Týr, Korpiklaani and Sabaton – Sub89, Reading: 2nd December 2014

Review by Suzi H

Well bugger me if it hasn’t been an EXCELLENT year for gigs in the Southern Tower of Wyrd Ways HQ. Of course, it was absolutely topped off when I discovered that Týr were touring with Korpiklaani and Sabaton.  I’ll be honest and admit that whilst I’ve listened to Korpiklaani in passing more than once, I’ve only listened to one Sabaton album because basically, Cat A threatened me until I did. Both of these are mistakes I intend to rectify.

Anyway, let’s start at the beginning!

Regular readers will remember that time I got sent a Týr album and fell more in love with it than I ever thought possible and basically decided that a) Viking/Battle/Folk Metal is the best subgenre of Metal ever, b) Faroese is the sexiest language in the world and c) There might be a band I like (slightly!) more than Turisas.  Anyway, after AltFest got cancelled I spent some of my refund on tickets to see this line up and oh gods do I wish I had the leave from my day job to have managed a few more dates.

Týr were up first, and whilst I was a little annoyed that their set was so short (I wanted a full hour long headlining slot!) what they gave me was not in any way disappointing. I don’t have my usual setlist notes** for any of the bands because I was too busy jumping up and down like a squirrel on acid, however from the opening notes of Blood of Heroes, throughout Hold the Heathen Hammer High, the sheer fucking ephemeral BEAUTY of Grindavisin and Tróndur Í Gøtu (which might actually have been Sinklars Visa, I was enjoying the moment not taking notes!) through to the rage of By The Sword In My Hand and Lady of The Slain it was one of the best gig openings I have ever seen.  The crowd seemed pretty damn happy, and while it was weird being in a crowd with no pit, there was certainly more enthusiasm than I’ve ever seen for an opening band before. Especially when you consider it was a Tuesday night, and the band were on just after 7.30 – I’d only made it for doors by the skin of my teeth!

In short Týr were everything I wanted them to be, although next time I want a headline set and to not be stuck at the back behind all the tall people.

Týr. Photo Credit Suzi H
Týr. Photo Credit Suzi H

Next up Korpiklaani. Now, like I said – I wasn’t a Korpiklaani fan – not because I don’t like them but because I couldn’t name a single Korpiklaani song for you if asked and I am very guilty of muddling them up with Finntroll, much to my esteemed Editor’s despair.  So when 5 seconds into their set a massive mosh pit opened up right in front of me and by the end of their set I had shin splints from jumping up and down really hard in my work boots, no one was more surprised than me. As it turns out Korpiklaani who are *quite good* at folk metal in the traditional recorded on a CD format, are absolutely 100%, pure unadulterated frenzied brilliance in a live setting. The crowd (who appeared to be quite hardcore fans) did not stop moving from the start to the end of the set, and it was one of the most intense crowds I’ve ever been in (more on that later).  Anyway, despite not knowing a single track well enough to name, Korpiklaani did a fine job and I didn’t think the evening could get any better.

Korpiklaani. Photo Credit Suzi H
Korpiklaani. Photo Credit Suzi H

Well I’m a foolish monkey.  Following a rousing burst of Europe’s The Final Countdown, Sabaton burst onto the stage straight into Ghost Division and proceeded to, fuck shit right up. And by that I mean the pits got so intense I, for the first (and only!) time in my life retreated to the back.  Because my poor feet had been jumped enough thank you very much and getting clonked over the head by the 6 ft bloke behind me was the final straw so I gave up and went to observe from a safe distance.  At this point I can only renounce my idiocy at having decided some years back that Sabaton weren’t my sort of band (they write albums about history. I’m a bloody fool. If they could do a nice one about the War of The Roses I’d be well happy).  Anyway, despite some annoying PA problems at the start of the set which were more than covered for by the crowds enthusiastic singing, the set was a storming rush through war, death, glory history and the importance of crowd voting for songs in Swedish or English. I’d also like to commend Sabaton for carrying a decent range of girly fit t-shirt sizes. Thank you for being the first band to carry XL T shirts at a gig I’ve attended!

Sabaton. Photo Credit Suzi H
Sabaton. Photo Credit Suzi H

All in, I haven’t hurt this much after a gig for a while, and the bands on the bill left me wanting more – I’ve been cycling through them all on my playlists since Tuesday night and the next time any of them crop up on my gig listings – I’m there.

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