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Sirenia / Temperance

Artists: Sirenia, Temperance, Symphonity

Venue: Manchester, Club Academy

Date: 11th May 2024


"The hooks were strong, and Emmanuelle Zoldan had enough of a stage presence and voice to help them impact."


 

© Dave Bott
@ Dave Bott

My third trip into Manchester in six days was for a night of Symphonic Metal, featuring Italy’s Temperance and Sirenia from Norway. I have seen both bands before, with the previous Temperance encounter being a particular highlight.


Temperance formed in 2013, with Marco Pastorino (guitar/vocals) and Luca Negro (bass) being ever-present since then. They have released seven full-length albums to date, with ‘Hermitage – Daruma’s Eyes Part 2’ being the most recent in 2023. The last time I saw the band play live was in a very small club in Hull (UK), in August 2022, and they blew me away with their energy and the interaction between the three lead singers (two male and one female). Drummer Marco Sacchetto and singer Kristin Starkey (who hails from New York) joined in 2023, with the current line-up being completed by Michele Guaitoli (lead vocals), who has been a member since 2018.


It was slightly disappointing to find the Club Academy room less than half full when Temperance took to the stage. It was also disappointing see that Marco Pastorino was missing from the show, his place being taken by a stand-in guitarist. ‘Daruma’ and ‘The Last Hope In A World Of Hopes’ were lively openers and Kristin Starkey and Michele Guaitoli complimented each other really well vocally. If I am honest, Pastorino was sorely missed, as his third vocal is what makes Temperance quite unique, and he also has great stage presence. The twelve song set mas made up of six ‘Hermitage…’ songs and six established favourites, such as ‘Start Another Round’, ‘Diamanti’, ‘I Am The Fire’ and closing ‘Pure Life Unfolds’. Starkey and Guaitoli managed to get some great responses from the crowd during the sixty-minute performance, and though it was not the best Temperance set I have seen, it was still entertaining.


Sirenia have suffered from continuous line-up changes since they formed in 2001. Morten Veland (guitar/harsh vocals) started the band after leaving Tristania and is the only person to feature continuously throughout the band’s career to date. French-born Emmanuelle Zoldan has been the lead-singer with Sirenia since 2016 and has featured on the last four studio albums, including 2023’s ‘1977’, which was a very strong set of songs and probably Sirenia’s most successful commercially.


It was noticeable that the crowd had thinned out a little after Temperance’s set, but those that remained welcomed Sirenia enthusiastically. When I saw Sirenia at the Female Metal Voices show, towards the end of 2019, I was surprised when they took to the stage without a bass player, but two guitarists. That was still the case in Manchester, with all the bass parts being programmed. I am not overly familiar with the Sirenia catalogue, having just 2007’s ‘Nine Destinies And A Downfall’ and the aforementioned ‘1977’ amongst my collection, so it was to the band’s credit that even the songs I did know managed to resonate. The hooks were strong, and Emmanuelle Zoldan had enough of a stage presence and voice to help them impact. ‘Dim Days Of Dolor’, ‘Into The Night’, ‘Deadlight’ and ‘Lost In Life’ were typical examples of what Sirenia are all about, but I missed the band interaction that Temperance had earlier. Train schedules meant that I had to leave before the last couple of songs, but by then the whole Symphonic Metal had begun to take its toll anyway.


A good value show (I missed the opening band of the night, who were Symphonity) for those who follow this musical genre, but after the two fantastic shows I had witnessed earlier in the week this one (for me anyway) proved to be more of an assault on the senses despite the quality on display.


 

Review & Photos: Dave Bott

 

Gallery: All photos © Dave Bott (used with kind permission)

 

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