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By Andrew Depedro, Ottawa Corespondent
Monday, September 29, 2014 @ 7:36 PM

Finnish Power Metal Merchants Celebrate 15 Years Together And Go Dutch With Special Guests DELAIN And XANDRIA At Mavericks, Ottawa, Canada, September 10, 2014

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Budgeting and balancing school and taking in live shows....this must be deja vu as I swear I've been here before.

And so have the headliners just a little under a decade ago. You're in luck if you missed out on their previous visit (http://www.knac.com/article.asp?ArticleID=3686) and felt cast out like a pariah because I was there for most of their comeback experience and I'll tell you all about it.

What I regret not being able to talk about from this show would be the performance of co-headliners XANDRIA who were on their first real tour of North America in support of their latest CD Sacrificium.

The Dutch/German band already enjoy a solid following back in the Old Continent - particularly in Holland and Germany - but their North American profile was still in the midst of being fully established. Their frequent line-up change of vocalists over the years may be a contributing factor to their elusive success on this side of the pond but at least they've always matched themselves with solid vocal talent. Current frontwoman Dianne von Giersbergen has a very interchangeable voice which compliments much of XANDRIA's previous as well as current material even if in this case I'm merely basing her performance moreso from studio clips than from a live environment. I'm told that they put on an energetic performance and they fed off from the audience's own unbridled passion and energy which to XANDRIA would be enough for them to consider another visit to Ottawa on their next North American jaunt. And next time I will be there to get a proper introduction to their shows for there can be nothing worse than giving, well, a disambiguous judgement on a band I've never seen live.

That said, Sacrificium is a symphonic metal masterpiece which should be mandatory listening for anyone wanting a blueprint on where to start their foray into the contemporary side of metal with all of the talent and some of the volume.


Now my sole excuse for having missed XANDRIA's set was due to scheduling conflicts as there had been a call placed out to a few local bands to open the show. The problem was that Ottawa's symphonic metal scene is somewhat, well, dormant. I think we maybe have a grand total of two bands within that genre who had expressed interest at first before they checked their schedule and then realized that in spite of the exposure which they would have benefitted from had they gone ahead with the show they would have gotten behind schedule on recording and finalizing touring plans. That and our live event market still caters towards Celtic and folk bands. So for Dutch symphonic metallers DELAIN who, like XANDRIA before them, were also venturing into new unchartered territory, they also had to follow with an equally mesmerizing performance and good first impression. This was actually their third visit to North America, having toured before in support of 2009's April Rain and their 2012 breakthrough disc We Are The Others and hitting the usual Montreal/Toronto market in between. This time they were expanding well into other untapped Canadian markets as co-headliners both in the east and west with their latest disc The Human Contradiction. This album was a long work in progress according to frontwoman Charlotte Wessels as DELAIN had come off from massve touring in support of its 2012 predecessor which were both heavily represented in their setlist that evening. Opening their set with powerful melodic numbers such as "Stardust" and "Army Of Dolls" from their latest album, the five-piece band with their fiery lead vocalist carried on the same momentum as their predecessors and got the crowd jumping and flashing the horns on every song during their 45-minute set. Their best reception from the crowd was when they unleashed their material from We Are The Others, such as the title track and particularly "Get The Devil Out Of Me". Given that Others was inspired by the tragic case of Sophie Lancaster, a teenage British goth fan who was the victim of a hate crime in 2007 when she was swarmed and killed by a group of other teenagers for looking different, the album's mood was more celebratory rather than maudlin. It championed people's differences rather than lamented over why those differences attracted so much intolerance from others that didn't understand them. For many of the black-clad body-pierced fans in attendance at the show, those songs were what they needed to hear that evening rather than just another sermon about why conformity is essential towards peace and order. The Human Contradiction also appears to be carrying on that same message which the crowd heard loud and clear. And just like that, DELAIN had set out to conquer the Ottawa crowd and succeeded. It was what made them humans being.


