Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, NY)
Opener: Warbringer & Lethal Stryke
Label: Century Media Records
It was time once again for a Troll invasion in NYC and like the last two visits we would find the band decimating the stage at B.B. King Blues Club and Grill. The last time around we found the guys appearing with only one local opener as their support and with the band still on the climb in this region, it clearly worked against them. Tonight would be one of the gigs which found the mighty Trolls touring with Warbringer, a Century Media Records label mate who do Metal of a slightly different kind from those Pagan Folksters. Joining them would be a band from the immediate area, a group of local kids who played Thrash and went by the name of Lethal Strike.
Lethal Strike: I have to say that I am seldom present for the very, very first band when it is one of the unsigned groups and I say this without being mean spirited, but more based on the fact that they often go on the stage much earlier than one is told that such a band would actually be on. Had I not checked into the club before the whole shebang went down I would not have known about them, or realize that they had some ties with another band that many Metal fans know from their own gigs at B.B. King’s, NJ’s own Arctic Flame. It seems as though the bands singer Eric Paradine is the son of the drummer in that band, and it was nice to see the youth following in proper Metal footsteps as opposed to dedicating his life to Hip Hop. As a band I had to say that they were probably the youngest I had seen in awhile, and as they were the first ups tonight, I had not expected much. They were all decked out in classic Thrash Metal shirts, and some of them looked to be vintage as opposed to Hot Topic, so in my mind that was a good thing. To my surprise and approval the lads hit the stage hard and with a nice level of energy that one does not always see in bands that are just starting out. Clearly they have done their homework and borrowed their parents or older brothers and sisters Thrash classics as they employed the learning from the past into their own sound. As a singer Eric does well and he hits the notes he appears to be striving for. It will be good to see him work on range and projection because in my opinion there are too many growlers already. Bring back the singers for the next decade in my book. The guitarwork of both Salim and Marcus was pretty good, but Marcus didn’t look at the crowd too much. I understand the stage often intimidates but remember you run it. It’s too early to say if the next great Thrash Metal movement will come from Bayonne, NJ, but at least these boys are proving that the area is not sitting idly by while bands pop up from everywhere else. I wish them luck, and hope to see them doing this again soon.
Warbringer: Proving once again that the Metal is not wasted on the young, the guys in Warbringer were ready to deliver the goods as they have done on this same stage in the recent past. That night they were the first band up for the show with Exodus and Goatwhore and they went over really well based on the fact that they are also one of those newer bands who are playing the classic Thrash Metal stuff as opposed to being a Death, Black, or Nu-Metal band. They are led by singer John Kevill and he really keeps your attention on the stage based on how into it he is getting and how much he prompts you to get into it as well. I didn’t capture their set list tonight but with the guys only having the one album, pretty much everything was coming to us from the hot metal slab they call “War Without End”. If you are one of those fans that has been longing for the classic vibe once again, then these guys are stepping up and serving it to you note after note. It’s nice to see this sound returning as it was the kind of Metal that drew many people into the genre and if you were not one of those Hair Metal fans, then this was the stuff you often leaned to as it was loaded with energy, intensity and power. The Warbringer stuff moves quickly in the live sense and while the band was very on top of their game it was visibly clear that tonight’s show did not get a lot of attention from the people who should have been present for it. The key difference that I noticed tonight was the new drummer in the band from the last time around. There was not a long changeover in equipment once the band was done and it seemed like the introduction music for Finntroll was beginning in minutes.
Finntroll: Tonight’s set from the Finntroll guys did not strike me as all that different from the last time I had caught them but of course they had swapped some numbers around to be played at different times. It’s a little bit hard to follow the bands set because while Finnish, they are singing in Swedish and if you don’t know the language its incredibly hard to sing along (outside of the occasional chorus of course). Tonight would be the bands second time around with their new singer Matthias, and to be honest I had liked him the first time around, but felt he came off just a bit nervous in the city. Maybe it was me with that perception, but tonight I saw none of this as he all but climbed over the gap in the protective barrier between band and audience to reach those who were pushing up to the front. The bands latest release on Century Media Records is called “Ur Jorden’s Djup”, and it’s a hefty piece of Folk Metal with a slight Black Metal twist to it at some parts and that was were much of the bands set list was concentrated on tonight. Yes, they played some things from “Nattfodd”, which is the only other record I have ever heard, but it didn’t strike me as much else was being delivered. Matthias and company were knocking them out tonight and those in attendance were periodically dancing when the spirit of the tune struck them right. If you have never seen this band before, I should offer those new fans the advice that if you stand too close to the general open floor area that you might get doused with a beer from someone spinning around, or find yourself being drawn into the dancing by someone who passes you and feels that you need to join them in the fun. The set tonight while tight was coming across as up and down from where I stood in the crowd and here is what I mean. It was clear that the crowd new “some” but not “all” of the bands songs, and when a certain number came up the place would go insane. Among them was the ever popular “Trollhammaren” which is perhaps the bands signature and most popular tune. Of course during that tune, I found myself caught up in the mix that I just advised about and must say it’s a rousing way to enjoy an equally rousing tune. Sadly, the gig was over almost as fast as it began and after a quick encore the guys were done and getting themselves ready to go off to the next stop. I think they were heading to Poughkeepsie, NY next, but I was not really certain since all I focus my energies on is the performance at hand.
The downside of the whole night would be in the very limited attendance that came out for this gig and while I feel that this had not so much to do with the bands performing but just in the fact that we were once again close to school semesters starting for the college aged Metal fans (and some of those who are actually still in High School and allowed to hit such a show). This was also a Sunday night and that means the workaday wage slaves that we all become have to get up and serve their time at their respective offices the next day. It also didn’t help that this show came on the tails of not only the Metal Masters Tour with Judas Priest & Heaven and Hell, but also the Crue Fest and the Poison shows. Yes, you might think that a couple of those artists are shows that no one who attends a Finntroll show would find interest in, but you would be surprised when it comes to peoples desire to check out the long time artisans of the Hard Rock and Heavy Metal genre for the sake of washing the worlds troubles off their souls. I also think that Finntroll, while going over well as a touring band here, needs to come out with a higher power act as the headliner. Warbringer is good, but they are still building up their own audience, and perhaps were not the right choice for this show. When Finntroll toured with Sodom a couple of years ago, they destroyed stages on each and every night and took Sodom fans home as their own.
The show was good but clearly proves that the Metal legions need to get their support out whenever possible or the bands can’t get back here. My thoughts were that this gig should have been at the clubs companion venue Highline Ballroom since it’s a little more compact and has a bigger stage. The limited crowd would not have been an issue at this place since the tighter quarters would have made this seem far larger. Maybe next time.
Finntroll Set List:
2. Slaget Vid Blodsälv
9. Jaktens Tid
12. Korpens Saga
13. Fiskarens Fiende
15. Fiskarens Fiende
17. Det Iskalla Trollblod\
18. En Maktig Har