Manning Bar Sydney - 26 March 2011
Trolling Crusade Australian Tour
Finntroll - Claim The Throne - Bane Of Isildur
I had been looking forward to this moment ever since I first laid eyes on Finntroll at a festival in Europe. Even when totally out of context you get wrapped up in their weird and fantastic world of 'humppa' and folklore. As far as pagan folk metal goes, Finntroll is about as far as my awareness goes so I thought it'd be a brilliant chance to see how the Aussie support bands tackle this niche sub genre.
Bane of Isildur were the openers tonight and had the privilege of walking out to a rapidly filling Manning Bar. Not wanting to waste any time they launched straight into battle with their darker, epic branch of war metal. Donning pagan tunics, war paint and some dead animals of some sort they definitely catch your attention. Especially when lead singer Aaron started swinging his trusty axe around the stage. Gimmicks aside, I really enjoyed this band especially when they broke into straight black metal. This is where they came into their own and got a big response from the crowd. A highlight for me was "Of crimson and cold steel" which is a slower track that touches on all aspects of their repertoire, a good place to start if you're interested.
Now with the venue heaving it was time for a drunken party with Perth's Claim The Throne. And what a party it was! There was a great sense of being round a campfire and having a good old sing-a-long with mates. Round this particular campfire were bloodsoaked guys with chain-mail, beer bongs and a great set of songs about.. well.. beer! 'Conquer, Trounce, Vanquish', 'The lake' and 'Set Sail on Ale ' were just some of the foot stomping tracks played. Although I would have enjoyed these songs more if the sound would have been a little better. There was a lot of feedback throughout and I could barely make out what individual notes the guitars were playing.
Keys player, Jesselina, was definitely a highlight with her amazing humppa stylings. The sounds she makes on her keyboard take this band to another level and she even did an awesome stage dive at one point to the surprise of her bandmates. Leadman Baronaxe was also on great form, baiting the crowd with his ridiculous pirate voice. 'Two pints of honey and a barrel full of beer' was a perfect closer for the set which whipped up a hornets' nest in the pit.
After a long build up, the mighty Finntroll finally exploded onto the stage with all fires blazing. This is what we had been waiting for all these months and were they going to deliver? Hell yeah they did! Straight away you realised that the snail paced sound check was worth it because the sound was immense. It was so much louder than the other bands while still keeping separation in the instruments. This was my first time seeing vocalist Vreth perform and I think he is much more suited for the band visually and adds more to the band than the previous singer. He had a ferocity about him that reminded me a lot of Jens Kidman of Meshuggah.
This performance saw Finntroll show off a lot of tracks from their latest album, 'Nifelvind'. 'Drap' and 'Under Bergets Rot' being my favourites performed. 'Trollhammaren' was an obvious show stopper that had the pit swirling with fists flying in the air in all directions. There was overall a good mixture of material to make newcomers and old veterans happy little trolls. They were so happy in fact that security seemed to be struggling to contain the heaving crowds, swirling around the floor and crowd surfing to get closer to their heroes.
After the encore 'Drap' and 'Jakten tid' was over Vreth made gave a heartfelt thanks to everyone in attendance for supporting folk metal. And after the gig I now feel I understand the genre a little more from the diversity of those three bands.
Slaget vid blodsälv
Den frusna munnen
Under bergets rot
Mot skuggornas värld
Mystic Metal Live Review by Drew Ther © 31 March 2011
All pictures by Tanya C. and Drew Ther
Thank you to Dysie and Soundworks Touring for this opportunity
Editing and Layout by Déa di Morté