Ensiferum, Naildown - Bradford, England, 8th April 2007
|Event:||Ensiferum: The Tour Towards Victory|
|Written by:||Baz Anderson|
Ensiferum, Naildown - Bradford, England, 8th April 2007 by Baz Anderson (28)
It is Easter Sunday, while children up and down the country gorge on their chocolate eggs - a band of folk metal loving, Ensiferum followers gather outside a small bar and venue in the middle of Bradford. Finnish folk metal heroes Ensiferum are here as the second of their two days of this tour in England and people from all around the middle and north of the country have decided to invade Bradford to observe this delightful spectacle.
Inside the venue there is just one rather snug and cozy room which sports a bar and a small-ish stage in the corner. This was always going to be a very close and intimate show.
First up taking the stage are local band Let Them Bürn. They delivered a steady and solid light humored set of mid/high tempo thrash metal and having songs about mutants and the recent film "300". They were quite standard but quite jolly to watch, the set had its moments that stood out but I think the fastest the double bass went was after the last song was over and they were just finishing the set. They failed to capture the audience at wide but did amuse the ones whose attention they did have. I am sure if the band wanted to they would be able to write some much more aggressive material and demand the attention of future audiences.
Next on the stage and acting as main support are Finnish melodic death metallers Naildown. The set opened with the first, and title track of the new album "Dreamcrusher" and included songs from both of the band's albums. The so called "modern hybrid" metallers music was the most aggressive of the night so far but although the band received a warm reception after each song it still seemed like the main bulk of the audience was, like when the first band was on, just waiting for the main event to come on. The band did not make huge attempts to engage the audience though, and although their music is quite technical in places and enjoyable in pieces the whole set ended up sounding rather similar. Although the rhythm guitar sounded very attractive in places, the set did not captivate the main bulk of the audience who were just waiting for the set to finish.
This is where things start to get a little exciting. There cannot have been more then a couple of hundred people down there all waiting expectantly for the screen to rise and the headliner take the stage but even though there was not as many people in the venue as there would be in a bigger hall, the noise began to rise and rise and you would have thought there were twice as many people in there then there actually was. Dedicated fans from around the country had gathered at this one point, one person wielding and blowing into a horn, my brother also attending wearing chainmail and a handful of people, myself included, attending with black lines on our faces as well as plenty of Ensiferum shirts. This was already becoming something very different to any other show I have been to in my life, before the band had even taken stage people were gathered singing parts of Ensiferum's songs and chanting for them to take the stage.
At long last the screen arose and Ensiferum took the stage with the intro theme of the new album "Victory Songs" playing in the background and kicked things off with the explosive opener of the album "Blood Is The Price Of Glory". The set included a fine balance of songs from all three albums and the "Dragonheads" E.P. - each song perfectly played. Any chance for the crowd to punch their fists into the air and chant along was ravenously taken advantage of, but not just that, any time Markus and Sami stepped forward to their microphones the audience at mass would sing, clap or chant along in time. This being one of Ensiferum's great features as a live band - if as an audience member you do not know the lyrics Petri is expressing then there will most likely be a melody with Markus and Sami you can participate and sing along with. Keyboardist Meiju could not make it to the show but was covered by a more then capable Emmi Silvennoinen on keyboard duties.
Old favorites such as "Guardians Of Fate", "Windrider" and "LAI LAI HEI!" as well as new favorites "One More Magic Potion" and "Ahti" came across flawlessly and received huge, unprecedented (for me) amounts of audience participation in as many ways possible as did the ten minute "Victory Song" that was probably for me the highlight of the night although each and every song had our gathering of Ensiferum fanatics singing and chanting at every opportunity. I don't know what the band expected before the show but they seemed genuinely surprised by the immense enthusiasm being thrown in their direction from this small room of English enthusiasts.
Probably one of the main attractions towards Ensiferum's music is not just the folk elements but also that they seemingly mix elements of power metal and black metal. Blastbeating and extreme vocals will suddenly change into galloping double bass and clean vocals that all come across very well live. I don't think many other bands would attract two people wearing a Kamelot and Old Man's Child shirts (as I saw two people wearing) but Ensiferum can clearly bridge the genré gap with ease.
The encore included four songs which ended with the epic "Battle Song" which was of course a fantastic way to finish the set.
After the band had stepped off the stage the audience were still chanting "Ensiferum! Ensiferum!" even into and during the first song that was played through the sound system after the show. This was one of the most special shows I have been to in a long time, a relatively small audience united as one in metal for what was an utterly awe-inspiring performance. After the show there was a true sense of amazement among the people, I cannot express with as much passion just how intensely euphoric all the variables that made up this show was, surely to the point at which a live show just cannot get any better.
Blood Is The Price Of Glory
Tale Of Revenge
One More Magic Potion
LAI LAI HEI
Token Of Time
The New Dawn
Hero In A Dream
Guardians Of Fate
Thanks go to Alex at Sinister Heart Promotions for the press accreditation.
Written, and photos by Barry Anderson
||Written on 10.04.2007 by Member of Staff since 2006.|
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