Heidevolk + Old Corpse Road + Sellsword
@ The Camden Assembly, London
21st May 2017
Review by Demitri Levantis
Photos by Oliver M.
One thing that gets many people interested in the realms of Metal is its celebration of all things adventurous. Speaking as someone who feels that same sense of adventure as their childhood self, there is much joy and delight to be found in bands who write about fantasy adventures, quests, swords, chivalry and role play games.
That is why Power Metal and Folk Metal has appealed to many, myself included. And Folk Metal certainly hasn’t fallen out of its prime based on what was exhibited by Dutch group Heidevolk a few weeks back when they came to London to celebrate 15 years of making epic Folk Metal.
Opening up for the Dutch bards were some home-grown youngbloods on the adventure driven Metal scene. Sellsword, all the way from Yorkshire took to the stage which was already packed with an enthusiastic crowd ready for a jaunt into a world similar to that of Tolkien.
And I think J.R.R. Tolkien and the likes of Michael Moorcock and George R.R. Martin would have felt right at home based on the songs Sellsword had to offer.
Topics of going out to save the world, sword in hand came raining forth with a prime melody that made me reminisce of many a good hour spent listening to the likes of Dragonforce or Iron Maiden as they belted out epic sonnets of what its like to escape into the imagination.
Imagine spending an afternoon playing Warhammer or Medieval Total War and watching your valiant troops rush to death or glory – that was Sellsword in a nutshell. An audible tribute to the many whimsical tales of valour, duty and sacrifice that English folklore is laden with.
A very fitting starter.
Then it was the turn of some more English Metal, something from the darker side of the many spectrums: Old Corpse Road.
All the way from Durham, these gents took to the stage dressed like a group of 19th century troubadours with many a tale of mythological exploits and supernatural goings on to keep us entertained.
I, as a Black Metal lover, were very pleased with this choice of band for their atmosphere did change the mood a bit. It was as if Sellsword had taken us on an epic journey to a fantasy land, now we were being scared and taunted by the demons of this land in order to gain our proverbial spurs.
Old Corpse Road provided just that. Each long winded Metal ballad was delivered at a somewhat slower than regular tempo but laden down with a fair share of good blast beats and screeched vocals to please anyone who enjoys atmospheric extremities.
The band put on a very fun show, but I must point out that the Camden Assembly’s smoke machine was being a little overzealous for there were moments I had to turn away from the stage because of the smoke getting in my eyes and my photographer said he was finding it hard to get a good shot of the band.
Apart from that, the Old Corpse Road led us onto the harder edge of the adventure so we were now ready for the final battle.
And here they were to take us to that battle: the bards themselves, the veterans of the Folk scene – 15 years experience and ready to take us to a swashbuckling, beer fuelled victory.
Heidevolk, a band who packed more than just a punch when it came to expressing some joyous, quite melodic and finely blended pieces about folklore and legends from their homeland.
They stated that their choice for coming to the UK was that they haven’t played many shows here over their history, but the crowd and myself certainly didn’t find that upsetting. In fact it made me want to watch the band more.
Heidevolk is that band you’d expect to be listening to whilst gearing up for a nice long Live Action Role Play (LARP) session. Imagine putting on your fibre glass armour as the Dutch bards sing long and hard numbers about mythical beings they’ve heard about since birth and that was this gig in full.
It was as if a group of veteran warriors had burst onto the scene and the crowd were ready to tear to shreds the demons that lay on the road ahead with their morale.
Heidevolk is another band I’d turn to in order to boost myself esteem on a hard day, and this was it. Whilst drinking much and having a damn good time playing their skin tight instruments, they made the crowd sing loud and fine making it a memorable concert.
This is why Folk Metal is such a joyous genre. It is both merry and solemn at the same time. Write as many songs as you can about victories or falling into chaos and you’ll have a very energetic following if your band breaks big. This was a crowd who felt very happy with the night and so did Heidevolk.
One very fun outing overall. Come back to London soon please guys.