First of all – I think Pythia are one of the strongest new metal bands out there (if anyone reads this and asks the question who else – I’d say AR and Black Spiders), so I’ve been looking forward to the launch of their new album The Serpent’s Curse at the London Borderline. Arriving at the borderline I join a small queue of folk mostly in Pythia shirts, one so keen to get into the gig he’s handing out flyers for others shows as part of his entry deal.
The evening starts off well – an album playback whilst I enjoy a couple of beers. The Serpent’s Curse had been released on Monday – and digital downloads had been made available to those who had pre-ordered it (great customer service from the band).
First band of the night – the Marianna Hollow the set starts slowly with some dark moody tone but soon gathers pace and heaviness with some tunes that are become instantly familiar – I can’t roll out any song titles other than Halo which was probably the most accessible moment of the set. Good musicians, a rocking show and an ideal opening band for tonight’s crowd.
Just before Pythia we get Maiden’s Sea of Madness through the PA – such a great Maiden song and after a couple of beers were sinking in it was hard to resist the temptation to play some air-bass-guitar to the thunderous baseline. Behind closed doors would have been a different matter – don’t deny it you’d do the same.
Pythia’s set is a solid heroic display of power. Spectacular tight musicianship and Emily Alice Ovenden is the ultimate metal frontwoman with a terrific range in her voice and an ability to connect with everyone in the room. We get a mix of new and old – some great moments from their debut – in particular the Army of the Damned.
We are encouraged to all raise our horns for British Heavy Metal, and the sea of mobile-phone-cameras raised throughout turns into a sea of unified fists and horns. Later Emily raises her goblet to the crowd in front of her leaf covered microphone stand, the band all in battle dress with guitars being thrown up and down throughout. I try to take a couple of snaps for this blog but so energised is the show they come out quite blurred (as shown).
Emily smiling throughout the show is clearly proud of the new material and there’s a lot to be proud of. There’s a real feel good celebration factor tonight, the venue is packed out and everyone is keen to celebrate new Pythia music. Pythia’s music is unique and their stage presence and energy could rule on a much larger stage and I hope they move up to larger venues – their music deserves it.
Unfortunately I had to run to get a train – and that’s a genuine run down to Leicester Square tube station – so I didn’t get to stick around for the end where they would be partying at the Wednesday night metal club.
And the Serpents’ Curse – if there’s a metal album worth purchasing this year it has to be this one. The epic thunderous opening track Cry of our Nation, the huge chorused single Betray my heart, and the one that will stick in your head Kissing the Knife. And the finest track for me – Long Live the King – kicking in with an almost anthrax style riff before moving onto more complex symphonic and power metal styles. Perfect.