DARKNESS DIVINE – Live at Bannerman’s, Edinburgh (Concert Review)

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Darkness Divine: 4 band bill

The last Saturday of 2018 brought a 4 band metal bill to Bannerman’s Bar in Edinburgh headlined by Decibel Geek approved Darkness Divine from Glasgow. The bands came mostly from the central belt of Scotland and Manchester. This would be the first time for the band from down south called Prognosis in Edinburgh. A very healthy crowd turned up (sometimes the weekend between Christmas and New year in Scotland can be a bit quiet as folks are preparing the big event on the 31st) and they joined in and supported all the bands with heckling, clapping, singing and even dancing going on amongst the consumption of lots of beer! Well it is that time of year.

First up from Edinburgh were Black Metal Tyrants who play raucous heavy metal. No frills, just in your face metal. There were some issues when it comes to the vocals on the night with either a sound problem or a dodgy microphone meaning that the vocals were not as clear as one would like. I put my money on the mike cable being the problem. With the way front man Sean Kane windmills the thing around (ala Roger Daltrey of The Who) no wonder it probably didn’t always work! The band hadn’t played a gig I was told for about a year but it didn’t sound like it. There was quite a bit of fun going on up on the stage with members winding each other up and creating laughs for everyone. It felt like they were starting a party rather than just a gig. Just right for an end of year show at Bannerman’s.

Prognosis: Phil Weller on guitar

Next up were Manchester based outfit Prognosis. I admit I was excited to see them as the album is very impressive. They are nice and heavy but as the name implies also quite proggy. Some of the solos blew me away. They played a new song (I think they said it was called “Void”) which pleasingly was my favourite song of their set! The guitar intro I particularly liked. Drummer Aaron Yuid even did some dancing behind the kit during it. That caused plenty of laughs. How come most drummers can’t dance? They play rhythm! Saying it was track of the set is in no way disrespecting what is on the album. If that is the standard of what is to come then I can hardly wait for the net album. Opener “High Road” set the tone. Lots of power and groove along with technical ability. I love how they end the song and live they nailed it. They finished with “Drones”, which is a song about how they are used in warfare and the damage caused to innocents. Some fine soloing and vocals going on n this one. I think next year we will all be hearing more about this band via Decibel Geek.

(Set List 1. High Road/ 2. Echoes/ 3. Void/ 4. The Sycophant/ 5. Drones and I think they slipped the instrumental Repentance in at one point as well)

Next up were electronic metal band Neshiima from Glasgow. Now I confess they are not totally my kind of thing. However I quite enjoyed them on the night and they went down very well with lots of people up dancing and grooving to what they were doing. There seemed to have bits of hip hop etc going on, but they were still quite heavy (and indeed metal). The band move around plenty. Lots of energy which the crowd responded to. They were something different to everyone else on the bill which added to the night. My favourite moment was when the bassist Craig Rankin left the stage and was playing from the back of the crowd. He slowly moved forward and stood behind a couple who were utterly unaware of his presence until he tapped their shoulders. The look of shock and surprise on their faces was brilliant. (It might not sound much, but seeing it live was fun). I enjoyed them enough that I would certainly watch them again.

Toni: Darkness Divine gives us the evil eye!

Finally, it came time for headliners Darkness Divine to hit the stage. Hit it they did. They topped and tailed the set with songs from their latest EP Prelude. Opening up with the marvellous “Mr Hyde” which is part catchy, part quite bloody scary (singer Toni Benedetti-Martin can pull of some facial expressions getting into character) and totally rocking. It certainly got the heads going in the crowd.

15 Seconds” had a gentler opening with drummer John “pinky” Martin using his hands rather than sticks creating a softer sound. The track of course built up into a sweet groove with lots of synchronised head banging going on with the band. They are a band that has plenty of energy and have fun onstage making them highly watchable.

According to my notes I think Toni announced that the song “This Is War” had never been played live before, so not just a new track (they played a couple of new ones) but one that we in Bannerman’s were the first to hear as an audience. All my notes said (yes I do attempt to take notes as I am at that age if I don’t I can’t remember what happened when) was “great track. I like”. Not the most extensive of notes (Can I be blamed?  I was partying!) but I do remember head banging to it. There was certainly no dip in the proceedings with the newer songs, they blended in nicely and folks greeted and reacted to them with the same enthusiasm as the older favourites.

The guitar solos are good throughout, never showing off, playing within the song, enhancing them, but with plenty of skill befitting the love of guitarists like John Petrucci. The band are tight despite all the movement onstage. With songs of the calibre of “A Stronger Dose” and “What We Want” there is much fun to be had singing along. They finished with “Digression” which rounded not only their set off but the whole night of on a very high note.

Each time I get to see them they improve. They have good songs and impressive stage presence with a front woman with a powerful voice and a great variety of facial expressions to entertain as well. Once again they also put on an impressive bill giving everyone a great night. What a way to end the year. Roll on 2019!

Set list 1. Hyde/ 2. 15 Seconds/ 3. This Is War/ 4. Mirror/ 5. A Stronger Dose/ 6. What We Want/ 7. Handful/ 8. Stranger/ 9. Digression

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