The Sirens at The Garage, London, 16/10/2014

The Sirens is a project to celebrate 20 years of female fronted metal, with the first three singers to start the movement coming together for a special tour. Ex-The 3rd and the Mortal singer Kari Rueslåtten, Ex-The Gathering singer Anneke Van Giersbergen and Ex-Theatre of Tragedy singer Leaves’ eyes came to London’s The Garage playing a set made up of music from their old bands, their solo careers and new songs written together for the tour.

There was no support meaning that the night was all about The Sirens, and with Anneke’s live backing band providing the instrumental side of things for the evening, the ladies came on stage to begin the night all performing Treat Me Like a Lady from Anneke’s latest solo album Drive, with Kari and Liv joining in and lending their beautiful voices to the song. Each of The Sirens have different but beautiful voices, and they sung on each others songs for many of the night’s performances, giving them an interesting re-imagining. Liv Kristine played two tracks from new album Vervain, and with the powerful voice of Anneke giving that extra radiant energy that she brings when on stage to the title track and the infectiously catchy Love Decay they were a lot of fun – a theme for the night with all three singers noticeably enjoying themselves. Mental Jungle and 1000 Miles Away From You from Anneke’s solo band were also great fun, the latter’s powerful music showing the strength of Anneke’s backing band, and Liv singing beautifully with her on the latter. Kari’s solo material is a lot more introspective and atmospheric than the upbeat poppy songs of her colleagues, but Exile is a song that really let her show off her beautiful folky voice, while the Norwegian Trollferd performed with Liv was spellbinding, both singers sounding great in their native language. For Ride she was joined by both Liv and Anneke, and it was one of the set’s highlights, from the fantastic sound and volume of the killer bass line to the beautiful voices of each singer, the soft folky voice of Kari, the dreamier voice of Liv and Anneke’s sweet sounding voice all sounding sublime.

While they’ve all released great solo albums, it was the music of their old groups that really started the scene twenty years ago and have been a huge influence to the bands that came in their wake. And as such it was the songs from this era that really made the set. From Theatre of Tragedy, Venus and Siren are atmospheric and gloomy, epitomising that early gothic metal sound, with Liv’s voice being at it’s dreamy best on the both of them, and Kari joined her on stage for the latter, her soft voice really matching the atmosphere. The upbeat electronic rock of Image was a complete change in style for the band, but it’s such a great upbeat song that it ended up being one of the most fun, especially with the energy Liv brought to the stage. Saturnine from The Gathering is one of their most popular songs and one that Anneke still plays regularly in her own shows, the sing along track going down well with the crowd. It was In Motion I and Strange Machines from the album Mandylion that really impressed though, both performances were perfect. The former is an atmospheric metal gem, with beautifully guitar and keyboard melodies, not to mention how fantastic Anneke’s voice is when singing in that powerful metal style, and it was arguably the best of the entire night. Strange Machines is a great song with lots of brilliant riffs and hearing Anneke sing the first song from the first album she ever performed on was really special. But when it came to Kari performing songs from The 3rd and the Mortal twenty years after Tears Laid in Earth was released and she sung with the group, it was an even more exceptional performance. Why So Lonely is a beautifully ethereal song, and with Anneke lending the beautiful soft side of her voice to it alongside Kari’s powerful emotional performance it was spellbinding. But Death Hymn was even better, the powerful lyrics and thick atmosphere of the original song have rarely been matched since, so with the band in top form, those beautiful guitar melodies and Kari’s emotional voice made it the most hauntingly moving performance of the night – especially given it’s been such a long time since Kari has sung in a metal style.

The two new The Sirens songs were also performed, with the ballad Embracing the Seasons allowing The Sirens to really show the strength of their voices and the chemistry they all had on the stage against soft mellow instrumentation. They closed the set with the other new track Sisters of the Earth, and the catchy upbeat rock song was a great way to close a fun, fantastic and historic set. Hearing the pioneers of the movement play these classics a long time after they’ve left the bands was fantastic, and a reminder if anyone needed it of why they were so influential to the scene we have now – but also showing just how important they still are with the songs from respective solo careers. With three of the best singers around playing such a historic set with such great chemistry and energy The Sirens are just unmissable for any fans of the female fronted metal scene.


Setlist from the night

The Siren’s tour dates:

14.10.2014 DE Bonn, Harmonie
15.10.2014 FR Colmar, Le Grillen
16.10.2014 UK London, The Garage
18.10.2014 BE Wieze, Metal Female Voices Fest
19.10.2014 NL Oss, De Groene Engel
06.12.2014 CH Pratteln, Z7
17.12.2014 NL Zoetermeer, Boerderij
18.12.2014 DE Jena, F-Haus
19.12.2014 DE Nagold, Alte Seminarturnhalle
20.12.2014 FR Paris, Divan Du Monde

Read Swirls of Noise interviews with Anneke, Kari and Liv respectively about The Sirens by clicking on the links.


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