Australian quintet Karnivool began the end of their European tour, Divergence, in a powerful show performed at The Ritz. Support came in the form of UK tech-metallers Monuments performing mainly material from their second album, The Amanuensis. Monuments draw a reasonable crowd with a dedicated contingent of followers and set the progressive tone perfectly for the headliner, despite being overwhelmingly loud. Even with tickets still on the door, possibly due to the fact that many students have packed up for Easter, by the time Karnivool got to the stage the atmosphere could only be described as electric.
Opening with ‘C.O.T.E’ and ‘Shutterspeed’ from their first album Themata, singer Ian Kenny belts out lyrics with power whilst prowling the stage, only to have the audience chant them back louder. The whole band has such an epic, ethereal stage presence, and seem to have their game down to a T with some serious movement in the crowd as they progress through the grooves of ‘Roquefort’ and the anthemic ‘Themata’. The setlist is broken into three parts with each album the band have made played chronologically – the main set consisting of Themata, followed by Sound Awake, before five songs are played as an encore from 2013’s Asymmetry.
‘Goliath’ and ‘Deadman’ seem to be strong crowd-pleasers moving through the main set, however the energy of the audience seems to taper off throughout, despite the band never missing a beat. Karnivool seem to have a false start on the encore, opening with ‘Alpha Omega’, even though the roar of the crowd demanded something a little more energetic. The classic ‘We Are’ is played with a phenomenal drive and clarity not found in the studio version and brings the energy right back up for going in to ‘The Refusal’, which goes down a storm.
Finishing the gig with the brooding track ‘Aeons’, Karnivool put in a cracking performance and are clearly a very talented band with some weight under the belt. Although playing a chronological setlist seems an interesting thing to do, all of the energetic songs are out of the way quickly, with the set not quite recovering from this. Nevertheless Karnivool are a force to be reckoned with, and are a must see for any fan of rock or metal.