Date : 20.11.2014

Bands : Skalmöld (IS), Arkona (RUS), Eluveitie (CH)

Location : Tivoli – Bremen

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It’s been a while since I last attended to an energetic folk/viking metal concert so I was super excited for the gig on Thursday evening. The audience did not also mind the super cold weather in Bremen; the venue was already crowded before the show began and the energy could be felt.

The first band was the Icelandic Viking metallers Skalmöld. I first saw Skalmöld in 2011 as part of the Heidenfest tour; they were not so known back then but I remember being really impressed with the band’s music and the good energy they created within the audience. This time, it was even better than I expected. The band was on fire from the first moment they started playing; compared to 2011, I can definitely say that Skalmöld has improved musically and also as a band in general. In this sense, they are stronger, harsher but they did not lose the essence of their music which is the most important thing of course. Another thing that caught my attention was how happy and surprised the band was; I guess they did not expect a crowded audience for a warm-up band and considering it was their first time in Bremen, they were also overwhelmed and motivated which could be felt in their live show.

Although the band’s latest album “Með Vættum” has been released two weeks ago, the setlist did not consist of only the new songs but also some old songs such as the intro song “Árás” (from Baldur, 2010) and “Gleipnir” (from Börn Loka, 2013) so the people in the audience, who did not have any idea who the band was, could get a glimpse of the band’s old and new sound. I personally could see the difference between the songs; the ‘new’ Skalmöld was much more powerful and mature, which fit to the band’s style of epic viking metal. The band might have been the first band of the evening with the shortest setlist, but I personally loved the band even more. All in all, they are the true viking metallers! 😀

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The second band was the Russian folk metal band Arkona. I could already see the ‘loyal’ fanbase of Arkona even before the start of the gig so the anticipation could be felt clearly. It wasn’t my first time seeing Arkona; I saw the band live on Heidenfest 2011 (along with Skalmöld :D) and the mixture of Russian melodies combined with the authentic Arkona sound was quite impressive although I gotta say that their music is not my cup of tea (apart from the Russian melodies maybe.. :D)

One aspect I really like about the live performances of Arkona is the neverending energy of the frontwoman, Masha Scream. She is indeed the definition of how a frontwoman should be like; she is really talented, aggressive and knows how to create the ambience within the band and the audience. She is like the tribe leader! 😀 You might not be into Arkona’s music but when you are watching Arkona live, it’s impossible not to be mesmerized about Masha’s overall energy; that aspect combined with the band’s unique style is what makes Arkona so admired and respected. This was also clear in the live show; one moment the audience was headbanging and the bandmembers were dancing on stage and the other moment, a wall of death was happening in the middle of the venue.

As the fans know, Arkona released their latest album “Yav” on April 2014 so the setlist consisted of songs from the band’s latest album (“Yav”, “Na Strazhe Novyh Let”)  but also of the classics such as “Goi, Rode, Goi”, “Slav’sja, Rus” and everyone’s favorite “Yarilo”. There was probably almost noone who never heard of Arkona before so the audience was quite familiar with the band’s sound and songs. They might not be my favorite pagan/folk metal band but I respect the band for the overall vibe they create in their live performances.

Eluveitie at last.. What can be said about a band like Eluveitie? To be honest, I did not know what to expect from the band; their latest album “Origins” was kind-of a disappointment for me despite a few great songs and the technical improvement of the band’s musical style.

The band started the show with “King” (from their latest album Origins) and from that moment, I knew that a great show was awaiting the audience! 😀 I also have to say that the live version of the songs from the latest album sounded much better than the album version so in this sense, Eluveitie definitely made me ‘like’ the new album a bit more. New songs such as “Silver Sister” and “Vianna” were also quite impressive. I also really liked the fact that the frontman Chrigel Glanzmann told the story of Vianna before starting the show so the live show was also educational in that sense. That was not it though; the band surely did not forget the classic admired Elu songs such as “Omnos”, “Kingdom Come Undone”, “Thousandfold” and of course “Inis Mona” and many more including songs from the band’s previous album. It was so great hearing those songs live again. Surely, old Eluveitie is a fucking classic and it was also clear in this show.

One highlight of the show was the lovely hurdy gurdy player and vocalist Anna Murphy. I always admired her contribution to the band and this was obvious in the song “The Call of the Mountains”, which she sang in German instead of in English. I never heard the complete song in German before so this was a different experience for sure. Other songs sung by her in the set were “Omnos” and “A Rose for Epona”.

Another interesting highlight was seeing Matteo Sisti (Krampus) as the bagpipe/whistle player on the stage instead of Patrick Kistler. I honestly did not know who he was but after the gig, I learned that Pade indeed parted ways with the band; it is still shocking for me since Patrick was one of the bandmembers who formed the essence of the band. Nevertheless, Matteo was quite succesful during the live set. Surely, he was not like Pade but he fit the band quite well; for now, he is only the session musician but let’s see if he will become the permanent bandmember.

Eluveitie was better than I expected despite the sad news I had learnt but the band managed to leave a smile on my face. They are one of those bands that I can see live again and again.

3 bands and an awesome night full of harsh metal and folk melodies.. 😀 Thanks to the organization and to the bands!

More info :

SKALMÖLD – http://www.skalmö