Arch Enemy, The Haunted, Dark Tranquillity and Nightrage tore up the London Forum on an emotionally charged night of Swedish metal.

Just 9 days after the tragic murder of Pantera and Damageplan axeman Dimebag Darrell Abbott in Columbus, Ohio in the States, the Metal Hammer sponsored Christmas party in the UK had an emotional tinge to it.

There’s little that hasn’t already been said about the legendary guitarist, but that there were constant “Dimebag” chants throughout the night, and half of the punters seemed to be in a daze at a gig of predominantly Swedish bands, in London, England is some sort of testament to the worldwide reach of his influence.

Greek/Swedish gig openers Nightrage began their set literally as the doors opened, so didn’t get much of a reaction from the crowd despite their decent playing, even though they had former At the Gates frontman Tomas Lindberg at the time.

Dark Tranquillity got a much better reaction from fans, from the moment Mikael Stanne walked out on stage a good few minutes before their set actually started.

From opener Punish My Heaven, the band stormed through their set which included debuts for a couple of new songs from their forthcoming album Character, including Focus Shift.

Next came the show stealing performance from The Haunted who played classics like DOA and Bury Your Dead to a rapturous response.

Newly reinstated frontman Peter Dolving engineered one of the most memorable moments at any gig I’ve ever been to when he got the 2,000 assembled metalheads to take part in a minute’s silence in memory of Dimebag. The silence gave way to The Haunted’s powerful Abysmal and 2,000 “Dimebag, Dimebag” chants throughout it’s intro.

Headliners Arch Enemy then took over with a performance which would eventually make it onto Disc 1 of the Live Apocalypse DVD.

It was a competent set that was Wages of Sin-heavy, featuring virtually every track off their 2002 release, including the surprise inclusion of instrumental Snow Bound.

The headliners were slightly less-exciting than two of the bands who had proceeded them, but nevertheless theirs was a good set, even if it didn’t quite capture the mood of the night like The Haunted did.

Click to watch Arch Enemy’s set closer Ravenous on Youtube.

See also, this interesting interview with Peter Dolving from two days earlier about Dimebag on Metal Underground.

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