Blodsvept Over North America tour 2013
Finntroll at the City National Grove of Anaheim!
With Metsatӧll, Blackguard, and Xanthochroid
Sunday 24 November 2013
Review and live photos by Metalette
Southern Californian metal fans stormed the City National Grove of Anaheim to see Finntroll’s Blodsvept North American tour! And they were quite an appropriately-dressed bunch, as I saw plenty of kilts, a few Viking helmets, and loads of war-paint throughout the crowd.
After interviewing Finntroll guitarist Mikael “Routa” Karlbom and vocalist Mathias “Vreth” Lillmåns, I headed into the venue to check out the first band.
Local California act Xanthochroid was the first to play. If you think SoCal isn’t cold enough to produce a top notch black metal band – you’re wrong! Xanthochroid’s cinematic, epic black metal is great live. Their music was incredibly intricate, and vocalist Sam Meador alternates well between high, raspy growls, and strong clean vocals. Their music is plenty heavy, but also melodic, with riveting instrumental interludes. Unfortunately, their set was cut short after only 3 songs (though they were very substantial songs), but Meador assured the audience he’d bring an acoustic guitar out to play at the merch table for them.
Estonian folk metal band Metsatӧll was a feast for the ears, with two singers – incredibly deep Lauri Õunapuu and powerhouse Markus Teeäär – and a range of instruments from flutes to Estonian bagpipe to mouth harp. Õunapuu even played the bagpipe behind his head, in true folkish rockstar fashion. They played a lengthy set, which is one of the great things about having only a few bands on a bill. Their songs were heavy and wonderfully folksy, including a long chanting session that just blew my mind. I felt transported to another era and culture entirely. Also, turns out Estonian sounds amazing sung. You learn something new every day, right?
After Metsatӧll was Blackguard, of Canada. First thing I’d like to mention is that singer Paul Zinay and bassist Dave Zinay are brothers – I think it’s SO rad when siblings are in bands together. And the drummer was a woman, Justine Ethier. Also rad! Their epic metal kicks you right in the face, blending symphonic, folk (in their older songs), and melodic with killer heaviness. Paul Zinay ran back and forth and up and down the stage throughout the whole set, all the while performing vocals that ranged from brutally deep to shreddingly high. They played several songs from their upcoming album Storm, which both Blackguard fans and audience newcomers received with enthusiasm. Paul Zinay even dedicated a song to a man’s mustache, because it was apparently rather amazing. I didn’t see the ‘stache, but I will trust his judgment.
And then, in a flash of flying hair and pointed ears, Finntroll took the stage! They opened with “Blodsvept”, off of their newest album of the same name, and it was an instant party. The whole time. People dance at metal shows (I dance at metal shows!) but it’s not every day when one can dance the way you can at a Finntroll show. It’s a unique kind of fun at a metal show, where you can hit the circle pit or opt to dance by yourself in a reveling, pagan way. Well, you’re dancing solo, but everyone around you is doing their own thing, too. Anyway. Finntroll played a lot of other songs off of the Blodsvept album, and they all sounded great live, just like I knew they would. And they played plenty of older songs, as well. They pretty much covered all eras of Finntroll. And their new stage-wear looks killer – they’ve still got their warpaint, but it’s more theatrical, and really encapsulates their name and sound. Especially with the ears, with each band member having their own unique shape and length.
Unfortunately, for reasons unbeknownst to me, guitarist Samuli “Skrymer” Ponsimaa had trouble getting into the USA….so they ended up having a fill-in guitarist, Brandon, who quickly learned all of their songs and toured the US with them. A rather endearing highlight of the show was when Lillmåns announced that a guy in the front row was proposing to his girlfriend. The guy proposed, and then Lillmåns gladly informed the crowd that the answer was “yes”. Awwwwww. And then he dedicated the next song, “En Mäktig Här”, to the happy couple. The set was a great length (though it’s never enough, is it?) and Finntroll finished with an encore of “Nattfӧdd” and “Trollhammaren”.