PYTHIA/THE MARIANA HOLLOW: BORDERLINE, LONDON
Wednesday 29th February 2012
I wasn't expecting a queue outside the 100 Club for Pythia's album launch party and it was great to see the band had drawn such a big crowd. They certainly deserve it.
But the administration was not exactly on the ball as it soon transpired that the MetalTalk name had not been included in the guest list, despite numerous emails regarding this and other details passing back and forth during the previous days.
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Well there was no way I was missing this so I argued and fought and gave the door staff a hard time until they finally relented and let me in. Just to shut me up probably.
It was absolutely rammed in there and ridiculously hot as well and full of people dressed in suits and regular garb. Not a Heavy Metaller in sight and I felt slightly out of place. But it was an album launch party and I figured that the suits were all industry bods and the fat bloke on the stage doing the hosting had a Whitesnake shirt on so that was OK then.
And then it suddenly dawned on me that I was at the wrong gig...
A quick phone call to a colleague revealed that I should have been at The Borderline and for those not familiar with London, luckily this is only a ten minute wander from the 100 Club. So I sloped out, hoping that the door people who I had mouthed off at didn't notice me. But they did and they laughed. I deserved it.
Let's start again...
I wasn't expecting a queue outside the Borderline for Pythia's album launch party and it was great to see the band had drawn such a big crowd. They certainly deserve it.
I missed half of the playback of new album 'The Serpent's Curse' but the half I did hear was excellent and definitely now tops my 'must hear' list. Expect a favourable review on this site as soon as our review copy comes through.
'The Serpent's Curse' has apparently been three years in the making and the tracks the band aired on stage show the progression they have made since debut album 'Beneath The Veil Embraced'.
But more on that shortly. First up was The Mariana Hollow, a band with massive potential. Frontlady Rebecca Spinks is the Kate Bush of Heavy Metal; energetic and emotionally charged, she delivered a set of well written and presented songs like she really means it, which of course, she does.
Highlight of the set was 'Your Halo', currently TMH's definitive track. Check out the promo video for this wonderful piece as it says it all about the band.
TMH need to brush up on their delivery between songs however. It only takes a few seconds of silence to lose your audience and despite the quality of the tracks, the band appeared slightly under-confident as Rebecca under-delivered the introductions of the tracks. Once this is remedied, TMH have a big, big future. Catch them at The Highbury Garage on Saturday night.
One frontlady who knows all about delivery is the wonderful Emily Ovenden of Pythia. She's also a member of the Mediaeval Baebes and Celtic Legend as well as being a published novelist.
Pythia were nothing short of deadly last night, delivering a stirring performance that will live long in the memory. Bass player Mark Harrington patrolled the front of the stage like a warrior protecting his hordes while Emily captivated a near full house with her presence.
She does comedy as well, in between a salute to British Metal and asking for a show of horns. No silences here as Emily kept it all moving along nicely.
After an appeal to buy plenty of merchandise because it "keeps British Metal alive", she made a request for the audience to stick around afterwards as they would be drinking and signing. Then gasps from the crowd as she announced that "I'll even sign your nutsack too..."
This is a tight, tight band who are totaly unique in their presentation. Forget your countless female fronted Euro power Metallers who over the years have all seemingly merged into the same band; Pythia is where it's at because nobody else can consistently deliver this style to such a high level. If these tracks don't suck you in and leave you astonished at how such a high standard of musicianship can be faultlessly carried off, you must be dead from the neck up.
Every track was a highlight last night and with the new material from 'The Serpent's Curse', Pythia now have an arsenal capable of taking then right to the very top of their profession. I'll give a special mention to 'Army Of The Damned', 'Sarah (Bury Her)', 'My Pale Prince' and 'Kissing The Knife' though because they are now firmly lodged in my brain and will probably stay there for good.
I really cannot wait to see Pythia again and I'm hoping they get some festival bookings this summer because their material and act belong on the biggest stages. But the intimacy of The Borderline was a great, great setting for the start of this new chapter of one of Metal's best acts.