The sign outside the Electric Ballroom proudly informs that the Sabaton show is sold out tonight. Such a status has been frequenlty reported in regards to other dates of this tour so Sabaton are getting the recognition they deserve. Opening this sold out show are Thaurorod from Finland. Apparently their vocalist Markku Kuikka left the band while on tour so the vocalist that fronts them now is completely new, to my assumption. The band has had six vocalists, excluding this one now, according to Metal Archives. Anyhow, they have one album to their name, 'Upon Haunted Battlefields' released this year. Their brand of metal is typical power metal with a straight focus on melody, nods to the odd folk moment and growls with the clean singing. The singer is lively in his stage banter but the band's stage presence leaves plenty to be desired, with the members fixated on their instruments and almost forgetting the fact that they are playing their debut show in the nationís capital. The audience response is very encouraging, applauding each of the band's songs heartily and when the set closes and the band take their bow, the crowd roars with appreciation. A few minutes later, an odd few band members take a second bow and the audience response is on par with their previous ovation. It can be said that Thaurorord exposed themselves to an array potential fans who will most likely investigate the band further.
Thursday 14th October 2010
Electric Ballroom in London, UK
Reviews by Elena Francis
With the abundance of attendees dressed in full pirate garb or just a pirate hat and countless Alestorm shirts, it is a wonder whether this show would have sold out had Alestorm not been supporting. Touring alongside a war band as opposed to a Viking-themed one is probably a welcomed change of pace for the Scots. Coming onstage, the audience appears euphoric to see the band. 'Heavy Metal Pirates' sets the mood for the next fourty-five minutes, although for a band that bases itself around comedic pirates, it seems surprising that they do not dress like pirates tonight, despite the usual announcement of singer Chris Bowes "True Scottish pirate metal!" which has the crowd reaction like the character of a sitcom just said their trademark quotation. The music Alestorm pump out is incredibly tedious folk power metal, drawing generously from the likes of Turisas and Korpiklaani, with laughable, rough vocals (that sound nothing like a pirate, more like someone trying to be 'evil', in the Halloween sense of the word). There is absolutely no stage presence, which feels strange for a band where the frontman has a keytar, an improvement on the keyboard in order to allow for more mobility. The idea becomes even stranger when the audience is feeding back intense energy to the band in the form of jumping on the spot and mosh pits. Sailing through songs from both albums, the Scots indulge the fans with 'Wenches and Mead', 'Nancy the Tavern Wench' and 'Black Sails at Midnight'. A new song, simply entitled 'Rum' is aired tonight and the chorus is essentially the word 'rum' repeated ad nauseum, goading the audience to quickly latch on and sing along. 'Captain Morgan's Revenge' sees the band inciting a wall of death and 'Keelhauled' proceeds, finally closing the set. One wonders how far a pirate gimmick will carry this band but given the success of Viking-themed bands, the future looks bleak.
Europe's 'The Final Countdown' plays in its entirety to profoundly tease the sweating fans before the bonus track 'The March to War' sets the scene for Sweden's most promising power metal quintet to arrive on stage, lifting off into 'Ghost Divison', heavy and pounding in its live incarnation. The audience instantly combusts with headbanging, shoving, and mosh pits becoming commonplace. Frontman Joakim Broden is as frenetic as usual with his trademark deep voice and adoring his trademark mirror aviators, reflecting the faces of audience members singing along devotedly. Being the tour promoting their latest full-length war-themed release 'Coat of Arms', the setlist encompasses a vast array of battle hymns including 'Uprising', 'Aces in Exile', 'Saboteurs' and the grave 'The Final Solution'. Although the new 'Coat of Arms' material feels like the Sabaton well is running dry in terms of new musical ventures with lacklustre drumming, an emerge of power chords in favour of riffs and recylced guitar lines, fanatics appear to know every word of these new tracks and whole-heartedly belt the lyrics back to the band. For their credit, the new songs sound more brash and aggressive live, which improves them when compared to their recorded counterparts. Sabaton are still proud of previous full-lengths, particularly 'The Art of War' with 'The Price of a Mile', '40-1' and 'Cliffs of Gallipoli' studding the set. Although fantastic songs in their own right, it would be appreciated if they varied the prime cuts from this album ('Firestorm' and 'Union (Slopes of St. Benedict)í are certifiably engineered for live airings). The two albums that indeed launched Sabaton into the melodic metal consciousness, the less keyboard-drenched and more visceral 'Primo Victoria' and 'Attero Dominatus' are only briefly accounted for in the set with title tracks, 'Back in Control', 'Wolfpack' and the fun metal-centred final tracks that tradiitonally conclude the Sabaton set. Naturally, these tracks secure copious attention and appreciation with the band encouraging the crowd to leap up and down to the beat. Naturally, nothing from 'Metalizer/Fist For Fight' makes the set. The audience's appreciation for the songs is not unnoticed. Broden unveils his eyes from behind his reflective aviators to reveal a look of admiration and genuine happiness at the screaming voices of the venue. He announces that this is Sabaton's largest UK headlining show and is extremely grateful that it is sold out. After 'Attero Dominatus' wraps up, Broden informs the audience that drummer Daniel Mullback celebrates his birthday today. A happy birthday greeting is sung, followed by a large crate wheeled on stage, containing Mullback's present. On opening, it is actually his girlfriend with a bottle of champagne. The champagne is distributed to the band and, unsuccessfully, the audience. How generous of Sabaton. 'Back in Control' ostensibly closes the set before the power metallers return with an encore of 'Coat of Arms', 'Primo Victoria' and the 'Metal Medley', a seamless fusion of 'Metal Machine' and 'Metal Crue' which ends the show on an upbeat, party note. Yet another outstanding performance to add to their repetoire.