Archive for Wolfchant

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]

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Warhorns Festival running order announced

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 10th September 2012 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Warhorns, the label and booking agency behind the Warhorns Festival, have just announced the running order of the aforementioned event, which will take place at the Duchess in York on 21st and 22nd September. The running order can be viewed below. Unfortunately, Welsh folk metallers Annwn (Free pint to the first person who can tell us who you pronounce that!)* have had to drop out of the event due to line-up issues.

Friday 21st September:

Nothgard 22:15 – 23:00
Old Corpse Road 21:30 – 22:00
Windrider 20:45 – 21:15
Cryptic Age 20:05 – 20:35
Norderobring19:30 – 19:50

Saturday 22nd September:

Skyforger 21:20 – 22:45
Wolfchant 19:50 – 20:50
Angeli Di Pietra 18:40 – 19:25
Ravenage 17:50 – 18:20
Celtachor 17:00 – 17:30
Shallow Intentions16:15 – 16:40
Morlich 15:30 – 15:55
Aloeswood/Desiderium 14:30– 15:10

Band of the Month: Ravenage [09/2012]

Posted in Band Of The Month with tags , , , , , , , on 8th September 2012 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Following an epic battle of votes, none other than Hull-based Viking warband Ravenage came out as the victor.

Formed back in the cold winter nights of 2007, the band have gone on to forge together a unique, powerful and epic sound, along with three releases under their sword belts. Ravenage have also shared the stage with the likes of Skyclad and Hecate Enthroned, as well as Viking metal heavyweights Tyr. Later this month, Ravenage will also be partaking in the first ever Warhorns festival, where they will be playing with the likes of Skyforger, Nothgard and Wolfchant, as well as Cryptic Age, Old Corpse Road and Norderobring.

So, if you like your metal loud, heavy, melodic, vicious and more epic than Lord of the Rings, Ravenage are well worth checking out.

http://facebook.com/officialravenage

New Sirocco album ‘Lambay’ out soon

Posted in News with tags , , , , on 8th August 2012 by izaforestspirit

Skillful metallians SIROCCO are back with a bunch of great new songs!

Finally their new album ‘Lambay‘ is ready, offering you the
finest Celtic Thrash Metal from the ever-green isle Ireland!

Frontcover and inlay-art has been crafted by well known Belgian brush-artist Kris Verwimp!

SIROCCO also looking out anytime massively for new Live-Gigs!

Formed in Co. Waterford in 2003 by Jim Tobin, SIROCCO are a blend of thrashy rythms, beautiful lead guitar melodies, intricate drumming and pounding bass lines, interleaved with plenty of dual guitar harmonies, and old school heavy metal solos, combined to create a sound which they like to call “Celtic Thrash”. Originally an instrumental band, bass player Ciaran O’ Cearuill stepped up to the mic in early 2007 to finalize the line-up, and is audible on their most recent release “The March Through Crimson Frost”, which was officially released in the U.K. and Ireland release on April 7th, 2008, through Code7 Music. SIROCCO have played over 100 shows since their inception, including support spots for Exodus, Megadeth, Wasp, Suidakra, Firebird, Crowning Glory, Waylander and Wolfchant, as well as playing at the Cork Winterfest 2007 festival alongside Primordial, The DOD 2008 Festival alongside Watain and the Full Metal Rack 2008 Festival alongside Pagan Altar. The 4-piece have also travelled to the U.K., where they played a headlining show with U.K. metallers Savage Messiah and Heathen Foray in November 2007, and again in June 2008 to headline the inaugural Summer Solstice Pagan Festival. Their new and third album, “Lambay“, a concept album about the Viking invasion of Ireland, will see the light of the day in August / September 2012. 2012 will also see the bands first shows in Belarus, Lithuania, Spain and Malta.

http://www.siroccoband.com

New addition for Warhorns line-up

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on 11th July 2012 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Epic Scottish folk metal new comers Norderobring have just been confirmed to play the first ever Warhorns Festival in York in September.

The line-up already boasts acts such as Skyforger, Nothgard and Wolfchant. The event will take place at The Duchess in York on 21st and 22nd September.

In related news, Norderobring are also working on their debut EP.

To purchase tickets for Warhorns, click here.

Nothgard Announces New Line-up

Posted in News with tags , , , , on 6th July 2012 by izaforestspirit

An official update from the German melodic death metal band:

Hey NOTHGARD followers!!!
It has been a while since we have announced official and important changes. Today we can confirm a great step concerning the bands’ line-up. Last year our keyboard-player and the rest of NOTHGARD went separate ways what led us into a four-man-group. Now we hired a fifth member again – no, not a new keyboard player, but rather another virtuous string-raper. None else than WOLFCHANT‘s lead guitarist Skaahl. Our Czech friends were already able to get a picture of what is new due to NOTHGARDs performances during the „Dawn Of Heathen Warriors”- Tour in March 2012. What does it mean to play with 3 guitars and 1 bass? Follow the link below and check it out or: Visit the first official NOTHGARD-show with the new strong line-up on 07-14-2012 at the Eternal Hate Fest in Czech Republic -> Stage time: 10.15 pm.

Here you can watch our latest video recordings, which show NOTHGARDs variable 3-guitar powers:

Stay Heavy!
NOTHGARD

http://www.nothgard.de/

Skyforger Set To Raise The Warhorns

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 10th April 2012 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Just a few hours ago, Warhorns announced that Metal Blade Records’ Latvian folk metal heavyweights Skyforger will be playing the first ever Warhorns Festival in September, later this year.

They will be joining the likes of Wolfchant, Nothgard, Ravenage, Cryptic Age, Annwn and many more for the two day festival that will take place at The Duchess in York on Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd September.

Tickets for the event are available here.