Live Report, Underworld London ( – In English)

My friend Erik from the Netherlands speaks highly of Poem from Greece. I can’t say that I’ve really connected to them in my short acquaintance. I did by way of preparation listen to a couple of songs but I found them a bit dreary, so I was hoping that their music might explode like a blossoming flower and their live performance would convey better to me what they are about. Well, Poem surprised me. They were much heavier than I expected. The style varied between rampant melodic heaviness and dark moody passages. The vocalist did a great line in facial gymnastics but more pertinently his vocal range was amazing. His clean voice had vulnerability, which is always handy for a prog band, he could growl and he had a haunting Middle Eastern voice when he wanted. But this was a team effort from what I quickly discovered is a musically creative band. The aggressive-looking bassist packed a punch, supporting the drums beats and even tribal rhythm on “Weakness”, while the lead guitarist provided a master-class of styles including classic metal, Mediterranean and North African rhythms. But this was heavy, energetic and always with a dark backdrop. Short headbanging sessions were on prescription too. Not having heard much of Poem before, initially I found them hard to settle to. I got that there were songs from the band’s album “Skein Syndrome” but what I came to perceive in my intrigued mind were not songs but passages. “Giant” featured progressive rock n roll, good melodies, a driving force, slow clapping, feeling-driven vocals and another headbanging workout. The band was well drilled and had masses of personality, delivering all this between the notional songs with humour and friendliness. Musically I particularly liked the dark atmospheres and moody sections, but so too I liked the catchy melodies, and the Mediterranean-style, twisting rhythms. I don’t know what all the songs were nor indeed what any of them was about but the atmospheres and variety were irresistible. The set ended with “Remission of Breath”, a great choice as a climax to the show. At first it was as if Opeth met the Mediterranean. As ever the musical tableau transformed, and was constantly in forward gear. Now we had a shadowy dark passage. I felt a hypnotising, heavy post metal type of energy. We heard the haunting voice, then as crunchy heaviness returned, the singer was in the crowd demonstrating his impressive credentials for the world headbanging championships. Poem’s music was intriguing and creative. I felt privileged to see such great musicians at work.