This review is Part of series of articles on London By Norse. The various articles will be linked at the bottom of each page once they have been uploaded.
Now this was the night which I imagine most people were looking forward to. The second ever UK performance of Wardruna and also the UK premiere of Skuggsjá. This was initially scheduled to take place at another venue but, due to structural issues, the venue was moved to The Coronet. This might seem trivial to some, but in reality this meant airport style security checks which meant a lot of people ended up missing most of Wardruna’s set. This was despite them starting half an hour later than normal and the doors having opened a good hour before they were initially scheduled to go on. This was not securities fault, they simply said it “was venue policy to have this level of security”. I can understand why they needed to search everyone, most venues nowadays do. But searching everyone to the level that they did? This is a metal concert, not a bloody international airport… Anyway, enough of my ranting and onto the main event.
After finally managing to get in the venue and squeeze through to a decentish spot, I managed to catch the last few songs of Wardurna’s set. Upon first hearing it when I got into the venue, I was slightly indifferent to it. I’d heard similar music before and it never really took my fancy. After a couple of minutes however, I began to understand the music and what it represented. This then lead me to rather enjoy their set so when they finished I was quite miffed that I’d missed so much of their set. The rest of the crowd seemed to follow a similar pattern of getting more and more into the music as the cheers got progressively louder after each song. Playing what can be described as traditional norse music using all traditional instruments along with some vocal accompaniment, the band delivered an enjoyable set which only marred slightly by a sound which had a little too much bass in it. (8/10)
It was then time once again for the birthday boys to take to the stage on this the final night of London By Norse. Opening with “Death in the Eyes of Dawn” from RIITIIR, the band immediatly started bringing their more progressive material to the eager crowd that had amassed. In comparison with the previous performances, this one felt a lot more rehearsed and a lot more serious. I’m not overly sure why, but it might have been due to them being nervous for reasons that will be explained later. Having a good sound for the whole set really helped get all the various little bits that feature in their music out quite clearly and also helped the crowd really get into the music. And, for the first time of the weekend, there was a moshpit! A small one mind, but there still was one. Playing a set compromised of songs from their most recent releases: In Times and Axioma Ethica Odini, the band delivered a superb set and let many in the crowd, including myself, still yearning after more from them! (9/10)
After a rather speedy changeover, it was then time for something rather special. The UK debut of Skuggsjá. As they were coming on stage I noticed that not just Ivar and Einar were on stage. The whole of Enslaved as well as most of Wardruna were on stage as well which meant there was at least 10-15 people on the stage. That’s a lot of people to fit on one stage and as a result they didn’t really move much. This resulted in a rather deadpan performance but it didn’t mar any of the music as it was just superb. Playing the entire album that they just recently released, they delivered a cracking performance and it’s safe to say that the project will have gained a lot more fans. I sadly had to leave about two songs before the end due to transport arrangements sadly not working out in my favour. I will say this about them though, if you ever get chance to see a Skuggsjá show.. Consider yourself very lucky and also prepare to have your mind blown by how creative the music is. (11/10)