It has been entirely too long since Eluveitie has played a club show in Finland. Though the occasional festival has brought them back to the Nordics, their long tour for Origins had yet to carry them to Finland, until now! They hit up Nosturi in Helsinki on December 3rd, 2015, and since it’s been ages, we were sure to be there!
Since we were able to get an interview with Chrigel Glanzmann, it also meant that we were early enough to check out the openers, Ithilien from Belgium and Skálmöld from Iceland. It was a proper folk/Viking metal night at Nosturi as such.
Full gallery HERE!
Ithilien were decked out in full Viking garb, which was either great or cheesy, depending on your perspective. Musically, they were quite decent, though I have to say, a fair bit derivative. Their sound is fairly good and quite catchy, but I don’t think they were accomplishing anything particularly groundbreaking. Also, their vocal style did not appeal to me at all, personally (which is a common problem I have with a lot of Viking metal bands, it seems), though I know there is a demand for it in other circles.
Oddly enough, I had a rather similar reaction to Skálmöld. Their music was quite good at times, though again, nothing I haven’t heard done better by Moonsorrow for example, and I didn’t like either of their vocalists remotely. I got the feeling that there was a bit too much going on in their music and they hadn’t quite decided what they want to be, though I can’t deny that there’s potential in their sound. The crowd, on the other hand, had already gathered for their set, so perhaps more people enjoy that vocal style than I do – it’s rare to see so many people show up already for an opener. Also, I do think that Baldur Ragnarsson could stand to put his shirt on. If he’s the only one in the band going topless, it just seems like he’s showing off.
It was 21:30 when a boom and a blast of light announced the start of the show. What I assume was the opening track to Origins (or possibly Helvetios) played while eight people slowly made their way onto the stage. It was a pretty full house, no doubt thanks to the fact that the last local opportunity for Finnish fans to see them would’ve been at Nummirock. I had immediately wondered if the club stage would be crowded with eight band members, but with the risers in the back, they managed to make it look quite comfortable. I was quite impressed with their ability to move around seemlessly without bumping into one another. Every time I blinked, it seemed as though they had traded places.
The set got off to a good start, with “King.” I noticed that a few of their songs, such as “Thousandfold,” seemed a bit less dynamic in the live setting, though with the collection of instruments, I understand that a totally polished sound isn’t as likely on a stage as it is on an album. On the other hand, mad props to them for having all of the instruments as actual band members so there was no need for backing tracks. It’s always a better experience to have a true live performance in this sense, and I have a deeper respect for them as a result.
“Slania’s Song” was one song that I was really enthusiastic to hear live, and Anna Murphy lived up to my expectations on all fronts. Though there were no hurdy-gurdy parts in the live version, her singing, and in a dead language no less, was fantastic. It made me never want to do karaoke again, knowing I’ll never sing like that. In other songs that did have the hurdy-gurdy it looked and sounded great. I have to admit that I adore her.
It was also cool to get a better idea of what sorts of instruments are included in their music. If you don’t browse the CD booklets it’s hard to get the full scope of their music, but on stage, you can see it for what it is: Chrigel Glanzmann with the mandola, whistles, pipes, and more, and Matteo Sisti with the bagpipes and whistles, alongside the violin, hurdy-gurdy, and other traditional rock instruments. It really puts into perspective how much detail is in their sound and how skilled they all are and how many small nuances there are to their music. Also, I admit a small amount of pleasure watching a flutist headbang.
Chrigel did speak to the crowd a bit, though most of it centered around the fact that it has been an awful long time since they’ve been here and just how thrilled they were to be back, as well as how amazed they were at the warm welcome. He admitted that the Origins Tour has been way too long and they’ll be glad to go home and get some rest. Anna spoke a bit as well, introducing the Swiss-German version of “Call of the Mountain,” which I was pleased to see elicit a happy crowd train (as opposed to a mosh pit).
The show was shockingly long, with a nearly full set of 13 tracks, followed by an acoustic set, which features two medleys of traditional songs, and then six more songs plus an encore. At least if we had to wait a few years for them to come back, it was worth it! I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a 2-hour set at Nosturi that wasn’t a special event. The song selection covered all bases and then some, and I was particularly glad to hear “Helvetios,” “Luxtos,” and naturally in the encore, “Inis Mona.” If anything was missing for me, it might’ve been “Primordial Breath” or “Quoth the Raven,” (the latter because I would’ve love to hear Anna scream live) but overall I heard just about everything I could’ve asked for.
Overall, the show and set were pretty incredible. It was almost like seeing two shows in one, with the sheer length and inclusion of a small acoustic set in the middle. I am really looking forward to hearing Evocation II, whenever it’s finished, and hopefully they’ll have a bit more luck in the Nordics this time around so it’s not so long before the come back again!
5. Slania’s Song
7. Dr Reuf vo de Bärge (The Call of the Mountain)
8. From Darkness
9. Carry the Torch
10. Kingdom Come Undone
13. Scorched Earth
14. Reel medley
15. Jig medley
16. Carnutian Forest
Regular Set continued:
1. Inis Mona
Text: Amy Wiseman | Photos: Eliza Rask