Archive for Alestorm

Alestorm live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , , on 4th March 2019 by izaforestspirit

Bootyard Bandits, Skálmöld, Alestorm
Klubi, Tampere, Finland
3rd March 2019

Alestorm… It’s been a while. Nine years to be exact. The last time I saw these guys live was in 2010 when they supported Sabaton. I was also at their show at Wacken Open Air in 2008. They have always been one of those bands that I enjoy watching live but I have never actually listened to any of their albums in full. I might play the odd song or video but that is all. They are a party band that is fun to watch live while enjoying a nice cold beer. This was their first headlining show in Finland and it was sold out.

First up was a British band called Bootyard Bandits. These guys clearly like all things Wild West ranging from cowboy hats, country music to banjos. I’m not sure how to describe their style – “comedy country rock?”, hard rock…They were definitely fun to watch. I especially enjoyed the heavy metal banjo solo featuring a cover of AC DC’s ‘Thunderstruck’ and other hard rock classics. 4/5

Next up was an Icelandic Viking folk metal band called Skálmöld. Their show was a bit more serious but still good. They sound like a mixture of Týr and Falkenbach. All their songs are in their native Icelandic. Good vocals and some of the songs were catchy but I could have done without the Týr-style progressive guitar parts. 3.5/5

Then it was time for the headliners. When Alestorm took to the stage I found myself on the edge of a mosh-pit. The crowd really went wild during the show. There was everything from the usual head-banging, air guitar to rowing inside the mosh-pit during one of the slow songs. The Scottish pirates played some new material including ‘Mexico’ along with some old hits such as ‘‘Keelhauled’, Captain Morgan’s Revenge’, ‘Drink’ and a cover of ‘Wolves of The Sea’. 5/5

 

In summary I had a great time and I enjoyed all of the performances. Bootyard Bandits were better than I expected. Skálmöld had a few memorable moments. Alestorm were entertaining as always. Pirate metal is fun to watch, just do not take it too seriously.

Iza Raittila

Njord Metal Fest announces first two bands

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 8th January 2016 by Nico Davidson

Njord Metal Fest – a new metal festival in the City of Culture 2017, Hull – has announced its first two bands on the line-up.

The headliners are Embers of Eden – a melodic metal outfit from southern England, who have played the prestigious Sonisphere Festival in 2014 and there will be a special guest appearance from Cumbrian metal pirates Iron Seawolf.

Further details can be found at this location and tickets, which are priced at £5, can be bought here. The event will take place at O’Rileys in Hull on 16th July this year.

Vagos Open Air 2015 – 3rd day

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 15th August 2015 by Pieni

Ironwsword, Bloodbath, Overkill, Orphaned Land, Alestorm, Ne Obliviscaris, Midnight Priest
Quinta do Ega, Vagos (PT)
9th August 2015
Promoted by Prime Artists

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Bloodbath

Last year, Prime Artists added one more day to the festival and the change was meant to stay. So here we were, on the third, last and more diverse day of Vagos Open Air 2015.

Personally, I still see Midnight Priest as an Iron Maiden and Judas Priest rip-off, but whether the crowd thought the same or not, they didn’t seem to care, banging those heads to songs like “Into The Nightmare” or “Rainha da Magia Negra” (Black Magic Queen). It’s a festival, a party, and they’re making copy+paste of some legendary riffs, so not even the broken high pitches of singer Lex Thunder ruined the mood. It was the shortest set of the day and it finished with “À Boleia Com o Diabo” (Hitchhiking with the Devil).

www.facebook.com/midnightpriest

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Ne Obliviscaris

Ne Obliviscaris are touring the world thanks to a crowdfunding but I didn’t know so many of their fans came from Portugal – besides the wild crowd they had during the show, the signing session/meet & greet lasted more than the one-hour gig itself! I guess the guys from down under were just as surprised, but obviously happy. And it was deserved. Their extreme prog is exquisite and seductive enough to stand out from the other bands on the bill, but then the way they performed it – even in hot daylight – was more than enthralling to everyone who’s into that kind of music. And some of them had the chance to hold singer/violinist Tim Charles on the last song, “And Plague Flowers The Kaleidoscope”, as he jumped into the crowd and crowdsurfed.  Promising to come back as soon as possible, they all left the stage smiling.

www.facebook.com/NeObliviscarisBand

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Alestorm

The original bill featured Halestorm and, as I think I’ve told you before, here in Portugal we like stronger stuff. There was a lot of moaning on how they should bring Alestorm instead. Then Halestorm had to cancel – not sure why and don’t really care, as cancelling a gig due to “a scheduling conflict” sounds like a poor excuse, and therefore disrespectful to their fans – and the “bring Alestorm, you only have to remove the H!” request was all over the place. And Prime Artists answered the call! The Scottish pirates (who claim coming from the “darkest depths of the Caribbean”) came and conquered with their inebriating (yeah, pun intended) folk. Talking about how they could sense our smell when introducing “The Famous Ol’ Spiced” or how they weren’t here to steal our potatoes but to drink our beer (“Drink”), this was probably the happiest show of the whole fest.

www.facebook.com/alestormband

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Orphaned Land

I’ve seen Orphaned Land a few times and know how popular they are here, but still Kobi Farhi felt the need to explain to the crowd that he wasn’t Jesus Christ, he only looked like him. In fact, he couldn’t be Jesus as he wasn’t a virgin and made a lot of sex.  After such a fun gig of Alestorm, so much different from the soberer Middle Eastern metal of Orphaned Land, I guess an ice-breaking remark like this was needed, but Kobi always has something amusing to say. Not sure which song he introduced by singing some The Doors verse, but that early evening we could hear oldies such as “Sapari”, “In Thy Never Ending Way” or “Norra El Norra” mixed with more recent ones like “All Is One”, “Let The Truce Be Known” or “The Simple Man” (the latter dedicated to us). All with a lot of clapping-to-the-rhythm and sing-alongs. Beautiful concert, so the news of an upcoming acoustic tour, which will include Portugal, was more than welcome.

www.facebook.com/OrphanedLandOfficial

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Overkill

Thrash metal returned to Vagos in the form of Overkill – our “ugly cousins from New Jersey”, as Bobby Blitz himself described them. They indeed have a solid, crazy fan-base here – fans that make Bobby feel like he’s fifty again. Yes, fifty, not fifteen – he’s not only a top thrash metal singer and owner of a chocolate shop, he’s also a humorist. The chosen tracks to represent their latest “White Devil Armory” were “Armorist” and “Bitter Pill”; the rest were the usual classics such as “Necroshine”, “In Union We Stand”, “Rotten To The Core”, “Horrorscope”, “Hello From The Gutter”… I confess that after the little speech about brotherhood, my brain whispered “bastard nation” when Bobby said “’cause we are”, but the sentence finished with “Ironbound” after all. I wonder if I’ll ever hear “Bastard Nation” live ever again. The gig finished with the mandatory “Fuck You”, and just like three years before (see here), Bobby provoked us with “is this Portugal or España?”, when he wanted to hear us louder. And just like in that other V.O.A. edition – in fact like every time someone tells us such words – it worked.

www.facebook.com/OverkillWreckingCrew

If you’re one of those who saw Nick Holmes joining Bloodbath with very skeptical eyes, it’s about time to dismiss that feeling: the guy is definitely up to it! I had the confirmation with the release of “Grand Morbid Funeral” last November, but the ultimate trial by fire is always on stage. And when you’re a Paradise Lost fan for about 20 years, like I am, you also know that it may take you a couple of shows to get that proof, as Nick’s mood affects his performance proportionally.

