Finntroll, Metsatöll, Blackguard - Denver, USA - 30 Nov 2013
|Event:||Finntroll: Blodsvept North America Tour 2013|
|Written by:||D.T. Metal|
Blodsvept North America Tour - Bluebird Theater, Denver, USA - 30 NOV 2013 by D.T. Metal (73)
Blodsvept North America 2013, and Finntroll sure knows how to pick their support bands for this epic tour. Well, they didn't pick, but rather their booker, but nevertheless, the package worked on so many levels, with Metsatöll and Blackguard in tow.
Let me start by saying I wasn't even going to cover the gig; I was just planning on hanging out and shooting the breeze with my buddy who was part of the crew - well, this didn't happen as you can tell by the massive picture gallery I uploaded. But, we did manage to hang out and had an awesome dinner at a Thai restaurant (Tommy's Thai) across the street from the Bluebird Theater in Denver, CO. Seriously, if you happen to venture out to Colorado, you HAVE to go there. (This free advertisement was brought to you by a satisfied customer )
Metsatöll, who were also on Korpiklaani's Manala tour in September 2012, was the band I was most excited to see. Somehow I did miss their set last time around and to be honest, I almost missed it again this time; more on that later. Anyhoo - I met the dudes earlier in the day and after telling them whom I work for, Markus (guitars) said: "oh, metalstorm - dot - ee", with the emphasis on "ee", our prior domain extension that stands for Estonia. Mathias, vocalist from Finntroll, chimed in as well and said: "Good stuff and I think I am a member of the site". This of course set the tone of our interactions for the night and we all had a great time. In hindsight, I should have checked the site which states that Mathias hasn't logged in for eons and I missed the opportunity to give him grief about it - well, there is always next time. Done with the chitter chatter and on with the show.
Another tour with Blackguard on the bill. I remember a couple years ago there was NO tour without them being the opening band and quite honestly, people got sick of seeing them. Well, not really sick, but rather over exposure which didn't do Blackguard any good. I talked with Paul (vocals) after their gig and he totally agreed with this and said that after this tour, the band will take a breather. Well, I don't know how much of a breather they can afford since their upcoming, and already pushed back album Storm, is scheduled to be released in early 2014. We will see I guess.
And speaking of their upcoming album, Blackguard did incorporate at least two new songs ("The Dying Season" and "Northern Storm") into their setlist; maybe one more but I can't remember. Other than that, the band played a well-rounded set and since I haven't seen them in a while I actually enjoyed their performance. Songs such as "This Round's On Me" or "Scarlet To Snow" did go down as smooth as butter with the audience. As a matter of fact, it seemed Blackguard tailored their setlist so they would appeal to the Finntroll crowd since I have seen much heavier gigs by the Canadians. But rest assured, they were great. Drummer Justine is not just easy on the eyes, but one of the hardest working females in the biz and does back it up with her drumming. Paul's twin brother Dave took over the bass duties on this tour and beside their regular guitarist Terry, David Gagné was handling the other guitar.
But Blackguard weren't the opener band, but rather direct support to Finntroll, meaning Estonia's Metsatöll were the first band on the bill. Luckily, I looked at the day sheet before heading to the bar across the street to meet up with some friends, since otherwise I would have missed them once again. Sorry Blackguard, but I was planning on being one of "those" and skip out on your set but in the end I was glad I didn't miss it.
Metsatöll, and they started hard and heavy with "Küü" off their latest (2011) studio album Ulg and therefore really set the tone for an AMAZING show. Holy smokes, when they followed with "Kivine Maa" most of the crowd was chanting, stomping their feet on the ground and joined in with singing the chorus.
Things got hectic when they played "Sõjahunt" and this song is a prime example of their vast musical diversity. Shit, in most of their songs there is a bit of folk, a bit of thrash, a bit of metal and rock 'n roll. By the time they played "Muhu Õud" my neck muscles showed signs of fatigue, because one just can't listen to Metsatöll without bobbing their head - period. Hmmm, there is an idea for one of those "Lord Of The Rings" memes floating around on the internet.
Lauri with ängipill
Lauri with ängipill
It was awesome to watch Lauri play all those different instruments; a clear master of the torupill (a native type of bagpipe) but I really enjoyed watching him "rock" the ängipill (hiiu kannel) when they played "Roju". He told me earlier in the day to watch out for this instrument and that the strings are made of goat or sheep guts. I have to say, it did sound pretty awesome. But of course he wasn't the only master of his instrument, all of the Metsatöll dudes brought their A-game and sounded tight as hell.
