Gig review: FINNTROLL – Classic Grand, Glasgow, 1 October 2013

On a wet Tuesday night what better way to pass the evening than in the company of three top Viking metal bands? I wasn’t sure how big a crowd would venture out on a school night for an evening of epic tales from the frozen north, but on entering the Classic Grand I found the place rammed and Icelandic crew Skalmold in full flow.

I only managed to catch the last two numbers from Skalmold which was a shame as what I saw was highly impressive. Their blend of Viking and folk metal was very entertaining and went down a storm with the crowd. The band seemed genuinely taken aback by the reception they received and hopefully they will make it back to Glasgow soon.

After a quick change, the stage was clear for the Faroe Isles’ very own Viking warriors TYR. Opening their set with the anthemic ‘Hold The Heathen Hammer High’ the band were in fine form. The signature feature of TYR’s music is the traditional folk tinged harmony vocals which were recreated perfectly on stage.

Coupled to this was the precision musicianship from all the guys which was spot on throughout. The half hour set was mostly culled for the band’s excellent new album ‘Valkyrja’ with tracks ‘Mare Of My Night’ and ‘Another Fallen Brother’ being particular stand outs. Finishing their set with ‘Shadow Of The Swastika’, which they dedicated to the mis-informed scribe who had said the band were right wing extremists, the band left the stage to a huge cheer from the crowd. If TYR had been tonight’s headline band I am sure everyone would have left more than happy following this performance.

Tonight though, we still had more metal madness to come in the shape of Finntroll. The Finnish folk metallers took to the stage, troll ears in place, and proceeded to rip the Grand apart. I am not too familiar with the band’s back catalogue and to be honest I haven’t a clue what the set list was, but the performance was unhinged and powerful in equal measure.

The band had tried to put together a stage show with good lighting and dry ice aplenty which added to the atmosphere. Vreth on vocals spits out the lyrics with vitriol whilst the rest of the band provide a heavy soundtrack which mixes heavy, almost industrial metal blasts with folk tinged melodies playing away underpinning the tracks.

It sounds like a strange mix but it works and is great fun. The crowd by this point had turned into one big mosh pit much to the alarm of the sparse security, but it was all good natured fun with no limbs lost.

If you have yet to venture into the realms of the Viking/ Folk metal genre then any of the bands on this great bill would be a good place to start. Onwards to Valhalla or home for tea and bed ? As I said it was a school night, so home it was. Rock ‘n roll indeed!

Review and photos by David Wilson

TYR Interview
TYR Album Review

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