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Bloodbath

But as soon as “Old Nick” addressed the audience, by the way he said “We’re Bloodbath from Sweden and Yorkshire. I’m the one from Yorkshire” I could tell he was in an excellent mood, meaning he would also excel in this show. And he did. Bloodbath played a little something from the four albums they’ve released so far, pleasing old and new fans, and giving Nick the chance to show how the songs once sung by Mikael Åkerfeldt and Peter Tägtgren weren’t lessened at all by his vocal tone and skills. “Eaten” and “Cry My Name” were the encore of the probably most brutal gig of Vagos 2015.

www.facebook.com/bloodbathband

It’s not easy for an underground band to wrap up a festival with so many international famous names. Many people left after Bloodbath, but many also stayed to see national heavy metal veterans Ironsword. Along with Filii Nigrantium Infernalium the previous night, they were also special guests in this festival, and once more I believe it was anniversary related – the band celebrated their 20th this year. But also have a new album out, “None But The Brave”, released last May, which their setlist was pretty focused on. In the end of its title-track, singer/guitarist Tann said something about how we were entitled to a special version of this new song, but since I’m not that familiar with their work, I don’t know if it was really some “special version” or if someone messed up and they had to improvise. Whatever the case, they did good and some vigorous fans screamed IRONSWORD, IRONSWORD!”. “Burning Metal” wasn’t just the last song but also the description of the show.

www.facebook.com/IronswordOfficial

And it was over. Three days that seemed to last forever and, at the same time, so quickly went by. That’s how good memories feel like, I suppose. Well, let the preparations for Vagos 2016 begin!

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Note: we weren’t granted access to the photopit, so no gallery this year.

Alestorm announce release date for Sunset On The Golden Age

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , on 16th April 2014 by Nico Davidson

Metal privateers Alestorm have set the date for the release of their new album, Sunset On The Golden Age. The album, which will be the band’s fourth album, is set for release via Napalm Records on 1st 2014 in Europe, 4th August 2014 in the UK and 5th August in North America. The album’s artwork, as seen above, was designed by Ingo Römling, who worked on the artwork of Alestorm’s previous albums. The album’s title is in reference to the golden age of piracy which was roughly between the years of 1680 and 1720. Like all good things, this age had to come to an end, and the band used that as a general theme for this album. As the band stated on Facebook, in their own words: “there’s also songs about drinking and partying too.

Alestorm will also be releasing more details about the album on the lead up to its release but the band’s captain Chris did say the following on Facebook regarding the track titled Hangover:

Hangover is a cover of the dance-pop anthem by Taio Cruz and Flo Rida. It works… Trust me!

No doubt the more elite metal fans will hope this a joke but given Alestorm’s history of cover songs, including Lazy Town’s You Are A Pirate, there is a massive chance Chris is being as serious as Blackbeard plundering the Caribbean.

The tracklist for the album will be as follows:

1 – Walk the Plank
2 – Drink
3 – Magnetic North
4 – 1741 (The Battle of Cartagena)
5 – Mead from Hell
6 – Surf Squid Warfare
7 – Quest for Ships
8 – Wooden Leg!
9 – Hangover
10 – Sunset on the Golden Age

Alestorm online:

http://www.facebook.com/alestormband

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Sonisphere 2014 announce Dream Theater and more

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 6th March 2014 by Nico Davidson

Sonisphere 2014 is celebrating 40 years of rock and metal at Knebworth and has so far announced some stellar acts such Iron Maiden, Alestorm and Carnifex amongst others. Yesterday, Sonisphere 2014 announced a handful of more bands for what could be the biggest weekend in the UK this year.

Dream Theater, Devil You Know, featuring former Killswitch Engage vocalist Howard Jones, Yashin, The Cadillac Three, Glamour Of The Kill, Palm Reader, Broken Hands, Fort Hope, The One Hundred and Collibus are the latest additions to this year’s Sonisphere Festival. The full line-up can be seen on the above poster.

Weekend tickets for Sonisphere 2014 are on sale now priced at £170. The highly popular deposit scheme is available until 1st April, meaning fans have less than a month to reserve their tickets for an initial payment of just £50. Check the Sonisphere website for further details. All Campsites open Thursday. For further information please visit this location.

 

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Alestorm announced for Sonisphere 2014

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on 13th February 2014 by Nico Davidson

Scottish pirates Alestorm have been announced for this year’s Sonisphere Festival, which already boasts the likes of Iron Maiden, Metallica, Slayer, Carnifex and more.

Sonisphere will be held at Knebworth Park on 4th – 6th July 2014.  Keep up to date with the very latest info on Sonisphere’s official sites at this location.

Alestorm have just arrived at Lasse Lammert’s LSD-Studio in Lübeck, Germany,  to record their 4th full-length album, which will be titled Sunset on the Golden Age.

Alestorm online:

http://facebook.com/alestormband/

 

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Gloryhammer announced for Hammerfest VI

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 28th September 2013 by Nico Davidson

Gloryhammer – the new power metal band spearheaded by Alestorm frontman Christopher Bowes – have been announced for Hammerfest VI next year in Wales. They will be joining a host of other bands that includes KreatorOverkillSoilwork and Unleashed.

Hammerfest VI takes place at Haven Hafan y Môr Holiday Park, Pwllheli, Gwynedd, North Wales from Thursday 13th – Sunday 16th March 2014. Further details can be found at the Hammerfest official website.

Gloryhammer online:

http://gloryhammer.com
http://facebook.com/gloryhammer

Alestorm announce plans to release cover of “In the Navy” on vinyl

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 11th September 2013 by Nico Davidson

Scottish pirate metallers Alestorm have announced on Facebook plans to release a cover of In the Navy, originally performed by The Village People. The cover will be released on a limited edition 7″ vinyl (and digital download for the non-vinyl collectors) on 18th October via Napalm Records. In The Navy is now available for pre-order in blue and gold editions.

The B-Side of In The Navy features a remix of Shipwrecked by heavy bass artist Drop GoblinAlestorm have also mentioned that more news about their upcoming DVD Live At The End Of The World will becoming soon. 

