Date: March 18, 2018
Review & Photography by Thomas James Henry Saunders
Following Grimner’s 10th anniversary, they have embarked on a wide ranging European tour, taking them all the way into September and, for the first time, London!
Through this year’s second bout of ice and snow, we make our way through upper Holloway to the Nambucca, a small venue more suited for indie and rock nights, but as I enter it’s instantly apparent that the Vikings have indeed taken over tonight.
With most of the tables being occupied by merchandise stands, the lengthy bar and pool table is where I find everyone mingling and relaxing before the bands take to the stage. The atmosphere is a palpable one tonight, this being a first sight for many here to see Grimner outside of the festival circuit. Due to unforeseen circumstances, Ravenage had to pull out, with organizers Landgaurd Productions making the decision to not add a 4th act and instead let the remaining 3 acts to spread out their sets without the pressure on timings.
First to the stage, After a series of tweaks and sound tests is Call Of Fenrir. The barrier is removed and the crowd begin to amble up to greet this South London act. This is a band whom bring a lot of punch and energy to the stage that immediately brings the rest of the crowd away from the bar and up along the stage to witness this aggressive & enjoyable band.
Vocalist Adam ‘Beserker’ Sherwood has an abundance of enthusiasm and fury tonight, abandoning the stage in favor of stalking the space in front of it, charging back and forth with a ferocity that is mesmerizing to behold.
Guitarist & Violinist Olivia “The Valkyrie” Kennett does a fantastic job tonight, playing fast and powerfully whilst clearly enjoying the atmosphere and the energy being thrown back by tonight’s crowd.
Part of their appeal is very much their aesthetic, being in the full Viking garb complete with runes drawn upon their foreheads and a passion to match!
With their heavily galloping wallop, energy and tight precision, Call Of Fenrir does a great job tonight.
Where many bands being given the task of opening a night falter, this lot shine, gathering a real energy form the audience and creating a great atmosphere for the rest of the evening.
Call Of Fenrir setlist:
1. All Father
2. March of the Heathen Horde
3. Storm of Jormangundr
4. Raise Your Horns (Amon Amarth cover)
5. A Wolf’s Requiem
As the sound checks are completed, the 2nd act of tonight, also from London, take to the stage in the form of Isanoros.
With the band turned, their backs against the crowd in a sea of red mist, a rendition of the Jurassic Park theme tunes bellows across the stage.
After a rampaging opening song, “Maros” immediately impress with their blend of traditional folk instruments, harsh vocals and good deal of heaviness. Isarnos have a slight hiccup with the sound systems but are away again in full flow in mere moments. Keeping the audience amused whilst they fix the connection issue, they make deft work of setting up a new amp and are back in mere seconds.
Such a thing should be more commonplace one could argue, given that the band has no less than 7 live members all ranging from the regular assortment of guitars and the like, to the violinist and even a hurdy-gurdy player.
This band are very quick to warm up the crowd with their energy and enthusiasm drenching the near packed venue in melody and charm. They achieve a really heavy undertone, thanks to the dual guitar prowess of Adamo & John, backed up by the constant thrum of Nick on Bass.
Vocalist and flute, bagpipes, Bouzouki (yes) player Olli does a great job tonight at brings the whole sound together with his gravelled tones and generally camaraderie among his 6 on stage companions.
The complexity of their sound is a staggering thing to see live, with so many instruments onstage one could assume the sound turn muddied, but quite the opposite is more an apt description here. Clean vocalist & hurdy-gurdy player Christine gives a powerfully second set of vocal ambiance to the mix, whilst constantly churning the handle of her hurdy-gurdy and even making a dancing partner of it!
The crowd reacts well to this visual feast, cheering along the whole way through in a sea of excitement.
My only gripe is that they do suffer from the pack of space, as I feel that a larger space would give them more room to breath and be able to truly strut about.
Despite being unusual for a support act, Isarnos were able to play an encore in the form of “Exilo” which was met with cries and cheers when Ollie asked the crowd if they’d like an extra song. A pit of jigging and dancing erupts as they play their unexpectedly triumphant finale, an enjoyable sight indeed!
A massively enjoyable performance however and one I hope to see again in the near future.
After a short break, Allowing the energy to settle and drinking receptacles restocked, the crowd cram in the right space eagerly awaiting Sweden’s Grimner. They start powerfully, going headfirst in first track “Res Er Mina Söner” without need of intro nor introduction, instead opting to go straight in with full fury.
With main vocalist Ted & flute player Johan creating a wild and excitable atmosphere all their own, the band are sure experts of whipping up a crowd, as the while front rows begin to dance, link arms and jig uncontrollably from the first song alone.
They’re a Wholesomely enjoyable act, with second vocalist & rhythm guitarist Martin repeatedly calling on the crowd to drink, raising his own pint and shouting “Skål” in his amused tones.
Their sound is very strong here, their hyperactive upbeat tones mixed with Ted’s clear barks and growls making for an enjoyable and powerful assault on the senses. Grimner are a band that clearly would be more at home on a larger stage as they are rather cramped together in he middle, but still their charm & enthusiasm shines through nonetheless.
They certainly gain a lot of atmosphere with the wondrous Viking outfits in which they adorn themselves, this is certainly a professional act, and one that exceeds in delivering their produced sound.
Vocalist Ted turns the small size of the venue into a chance to get intimate with the crowd, making numerous jokes, taunting the crowd and each other whilst always being a enjoyable to watch.
For the finale of “Eldhjärta”, the crowd went wild, the entire stage area erupted in to a sea of jigging and head banging, lapping up the sheer energy and enthusiasm up on stage as it is reciprocated in whole by the triumphant Grimner.
A very strong first appearance in London tonight for this exuberant band, and one I for one truly hope they follow up on soon.
1. Res er mina söner
2. En fallen jätte
3. Nordmännens raseri
5. Midgård brinner
6. Avundas hennes ungdom
7. Freja vakar
8. Mörkrets hem
9. Forna dagar
Call Of Fenrir