It feels like it has been far too long since a package like this one has come to the UK. Indeed, it has been around 3 years since both OG and Skálmöld last played in the UK (outside London) and they decided to bring along Stam1na for the party. With this tour being the continuation of the package that hit mainland Europe last year, the eager masses gathered outside the venue on a decidedly sunny Friday evening for an evening of quality music.
Hitting the stage first were Finnish metallers Stam1na (7) whose van sadly broke down on the way to the venue that night. Putting that behind them, the five-piece set about bringing their unique brand of metal to the crowd that had gathered. Whilst they weren’t quite my cup of tea, there was no denying that the crowd were thoroughly enjoying themselves.
After a suitably speedy changeover, the first of tonight’s headliners Skálmöld (10) then took to the stage. Coming on stage to the double-barrelled assault of “Árás” and “Gleipnir”, the crowd exploded with a thunderous cheer that shook the room and the heads started banging. After playing a few more songs, frontman Björgvin then introduced the members that were stepping in for Baldur & Gunnar who were Einar and Helga, respectively. Having Helga on the group vocals with the band added a whole other layer to the music and clearly the crowd thought the same way with some of the first of many mosh pits opening up. Playing a set compromised of songs from across their 4 albums along with the classic “Kvaðning”, the band delivered an outstanding performance and set the bar incredibly high for the next to follow.
The next act, however, are no mere band. With a career spanning over 20 years and no less than 7 albums to their names (with another one on the way very soon!), Omnium Gatherum (10) took the stage to another thunderous applause from the crowd. Opening with “The Pit” from 2016’s Grey Heavens (reviewed here), the band erupted on stage with frontman Jukka engaging with nigh on each and every crowd member individually. It was clear that both Jukka and the rest of the band were having the time of their lives with big smiles all around not just from the band, but from the audience as well as they enjoyed some quality melodic death metal.
Having a setlist composed of both fan favourite tracks such as “New World Shadows” and “The Unknowing” as well as the recently released new single “Blade Reflections”, the band delivered nothing short of a fantastic set with nigh on all the crowd headbanging at certain points during the evening. Ending proceedings with the final track of Grey Heavens “Storm Front”, the crowd was clearly eager for more and like myself eagerly await the next time the sextet return to the UK. Just try to come back a little sooner next time!
Photos by Bukavac Photography