06 Jun. 2017
On Mother’s Day evening, the Arkona, Sirenia, MindMaze tour came to FireHouse 13 in Providence RI for the second date of their U.S. tour. Although the crowd of roughly 100 people was relatively small, they made up for it in enthusiasm. Arkona is currently celebrating its 15 years of existence, while Sirenia is promoting its latest release on Napalm Records titled Dim Days of Dolor, and MindMaze is supporting its own recent release, Resolve out now on Inner Wound Recordings.
First up was Pennsylvania’s MindMaze, who I have had the opportunity to check out live before, but for this tour the band has recruited Pyramaze keyboardist Jonah Weingarten. The addition to Weingarten really opened up the bands live sound and gave the music a much-needed dynamic that the band achieved on their critically acclaimed new album. Being the opening act, the band had an abbreviated time on stage but made the most of it with a tight six song set, performing songs of the latest album as well as crowd favorites Destiny Calls (featuring lead vocalist Sarah Teets performing a flute intro), and a MindMaze set staple, This Holy War. By the end of the set the crowd showed their appreciation and the band gained several new converts.
Next up was Norwegian Symphonic metal band Sirenia, performing a 75 minute long career spanning set. The first thing I noticed was the band was performing without a live bass player, choosing to track the bass parts along with the orchestral and symphonic arrangements. This proved to be distracting at first and certainly lacked that “live band” feel but guitarist/band leader Morten Veland and new vocalist, mezzo -oprano Emmanuelle Zoldan commanded the stage. I have to admit that I’ve never really listened to Sirenia much in the past aside from the latest album, which is fantastic and was well represented here.
Once Sirenia finished their set is was time for the nights headliner, Russia’s folk metal heroes, Arkona. I have had the opportunity to see Arkona several times in the past (Paganfest and 70,000 Tons of Metal) so I was well aware of what an energetic and fun show they put on. This night was no exception as Masha Scream is the consummate frontperson, banging her head and engaging the crowd to sing and dance. The band is a well-oiled machine and continues to impress with their extensive catalog as well as its live performances. By the end of the night the audience was left exhausted and satisfied after a night of female-fronted metal that spanned several different genres but fit together perfectly. Definitely one of the best touring packages I have witnessed in 2017 so kudos to whoever made this tour happen.