Humanity / Deliverance / Crimson Tears
16 May 2005
Upstairs At The Garage, London

Due to work commitments, Johan couldn`t make tonight`s gig so it was left to me and my trusty compact camera to document the evening. I actually turned up tonight expecting to see Bates Motel open, only to be told it would actually be a band in the Nightwish / Within Temptation genre - oh great, yet another one I thought sarcastically!

With the usual first song sound problems, initially, as Crimson Tears opened with My Plea, my enthusiasm did not increase. The band came across as very disconnected and ill at ease with being on stage. Having said that, due to the size of the stage, keyboard player Marcus Chapman was not only off stage, but also behind a pillar.

As I prepared to write the band off they launched into Gardens Of Sorrow with its ascending spirals of guitar, bass and keyboards suddenly grabbing my attention. Vocalist Gina Oldham possesses an extremely strong operatic ability and it`s no surprise she is a singing coach. Her on stage antics were eccentric to say the least, removing a scarf from a bunch of roses mounted on a mic stand and waving it about before ripping up a few roses and throwing them at anyone nearby including myself whilst trying to get a few snaps.

The more melancholy Gothica followed, being the title track of the band`s EP, which should be noted was not only produced by Karl Groom, but also hosts possibly the best packaging I have come across for a self financed release.

To attempt a cover of a Dream Theater`s Pull Me Under was pretty brave, but the band pulled it off. Eternity, which Gina told us would last that long, closed the set.

On their EP, Crimson Tears have their sound nailed down. Live however as a band they a re a little rough around the edges but what they really need to work on if they are to stand a chance against the tide of bands in this flooded genre is their stagecraft and confidence. The band appeared almost apologetic for their presence with Gina commenting at the end that it was now "On to the good stuff now."

Crimson Tears set list:
My Plea / Gardens Of Sorrow / Gothica / Pull Me Under / Eternity

Whoa! Did Doctor Who drop me off tonight as I felt like I`d just taking a trip back to the end of the 80s when thrash ruled as Deliverance ripped through Dust Rises High.

In a few reviews of the band`s debut The Executioner, Metallica`s …And Justice For All has been cited as a reference point and certainly vocalist/guitarist Andrea Fermani would seem to worship at the temple of Hetfield, looking a spitting image of him at that era, stooped over his low slung white Explorer guitar.

Actually, live Deliverance`s attack is more vicious at times reminding me of early Exumer. We Are Not Who We Are sped along with reckless abandon before both guitars and bass came together for a grin inducing harmonic upward run.

Despite the small crowd, the band seemed delighted to be playing London with drummer Marco Bracciotti climbing on top of his kit when not attacking it like a man possessed. Meanwhile in a massive coincidence to fellow Italians Warchild`s bassist in London last week, Massi Ricci was also wearing an England top tonight. Ricci was often pulling Gene Simmons like phallic poses with his bass pointing out at the crowd.

For album title track The Executioner, Fermani donned an Executioner`s mask as the set was brought to a thrashing close. Tonight Deliverance stuck to their debut album, however word has it that new and better songs await. On tonight`s excellent showing it would appear that Deliverance are merely toying with us and more brutal things may follow.

Deliverance set list:
Dust Rises High / Stone Tears / We Are Not Who We Are / Deliverance / Last Cross Road / Tears Of The Universe / The Executioner

Moving along is certainly what Humanity are doing with only two tracks from debut album When Silence Calls making tonight`s set. However, with new material as strong as that presented tonight the band are right not to dwell on the past.

One thing immediately evident from the off, as the band launched into some synchronised headbanging to Faded Sky, is how much the band`s presence has rocketed since I last saw them almost a year ago. The stage was so small Humanity must have had to carefully organise how they could squeeze into the available space whilst still providing so much on stage movement. Like Crimson Tears keyboardist, Craig Burkitt was consigned to playing behind the pillar with vocalist Simon Shedwell suggesting we pop around and say hello to him.

Shedwell has improved in all areas balancing his cheeky banter with a confident vocal delivery. He kick-started some clapping for "the one for the ladies" Last Goodbye, which amusingly guitarist Steve Wallace had to take to conducting to keep the crowd in time. The song itself was hugely impressive receiving respect from the audience before they all went bonkers to crowd favourite Serenity.

New song The Price You Have To Pay was a metal monster, showing off all facets of the Humanity sound. Great guitar work from Richard Hall and Steve Wallace with luscious keyboard backing from Burkitt. To be honest as good as a debut for a young band When Silence Calls is, Humanity have moved forward considerably and should turn a few heads at Bloodstock Open Air this summer.

Humanity set list:
Faded Sky / Darkened Mind / Shadows Of My Mind / Last Goodbye / Serenity / The Price You Have To Pay / Justify

Crimson Tears
Killin Time Records