Xandria, Kobra and the Lotus, and Once Human hit the stage on Saturday May 20, 2017 at Metro Music Hall in Salt Lake City, Utah, and proved female-fronted bands are here to stay. Female-fronted bands are where the similarities end. Each band’s musical style were as diverse as metal can be. That is what made this show such an amazing line-up.
First to hit the stage was Once Human, the brainchild of Logan Mader (Machine Head and Soul Fly). Lauren Hart, a petite brunette fronts the band and is very soft spoken until she hits the stage where the monster is unleashed. Her “growl” style of vocals left the crowd amazed that a voice of such power could be unearthed by such a soft-spoken soul. Before the show, I asked her about her vocal style and she said, “My mom came to one of my shows and said where did I go wrong?” Mom you didn’t go wrong, because Lauren controlled the stage as the rest of the band backed her with a true melodic and almost death-metal sound. They played a short setlist that included songs from their current album Evolution, as well as a cover of Machine Head’s “Davidian.”
Next to hit the stage was Kobra and the Lotus. The band’s style is blistering hard rock with strong vocals provided by Kobra Paige, the band’s front woman. Imagine if Ann Wilson of Heart had started a hard rock band today and you would have Kobra and the Lotus. Paige’s presence commanded attention as she hammered through the band’s catalog focusing on their current release Prevail I. As she drew the audience in with her authoritative yet beautiful voice, the rest of the band blistered the crowd with harmonious riffs and pounding drumbeats.
The headliner of the night was German symphonic-metal band Xandria. The band’s setlist covered the band’s ten-year career and seven studio albums while concentrating on their latest release Theater of Dimensions. Front-woman Dianne van Giersbergen did not use power to command the audience as the previous two front women; she instead mesmerized the crowd with her operatic style of singing while her speaking voice was something like that of a Disney princess. When she sang, her voice filled the hall with a sound one would expect at an opera hall, but the music behind her was anything but operatic. Heavy guitars, wild keyboards, and loud drums kept it all in check. This was a heavy metal show.
By the end of the night the audience had experienced one of the most diverse metal shows that has ever been seen in Salt Lake City. No one would soon forget the diversity that metal brings to this planet or the women that brought it to the stage that night in Salt Lake City.