As the dark nights are starting to close in on us, it seemed the perfect time for an invasion of viking metellers into Glasgow’s Classic Grand. On offer tonight were Skalmold, TYR and Finntrol all hailing from the frozen north and ready to treat Scottish fans to a night of folk fueled metal and half naked men clad in leather and metal studs.
First on tonight were Skalmold from Iceland. Delivering a high energy set and showing genuine appreciation from the warm reception they received. They without a doubt held their own despite being the youngest band on the line up. A particular highlight of the set was the epic ‘Gleipnir’ from the 2012 album, ‘Born Loka’, and there is no doubt that they look impressive and domineering with their ensemble of three guitarists, keyboard player, drummer, bassist and one of the most impressive beards of the evening.
Next up were Faroe Islanders TYR, who have finally returned to Glasgow after five long years and by the reaction they received from the off, they have been clearly missed by the Scottish revelers. Coming out to dark ominous guitar tones and flashing strobes they are the ideal follow on act from Skalmold. First song, ‘Hold The Heathen Hammer High’ was a definite crowd pleaser and featured precision playing by Heri Joensen on an impressive guitar solo mid song. For anyone who has never had the pleasure of catching TYR live, they are a band who sing with complete passion and their songs feature strong choruses filled with tales of epic battles and war. Their Glasgow set is heavy with songs off the new album, Valkyrja, but this didn’t phase the crowds enthusiasm. If viking/folk metal isn’t really your thing these guys are still worth checking out for their bassist, Gunner Thomsen, as he is possibly the happiest man in metal and entertainment can be had by watching his facial expressions alone. Their set was finished off with final track, ‘Shadow Of The Swaztika’ which was a perfect exit for the band and was dedicated to the man who once wrongly described them as right-wing extremists.
The time had now come for the headline act of the evening to take the stage, complete with pointy troll ears and black and white face makeup, making them instantly recognisable as the one and only Finntrol from Finalnd. It soon becomes clear for any newcomers to the band that they are the type of act you simply cannot keep still to. I’m not talking about just a little bit of polite head banging either, but the overwhelming need to jump around like a toddler after too much haribo, and this is exactly what around 80 percent of the crowd choose to do. Another impressive thing about Finntrol is the amount of people in the crowd I noticed singing along despite the majority of their songs being entirely in Swedish. Mathias ‘Vreth’ Lillmans proved himself to be a fantastic front man leading the band through a very mixed set from across all their albums, including latest release Blodsvept which the band are currently promoting.
The UK tour is now finished but all three bands put on a brilliant show and are well worth catching next time they return – Viking drinking horns optional, but preferred!