It’s not often that a great band swings by the small town of Olten, Switzerland, and so to have two bands that fit that bill come along to this riverside town is something of a pleasant surprise. Heading to Europe for the first time is Brooklyn’s Sanhedrin and Phoenix’s Spirit Adrift.
Both have released excellent records this year and heavy metal unites the two and where doom influences follow first band Spirit Adrift, Sanhedrin tread a more traditional path. First on stage this evening are Spirit Adrift, who released Divided By Darkness in May of this year and so much of their set is taken from this incredible record. From the heady stomp of “Born Into Fire” to the beautiful message behind “Hear Her,” the band are incredibly tight and incredibly appreciated by the crowd. Those up front cannot contain their enthusiasm and it feeds back into the band who, after an emotional “Angels & Abyss” to close the set, give in to the calls for more and play an encore. It’s an excellent first showing in Europe for this band and will hopefully be the first of many over the years. Divided By Darkness is a testament to hope and to willpower and for founder and frontperson Nate Garrett, it is the beginning of a new cosmic energy. Tonight we all feel it.
That energy follows Sanhedrin throughout their set with a group up front who can barely contain their excitement. Erica Stoltz’s (ex-Hammers of Misfortune, ex-Amber Asylum) voice carries throughout the small venue and hits with precision. The band have a compelling presence and the songs more than back them up (I must admit here to not knowing the band beforehand and so knowledge of the names of the songs played is lacking) with fiery guitars and a distinct sound that is sure to make their name known in wider circles. Their set is powerful and dynamic and from beginning to end leaves time to pause, to take a breath and so many leave this dark basement in shock and awe.