Ville Valo And Eivør Dazzle In Royal Albert Hall Epic

One of the best things about watching a concert in the Royal Albert Hall is that, besides the beautiful venue itself, it lends an air of epic and graceful to any band or performer lucky enough to play on that hallowed stage. As the crowd pours in tonight, a mix of gothic, emo and Metalheads takes in the gorgeous surroundings and prepares for Ville Valo and something rather special.

Ville Valo – Eivør

Royal Albert Hall, London – 10 May 2024

Words: Kahmel Farahani

Photography: Aggie Anthimidou

As the lights go down for the main event, the sole light on the stage is the glowing pink neon light of the famous Heartgram logo placed large behind the drum set. 

Ville Valo

As the band take the stage and strike up Neon Noir, Ville Valo strides to center stage and receives the rapturous reception usually reserved for teen idols. Still looking incredibly trim in all black jacket and hat, the years have been kind to Ville Valo.  

Ville Valo - Royal Albert Hall, London - 10 May 2024
Ville Valo – Royal Albert Hall, London – 10 May 2024. Photo: Aggie Anthimidou/MetalTalk

Neon Noir is the title track from Valo’s latest project/solo album but the goth pop sound and new romantic lyrics should make any fans of HIM feel right at home. Indeed, during tonight’s setlist Valo cleverly takes the decision to alternate newer songs with songs from HIM’s back catalogue like Right Here In My Arms and Buried Alive By Love. 

The songs from Neon Noir sit seamlessly alongside the older songs, and Valo’s band is more than able to pull off both with ease.

Ville Valo - Royal Albert Hall, London - 10 May 2024
Ville Valo – Royal Albert Hall, London – 10 May 2024. Photo: Aggie Anthimidou/MetalTalk

A frontman once seen as the emo Jim Morrison of the Kerrang TV generation, Valo hasn’t lost his appeal to the screaming fans in the first several rows either. 

As the band kick up Wings Of A Butterfly, the crowd takes over, singing the chorus even louder than Valo does.  Closing the main set with HIM’s Poison Girl and his own Saturnine Saturnalia, it feels like just over an hour has flown by. After the prerequisite clamour for more, Valo and the band return and start the encore with HIM’s Gone With The Sin.

Ville Valo - Royal Albert Hall, London - 10 May 2024
Ville Valo – Royal Albert Hall, London – 10 May 2024. Photo: Aggie Anthimidou/MetalTalk

“Thank you very much for keeping my dream alive,” says a smiling Valo. “I feel very privileged. It’s quite fantastic to be middle-aged, sing about love and death, and actually have a few people who are still into it. It’s quite something. I never would have guessed. It’s way better than winning the lottery.”

Closing the night with the HIM anthem When Love And Death Embrace, lighters and cellphone lights are raised up for a final singalong.  It’s a fine end to an excellent evening. 

Ville Valo - Royal Albert Hall, London - 10 May 2024
Ville Valo – Royal Albert Hall, London – 10 May 2024. Photo: Aggie Anthimidou/MetalTalk

Ville Valo has proven he still has that magic that first brought HIM to fame while also proving his new material can stand up to any of his black-laced back catalogue. 

Love, death and the romantic are not going out of style any time soon and, by the looks of it, neither is Ville Valo.

Eivør

Hailing from the Faroe Islands, singer, guitar player, and percussionist Eivør is something entirely different and in the most refreshing way. 

Clad head to toe in what looks like black latex and with silver hair down to her waist, Eivør is a striking presence on stage, and that’s before we get to her voice. 

Eivør - Royal Albert Hall, London - 10 May 2024
Eivør – Royal Albert Hall, London – 10 May 2024. Photo: Aggie Anthimidou/MetalTalk

Having achieved wider recognition with her contribution to the Vikings and God Of War soundtracks,  she has developed a fairly strong following, and tonight, she is playing to a nearly full venue. 

A strong voice, equal parts beautiful and haunting, Eivør’s songs like Tokuni and Golspunnin blend strong folk music traditions with electric guitar and a full drum set providing the beat. Banging a handheld drum and producing percussion that would soundtrack a fine Viking battle and/or funeral, her music is attention-grabbing and bracing all at the same time. 

Eivør - Royal Albert Hall, London - 10 May 2024
Eivør – Royal Albert Hall, London – 10 May 2024. Photo: Aggie Anthimidou/MetalTalk

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