It may have seemed like an ordinary Thursday night in Glasgow but something glorious was stirring in the heart of the city. The faithful flocked from all corners of Glasgow and beyond, wizards, warlocks, knights and warriors, all with swords fashioned from the finest plastic and inflatable hammers, to join with the mighty defenders of Dundee, Gloryhammer.
Before the battle commenced though, there was entertainment for the gathering in the shape of two able support bands. First up were Dendera who had made the long journey up from Portsmouth for their first Scottish gigs and I’m glad they did. The band were in the middle of their first song when I got into the hall and by the end of the track I was hooked. The band members obviously have the entire Maiden back catalogue on constant loop in the tour van as they have been a huge influence on the band. The guys though have the talent to pull off the homage to Bruce and co and the tracks from their latest LP ‘The Killing Floor’ were highly impressive. The band’s traditional metal went down a storm with the crowd and by the end of their allotted half hour set they had won a whole new band of Glaswegian fans. I will certainly be looking out for the guys heading back to the frozen north for more of the same.
The next wandering minstrels to keep the masses entertained were Darkest Era. The celtic metal crew had a few friends in the hall and came on stage to a large cheer. As the set progressed though things did wane a little, this may have been to do with the fact that the band played 3 or 4 new tracks during the half hour set. However they gave their all on stage, never stopping for a minute. Larger than life frontman Krum spent a good part of the set standing at the front barrier in amongst the sweaty throng, getting the occasional friendly belt from an inflatable hammer wielding warrior. Rounding off their set with the splendid ‘Last Caress Of Light’, they took their bows, leaving the way clear for the stage to be set for tonight’s epic saga.
Whilst the stage was being cleared, we were treated to songs on a ‘hammer’ theme starting with MC Hammer with ‘Hammer Time’ through to Queen’s ‘Hammer To Fall’ I sensed a theme building! Eventually the lights dimmed and the mighty Gloryhammer took to the stage. After listening to ‘Anstruther’s Dark Prophecy’ the guys kicked off with the majestic ‘The Unicorn Invasion Of Dundee’. With hammers and swords held aloft the faithful pledged their allegiance to ‘Angus McFife’ in his battle against the evil wizard Zargothrax, all very silly but highly entertaining. Frontman Thomas Winkler is a real showman and had the crowd on his side from the off. Alestorm’s Christopher Bowes takes more of a backseat role in Gloryhammer, playing his keyboards whilst dressed as Zorgothrax in a hooded cloak, he leaves the visuals to Winkler.
The set list followed the track listing of the band’s debut album, ‘The Kingdom Of Fife’. The performance may have been tongue in cheek but the music was nothing less than stunning. The guitar work of Paul Templing was of particular note, the man played up a storm throughout, but all the guys are consummate musicians and they never missed a beat. Highlights were plentiful with ‘Hail To Crail’ being a particular favourite. ‘The Epic Rage Of Furious Thunder’ rounded off the set with Angus McFife having a ‘square go’ with the evil wizard live on stage. After a quick encore of ‘Wizards’ the triumphant heroes took their applause from their battered and bruised followers and once again The Kingdom Of Fife was in safe hands.
This was a great three band package with fantastic music, dodgy costumes and above all a great sense of humour. Get yourself a plastic sword or an inflatable hammer and march onward to Dundee!
Review and Pictures by David Wilson.
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Power Plays w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)
BLOCK BUSTER Losing Gravity (Frontiers)
WATCH ME BREATHE Don’t Think I Haven’t Thought About It (The Label Group/INGrooves)
FIRES OF FREYA Take A Bow (indie)
BLACK STAR RIDERS Underneath The Afterglow (Nuclear Blast)
STOMPIN’ HEAT Shiny Curly Red Hair (indie)
Featured Albums w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 THE DEFIANTS Zokusho (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CORELEONI II (AFM Records)
14:00-16:00 TONY McLOUGHLIN True Native (Fuego)
Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)
BAD COMPANY Company Of Strangers (1995)
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