Svartsot

support Forcentury + Battery
author MST date 09/04/11 venue Fermaten, Herning, den

It was Friday night, and time to drink some beers and party to some folk metal. I was a bit skeptical though, as I had been of everything having to do with Svartsot since the dramatic departure of everyone but guitarist and songwriter Cris Frederiksen. But this was my chance to give the new band a chance to win me over again. It wasn't until a few hours before the show was to start that I discovered that there were two support bands before Svartsot. In terms of genres it turned out to be a very varied line-up, as the below articles will tell.

Battery:

Opening support band Battery are an old school Thrash metal band from Aabenraa. I'd seen them once before at Thrash Assault in Haderslev with Impalers, Essence and Artillery, and the experience was the same. Frontman Chris Stie is not the most active of frontmen, but the rest of the band are all over the place. After a few songs Stie lost the hat and started headbanging a lot more, obviously improving the experience. Said experience was slightly ruined by the sound though. During the first song, the snare drum was ridiculously high, almost blocking everything else out. Between the first and second song the sound was improved, but guitar solos remained hidden behind that snare drum. Finishing off with a cover of Kreator's "Under the Guillotine" the band left the stage having performed a solid show.

7

Forcentury:

As if a thrash metal band supporting a folk/death metal band wasn't enough, next support band was Danish/Scottish sci-fi power/heavy metal band Forcentury. With keyboards making the music sound like metal versions of those 80's Transformers anthems, and a singer who looked like he was in a land far, far away on drugs, there was no shortage of entertainment. In the start the band looked like they were performing for each other; there was no one in front of the stage; everyone was a bit hesitant to join in and enjoy the show up front. But when a big (young) group of the audience moved to the front of the stage, the band's charisma started to shine through. The Scottish lead singer looked like he was on drugs as his facial expressions changed almost every second, and his little dance on stage was awesome as hell, but not in a laughable way. Forcentury's show got everyone ready for Svartsot and I'm sure they made some new fans after this great show.

8

Svartsot:

A couple of years ago, Svartsot were one of my favorite bands. Their debut Ravnenes Saga is an awesome folk metal album that I would listen to endlessly, and they were awesome live. I still remember their old entry: the old frontman Claus Gnudtzmann would march in with a real battleaxe, preparing the crowd for some proper folk death metal. But with a new line-up, with only Cris Frederiksen of the old line-up still present, a lot of fans (including myself) have been hesitant to be excited about them or even check out their new record. The right amount of alcohol and two good support bands got me in the mood though, so I was eagerly looking forward to hearing some folk tunes.

The band walked on stage wearing the traditional folk outfits that the old band did. The outfits are similar to those worn by Heidevolk, for comparison. The only difference between the old shows and this one was that new singer Thor Bager didn't take the performance as seriously as the old singer did. Barefooted and barebreasted under his fur jacket, the drunken singer was ridiculously entertaining and constantly smiling, though not so drunk that his vocal delivery was affected negatively. The big difference that turns the fans that I know away from the new Svartsot is the shift in vocal style. Gnudtzmann had a very deep guttural growl, whereas Bager's growl never gets guttural, thus not quite packing the same punch. There's also less variety in his growl, so it gets monotonous in the long run. But this would be more relevant if I was reviewing their latest album, because the show was fantastic.

Sure, I could've walked to the back of the room, crossed my arms, watched the band play and written notes about how the band's movement was good, but not fantastic. Sure, I could've argued that Bager's walking around the stage drunk was annoying and that he didn't interact with the audience in the right way. But in the end, "music from a fan's point of view" means what it means, and I'm sure I speak for most of those attending the show when I say that it was a blast. Apart from the vocals being slightly too low, the only way it could've been better was if there had been free beer for everyone, because the show was about having some drunken fun, and there was no shortage of that.

It was clear that most people attending knew the old record better than the new one. After the two first songs which were off the new record came "Skovens Kælling" off the old record, and after that it almost didn't matter which songs the band played. There was headbanging and mosh pits constantly, from "Lokkevisen" and "Kromandens Datter" (the latter of which has some nice fiddle melodies) from the new record through "Nidvisen" and "Tvende Ravne" from the first record. The crowd didn't even seem to notice that "Jotunheimsfærden" was played too fast making Bager unable to pronounce the growled lyrics. When the band ran out of beer on stage, the bartenders at Fermaten were kind enough to bring a freshly poured pint to the stage, resulting in loud applause from the audience.

The band went off stage prematurely but they didn't try to conseal the fact that they were going to play extras. When they came back on stage, the party quickly started again with "Havets Plage" and "Skønne Møer" from the old record, followed by a song from the new record and naturally ending with their classic sing-along-friendly "Gravøllet". During the last song the singer invited those that knew the chorus up to the stage, and the undersigned couldn't resist. I was allowed to perform a chorus and half a verse, and it was awesome. It all ended in a massive party during that last song, and I can't remember the last time I felt so satisfied after a concert.

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