Alestorm online:

http://facebook.com/alestormband

Red Rum – With Gods By Our Side

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 8th July 2013 by Nico Davidson

Red Rum
With Gods By Our Side
Released 31st August 2013
Pirate/Folk Metal
Released via ARC Records

Nottingham – or at least that general area – was once the fabled home of Robin Hood and his band of merry men but today Nottingham finds itself to be the location of a new band of outlaws – the six piece pirate metal band Red Rum, though somewhere with a harbour or some sort of dock might be a more appropriate base of operation for the band.

The EP opens up with Red Rum, a track laden with waves of keyboards and man crashing portside and lashing guitar passages crashing starboard side. The vocals conjure up fond memories of the days of Running Wild, only much scurvier and fierce. The keyboard passages cut their way through the song like a sharp cutlass, leading the symphonic-orientated assault through the waters of raging guitars. Dragged Out With The Tide begins sounding like smooth sailing with a subtle use of mandolin before the brewing storm of guitars blast in like cannons with the heavy bombardment of bass and drums that come crashing down like a belaying pin to the back of the head.

Rise From The Deep brings a spring upon her cable, offering no quarter with furious lashings of keyboards and mandolin sharper than a crack of the cat o’ nine tails with six pounder blasts of drums that navigate the rest of the instruments through the storm-laden waves. The vocals are at their most sinister during this track, swaying more to the death metal side of the vocal sea. The guitars act as the coxswain for Legends before the commanding use of vocals make themselves known. The instrumentation during in this track navigates itself well with passage being as memorable as the last. Ragnarok is the last port of call for Red Rum, the track itself being haul winded into the Nordic waters of the song. The essence of the previous pirate themes still remain however, keeping the band sailing true with their scurvy sound.

From leaving the first port and arriving in the last, Red Rum takes you on a handsome journey of plunder and piracy. Whilst straying from an Alestormesque sound, the band have being able to weave their own sound – the kind that isn’t complete without a clap of thunder or a shot of Nelson’s folly.

5/5

Nico Davidson

Red Rum online:

http://www.facebook.com/redrummetal/

 

Gloryhammer announce first UK tour

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 14th June 2013 by Nico Davidson

Gloryhammer, the new power metal project featured Alestorm’s Christopher Bowes, have announced their first headlining tour of the UK for September and October. The tour which is in support of the band’s debut album Tales from the Kingdom of Fife, will start off in the historic kingdom of Fife before the band make their way gradually down south. Tour dates are as follow:

Sept. 25th DUNDEE – Reading Rooms
Sept. 26th GLASGOW – Classic Grand
Sept. 27th SHEFFIELD – Academy
Sept. 28th MANCHESTER – Sound Control
Sept. 29th BRISTOL – The Fleece
Sept. 30th LEICESTER – 02 Academy
Oct. 1st LONDON – The Garage
Oct. 2nd BILSTON – The Robin 2

Gloryhammer will also be appearing at this year’s MetalDays Festival in Slovenia, alongside acts such as Benediction, Arkona, Nya, Bloodshot Dawn, Alestorm, Powerwolf, Ensiferum and many more. Kingdoms from the Tale of Fife was release on 29th March 2013 via Napalm Records and is available from all the usual retail outlets.

Gloryhammer online:

http://www.gloryhammer.com
https://www.facebook.com/gloryhammer

Powerwolf shoot video for Amen & Attack

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 18th May 2013 by Nico Davidson

The wolves of darkened power metal, Powerwolf, have just spent some adventurous and thrilling days and nights shooting a video for the song Amen & Attack from the upcoming album Preachers of the Night. Expect a blast of furious scenes with a lot of fire, a burning organ and a sinister screenplay.

Preachers of the Night will be release via Napalm Records. The official release date is yet to be announced. The track listing is as follows:

1. Amen & Attack
2. Secrets Of The Sacristy
3. Coleus Sanctus
4. Sacred & Wild
5. Kreuzfeuer
6. Cardinal Sin
7. In The Name Of God (Deus Vult)
8. Nochnoi Dozor
9. Lust For Blood
10. Extatum Et Oratum
11. Last Of The Living Dead

Powerwolf online:

http://www.powerwolf.net/
http://www.facebook.com/powerwolfmetal

 

Interview with Thomas Winkler [Gloryhammer]

Posted in Featured, Interview with tags , , , , , , on 17th April 2013 by ianf666

Thomas Winkler is the vocalist of Gloryhammer, the Power Metal side project of Alestorm‘s Christopher Bowes. The band have just released their debut album Tales From The Kingdom Of Fife and Ian caught Thomas for a quick chat about the album amongst other things.

Ian:  How did you decide on the name Gloryhammer ?

Thomas:  The name Gloryhammer expresses in an emotional way the fundamental essence of our band – Heroic Fantasy Power Metal. A hammer is heavy and able to smash the heads of goblins and trolls. So it brings glory to those who use it for the good fight. And besides, Gloryhammer is easy to find on Google.

Ian:  Which bands would you say are Gloryhammer‘s biggest influences ?

Thomas:  All the cheesy Epic Power Metal bands of the early millennium. Plus Elvis Presley. Because he was an extra-terrestrial. You will find out what I mean when we release our second album.

Ian:  The band have just released their debut album Tales From The Kingdom Of Fife, how has the album been received by fans and the media alike ?

Thomas:  I read a lot of reviews and reactions of fans which was pretty entertaining. I also do like the very negative ones. At least as long as they are only a small part of the overall reactions. Some media did’nt realize the idea behind Gloryhammer though, and we were expecting that. Because it needs a certain sensitivity to understand the complex meaning of the lyrics and the story.

Ian:  What is the main concept of the album ?

Thomas:  It’s about unicorns. Undead unicorns of war. But they once were good and just went mad because of some evil sorcerer dude, called Zargothrax. He hates the citizens of Dundee, which once was a Kingdom in Fife, Scotland. So we tell about Scotland. And we’ll also go into space with the next album so there is certainly something for everyone in this mighty concept.

Ian:  With the members of Gloryhammer been from different bands and in different countries, how did you find the whole recording process for the album ?

Thomas:  I only met the other guys once before in London for a photo shoot so it was kind of an experiment how it would work in Luebeck/Germany when I had to sleep in a small and (at least after some nights) smelly room with some constantly horny young men. But luckily with Lasse Lammert we had a great host and also very capable producer so I forgot about these circumstances with time. And to say the truth, we had a superb time and I’m happy that Zargothrax didn’t assault me at night !

Ian:  Have Gloryhammer got any plans to go on tour in support of the album, if so, where can fans expect to catch the band live ?

Thomas:  Yeah, we’ll be on tour by the end of the summer. The first ever show will be on a very well-known festival which takes place in July in Tolmin/Slovenia. I am not supposed to tell you which one yet. But it’s said to be beautiful, especially because of a lake and the woods. A propos: the woods are a good thing. I will be able to hide by wearing my armour. That’s really cool, I think.

Ian:  A question I’m sure fans must have. Is Gloryhammer and the Tales From The Kingdom Of Fife album a one off or can fans expect to hear more from the band ?

