On 23 May 2020, eight days after the release of their debut album, “Eclyptic: Wake of Shadow,” Swiss metal band ILLUMISHADE played an official online performance under the title “Streamed Live from the Stage,” which functioned as the official release party for the album. Sitting cozily in front of our screens, we were taken into a magical world where the story of the Guardian came to life beautifully.
Beginning with a montage of photos showing how ILLUMISHADE came to be – from the recording to the video shoots, to the sound of a beating heart – the show was underway with “Passage Through the Clouds,” which featured images of a cloud and vocals from the fans. Immediately after that the band was seen on stage as the first notes of “The Calling Winds” were heard, and the enchanting voice of the Guardian (Fabienne Erni) soared. Chugging guitars and chiming keys opened the next track, “Tides of Time,” and the energy of the band was already palpable through the screen. Since this track is a duet but Chrigel Glanzmann could not join the band, his vocals were played from backing tracks without diminishing the vibe of the concert. The downside of a streamed show is that, where claps and cheers from the audience should be heard, there was only silence, despite the downpour of emoticons and comments in the chat box.
Playing the album in order (as a concept album, that’s the only way to play it, anyways) ILLUMISHADE continued with “The Farewell Arcades” where Mirjam Schnedl’s chiming keys added texture and nuances to Jonas Wolf’s guitar and Marc Friedrich’s drums. “Crystal Silence” saw the band getting more energized as Fabienne Erni headbanged in between the verses, as you do when you’re on stage and have a great beat. The blue backdrop and soft orange lighting colour scheme added to the atmosphere of the show and the virtual audience seemed to appreciate that a lot. Goosebumps were assured with “What Have I Become” and “Rise” as Fabienne Erni’s emotional vocals soared, accompanied by gentle guitar and piano. Filmed from multiple angels, the stream allowed the 600+ viewers to see different aspects of the stage – either the whole band in a central shot, or just 1 – 2 musicians, depending on the songs and the aspects that needed emphasis. For these two ballads the camera stayed more with Fabienne Erni, who was singing and playing piano, deeply immersed in the music, while in other cases Jonas Wolf’s guitar playing was shown. We really appreciated the camera work/edit of the stream, it was like watching a concert on DVD.
“Into The Maelstrom” was just as ominous and dark as on the album, flowly seamlessly into “Muse of Unknown Forces,” which was greeted with a blast of smoke and headbanging. Fabienne Erni took full command of the stage, while Jonas Wolf’s guitar wailed and Marc Friedrich’s drums were pounding. It’s such a great live anthem and the virtual audience definitely enjoyed it. Goosebumps were assured once again with “Golden Lands” and the gloomy “Beyond the Obsidian Veil.” The hard rock piece of music that is “World’s End,” ended up sounding even better live and the viewers really appreciated it, as the chat was overflowed by comments and emoticons. Album closer “Glowing Tides” saw many clapping emoticons fly by.
This concert presented two things: (1) a cohesive band that are true masters of their instruments, and (2) a bunch of songs that give you goosebumps regardless of whether you listen to them on the album or in a live setting. After a brief “Hello world” the band continued with an encore that was not only a definite surprise but also a wonderful delight for the virtual audience enjoying the show. Keeping up with the fantasy theme of the album, “Into the Unknown” from the soundtrack of “Frozen II” (2019) was played, thus ending the show on a high note, both figuratively and literally. (Disney metal is officially a thing now!)
The concert was followed by some funny behind-the-scenes moments and a Q&A session. ILLUMISHADE took the opportunity to announce their participation at the Tohuwabohu live stream festival on Sunday, 21 June 2020, alongside SAMEL, CELLAR DARLING, and KASSOGTHA. With a cheer to the album, sipping Illumi Fusion cocktails (recipe on their Facebook page), and a “Thank you” from Jonas Wolf to all the people that had helped the band get to this point of their career, the Q&A was underway. This section covered such subjects as stage outfits, performing without an audience, formation of the band, the different tribes of the Illumi world, cover artwork and title, the songwriting process, playing “Into the Unknown,” favorite moment as a member of ILLUMISHADE, and many other less serious but funny questions.
What a lovely and entertaining way to spend a Saturday night! Oh, and thank you for getting “Into the Unknown” stuck in my brain, I’ll be humming it for the next couple of days for sure!
- Passing Through the Clouds
- The Calling Winds
- Tales of Time (ft. Chrigel Glanzmann)
- The Farewell Arcades
- Crystal Silence
- What Have I Become
- Into The Maelstrom
- Muse of Unknown Forces
- Golden Lands
- Beyond the Obsidian Veil
- World’s End
- Glowing Tides
- Into the Unknown (encore)
Written by Andrea Crow