Hey folks, I’m Sean – a friend of Mosh and an avid follower of The Moshville Times.
First of all before I start this, my first proper review, I’d like to say a huge thanks to Mosh for the gig, much appreciated mate!
So on Tuesday 1/Oct/2013, Glasgow was subject to an invasion of vicious Vikings and treacherous trolls. That’s right, Finntroll‘s Blodsvept Over Europe tour had arrived in Scotland bringing fellow folk metallers Tyr and Skalmold along for the ride. Now I must admit, I’ve only been a folk metal fan for a short while – every time bands such as Ensiferum (who I am now a big fan of), Eluveite or Finntroll themselves crossed my ears I always enjoyed what I heard but never followed up on it until a few months ago. So I didn’t know much of Finntroll, I knew a little of Tyr and nothing of Skalmold (so if there’s any inaccuracies with songs etc., I apologise). However this show has earned a new fan, and what a show they put on!
First up was Iceland’s Skalmold. The youngest band on the bill with two albums under their belt (Baldur and Born Loka), though nothing to promote except themselves on this tour, they definitely proved they belonged alongside the folk metal legends with whom they shared the stage. Mosh and I had the insight of sitting in on Skalmold’s soundcheck and I must admit (from an student sound engineer’s point of view) the sound in the venue was spot on, especially with the many musicians sharing the stage at one time.
Skalmold presented three guitarists, one of which is the frontman (Bjorgvinn Sigurdsson), with two contributing to the powerful rousing rhythms and the third performing the catchy, upbeat folk melodies on top in unison with the keyboard player (Gunnar Ben). The entire band contributes vocals in Skalmold with Sigurdsson handling the aggressive roars of pagan pride, lead guitarist Baldur Ragnarsson screaming on top, and the rest of the band (Ben, Jon Geir Johansson on drums, Snaebjorn Ragnarsson on bass, and Prainn Arni Baldvinsson on guitar) backing up the leads adding greater depth to the bands rich sonic palette.
Skalmold’s highlight was definitely the performance of the song “Gleipnir” (from Born Loka), which they recently made a great video for, working the crowd up for the remainder of epic folk metal to come.
Next up were Faroe Islanders Tyr promoting their latest release Valkyrja. Beginning with a song I am very much familiar with, “Hold the Heathen Hammer High”, resulted in almost every single person in the room singing along with “Heathen heart! Pagan pride!” A rapturous return to Scottish shores for these Vikings. It’s a joy to hear the dulcet tones of frontman Heri Joensen backed up with perfect harmonies from bassist Gunnar Thomsen and fellow guitarist Terji Skibenaes. The band showcased some new songs, destined to become catchy classics, such as latest single “Blood of Heroes” and “Mare of My Night”.
Nearing the end of their set Tyr dedicated one song to our homeland, the epic “Sinklars Visa (The Ballad of Sinclair)”. The song’s lyrics tell of a battle between the Norwegians and the Scots as a Scotsman sailing to Norway declares his defiance against their army. Beginning with a gloriously harmonised vocal melody introducing the song before storming through the epic metal masterpiece to the end of their set.
Prior to the trolls’ entrance, strange folky/country-esque bastardizations of pop-sounding tunes echoed throughout the venue. This I didn’t expect thus leaving me wondering what might come of those mischievous Finn’s everyone came here to see. Then they entered, strangely dressed in a kind of steampunk-type fashion before firing into their set.
I definitely did not see what was coming.
Finntroll instantly proved they are the soundtrack to some kind of psychedelic forest party where the mead is in constant flow. Opening with “Mordminnen” and it’s catchy riffing and jazzy trumpets, I saw a sight I’d never thought I’d see at an extreme metal show – the crowd were dancing! Dancing like drunken dads at a family occasion, but still dancing in Staropramen-fuelled ecstasy to Finntroll’s unique brand of folk metal partying.
For the majority of the rest of the songs, I couldn’t tell you a thing about them with all being in Swedish, however I can tell you that every song was rapturous as the rest with Finntroll’s set not letting up in terms of energy, atmosphere, catchiness and fun! There was a good mix of material from their more folky stuff to their more black metal stuff from throughout their career (from debut Midnattens Widunder through to current album which is being promoted on this tour, Blodsvept).
However just before the end there was one song which really stuck with me due to it’s wonderfully composed intro which to me sounded like something from the soundtrack to one of the “Legend of Zelda” games. After researching from today I have found out that this masterpiece is the first song on their debut, “Svartberg”. I have never heard anything like it in metal and it’s definitely become an instant favourite of mine. There was only way to end Finntroll’s set, with what to me seemed like their most well-known song – the mighty “Trollhammeren” which invoked a mass moshfest and roars of the title along with the several “Hei!”s of the night.
So in conclusion from my overlong ramblings, all I can say is catch Finntroll, Tyr and Skalmold on this tour before it is over and whenever else in the future they come to your town. All three bands present a brilliant setlist of awesome, catchy, upbeat folk metal tunes and provide a great deal of fun for a great night out with your metal bretheren and beer of choice (mead and Viking drinking horns are optional).
For more info on the bands catch their Facebook pages and Twitter feeds below:
Also feel free to follow me on Twitter if you don’t mind me spewing the occasional 120 characters of shite every now and then – https://twitter.com/Sean_Merrigan
Finally I really enjoyed writing this review and hopefully I’ll be able to do more in the future. Thanks for reading folks!