Thomas:  As mentioned above, there will be another album and the story will be settled in space in the year 1992. According to Chris there will be a total of 21 albums until Gloryhammer is history.

Ian:  If you could replace the soundtrack to any film with your own music, which one would it be and why ?

Thomas:  I wouldn’t replace a film soundtrack but the soundtrack of a video game. Since I am a big fan of The Legend of Zelda and its music, I wouldn’t replace that one. Rather I would replace the original Tetris soundtrack. I can’t stand this one because it’s so catchy.

Ian:  Have you got any words for our readers ?

Thomas:  May the Force be with you, for the Glory of Dundee !

Gloryhammer‘s debut album Tales From The Kingdom Of Fife is available now via Napalm Records.

For more info on Gloryhammer visit the following pages …

http://www.gloryhammer.com

https://www.facebook.com/gloryhammer

 

Gloryhammer – Tales from the Kingdom of Fife

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , on 1st April 2013 by Nico Davidson

Gloryhammer
Tales From The Kingdom Of Fife
Released 1st April (UK)
Power Metal
Released via Napalm Records

Gloryhammer, a five piece power metal band, is the side project and brainchild of Alestorm‘s Christopher Bowes who swaps his pirate outfit and dons a suit of armor to tell us the story of a battle between good and evil on the bands debut concept album Tales From The Kingdom Of Fife. The story tells of how our hero Angus McFife fights the evil wizzard Zargothrax to free the oppressed people of Dundee, Scotland in a fantasy battle with unicorns, dragons, thunderbolts and lightening galore.

The album opens with an instrumental, a symphonic orchestral piece called Anstruther’s Dark Prophecy before blasting into track The Unicorn Invasion Of Dundee , the title alone brought a smile to my face I have to say. All the usual power metal attributes are here, big chugging guitar riffs and face melting solos (Paul Templing), thunderous double kick power drumming (Ben Turk), galloping bass runs (James Cartwright) and an added symphonic edge courtesy of the keyboards supplied by Christopher Bowes. The vocals are majestic, the voice of Thomas Winkler suits this genre of metal music perfectly.

Into the fray comes Angus McFife in the next track, a similar composition to the previous song, but more mid-paced with an anthemic chorus. The pace eases a bit on track four Quest For The Hammer Of Glory, McFife’s weapon of choice, a slower song that brings the quality of Thomas Winkler’s vocals to the fore. Next up is Magic Dragon a fast paced stormer which is probably the cheesiest track on the album lyric wise, but this is pure power metal heaven with a chorus that will have you punching the air and singing along with delight. Silent Tears Of Frozen Princess is the album’s obligatory power ballad, slow paced but none the less epic before normal service is resumed with the tracks Amulet Of Justice and the Sabatonesque war cry Hail To Crail.

Another instrumental follows in the form Beneath Cowdenbeath, a track which cries out for lyrics as I would like to know what goes on down there. The last track The Epic Rage Of Furious Thunder is by far the longest on the album, at over ten minutes, and it brings the curtain down perfectly in true power metal style with time changes, the addition of female vocals in the slower passages, awesome guitar work, great vocals and thunderous voices from above. Epic stuff.

If you are a fan of power metal, you’ll love this album. If not, you’ll overlook it as the normal cheesy and over the top music that, unfortunately, this genre of metal music has been tagged with but if you give it a listen with an open mind, which I suggest you do, you’ll hear that this is a very solid Metal album both musically and lyrically, even if a bit tongue in cheek at times, with a production and mix that is first class.

Hails to Gloryhammer, a power metal album of pure quality.

5/5

Ian Foster

Celtachor sign with Trollzorn Records

Posted in Featured, News with tags , , , , , , , , , on 11th March 2013 by Nico Davidson

Irish black metallers, Celtachor, who recently shared the stage with Heidevolk in York, have penned a deal with Trollzorn Records. Formed in 2007, with a finalised line-up in 2010, the Celtic metal band have gone onto share the stage with top folk metal names like Alestorm, Skyforger, Heidevolk and Waylander, amongst others. Blending together influences from black, death and doom metal, as well as traditional Celtic medleys, Celtachor firmly established themselves as one of the top bands in Ireland’s underground metal scene.

Celtachor’s debut album, Nine Waves From The Shore, was released in November 2012 but is now available from Trollzorn’s online shop, at this location. The band’s next release will be out towards the end of 2013 and will be released through Trollzorn Records.

 

Gloryhammer release first music video; debut album to be released 29th March

Posted in Featured, News with tags , , , , , on 7th March 2013 by Nico Davidson

Gloryhammer, the new epic power metal band formed by Alestorm’s Chris Bowes, have released their first ever video for Angus McFife which is taken from their upcoming debut album; Tales from the Kingdom of Fife. The video can be viewed below.

Tales from the Kingdom of Fife is a concept album and tells the story of an alternate -history medieval Scotland, a realm of dragons, wizards, magic and dark sorcery. It is the legend of the glorious hero Angus McFife, who wages a long war against the evil wizard Zargothrax, in order to free the people of Dundee. The album will be released through Napalm Records on 29th March 2013. The album can be pre-ordered at this location.

 

Interview with Glyn Beasley [Ravenage]

Posted in Featured, Interview with tags , , , , , , on 15th February 2013 by Nico Davidson

Glyn Beasley has been the leader and vocalist for the epic Viking metal warband Ravenage since its formation five years ago. Glyn is also the co-promoter for the Metieval Festival, an event which has seen bands like Hecate Enthroned, Blaze Bayley and Power Quest play. He’s also heavily involved with the Warhorns Festival – The UK’s premier folk metal festival. In an exclusive interview with Nico, Glyn reveals his thoughts on Hull’s metal scene, the UK’s folk metal scene and clears up his roles in both Metieval and Warhorns. Glyn also makes reference to his love for goat’s milk.

Nico: The internet is quite barren when it comes to details of Ravenage’s early day, so my first question is; how did Ravenage come into existence?

Glyn: Ravenage were formed in December 2007 from the remnants of Heathen ForayHeathen Foray were formed a couple of years earlier by Sam and myself, first as just a recording project, but then a live band. Rich, aka Lord Legion, joined us on bass almost immediately and then later Chris on drums.  We probably did about 10 gigs in total, mostly in Hull and Beverley, but we also played Derby, Wakefield, Scunthorpe, Birmingham and Withernsea.  We also released an album and an EP and had reasonable success for a Hull-based band. Towards the end of 2007,  we recruited Mark Wood as a second guitarist as Sam was struggling with commitment, at the same time Chris had also lost interest and there was a definite divide in the band.  I didn’t feel comfortable continuing HF without Sam, so I put it on hold. At the same time I still wanted to be in an active band in a similar style and enjoyed working with both Rich and Mark, so over the Christmas period we wrote and recorded The Ravenage demo so that we could find a suitable keyboardist and drummer.  A chance meeting in Spiders Nightclub secured the services of former Gwydion drummer Bruno, and then I think Elliot found us on Myspace via has solo project Nogothrim, and full rehearsals began in March 2008. Elliot tweaked the demos and re-recorded  the keyboards, and we made our debut in Swansea supporting Annwn that April.

