Scaling the past 18 years, Karnivool are a band that need no introduction. 3 highly successful albums, and numerous international tours later, Karnivool are back to grace UK shores again. This time they return with UK Tech Metal giants, Monuments.

This night was in high anticipation. One of the best Prog rock bands on the planet, accompanied by one of the best Tech Metal bands. A combination that was made for the fans and was bound to be an absolute cracker!

With doors open, there was an increasing murmur of anticipation. Not only for Karnivool, but for our British reps, Monuments. The flash of the torch, the lights went down, and the relatively small crowd roared. Monuments had a long intro which involved vocalist Chris Barretto playing a saxophone solo. This flowed into ‘I, The Creator’, a massive song that got the crowd moving and immediately drew in more people. The set consisting of 7 songs, followed with ‘Horcrux’, ‘Garden Of Sankhara’, ‘Quasimodo’, ‘Saga City’ and ‘Atlas’. As they rattled through most of the material from ‘The Amanuensis’, they ended on the only song from ‘Gnosis’, ‘Regenerate’. Like the live recording of the song, frontman Chris Barretto instructed that the crowd drop to the floor. By this time the venue was crammed and as they all leapt up, Barretto set about venturing out to the crowd, much to the surprise of the security guards, who had had very little to do up to this point. As the set came to a close, and as Barretto was returned to his spot on the stage, the crowd applauded the British talent on offer this evening, and set about readying themselves for the headliners.

Karnivool were a band that I had never seen before. Like many others, I was excited at the prospect of seeing one of Prog rocks finest offerings. As the lights went down and the crowd erupted, Karnivool took to the stage to provide a masterclass in live performance. Playing for almost 2 hours, Karnivool tore through a 13-track set, from a mixture of all 3 albums. Playing through fan favourites such as ‘New Day’ and ‘We Are’, the band set the standard for live bands. Vocalist Ian Kenny was flawless throughout, and provided us with a real treat, with stunning clean vocals that sounded like they were straight off the record! Going through each album in age order, Karnivool came to the last section of their set that was off of their latest album, ‘Asymmetry’.

Opening with ‘Alpha Omega’, they had the whole crowd singing along. With the set concluding, Kenny said his thanks to the crowd and for the support from Monuments on this tour, before introducing ‘Aeons’ as their conclusion. To the roar of the crowd, they polished off what was a must-see performance. Leaving the crowd in awe, they left the stage to deafening applause. As the crowd left the O2 Academy, the atmosphere was thick with compliments, discussing both Karnivool and their support act, Monuments. A huge line stretching back from the merch stand was slowly dispersed by security, much to the ire of fans who were disappointed not to be allowed to stick around and meet their idols.

A great night, that was more than enough class even though the line up was only 2 strong. With screams of ‘Kar-ni-vool’ heard whilst walking the streets around the venue, it was clear to see that Karnivool’s venture to the South West was justified, and thoroughly appreciated.

Karnivool’s UK and European tour concluded with a show at the Roundhouse in London. They now head home, ahead of a homeland tour in Australia. We sure as hell hope they hit the UK again before too long.

Review and Photography by Siôn Roe

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