Being the main vocalist while also playing the guitar can be challenging for some, but Markus made it look so darn easy while handling the task perfectly. And since drummer Marko was involved with "heavier" bands before joining Metsatöll in 2004 he does bring that extra heaviness even to the folk songs. And speaking of heavy - the bass, holy shit dat bass guitar. Ermahgerd and stuff. So heavy in the mix the entire gig and most notable during "Sajatus"; I felt the bass pounding in my veins.
Metsatöll ended their set with "Metsaviha II", which was also the only song they played off their 1999 debut album Terast Mis Hangund Me Hinge. In my opinion, this was the perfect end to an awesome set; slow and easy before going all ape-shit in the end. They sure made a fan out of me that night and I can't wait for their new album; in fact, they already released a single, "Lööme Mesti", which features Korpiklaani's Jonne Järvelä.
Setlist: Küü, Kivine Maa, Roju, Kui Meid Sõtta Sõrmitie, Sõjahunt, Minu Kodu, Äio, Muhu Õud, Vaid Vaprust, Saaremaa Vägimees, Sajatus, Metsaviha II
Well, Blackguard was up next, but since I already talked about them earlier, let's skip right to the headliner of the evening, Finntroll. I honestly can't remember the last time I did see them live, couple of years at least, and the first thing I noticed was that the line-up was missing a key part. There was Virta (keyboard), Vreth (vocals), Routa (guitars), Beast D (drums), Tundra (bass), and …Brandon Ellis (guitars). Brandon is the fairly new axe slinger from Arsis, which makes total sense since the two bands are so similar - kidding.
Here is the skinny: Skrymer couldn't get a work visa for the states, and since Virta used to play in Imperanon with Teemu, who is now in Wintersun, and they just toured with Arsis and are also good friends with Finntroll, they recommended Brandon as a touring guitarist. And there you go, we are all caught up now. Well, actually I heard that Terji from Týr was also in the running for the job, but I am glad they chose Brandon. Nothing against Terji, but somehow Brandon fits nicely with this bunch of Trolls and he has the stage presence that goes with a Finntroll gig. If he got the liver to keep up with them has yet to be determined.
Surprisingly Finntroll started their set with "Blodsvept" off their 2013 album, also named Blodsvept. One would think they would ease into the new material gradually, but nope, not them. In fact, half of the songs played that night were from the new album. Got it, they are promoting the thing, but seven new songs is still a lot if you ask me. But then again, Blodsvept isn't half bad and when Finntroll played "Ett Folk Förbannat" the entire room was clapping and shouting.
Things got a little deeper when Cradle Of … em Finntroll played "Svartberg" off their 1999 debut album Midnattens Widunder but they followed nicely with "När Jättar Marschera", again one of the new songs, and the upbeat clap and shout along "Under Bergets Rot". Virta was awesome behind his keyboard and on all the songs but especially on that one. He complimented the guitars parts really nicely and even though he was stationary, he didn't lack movement. Looked kinda funny when he was twirling his air and those long troll ears were flapping from side to side.
Speaking of those ears; they all were sporting them except Brandon, and Mathias's ears were shorter than the rest of the others. One thing Brandon was sporting though was that black stripe down his face. Like I already mentioned earlier, stage wise, he really fits with Finntroll even though he is by far the youngest of the bunch, and there was no issue with him playing the songs neither; class act all around.
As a matter of fact, their entire performance was a class act and, at least in Denver, Finntroll came out on top and showed why they are still around and their music still sells, and matters , in today's jungle of like-minded bands. When they left the stage after "Skövlarens Död" the entire Bluebird Theater crowd was chanting their name and they returned with "Skogsdotter", a very fun and up-tempo new song. And during the second encore they finished the night with the only two songs off their 2004 album Nattfödd, first the title track followed by the quirky song "Trollhammaren". Done, show over, exit stage left, where the hell is the beer.
Even though the Bluebird Theater was not filled to capacity, those who came out that night sure had a great time judging from the line to buy merch. Denver you can do better next time!
Setlist:: Blodsvept, Solsagan, Mordminnen, Ett Folk Förbannat, Dråp, Slaget Vid Blodsälv, En Mäktig Här, Intro and Svartberg, När Jättar Marschera, Under Bergets Rot, Nedgång, Skövlarens Död, Skogsdotter, Häxbrygd, Jaktens Tid, Nattfödd, Trollhammaren
Written on 06.12.2013 by
Professional concertgoer ... dangerously armed with a camera!
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