Tristania – back on top with passionated show in Hengelo
photo: Henk-Jan Graven
It is a night to remember this Saturday evening in the Metropool, Hengelo on the east side of the country. Clichés are made for a good reason and this is the rare occasion when you can use it. A high respected Norwegian band is coming back to European ground in a totally new formation. That is enough reason to get nervous and wonder how the evening will end.
When Unsun enters the stage, there is no sign of stress yet. No sweaty hands, no adrenalin rush or trembling legs. There is enough time to discover the new venue and find a comfortable position in the front.
It is crowded with more than 150 tickets sold. A sign that the metal is still alive on this side of the country, having a vivid underground metal scene.
The Polish band around the duo musicians Stefanowicz has its first tour in Europe, and performs for the first time songs from their second new album ‘Clinic For Dolls.’
Female singer Aya has long blond hair, and dressed-up in gothic style with red tights. She is shy or a bit nerves in the beginning, because her voice sounds a bit hysterical. She has a high fragile sound and the sound mix isn’t that well to dominate it above the drums, after a while it is getting better.
The strength from Unsun is their talent to write good songs, with heavy guitars and high female vocals. On stage unfortunately the drums are dominating the mix and that makes it a bit flat to listen it from time to time. Aya makes contact with the audience, and needs a bit more experience how to entertain the audience.
Although it is hard for her, because not so many people now them or sing along. Nevertheless it is a good first impression. She introduces ‘Single Touch’ as the song about love and it is indeed sweet with high parts and catchy guitars from husband Maus, well known as ex-guitarist from Vader.
Shame that the piano comes from the tape, because it makes the show more static. Unsun definitely has potential, but need a bit more experience to convince the crowd.
Asrai is a Dutch band on this package and has a real own label in the gothic scene. With their typical sound, not easy to describe and you need some time to switch over from dark melancholic Unsun to an overwhelming performance from these musicians.
From the beginning till the end they give two hundred percent and easily warm up the crowd. Again the sound is a bit too loud, maybe the sound guy didn’t realise the venue wasn’t totally packed and the balance was gone for a while. For a band like Asrai the little details on arrangements, vocals and piano are very important and it needs a lot of attention to change levels all the time.
Front woman Magriet Mol has a strong voice, a bit raw now and then. It is definitely worth a compliment that she grows more and more into the set after some songs and shows a lot of power. ‘Pale Light’ is a very dynamic song with fast drums from twin sister Karin Mol and it awakes the energy for sure! It is great that she has some spotlights on her, because hidden behind the drum kit she shows a lot of energy with a big smile on her face.
Manon van der Hidde on keyboards, also responsible for the heavy backing vocals, adds an extra dimension to the live show. Together with the groovy guitars and bass, a dark and intense sound is also translated in the performance of all members.
Especially Magriet is a real eye-catcher. ‘Stay With Me’ has a uprising beat, dark and doomy with on top a fragile Magriet, showing that is capable of so much more. Excellent first impression!
Especially when you know that Asrai doesn’t perform so much live on stage, a shame because they prove to be a very vivid and interesting band. Gothic is one of the Netherlands best export product with a good reason.
After three years of line-up changes and finding new ways, Norwegian mother of gothic-metal bands Tristania is back on European ground. Something what I couldn’t foresee a few years ago; when not only the band, but the whole scene was changing.
The band is ready to present them, and fight back their position on the top level of this scene and with a good reason. Their new album ‘Rubicon‘ is a promise of good songs from powerful artists.
When electronically voices in the dark are claim your attention, you feel the excitement in the air. Many people are curious and it is time for the sweaty hands, tensed muscles and get ready for this new journey.
When Mariangela Demutras enters the stage during ‘Year Of The Rat’ a feeling of relief changes it all. From that moment on she gets the sympathy of the crowd. Kjetil Nordhus from Green Carnation is the newest member in the band and immediately proves that he is a golden talent for Tristania.
There is no man as dark and melodic as he is. With his warm, hypnological voice he wins the audience in no time. Guitarist and founder of the band Anders Hoyvik Hilde is a bit shy in the corner, totally focussed on his guitar.
The performance is very organic and vivid. With six members there is enough space to fill in. Tristania convinces with their passion, talent and most of it the excellent combination of musicians. Every second they enjoy it to the fullest.
When ‘Tender Trip On Earth’ sets in the magic is back, with Kjetil on acoustic guitar and Mariangela giving her own interpretation, still translating the fragile emotions of the song.
The grunts from Anders are a changing point in the song; the ensemble of voices is overwhelming. Also bass player Ole Vistness has a very dark voice and suits very well in the bombastic format. The feedback from the crowd is blowing away the last tones.
When violin player Pete Johansen enters the stage, it is such a rare moment. ‘Beyond The Veil’ is one of the most famous songs from Tristania and it is a real highlight in the show, a perfect timing halfway the set when the whole crowd is screaming for more.
The a capella intro from Mariangela and Kjetil makes you shiver, when bombastically the drums from Tarald Lie.Jr are the sign to let the energy explode with a excellent performance from all members and lots of interaction from the audience. All the attention goes to Pete who brings the song alive, a present for all the fans.
It has the typical Tristania touch, especially live on stage. There is no doubt that these Norwegians are standing strong and developed a more mature sound, unique and totally not comparable with other bands.
Second guitarist Gyri Smordal Losnegaard is modest on the left side of the stage, and it would be nice when she gets a more prominent guitar solo, because she deserves more attention during the show.
Mariangela is leaving the stage, so there is more space for Ole and Anders to show their poses and growling voices. A nice intermezzo with very technical and aggressive drums from Tarald in combination with the long tones both guitarists.
Tristania is good in telling stories filled with emotions and all these songs are showing a different and very divers side of this band.
When finally the band leaves the stage dark and empty, the crowd is screaming for more and it is no surprise the band is back within a minute.
Kjetil Nordhus shows his excellent pronouncement of the eastern dialect to ‘thank the crowd in Hengelooooo for showing up tonight! The new song ‘Exile’ is an excellent choice to confirm once again that Tristania is back full force.
Mariangela reveals that it is the first song she wrote for this band, and you feel it immediately: fluently, dragged in emotions she guides you trough the song and the duet with Kjetil is simply beautiful. No words can capture this unique experience.
A night to remember, an unforgettable impression and it is more than good news that Tristania still awakes many emotions and guarantee high quality over the years. It is a promise for the future, because there is more potential and development possible. There is one thing sure, they always will give two hundred percent and more!
Thankword to: Tristania and management