support Turisas
author AP date 03/10/08 venue Astoria, London, UK

On my second time at the Astoria this week, I'd grown wiser, or I should say as the arrogant prick that I am, more privileged. Not only was I able to arrive at the venue reasonably late without missing the evening's first act, I'd also secured a photopass for my photographer. That's always beneficial, as it means that I can concentrate on the performance without having to worry about whether or not the pictures will live up to your standards. It also means that I can join the party, and that's crucial when the two bands playing tonight are in my experience genuine party bands: Finnish battle metalists Turisas and the English sensation Dragonforce.


Seeing Turisas three times in just one year may seem a bit excessive, but those who have lived the experience that is Turisas' performance will concur that it isn't. A band clad as mythical Viking warriors, playing what can only be described as battle metal, with distortion violin and accordion as their lead melody makers, may also seem a bit excessive, and to most, completely silly, but Olli Vänskä has proven time and time again that his prowess with a violin is not to be underestimated. Or, as he puts it, fucked with. Fuck the guitar solo. And indeed, it is during his solo towards the end of the set that jaws drop and the sound problems are forgotten. Unfortunately much of the remainder of Turisas' set seems somewhat tame because of sounds problems, if low volume can be called that. Let's face it, if you're singing about epic quests and battles, it needs to be blasted at the audience with a high volume. Mathias Nygård's charisma comes to the band's aid, however, and he's able to orchestrate a massive sing along, which not only strengthens his choruses, but amplifies the music during instrumental passages and crescendos, with the crowd chanting "Lai Lai Lai" in them.

All in all, however, the show lacks the power of the band's last shows. Whether that's due to those sound problems, or that the band is in a supporting slot now, I don't know, but it's just too tame. It's not that the performance is lackluster though, and the band certainly don't seem to care, giving it instead their all. When members of the crowd pick up on their enjoyment, moshpits begin to emerge in the midst of cross-armed, head-bobbing, feet-tapping people that are supposedly the band's fans. A good, solid set that needs an acoustic kick.



01. Battle Metal

02. A Portage to the Unknown

03. One More

04. In the Court of Jarisleif

05. Violin Solo

06. Rasputin

07. To Holmgard and Beyond


Just as Turisas, Dragonforce is also about excess: guitar solos that seem to last even longer than the songs they're in, vocals that reek of mozzarella and lyrics that somehow seem to all be about, or in some way feature the words far away. It's been two years since I last saw them and a lot has changed. They've grown up and sobered up, focusing instead on getting those fast parts right and messing around no more than is necessary.

Tonight's show is thus free of fuck-ups. Almost. Just as we're ready to accept that Sam Totman really hasn't finished a case of Carling, he falls flat on his face. Welcome back, Sam! It's a surprise that the show is also devoid of injuries, looking at the various platforms, ramps, trampolines and other Dragonforce-essential equipment placed about the stage for the band to play with. The evening's highlight comes when Vadim grabs his keytar and heads down from his pedestal to perform a lengthy solo together with bassist Frédéric Leclercq, who has snatched one of Herman's guitars to flash his skill with a six-string. But with songs averaging at over six minutes in length and containing more solos than actual riffs, a two-hour set gets frustrating. Everything begins to sound the same. At least thrice I'm convinced that the band is playing "Through the Fire and Flames", only to find that it is, in fact, something off the new record. Fortunately the band aren't tired, making most of what I imagine might be the highlight of their UK tour, London, and their fun is contagious. It's a damn good show, if slightly on the long side.



01. Heroes of Our Time

02. Operation Ground And Pound

03. Reasons to Live

04. Fury of the Storm

05. The Warrior Inside

06. Keyboard Solo

07. Soldiers of the Wasteland

08. The Last Journey Home

09. My Spirit Will Go On

10. Revolution Deathsquad


11. Valley of the Damned

12. Through the Fire and Flames

Photos courtesy of Martin Foot

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