Swedish outfit Avatar are playing as main support tonight and they were not what I’d expected. I’d come across photos of their previous shows and had seen them classed as “melodic death metal”, a descriptor that usually sends a shiver down my spine. Luckily any pre-conceived notions I may have had were quickly dispelled by an entertaining and energetic set by lead clown Johannes Eckerstrom and his cohorts. Beyond the face paint and theatrics are a band who obviously know how to craft a catchy song and can keep a large crowd entertained as the venue was almost at capacity for their set. I’m glad they got a chance to prove me wrong because I thoroughly enjoyed what Avatar had to offer.
Grammy Award winners Halestorm have taken a break from recording their forth studio album with Nick Raskulinecz (Trivium, Rush, Mastodon, Korn) to hit the road for yet another tour. Their propensity for playing live shows has served them well as it’s a very slick and polished performance from the outset. It’s a constant 90-minute barrage of riffs, solos, sing-a-long choruses and guttural screams that sound almost unearthly but still manage to sit well within the band’s signature hard pop-metal sound.
Halestorm unleash a swarm of “Black Vultures” in this new video.
There are flashes of individual showmanship from each of the members, including a ubiquitous drum solo from co-founding member Arejay Hale, but it’s always clear to see that front woman Lzzy Hale is the central focus of attention. Putting aside her obvious talent on the guitar, it’s Lzzy’s voice that is the true star of the show. She has an ability to go from melodic harmonies to full-throated demonic screams in the blink of an eye and that’s no easy feat considering the touring schedule they have undertaken. While Halestorm may not be to everyone’s musical liking, the 3,500 people who packed Manchester’s Apollo tonight would definitely not be likely to change their minds any time soon.
Halestorm’s Manchester Setlist:
02. Mz. Hyde
03. Love Bites (So Do I)
04. I Am the Fire
06. Do Not Disturb
08. The Silence
09. Black Vultures
11. Drum Solo
12. Freak Like Me
13. Killing Ourselves to Live Encore:
15. I Miss the Misery
16. Here's to Us