Nico: The band has seen several differing line-up changes through the years, how have these line-up changes affected Ravenage‘s sound?

Glyn: I think our sound has just been a natural progression since the Hardrada’s Fall EP, prior to then our sound was more raw and leaned more towards black metal, rather than the folky melodic death metal sound we have today.  To be honest, though we’ve had a fair share of line up changes over the years, everyone has known what Ravenage is about and has adapted to our style.  For our next album, I’m very keen to hear what Chris, Boxhead and Art bring to the table alongside the more established writing styles of Elliot and Danny.

Nico: Things have been quiet over the last year or so within Camp Ravenage, is there any reasoning for this?

Glyn: I wouldn’t necessarily say we’ve been quiet, it’s more of a case that we’ve not been gigging as often as we have in the past for number of reasons.  We’re probably more selective of gigs now as without major label support, we’ve done as much as we can in the UK—we’ve played Bloodstock, Pagan Pride and Gathering The Clans, and most major UK cities, as well as some continental gigs and festivals. Like most bands we’ve had good turn outs and we’ve had poor ones.  So, these days, it’s just a case of ensuring we play the right gigs and not the same place too often as we try to make every gig special, this year will probably follow in the same vein.  Also, as well as Ravenage, I have a full time job, a beautiful girlfriend, a wolfdog as well as commitments to both Warhorns and Metieval, so I don’t want to burn myself out completely.  Elliot also has his commitments to Alestorm, Danny to Aloeswood as well as being in full-time education alongside Chris and Boxhead, and Art is a full time music  lecturer. This doesn’t mean that anyone is less committed to Ravenage – wait til you hear the quality of our new songs – it’s just a case of balancing things out and staying fresh both physically and mentally.

Nico: Ravenage’s latest album, Fresh From Fields Of Victory, was released in 2011. Is there a new album in the works?

Glyn: Absolutely, and the plan is to release it this year.  We have about six songs written and have already performed Northbound Part II live.  It’s unlikely we’ll air any others prior to the album release, but you never know.  We’re also planning on releasing a video for one of the tracks, which should be a lot of fun.

Nico: A couple of Ravenage‘s members are involved with other projects – Danny with Aloeswood and Elliot with Alestorm – Has this made progress for Ravenage more challenging?

Glyn: Not now, though when Elliot first joined Alestorm we recruited Art as a session player to cover his absence.  Art loved playing live with us and we managed to fulfil last year’s gigging schedule by essentially having two keyboard players.  Art is a fantastic keyboardist as well as a great bloke and we all liked having him around, and after learning our set it did seem like a waste to just be a session player. Elliot is also an amazing all-round musician and vocalist and can play any instrument with ease, and as he now has his keyboard fix in Alestorm, playing bass with Ravenage enables him to have a lot more stage freedom and live presence. Also, during his absences, its easier for us to bring in a session bass player than a keyboard player. Regarding Danny and Aloeswood, it’s not really a problem as Danny is currently only playing select gigs.  However, I have no doubt that Aloeswood will eventually become a huge part of the UK black metal scene.  Danny is an amazing songwriter and is already beginning to receive the recognition he deserves.  Also, while Boxhead is involved with other bands and projects, he still has enough energy to be in at least half a dozen more bands so that is not a problem either.

Nico: You’re involved with both Metieval and Warhorns and this has obviously confused people, regarding your roles within both. Could you explain what your roles are in each and how they differ from one another?

Glyn: Metieval was formed in 2006 by Stig and myself to bring a professional festival to the Hull and East Yorkshire region.  Metieval organized the East Riding Rock Festival in 2007, 2008, and 2009.  Due to struggling to find a suitable venue and  over-estimating the local metal scene, we decided to call it a day in 2011 with the Metieval Requiem to finish things off.  However, after a bit of a break and a rethink we decided to resurrect the festival in late 2012 with the Metieval Winterfest, and have plans for future events. Regarding Metieval, Stig and I are the founders and have equal say in all related matters . We do have a good support team around us especially Stig’s wife Lyn, Elliot Vernon and Hull Rockers Jake and Silver Back.
Warhorns Festival is the creation Marc Ollis – I work as his right-hand man alongside Shamsi Modarai and Elliot Vernon.  However, all major decisions are made by Marc and I only book and contact bands on his behalf because of my previous experience co-running Metieval events. The difference between Metieval and Warhorns is that Metieval is regionally-based in Hull and East Yorkshire, and will book any suitable band that plays any genre of metal or rock. Warhorns, on the other hand, is purely a Viking/folk/black metal festival with a more national and international scope.

Nico: As you’re involved with Hull’s music scene, to an extent, as both a musician and a promoter, what are your thoughts on Hull’s music scene? How does it differ from the other scenes around the UK?

Glyn: I can’t really speak for other cities’ metal scenes as I’m not involved in any and I’m also a lot less involved in the Hull music scene then I used to be.  Before the resurrection of Metieval Winterfest, I think I’d been to maybe two gigs in two years.  I did recently self-promote and organise a gig for Old Corpse Road as part of the Northern leg of their UK tour, but that was a one-off, and a favour for a friend.
There are a couple of excellent local bands out there.  Obviously Sworn Amongst have been very successful, although I don’t know how they’ll get on without Frank at the helm.  Also, Infernal Creation are my personal favourites and are getting some well deserved recognition and good gigs of late.  I also like Alice In Thunderland from Bridlington, and Innersylum have the region’s strongest vocalist in the form of Derk. I also thought Pastel Jack had some good ideas, and was surprised by their demise as I thought they were on the brink of getting to the next level.  At  Metieval Winterfest, I was impressed by some of the more hardcore bands, in particular Downfall and Battalions.
The problem I think with the Hull Metal Scene was actually pointed out to me by my friend Pip (otherwise known as Raeven Irata).  She noted that the majority of metal fans in Hull are already in bands, and local bands don’t really support one  another’s’ gigs.  I’m no exception to this as I rarely go out and support other bands due to not having enough time  I think this is why over the years the scene has divided and fragmented. Also, the loss of venues coupled with the fact that a lot of people appear to prefer to watch a bunch of imposters (tribute bands) than a band playing original music, has taken its toll, hence where we are now.  I’d also say that without Darren Bunting and Music HQ, Hull’s metal scene would be dead.
There is still room I think for decent gigs in Hull and the surrounding area.  Metieval, Valkyrian, Sunkfest, and Springboard all tend to be successful.  Stig and I have also noted that there’s a new festival called Nukefest that appears to be a complete carbon copy of Metieval Winterfest.

