Opening the show was the mighty Skálmöld, who sounded as tight as ever. The thing with this band is that their live shows are practically CD-quality; they’re just so together and it’s certainly a commendable trait to have. Sticking to mainly songs from their latest album Börn Loka, their latest single Gleipnir got one of the biggest cheers of their set and went down an absolute treat, and another highlight was the inclusion of their stunning track Narfi. They rounded things off with their eight-minute epic Kvaðning, which even had the crowd swaying their arms during the slower section of it! A fantastic way to get things going, but it would have been nicer if they’d had a longer set allocation than 30 minutes because they could have given so much more!
Up next was Týr, who instantly got the crowd going with their track Hold The Heathen Hammer High, and it was clear that there were quite a few fans in the crowd there to see them judging by the volume of people singing along at the tops of their voices! Týr were on fire as a result and put on an incredible performance. Heri was a great and amusing frontman, at one point joking about the formation of the band back in the year 1612 before they launched into the highlight of their set, Sinklars Visa. With huge group vocals and perfectly executed instrumentation, it was a performance to remember and they left the stage to a roar of cheers – cementing the claim that they’re a force to be reckoned with.
Headliners Finntroll gave it their all, playing an engaging show from start to finish. Opening with the title track of their latest album Blodsvept, they instantly got the pace going and one of the things that swiftly strikes you about this band is the talent of their frontman Vreth. It’s as if he has this wild alter-ego that only emerges onstage and takes no prisoners as he effortlessly gets the crowd eating out of his hands. It’s as if he becomes Vreth the troll – a sharp contrast to the friendly and approachable Mathias he is offstage!
As a whole, the band are just incredibly together with everything they do and it’s really great to see band members interacting with each other. On one side of the stage was bassist Tundra and guitarist Skrymer who seemed to be incredibly in tune with each other as they moved in sync to Slaget Vid Blodsälv and shared the microphone for Under Bergets Rot, and on the other side was guitarist Routa and keyboardist Virta, who spent a lot of time paying close attention to each other’s lines in order to keep in time with one another. It’s refreshing to see.
A particular highlight was their song Mordminnen. All that Routa seemed to want to do was dance, and he had some pretty sweet moves throughout, moving from side-to-side and bouncing about, even moving about with Vreth during the particularly wonderful kazoo solo section. It’s things like this that makes the band so much fun to watch. Svartberg was a whole load of fun as well. Played in a different key to the recorded version, it sounds decidedly different and it really works to the tracks advantage, giving it a darker and eerier feel – rather apt for a song that translates as “Black Mountain”, and drummer Beast Dominator sounded like a machine as he hammered through the track!
The room came alive for Skogsdotter and Häxbrygd, and as the two songs fade into one another, it was like the song was one entity and as Vreth commanded the crowd to get moving, the room turned into a sea of bodies as everyone moved in time. It felt like one great big party and playing them together like they are on the Blodsvept album was a perfect idea.
Predictably the set ended with fan favourite Trollhammaren and as everyone knew it was their last chance to get involved, the room practically became a riot with people dancing and moving about as it’s just a fun and bouncy song you can’t help but party to – I dare you to listen to the keyboard solo and not want to dance like crazy!
If it was possible to give this show a mark higher than a 10, it would have got it – best show of 2013 so far, hands down. If Finntroll are playing a show near you, then go!