Tag Archives: Sweden

Sabaton/Eluveitie/Wisdom, Corporation, Sheffield, 11/11/2012 live review…

Corp! Not pictured, my freezing extremities, suffering whilst waiting outside last night.

I must apologise to Hungarian Power Metal chaps Wisdom, whose show I didn’t really get to see on Sunday night in Sheffield – due to pressing telecommunications issues which would not be denied, I was late to the gig and heard a slab of their set from outside the venue.  The Maiden cover, “Wasted Years” sounded chunky and faithful through the walls and the eponymous “Wisdom” and “Judas” seemed riffy and well-played slices of chugging traditional metal – the already decently sized crowd seemed to be enjoying what they saw.

Some brief set dismantling and roadie magic later, the Swiss Folk Metal onslaught of Eluveitie was amongst us and the band turned limited space to their advantage – Corporation’s stage isn’t massive at the best of times, and with eight band members on stage that bijou performance area was stretched to its limits.

The perfect soundtrack to your next medieval battle – Eluveitie

The band had never played in my city before, as singer/whistle/bandola/bagpipe  player Chrigel Glanzmann informed us, and I suspect walked away with more than a few new fans as they were pretty phenomenal live – the traditional metal attack which you might expect married seamlessly to folk instrumentation and impassioned vocals of the harsh and clean persuasions from Chrigel and Anna Murphy respectively.

I’m most familiar with their recent “Helvetios” album, so I got to hear a smattering of songs from that record to appreciate as well as material from their back catalogue – the gig was very much a case of being interested in the band before going to see them live and being wholly won over by their performance thereafter.  Am I a new fan of this band?  Very much so.  Just a cursory hearing of their glorious, Celtic-inspired, stirring sound is sufficient to inspire thoughts of painting your face with woad, donning furs and a kilt and setting about tyrannical land owners with a sturdy club.

Ahem.

Not that Sabaton don’t inspire similar feelings – the Swedish band have recently undergone a fairly major line-up change around the release of their recent “Carolus Rex” set but haven’t let this shift in personnel unduly affect their splendidly self-aware live show.  New members were integrated well into the gig, with lead guitarist Tobbe Englund’s accidental discovery of a kitschy knick-knack secreted above the Corporation main stage providing an accidental comic highlight in the show – it’s the humour of this band and singer Joachim Broden’s chipper, off-the-cuff stage banter which mark them apart from their other contemporaries in the upbeat, fast-paced Power Metal sub-genre.

It’s important to state that the Corporation crowd LOVED this band.  From the moment that the lights went down and Sabaton’s intro tape – fellow Swedish rock titans Europe’s classic “The Final Countdown” played in full (!) – erupted through the PA, the audience was here to see one band and shortly thereafter the roars of “SABATON! SABATON! SABATON!” filled the room and didn’t stop for the rest of the night.  If there was a moment of silence between songs, that chant seemingly started up again and Joachim’s face was plastered with a massive, cheesy grin.

Sabaton – for the glory of Sweden!

South Yorkshire loves a bit of proper, fist-pumping, 100 miles-an-hour, head-banging metal mania and as Sabaton’s catalogue is mostly composed of peerless examples of same, they were bound to go over like ice cream on a blazingly hot day.  If the band had a more vocal crowd on their UK tour than this one, I’d be surprised.

What’s as remarkable as the overwhelmingly powerful reaction to the band is the fact that Sabaton’s overriding lyrical theme is war, battles, soldiers and conflict – real ‘Boy’s Own’ glory, honour and valour stuff – and yet the material never gets distasteful, jingoistic, objectionable or reactionary, which for a gig which occurred on Remembrance Sunday felt quite important.

Any gig where you learn about the secret Swedish plan for global domination (Those IKEA warehouses? Pro-Tip? Lovely homes for battalions of tanks), get to hum along to a few bars of “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme” by Abba and bellow out the chorus of the band’s anthemic “Primo Victoria” on a chilly Sunday evening is my definition of a fun time.

To paraphrase a certain Matthew Broderick/John Hughes classic of the 1980’s, if you get the opportunity to purchase Sabaton tickets, I highly recommend picking them up.

 

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Sabaton? Eluveitie? Wisdom? Oh My…

Yes, I’m off to see a gig – entry-level image manipulation courtesy of Paint.Net

Hark at me with my beginner’s level image manipulation skills!  I’m off to see Sweden’s finest lovable Power Metal loons Sabaton at Sheffield’s Corporation tonight – I’ll probably be the guy in the Delain shirt.  Be sure and say “Hi!” – and their ready, willing and able tour mates Swiss Pagan Metal folks Eluveitie and Polish Trad Metal dudes Wisdom.

Expect a noisy time to be had by all and ear-plugs to be firmly stuffed in-ear by anybody over the age of 35 once things get going.  A report will be with soon, I imagine.

Two gigs in a week- surely some mistake?

 

 

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Sonic Syndicate – Roger and out?

Regular perusal of my Last.FM profile pages will reveal to the curious that I am quite fond of Anglo-Swedish Melodic Death Metal outfit Sonic Syndicate.

The gruff and shouty sound of Falkenberg, Sweden – Sonic Syndicate (circa 2004)

Yep, they’re noisy.  Picture, if you will, an invigorating line of absurd, ‘Would Sir like a throat lozenge, perhaps?’ harsh vocals, guitar riffs so speedy that they’re a shoe-in to represent Sweden at this year’s London Olympics, married to unexpected choruses so catchy that they’ve clearly escaped from the likes of A Day To Remember and should be taken home again, forthwith, before they’re missed.

The reason for this post?  Leading guitar light and founding member Roger Sjunneson has confirmed that he’s left the band and is now devoting all of his attention to Swedish Melo-Death maniacs, The Unguided, whom he formed with his vocalist brother Roger in 2010 as a Sonic side-project.

Careful with that fringe, former Sonic Syndicate Axe merchant Richard Sjunneson – you’ll have somebody’s eye out…

Musical differences seem to be the reason for this split – Richard and Roger appear to have felt that the melodic part of their sound was taking over at the behest of their former record company, with distracting poppier material rearing its ugly head on Sonic Syndicate’s 2010 release, “We Rule The Night”, to the extent that a casual listener might mistake the likes of “My Own Life” for a Chad Kroeger solo record.

I know, right?  Scary.

There’s melodic metal and then there’s “Wow, I sure do like that new Saturdays single – it’s feisty!”.  Never the twain, and all that..

The upshot of this is that Sonic Syndicate are still going – and playing their only show of the year by headlining a festival in Hungary on the 22nd of June – and The Unguided are still there if you want stuff that sounds as confused and exhilarating as the best of Sonic Syndicate’s material used to sound.

Everybody wins, right?  Especially bassist Karin Axelsson, who will eventually be teaching her wee tyke how to downtune Mama’s bass

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