Nico: Obviously being apart of the Warhorns family means you’ve got more involvement with the pagan and folk metal scenes. What are your thoughts on the current folk and pagan metal scenes?

Glyn: Since I’ve not travelled to a Euro Festival since 2011, I can only really comment on the UK Scene.  There are some great UK bands out there at the minute.  Old Corpse Road‘s album is amazing and they just get better and better each time I see them.  Sheffield’s Northern Oak, also deliver the goods, and I’m always a fan of Shallow Intentions from Weymouth and Manchester’s Andraste.  An up and coming band to watch out for are Morlich from Scotland.  I also understand that the recent Korpiklaani tour was a huge success and hopefully Heidevolk, Cryptic Age and Celtachor will storm the Jorvik Viking Festival next week.  I know that Warhorns has had over 50 UK bands apply and some of them are rather bloody marvellous, it will be a difficult choice selecting the right line up for this years festival, which is a good thing.

Nico: What’s the meaning behind the band’s name, Ravenage? Is there an image or concept behind it?

Glyn: Most of our lyrics and themes are set in the Dark Ages or at least pre -1066.  This was the age of wolves, eagles and ravens – the beasts of battle.  The name just came to me one day when I was enjoying a pint of goat’s milk and thinking of song titles, and I came up with Foretelling the Ravenage which was an early HF song.

Nico: If you could replace the soundtrack to any movie with your own music, which one would it be and why?

Glyn: I love classic epic movies from the 50s and 60s like El Cid and The Vikings.  Miklos Rozsa is my favourite composer of all time, I also love Basil Poledouris hence the secret Robocop track hehe.  Nobody could replace the soundtracks written by those composers. Maybe the movie for us do a soundtrack for hasn’t been filmed yet. Maybe that should go on the ‘To do’ board! Make a movie, that is.

Nico: Are there any bands from the folk metal scene that you’d recommend to our readers?

Glyn: Yep, I’ll recommend a couple of lesser known, but top quality bands. Please check out:
Æther Realm from USA (who are not from Finland).
Black Messiah from Germany (who are playing at Warhorns).
Elzevir from Moscow (I’m not sure if they’re currently active).

Nico: Is there anything you’d like to say to our readers?

Glyn: Thanks for the supporting Ravenage these past five years, here’s to the next five and beyond! And remember to drink goats milk – as well as tasting good it will keep you healthy and full of inspiration!

Viking metallers Ravenage and more confirmed for Valk-Fest 2013

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on 14th February 2013 by Nico Davidson

This year’s Valkyrian Festival (29th of November – 1st of December) is now bolstered by the announcement of five more absolutely sterling bands. You can catch these guys, along with Nya, Narcotic Death, Aonia, Old Corpse Road and a plethora of others for only a fiver over the course of the weekend.

For the Friday, Scottish power trio Storm of Embers are making their way south. Hot on the tail of their rapturous EP launch, these guys are eager to make their way into everyone’s music library with their unique blend of progressive, melodic and post-metal. You can get their EP I from this location.

Also on the Friday, Dead Man’s Conspiracy are bringing what they call “Real Metal” to Valk-Fest 2013. Formed in 2009, the 5-piece have gone about carving a niche for their “energetic, chaotic and unpredictable live shows”. Their music is available to listen to at their Facebook page.

Saturday brings yet another Scottish band down from their heights – heroes of the underground Maelstrom. Having supported bands like Tyr, Wodensthrone, Winterfylleth, Alestorm and A Forest of Stars over the almost 9 years of their existence, the well-dressed gents will crush this year’s festival with their intense, brutal combination of symphonic black and doom metal. Not ones to miss: with their colossal live show, they certainly ought to be massive. Pick up on their stuff at this location.

Headlining the Friday are none other than Yorkshire’s very own heathen warband Ravenage, who have shared the stage with big names like Tyr, Skyforger and Hecate Enthroned. Formed in the cold winter of 2007, Ravenage have grown into one of the most formidable forces of the UK’s underground scene.

And finally, on the Sunday, hailing from the birthplace of heavy metal, Dakesis will be bringing their cheese-layered power metal sounds to Valkyrian Festival. After being unable to play last year’s Valk-Fest due to illness, the five piece prog. power outfit are more than pleased to have been announced for this year’s event.

Valkyrian Festival will take place at Shades Nightclub 29th November through to 1st December – all profits from the festival go to RapeCrisis. Tickets are £5 for weekend and available from this location. Further details and news can be found at the official Valkyrian Festival Facebook and Twitter.

 

Epica w/Support @ The Palladium, Worcester

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , , on 8th November 2012 by hammersmashedlauren

Epica, Alestorm, Insomnium, System Divide, and Blackguard
The Palladium, Worcester, Massachusetts
27th October

It was a cold night when I arrived at The Palladium for the Epica North American Tour 2012, but it became incredibly warmer once I was confronted by the hundreds of metal fans of all kinds (power metal fans, death metal fans, and even fans who dressed up as pirates) waiting eagerly along the side of the building to get inside. It was a bit more packed than it should have been because in a different part of the venue, Taproot and Nonpoint were playing a show as well. How random, right?

Before I even got into the show, I did an interview with Blackguard front man Paul Ablaze. I then made my way inside to stand in front of the barricade to take pictures. In all honesty, I don’t think I’ll ever use a photo press pass at a show again just because it felt like I was detached from the show and not so much a part of it, and not to mention I kept getting heckled by the security who thought I was a total pain in the ass. Although it was a nice change from being crushed by topless, sweaty dudes who reek of eggs and despair.

Anyway, the show starts off with Blackguard, which I was relieved to see because The Palladium usually likes to add on local acts to bigger shows, and sometimes those bands are unbearable.  They only played for a half hour, which consisted of only newer songs. They even played a new track, In Dreams, which will be on their next album.  For some reason, I felt like this was not Blackguard’s best set. I’ve seen them many times in the past few years, and I suppose what was missing was that folky element that their older songs have. Not to say that their newer stuff is bad, but they were definitely lacking that fun and energetic aspect that they usually portray in their live shows. Their energy was still very high and the songs made the crowd break out into a sea of windmills, but it just felt different to me this time.

Following Blackguard was System Divide. I was familiar with the band after listening to their EP a few years ago, and their set was actually better than I had anticipated it to be.  I also forgot that Sven De Caluwe, vocalist of Aborted, does vocals for System Divide as well!  Paired along with Miri Milman, who is the female vocalist in the group, the band definitely had a unique set mixed with heavy but melodic guitar and a mix of clean and growl vocals. It’s always interesting to me when there are two vocalists in a band because from what I’ve seen, one vocalist is usually predominate over the other which makes the other vocalist completely unnecessary. However, both vocalists meshed very well together and the mixed styles had some people in the crowd booing, but their stage presence and high energy was a winner to me.

