Týr w/Support @ Fibbers, York

Bands: Týr, Ravenage and Maelstrom
Location: Fibbers, York
Date: 18th February 2012

The Jorvik Viking Festival has been a proud tradition and mighty festival in the City of York for many, many years now, so what could be a more epic way to end this year’s festival with none other than Faroese Viking metallers Týr? The show, which sold out, was organised by the nice folk over at Asgard Online (who sponsored Valkyrian Festival last year). After my interview with Týr’s frontman Heri, I waited outside with the rest of the horde that virtually filled the street. By the time I got inside, the venue must have been reaching its capacity as more and more people trooped in along with several people dressed in Viking apparel which included shirts of chainmail. The buzz of excitement could be felt in every corner of the room as the horde eagerly awaited the first wave of a metal assault.

Opening the proceedings with a brutalising onslaught  were the Glaswegian black metal warriors Maelstrom. They opened up with a little song known as At Dawn They Die, a song that featured a truly terrifyingly good use of powerful screams and clean vocals. The guitar and keyboard riffs were executed perfectly like a dagger slitting a throat with precision. The shirt-and-tie wearing quintet then blasted their way through With War We Wander, a quite Turisas sounding track, especially where the keyboards are concerned. The third song they performed, currently unnamed, was quite aggressive sounding though This Dreaded Symphony sounded to have more bite while their final song of the night, Arctica, seemed to the most tragic and cold sounding part of Maelstrom’s set though the keyboards injected a subtle hint of a sagaic sound. One band in and the night was already proving to be an epic event worthy of the Aesir themselves, especially considering Maelstrom’s overwhelming and unique sound. I certainy hope to see these guys again in the near future!

The second invasion of metal came from Hull’s very own Ravenage, who over the years have become one of East Yorkshire’s finest exports and one hell of a live act! This was the fourth time that I had seen them perform and I was sorely disappointed at the length of their set. Their keyboardist, Windrider, was absent as he was touring with Alestorm, so he had been replaced for the night by his mentor whose is known simply as Art. Ravenage made way to the stage in their trademark outfits and opened up with Viking Dream which was sounding more brutal than a mace to the face. The guitars felt like they had a bit of extra crunch as well. Following soon after was the catchy Bernard Cornwell-inspired anthem known as Northbound, which Art pulled off brilliantly and would have made Windrider proud. Ragnar recited a poem that led into the eerie introduction of Shieldwalls Collide. Ravenage finished off with a heavy rendition of Drunken Sailor which led into the final song More Beer! While the performance was grand and epic – as is to be expected with Ravenage – their set seemed lacking. I’m not sure if this was due to the shortness of their set compared to previous shows or the size of the stage that made it hard for them to be active as they have been at other shows. Either way, they were the perfect choice of main support for Týr. Sadly for the York folk, it won’t be until September for the Warhorns Festival when Ravenage return. 

And then came the fury of the Northmen in the form of Týr. I literally had to fight through the hordes of fans, including several blokes in chainmail, to get near the front. A fierce roar of cheers erupted through the venue as they tore through The Lay of Thrym followed by Shadow of the Swastika. During the performance of those two songs, the energy burst from Týr like an explosion. Straight, away, it was easy that the performance was going to be epic as Heri’s vocals were on top form and each note and drum section were played masterfully. They took a quick break to engage in banter with the crowd before playing the catchy song that is Flames of the Free. By the Light of the Northern Star and Wings of Time were certainly two of the most exciting parts of Týr’s set, along with one of my favourite song’s which was the slower-paced, more progressive sounding Hail to the Hammer. The performance of Tróndur Í Gøtu brought a very folkish sound to the set that seemed to go down very well with the sold-out venue. A few songs later came a powerful and overwhelming performance of Take Your Tyrant which almost everyone in the crowd sang along to, making it much more entertaining while others began dancing around and starting a mosh pit, including some of the blokes in Viking-styled chainmail. Sinklars Visa was introduced by Heri having a bit of banter about the Scots, which enticed a group of Scots at the front to hold up the Scottish flag in true patriotic fashion. The cover of The Wild Rover was introduced in a similar fashion, only with banter and jokes about the Irish as opposed to the Scots. Týr ended their set with Northern Gate and Hall of Freedom… Or so it seemed. Every single person in the crowd began demanding more and more. The encore began with a smashing rendition of Ramund Hin Hunge followed by Hold The Heathen Hammer High and By The Sword In My Hand, both of which just made the night complete.

I think I can safely say that Týr are the best live act I’ve seen and I don’t think their studio albums will ever compare to their performance on Saturday night. Týr are definitely a band worth seeing, hell, they’re more than worth seeing. I don’t think I’d be wrong when I say their show on Saturday night could easily compare to an Iron Maiden performance.

The support acts, Ravenage and Maelstrom, are definitely two bands worth checking out as well and they certainly helped make the end of this year’s Jorvik Viking Festival very special indeed. Also, kudos to Asgard Online for a successful first gig.

Nico Davidson

Photography by David Taylor.

Photos of the gig can be found here.

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