Back in 2005 they were on their first headlining tour of North America to promote their breakthrough album Reckoning Night, which showcased their proficient musicianship and well-crafted 7-minute opuses. Their first Ottawa show at the time was almost famous as much as for the venue's questionable acoustics as their performance itself. This time around, SONATA ARCTICA put on a headlining show worthy of celebrating 15 years of lyrical Nordic imagery, fast riffs and continuous odes to vodka. Plus their latest disc Pariah's Child finally saw a release date so there was a double cause for celebration that same day. Opening with "The Wolves Die Young" from the aforementioned latest album, frontman Tony Kakko and his team of highly-talented musicians took the stage and headbanged their way through 18 songs spanning their eight-album discography. The classic numbers such as "Replica", "Black Sheep", "FullMoon" and the bounce-groove power metal anthem "Don't Say A Word" shared stage time with newer numbers such as "Cloud Factory" and "X Marks The Spot". The melodic delivery of riffs from guitarist Elias Viljanen interwove with the keyboard magic of Henrik Klingenberg so intricately one could swear that there were two guitarists on the stage. However, it was Tony who was the band's real figurehead of the night, absorbing much of the crowd's adulation and wearing the showman title with pride, his voice still vibrant and powerful that night as it was when I last saw SONATA ARCTICA some 9 years ago. And he could still spin a good story about the band's history such as when he described how the recent lineup came together for the recording of Pariah's Child (which inspired "Cloud Factory"). In fact he was so convincing in his storytelling I doubt if the Ottawa crowd really noticed or cared that he proclaimed the Spanish coastal city of San Sebastian to be SONATA ARCTICA's favorite city during the introduction to, well, the actual song "San Sebastian". It's not like he accidentally referred to us as Toronto like Ozzy Osbourne did recently so that song gets a pass. In fact the whole show was flawless and it was a sensation which all three of the bands mutually shared that night.

As long as SONATA ARCTICA, DELAIN and XANDRIA continue to tour and attract crowds here in Ottawa we won't need to be the pariah's child after all when it comes to creating future touring schedules for their world tours. Melodic power to the people once more for supporting live music here in town.


  • "The Wolves Die Young"
  • "Losing My Insanity"
  • "My Land"
  • "Black Sheep"
  • "Silver Tongue"
  • "Replica"
  • "Cloud Factory"
  • "FullMoon"
  • "Flag In The Ground"
  • "In The Dark"
  • "X Marks The Spot"
  • "Love"
  • "Kingdom For A Heart"
  • "I Have A Right"
  • "San Sebastian"
  • "Blood"
  • "Wolf And Raven"
  • "Don't Say A Word" (with "Vodka" outro)

Grab a copy of Pariah's Child in the KNAC.COM More Store right HERE.

Catch SONATA ARCTICA on one of these upcoming dates!

  • 9.30 - The Grove - Anaheim, CA, United States
  • 10.01 - Club Red - Tempe, AZ, United States
  • 10.04 - Bluebird Theater - Denver, CO, United States
  • 10.05 - Granada Theater - Lawrence, KS, United States
  • 10.07 - Tricky Falls - El Paso, TX, United States
  • 10.08 - Backstage Live - San Antonio, TX, United States
  • 10.09 - Trees - Dallas, TX, United States
  • 10.10 - Scout Bar - Houston, TX, United States
  • 10.12 - Diamonds - Louisville, KY, United States
  • 10.13 - Masquerade - Atlanta, GA, United States
  • 10.14 - House of Blues - Orlando, FL, United States
  • 10.15 - Orpheum - Tampa, FL, United States
  • 10.17 - Bahia Urbana, Pier 8, Old San Juan - San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • 11.02 - Volta - Moscow, Russian Federation
  • 11.03 - Milo Club - Nizhny Novgorod, Russian Federation
  • 11.05 - Tele-Club - Ekaterinburg, Russian Federation
  • 11.06 - Aurora Club - St. Petersburg, Russian Federation
  • 12.03 - Verkatehdas - Hämeenlinna, Finland
  • 12.04 - The Circus - Helsinki, Finland
  • 12.05 - Lutakko - Jyväskylä, Finland
  • 12.06 - Rytmikorjaamo - Seinäjoki, Finland

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