I was most looking forward to Insomnium’s set not only because I have never seen them live before, but they’re also one of my favorite melodic metal bands of all time. That same powerful feeling I experienced from listening to the albums was also portrayed in their live show. Starting their set with the song Inertia, their beautiful riffs paired with their low and enticing vocals created a serene but dark atmosphere that was just absolutely captivating. They also played Down With the Sun which is off my favorite album from them, Across the Dark, but most of their set was relatively newer songs. They had a slower set, but I believe they played the best out of everyone that night. It’s hard to keep a crowd’s attention when playing songs that are not as upbeat, but Insomnium did an excellent job at setting a more somber mood without losing the focus of the audience.

Last time I saw Alestorm, I did not really get to enjoy their set due to the amount of crazy, drunken pirate fans that literally kept throwing themselves on top of me trying to climb their way onto the stage. However, after being able to watch them, Alestorm’s set was so upbeat that there were people in the pits who were literally dancing and skipping around! They played a bunch of fan favorites such as Keelhauld, Captain Morgan’s Revenge, and Leviathan, and the crowd couldn’t help but break out singing very loudly and drunkly to Nancy the Tavern Wench. The keyboards and keytar mixed with talk about squids and other pirate banter made the crowd pumped and ready for Epica’s set.

Having seen Epica once before, I was anticipating a highly awesome performance. However, I only managed to watch the first three songs before I had to head out from the show. From those three songs alone, which were Monopoly on Truth, Sensorium, and Unleashed, it was hard to not become enthralled by the seemingly beautiful vocals of Simone Simmons paired with the melodic and charismatic riffs of the guitars and keyboards. The flashing of the lights in the background and the positive energy from the audience only added to the, dare I say, epic feeling that Epica was giving off. I later found out that Epica did a few encore songs: Cry for the Moon, Blank Infinity, and Consign to Oblivion, and these concluded another spectacular performance from this band.

Having to wake up early and basically bust my butt to make it to this show was entirely worth it. Hopefully Epica comes back really soon so I can fully appreciate and enjoy them like I did the first time around, and hopefully the other bands come and tour around American again really soon!

Lauren Gowdy

Dragonforce/Alestorm @ O2 ABC Glasgow

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , on 19th October 2012 by underthenorthernstar

Bands: Dragonforce, Alestorm, The Defiled, Cavorts
Location: O2 ABC, Glasgow
Date: 28/09/2012

In order to be fair to the first two bands who were playing this gig, I have to not say my honest opinions – I’m sure they have their respective fanbases (proven by the legion of moshing 14-year-olds), but they really weren’t my thing.

Moving on. It must be said that I had been looking forward to this gig for a very long time; the last time I had seen Dragonforce was in 2009 when they had toured with Sabaton, a fantastic gig by all accounts. (Incidentally, Sabaton are also doing a UK tour with Eluveitie in November; if you’ve not seen them live, I highly recommend it.) Since then, they had gone through a lineup change, recorded and released a new album, and highly impressed me, as you can see from my review here. Naturally, I was interested to see how their new singer Marc held up live; the man has a fantastic voice, but I had to see for myself.

But before Dragonforce would take the stage, another one of my favourite live acts were playing; I interviewed Alestorm last time they had played here, which was an incredible gig, so of course I was really rather stoked to be not only seeing them again, but interviewing them again (That previous interview can be seen here). Some arrangements were made with Alestorm before the gig that we would do the interview later on that night, as they were staying with a friend of mine and it would be convenient for everyone. This did, however result in a very slightly drunken interview at 3 in the morning, which shall be on the site very soon, I promise.

But I digress. Alestorm played an excellent set; Keelhauled, Wenches and Mead, Nancy the Tavern Wench; a fairly standard set by all accounts, but no less entertaining, especially when, like you should be at an Alestorm gig, you are ever-so-slightly drunk. Leviathan was a particular highlight for me, mainly due to the fact that the crowd enjoyed it quite a fair amount. It must be said though; the amount of crowdsurfers and pre-pubescent “moshers” was somewhat off-putting. Can’t be helped, I suppose, but when I’m trying to windmill I would appreciate it very much if you weren’t landing on my neck thank you very much (Blah blah blah old man complaining blah). Excellent set guys, well done!

However, Dragonforce… well, I’m a self-professed Dragonforce lover; something that gains me a great deal of ridicule. I enjoyed myself hugely at this gig – I was somewhat taken aback that singer Marc Hudson could hit the notes he did. Managing old songs (Fury of the Storm, Valley of the Damned etc.) and new (Cry Thunder, Seasons) alike, he actually managed to distract my view away from the frantic and blister-inducing guitar work of Herman Li and Sam Totman, ever the centre of attention. Managing for the most part to steer away from technical difficulties, the set seemed flawless; even the crowd became far better. The unity felt by all to Cry Thunder was a fantastic feeling. I even caught one of Sam’s picks; so frankly, the night didn’t feel like it could get any better.

This was, of course, before Alestorm, Dragonforce, I and a multitude of others ended up at Glasgow’s Cathouse venue, singing Rhapsody, Sonata Arctica, Lost horizon and Meatloaf into the small hours of the morning.

5/5

– Alasdair “Scotch Egg” Dunn

Warhorns: Day Two @ The Duchess, York

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , on 7th October 2012 by vmteam

Skyforger, Wolfchant and more
The Duchess, York
22nd September 2012

Much to my regret, I didn’t make the first day of Warhorns Festival. However, on Saturday I was in York bright and early, determined to make up for lost time. Since the gig wound up starting around half an hour late anyway, I managed to get an excellent barrier vantage point for what turned out to be a unique opening performance, courtesy of two one-man bands that had joined forces and found some session musicians just for the occasion. England’s Aloeswood, the project of Ravenage‘s Danny “Dagstyrr” Downing, had teamed with North Carolina’s Desiderium (whose mastermind Michael Rumple had flown himself in at frightening expense to be here) for a one-off joint show that I felt privileged to witness, since apparently Aloeswood at least never intend to play live again.

Which is a great shame, because their half of the set was stunning. Aloeswood‘s sound is on the more reflective, moody side of the pagan metal style, defined by unhurried rhythms and flowing, lyrical guitars, filled with texture and interleaved melodies. While it’s always difficult to sing someone else’s material, Michael threw himself into the vocal parts with a will and his voice fitted well, leaving Danny free to give all his attention to his guitar – indeed, one highlight of the ensuing performance may well pass into metal myth. When during new track Winter Michael handed Danny a small metal spanner, we were all a bit confused. When Danny promptly applied the spanner to his strings, producing an absolutely amazing eBow-esque lead break that went on for several minutes, our jaws dropped in awe.

