As the tour is on-going, this is fairly spoiler free, though some of the more obvious songs are mentioned.
Skálmöld were first up tonight. Though the venue hadn’t filled fully yet, they still played to a surprisingly respectable size of crowd for a Tuesday night in Glasgow. I know many don’t know Skálmöld yet so to sum up briefly, they play slightly folk tinged metal about Vikings. I know you’re currently thinking “what, again?” but trust me, they’re one of those special bands that move away from the standard conventions of Viking metal.
One of the key aspects of the band is that they draw influences from old Icelandic music while performing completely in Icelandic. Many of the lyrics are also written to Old Norse poetic forms. This gives the music a unique edge and it is perhaps because of this that the crowd responded to them so warmly. It wasn’t the longest set in the world but those assembled did their best to join in and sing along to a band who delivered one of the strongest support sets from a relatively unknown band I’ve seen in an age.
This “do you best and sing along” aspect would continue through the night, especially with Týr following on. Týr while singing often in English, also slip in Faroese passages leading the crowd to sing what they know and then make strange sounds that they hope sounds like the correct words (they don’t, but it’s a worthy attempt all the same). Currently touring on the back of their latest album, the band waste no time in presenting this material to crowd and in all honesty, some of this sounds better than the material they’ve had for years. A good sign for this album and the bands future.
Of course the ever popular Hold The Heathen Hammer High takes some amount of priority; some of the inflatable hammers from the Gloryhammer concert the previous week also cropped up which pleased me no end. Perhaps the strongest element of Týr’s set were the vocal harmonies. These are always strong on the album in choir form and you have to question how a small line-up could replicate it; they do though, and they do it very well. Even after seeing them soundcheck I’m still at a loss to explain how they achieved this choir sound with just the few of them.
Finntroll take to the stage shortly after, clad in giant goblin ears that flap about hilariously. They interweave classics such as Solsagan flawlessly with new material like Mordminnen and Blodsvept. The audience responded almost as positively to the new material as the old, which isn’t always the case live. This positive reception is lucky as a sizeable portion of the set is taken up with altogether outstanding Blodsvept material.
Unsurprisingly though, the crowd is at its loudest and most excitable for the closing song of the night, Trollhammaren. They may not be as theatrical as some may expect, aside from the ears (which looked a little too real) and an assortment of costumes, they really are a band that let the music do the talking. I would be surprised if many in the crowd even noticed the ears or costumes though, when there wasn’t a pit there were people dancing about, where there were no dancers there were what can only be described as cyclones of hair and sweat from headbanging. Finntroll delivered a good time through and through.
From an audience perspective, all three bands were very well received, and a night full of sing alongs, pints held high (leading to wet heads below) and slippy pits (from the wet heads) led to an utterly joyful gig. I fucking love folk metal.