Tonight sees the first of six UK dates in the middle of a month long tour around Europe for three Nordic bands, and although I initially went to the wrong venue, I eventually made it to the correct venue just in time for the first band on the bill.
The correct venue, Epic Studios, is fantastic! An actual TV studio with a plethora of lights and rigging, proper TV cameras on stands in the back corners and hand helds all feeding side of stage screens; really kool.
The screens weren't really necessary as this was a modest sized venue but they can also do live streams and film for DVD. Easy access off the ring road, rear parking, decent make-up/dressing rooms and although the music, typically, finished at 11pm the security didn't even start asking those who were still hanging around at the temporary bar to leave till midnight. Anyway back to the main event...
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Skálmöld, hailing from Iceland, took to the stage creating a wall of front men and straight away it was evident that this large room had a very small stage! The three guitarists, bass and keys only just had enough room literally standing shoulder to shoulder, but it made for an entertaining image and the guys were grinning throughout.
Taking no prisoners, battle cries of joy screamed out in between the Icelandic tales, certainly the more extreme band of the night successfully merging melodic black and death Metal with folk and power, waking up and warming the audience up brilliantly. It's great to see a band happy and having fun by playing their music, each musician equally talented and worthy of becoming the biggest band in Iceland, and hopefully big things to come outside of their homeland!
Týr, hailing from the Faroe Islands, kicked off with my favourite song of theirs, 'Hold The Heathen Hammer High'; absolutely fantastic, the music levels were pristine and clear and the vocals sounded fantastic! It wasn't too polished so that it sounded fake, there was still the live element there - though there was a backing track to the layers of the vocals so at times I did find it hard to tell what was live and what wasn't in the chorus - but that's just me being picky trying to work out who's doing which harmonies!
All in all it sounded great still, friendly banter in between tracks warmed you up to the band with their quips and anecdotes with a selection across back catalogue and new tracks. If you don't already love Týr, you will after seeing them!
Finntroll, hailing from Finland, donned the stage with new personas, now with big troll ears and dressed to impress! The band have grown into a tighter well oiled machine intent on playing hard to give the best performance possible. The audience had been kinda lacking in the energy - not to say they were stood there motionless and uninterested, there was some dancing but it took a cheeky telling off to get the crowd really moving (stop being so shy in small crowds people!)
Playing for an hour and a half I was impressed that the band kept the mix of music interesting and the time just flew by! The drums were solid as hell and the keys kept things quirky, Mathias has a rather interesting homemade mic, the bass has a wicked groove and the guitars were, well, just fantastic!
Not one single disappointment for the whole night, each band was stella in performance and quality. There should be no need to hesitate seeing any of these bands live but to see them all together - a chance not to be missed!
Interviews with each band to follow! Additionally, get in touch with Andy at Epic Studios (Norwich) for a wicked venue with awesome audio and visual setup!