And then, after three tracks, Michael threw off his shirt, swapped places with Danny and announced “We’re now a completely different band!” Enter Desiderium, purveyors of an ambient-tinged, atmospheric black metal sound that followed surprisingly smoothly from Aloeswood‘s songs. Sadly it was obvious at once that this material had been less rehearsed (unsurprisingly, given the problem of the North Atlantic being in the way of any prior gatherings) but even so, the songs still came through and the passion that Michael threw into his performance was inspiring to see. I also had the pleasure of briefly meeting him and shaking his hand at the end of the set, and for my pains was gifted a copy of Desiderium‘s first album An Image of Solitude on limited edition cassette(!) Thank you Michael, if you read this, I was genuinely thrilled by that.

The challenge of following this demented double-bill went to Scotland’s Morlich, who are an alarmingly young-looking collective peddling a melodic folk/black metal sound that promises a great deal of potential just waiting to be fulfilled. While they’re a little short on stage presence that’s a skill that tends to come with experience, and their guitarist Corvus possesses a real gift for conveying emotion in his solos. Definitely ones to watch – and a source of more free music, as they were giving away demo CDs for their new album at the end. Thanks lads, can’t wait to hear the final version!

Third up were Shallow Intentions; whose set I got completely caught up in and really enjoyed, as they play an accessible brand of fast, rattling, danceable viking metal – complete with costumes and warpaint – that’s tailor-made for enthusiastic headbanging and horn-throwing. Their technical excellence wasn’t the best, unfortunately, but their charisma and energy carried them across a few minor missteps without too much trouble and they got a warm response from a cheerful crowd. A fine, entertaining performance with no pretensions.

Following this were Ireland’s Celtachor, who were the only band of the day who really didn’t work for me. Part of this was because their already aggressive sound was being mangled by the PA into a nigh-impenetrable wall of noise and I was having trouble actually hearing the songs, but given that, their frontman’s Celtic berserker routine proved more of a hindrance than a help. His glaring and exhortations were so vigorous that he really seemed at times like he hated every single one of us, and the intimidation factor that resulted wasn’t helping my attempts to focus on the music and pick out what was going on. Eventually, half deaf and not much the wiser, I admitted defeat and retreated to the back to catch my breath.

However, next after Celtachor were one of the main reasons I was here in the first place: Ravenage, the band of Warhorns organiser Glyn “The Heralder”. And truly, they did not disappoint me. With a newly energised lineup, having recently replaced their bassist and got keyboardist Windrider back after a lengthy hiatus while he toured with Alestorm, they opened up with all dials set to eleven and never slowed down for a second. Thankfully the PA issues that had afflicted Celtachor seemed to have disappeared, and they blasted unhindered through such anthems as Viking Dream, Northbound Part I, and the inevitable More Beer, and also finally gave us Northbound Part II which we’ve all been waiting for ever since Part I came out. The best thing about the set for me, though, was finally seeing them with Windrider, as he’s been absent at both previous Ravenage shows I’ve seen (no disrespect of course to the legendary Articus, who’s been filling in!); watching him play his heart out, eyes closed and hair flying, was beautiful to see, and it was immediately clear how much his presence adds to their performance. A truly triumphant return to form for one of the best rising bands in English metal.

Indeed, Ravenage effectively headlined the British Isles section of the night, since the top tier of the bill had been reserved for those bands who’d come a good deal further to play. First came Belgium’s Angeli di Pietra – defining themselves as “powerfolk” and with no fewer than seven members including both male and female dedicated vocalists, they won the crowd over in the space of about five seconds flat with their charm and energy. While their chosen genre tag is certainly apt, they never let the power metal side of their sound get over the top and the results were gloriously melodic while still heavy enough to keep the Warhorns crowd entertained. Despite the number of people they were squeezing onto the Duchess’s crowded stage they even managed to move around and make some use of the space, which also impressed me. And I’ve seldom seen a band so visibly overwhelmed by a crowd’s welcome for them – summed up when vocalist Guy was teaching us the words to the singalong for Onwards to Asgard, and after a single round of “Onwards-” “-TO ASGARD!” shook his head in amazement and declared “That was perfect, let’s go!” An equally unanimous and correct response greeted the demand “Whom among you is the one they call Spartacus?”, leading into a track called, of course, “I Am Spartacus”, and occasioning plenty of laughter and cheering in the process. Fun, heartwarming and a welcome breath of fresh air, I’d be delighted to see this band again if they return to our shores.

Equally excellent, though requiring a swift change of mental gears, were Germany’s Wolfchant. I wondered what was up when the entire front section of the stage was cleared of all but a single micstand, but when Wolfchant came crashing on, all became clear. Their thunderous, no-frills, pagan Metal-with-a-capital-M sound is huge and so are they, even the smallest and slightest of the band having a physique that wouldn’t disgrace a pro wrestler. Like Angeli Di Pietra they have two dedicated vocalists, in this case both male; I’d consider that excessive in most bands, but Lokhi and Nortwin are an amazing team, throwing the vocal lines to each other with split-second synchronisation and performing as a seamless double act to whip the crowd into a frenzy. Even a cover of Grave Digger’s Rebellion didn’t slow things down, overclocked until it sounded perfectly in place. Definitely the wildest it got all night, the air dripping with testosterone, fury and pagan pride, the front rows going berserk (including me) and the whole thing culminating in a near riot both onstage and off when what seemed like half the performing presence at Warhorns were invited onstage for a storming performance of Never Too Drunk. If you ever get the chance to see this band live, don’t miss it; the experience is a treat.

Physically demanding as Wolfchant‘s set was, I’d hardly got my breath back by the time Skyforger came on. Foolishly I’d abandoned my barrier spot between bands and discovered I couldn’t get it back, as every Latvian fan present (of whom there were an impressive number) had charged down to the front while I was gone. So I saw Skyforger from three rows back, which was fine. What might have been less fine was the fact that they’ve recently lost their folk instrumentalist, meaning that the Skyforger you get onstage nowadays is doing with guitars everything that used to be done with traditional instruments; but as it worked out, I was delighted to realise that with the folk gloss partially lifted from their powerful, epic sound, lurking underneath is a huge helping of classic eighties metal influences ranging from Slayer to Iron Maiden. They sounded flawless, and you would never have known they hadn’t been playing that way for their whole career. Their stage presentation is inspirational, too – richly dressed in medieval-style costume, frontman Pēteris resplendent in his black and scarlet, they dominated the stage with the confidence and presence of veterans, needing no theatrics to support them.

And apparently, there’s crowds, there’s partisan crowds, and then there’s Skyforger fans. The front rows were lapping it up with an obsessive devotion, and there was even a large Latvian flag making the rounds a row or two back. The acclaim that greeted tracks like the beautiful Migla Migla, Rasa Rasa was deafening, and to hear a crowd singing along in flawless Latvian in an English venue made me proud to call myself a fan of this amazing, borderless music that we call heavy metal. Skyforger and their fans truly exemplified the spirit of the Warhorns Festival, and I can’t praise them enough. A perfect end to a perfect night.

So in closing, I’d just like to extend all thanks and honour to Glyn and Marc who organised this amazing event, and I can’t wait for the next gig under the Warhorns banner.

Kit Rathenar [Destructive Music]