Soilwork / One-Way Mirror / Ananta
20 November 2008
Islington Academy, London

Like a complete idiot I managed to lose my bag containing my notes from this gig so will have to work from memory.

Zimmer’s Hole withdrawing from this tour was a bitter blow and Rockers Digest sends our best wishes to drummer Gene Hoglan, who had suffered a family death. With One-Way Mirror bumped up to main support, another French outfit Ananta had been added as openers.

The band’s debut album, In Media Res, has yet to hit the street and hence it was an unfamiliar set that greeted the very few that had arrived early. The roar of frontman Tony Jelencovich may have been familiar to those who had seen him as touring frontman of Mnemic and like that band there were some industrial touches evident.

With backing tracks playing, the format was quite rigid and the mainly bald band looked like intent professors as they concocted a tightly wound sound. At times bringing to mind Fear Factory or a more straight forward Meshuggah, Ananta put in an intriguing performance. Unfamiliarity with the material meant anything longer than this short set may have caused attention to wane, but Ananta’s debut looks like one to check out.

Calling One-Way Mirror a “supergroup” is probably pushing it but they do comprise in their ranks the current singer of Mnemic, guitarists from Lyzanxia, the bassist from Scarve and, pulling a double shift, the drummer of Soilwork.

More straightforward than their respective bands and indeed the other bands tonight, the initial opener Destination Device sounded almost poppy against Ananta’s harsher sound.

The rather strange lyrics to Sockracer are apparently about a racing driver, the sock being the hood worn under his helmet. It was one of the catchier songs of the set and one that those with the album greeted most loudly. The band are unfamiliar to most however and frontman Guillaume Bideau repeatedly tries to get some reaction from the crowd, which slowly but surely built.

A cover of Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s Relax went down far better than I expected and One-Way Mirror were on a roll towards the end of their set, with 21st Century closing impressively.

One-Way Mirror set list:
Destination Device / Sockracer / Danger Calling / As You Are Now / Relax / Deprived Of Connection / 21st Century

The big news with Soilwork is that guitarist Peter Wichers is back in town. Seemingly energized, Soilwork were soon bouncing around the stage and tonight pulled out quite a few rarely heard classics such as The Bringer, Black Star Deceiver and the furious Chainheart Machine.

Soilwork were awesome in the summer at Bloodstock and whilst this performance was intense it could never be as expansive as playing the main festival stage to such a large crowd. Indeed with Opeth also in town tonight, the Islington Academy, whilst busy was not packed, but those here were loyal to Soilwork’s cause.

I’ve commented the last few times I’ve reviewed Soilwork that visually the band are dominated by frontman Björn Strid and bassist Ola Flink. However, aside from being an excellent songwriter and shit hot guitarist, Peter Wichers is not afraid to take the spotlight and frequently that was shared with fellow guitarist Sylvain Coudret. The pair’s twin guitar work was lush and this is surely the best guitar partnership that Soilwork have had to date.

With four songs from my personal favourite Soilwork album, Natural Born Chaos, this was a pleasing selection of songs, though one or two were disappointed that the Figure Number Five album was only visited once, with no Rejection Role or Light The Torch.

Tonight seemed like a celebration of Soilwork’s line up morphing to it’s strongest and with the emphasis on the Natural Born Chaos album and Wichers return things seem primed for a great new album when Soilwork next head into the studio.

Soilwork set list:
Sworn To A Great Divide / As We Speak / Needlefeast / Exile / Bastard Chain / The Bringer / One With The Flies / 20 More Miles / Overload / As The Sleeper Awakes / Black Star Deceiver / Chainheart Machine / Stabbing The Drama / Follow The Hollow / Nerve

One-Way Mirror