutely HATE guitar players that think picking up a bass and just thumping out 8th note root notes is good enough. So I went to my friend Juano, that’s what I call Jon, because he’s a Fantastic bass player. He got my bass chips fought up. We’d spend HOURS in his bed room just jamming, writing, recording, goofing of our whatever. When he 1st started singing for YES he called me early on the morning to talk to my wife because she’s a trained Opera singer. He was having issues with breadth control and singing a hair above his range. She whipped him into shape this time. Everyone should go check out the band Sky Cries Mary starting with the 1994 album “This Timeless Turning” or later to hear his bass playing. A quick 4 song demo is at http://sky.cries.mary.bandcamp.com/album/seeds


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