With Keep of Kalessin and Killfloor Mechanic
@ Camden Underworld, London
13th May 2013
Review by Victoria Fenbane
Photography by Sabrina Dersel
Folk metal favourites Finntroll make a whistle-stop in London to play a one off London show as part of handful of exclusive release shows. Fans got an extra treat in being able to vote for their favourite song to be played at the gig they were attending, in advance via Facebook. The top 8-10 most popular being included in the set-list making each gig unique.
Festivities are opened by Germans Killfloor Mechanic; almost straight after doors but draw few away from the bar. Possibly due to peddling metal lacking the more flamboyant features of the headliners? I feel it’s just the wrong place for them tonight, but fans of melodic death metal with modern influences, such as In Flames should try and catch them.
The metal takes on a blacker mood as Norwegians Keep of Kalessin take the stage.
They have had drummer issues, so have a stand in is playing with them tonight. This in no way diminishes interest in them.
Having been around since 1997 they have probably drawn out a fair number of established fans to Camden.
Again missing any folk elements they don’t really float my boat, but they effectively warmed up the crowd for the main event.
Finntroll squeeze onto the corner stage of the Underworld, sporting their new look for latest album ‘Blodsvept’. They all look surprisingly awesome in their prosthetic ears, make-up and stage clothes and not at all resembling cos-playing orcs (hats off to the make-up artist).
Vocalist Vreth (Mathias) has taken to hiding his pretty boy looks under a full beard, news to disappoint female fans, however long pointed ears protruding from his hair, combined with black makeup gives him an unworldly, near unrecognizable look. He has transformed into a character for the duration of the set.
The rest of the band are equally as attired looking like a twenties-steampunk-fantasy mash-up; not at all the appearance expected from a folk metal outfit.
Finntroll open with new song ‘Mordminnen’, from the start the energy is electric and the band are giving it their all, not stopping for the duration.
A few songs in two-thirds of the of downstairs area is filled by a fairly vicious punk era style pit. The band did say there would be a punk vibe tonight, but I was taken by surprise (and off my feet) by the violence and overall anti-socialness of some of the crowd. The ferocity of pits induced by folk metal in London has been unexpected.
Inis Mona’ by Eluveitie regularly induces large, yet rarely as violent pits and these are at the request of the band themselves and not for the duration of the gig. Yes the music tonight was fast and heavy, but the pit takes some of the fun out of it for me. Injured I am forced to retreat to the back for the rest of the gig.
Luckily the powerful stage show fills the whole venue and the rest of the gig is not marred. Great sound tonight at the Underworld, means the gig works better than expected in a smaller venue and the complex sounds of Finntroll can be enjoyed fully. Actually the venue itself suited the whole aesthetic of crazy troll-like beings on stage, a miliary jacketed Vreth grasping his old-style mike like an orb, pulling pained expressions and and windmilling like a man possessed.
Finntroll’s new rock ‘n’ roll sound only adds to the otherworldly-ness of the spectacle. They are taking folk metal into new territories and making them their own.
They storm through a 90 minute set with ears intact. ‘Trollhammaren’ is inevitably reserved for the encore, while ‘Jaktens Tid’ concludes tonight’s performance and the current tou
A fantastic gig and fun gig, as folk metal should be. I just hope it is allowed to stay that way.
Under Bergets Rot
Ett folk förbannat
En mäktig här
När Jättar Marschera
You can catch Finntroll in the UK again in October at one of the recently released tour dates, supported by Tyr:
30.09.13 – UK – Norwich, Waterfront
01.10.13 – UK – Glasgow, Classic Grand
02.10.13 – UK – Manchester, NQ Live
03.10.13 – IRL – Dublin, The Pint
04.10.13 – UK – Bilston, Robin 2
05.10.13 – UK – London, The Garage