Review by Rob Billingham, photos by Lisa Billingham
Opening up the evening were Husk, a band new to me but if their sound check was any yardstick, I was expecting good things from them. It is always good to see local talent on such a high quality bill at the Slade Rooms and Wolverhampton based metalheads Husk did themselves no harm at all. Their short five number set aimed straight at the jugular from the start, with hard hitting heavy metal of the dark kind and continued in that vein, with a hint…just a hint mind, of some really good melodic guitar riffs. My pick of this set would be ‘Unearthing the Rapture’ which shows off their ability to play soft as well as hard rock! The Slade Rooms crowd are a canny bunch and the great ovation they gave Husk was a fair reflection and well deserved.
Chicago rockers Starkill blew straight in from the famous “windy city”, and you could sense the atmosphere ratchet up a couple of notches immediately. If I didn’t know what to expect then, I do now! Starkill pounded out a seven song set relentless in pace and bone shaking ferocity. Exponents of the melodic death metal genre, these guys are able to seamlessly blend power, thrash and symphonic elements into their music. All but one song were drawn from their album, Fires of Life, which is well worth a listen. One new track, ‘Winter of Desolation’, will be included on the next album, due for release around October. Top track for me was ‘This Is Our Battle’, which has, in my opinion, the stand-out guitar solo of the whole set.
I last saw Turisas some years ago supporting Dragonforce at the old Carling Academy in Birmingham. They were outstanding live back then, so my sense of anticipation was immense. Basically, a folk/battle metal unit, and like Starkill before them, Turisas incorporates elements of power and symphonic metal and the result is an anthem orientated extravaganza with virtually every song a call to arms which is very hard to resist.
Stage lights out, house lights out, start intro tape…….let battle commence! By the time we’ve gone Ten More Miles to Holmgard and Beyond via The Land of Hope & Glory, we still had to [We] Ride Together and then Stand Up and Fight. Turisas bring a sense of theatre to the stage with their warrior style outfits and war painted faces, as befits the music they play. Some may think that the whole war, battles, fighting, warriors theme has been overdone. Try saying that to the throngs of painted faces in the crowd and you just might get the answer!
One nice touch was the short burst of Slade’s ‘Cum on Feel the Noize’ as the guys returned for their two song encore…….that almost went unnoticed! Turisas are an accomplished, tight band and I would single out Olli Vänskä’s electric violin for special mention – we heard some fantastic, gruelling solo riffs during most songs.
In the middle of the 40 date European “We Ride Together” tour, this was the first of five UK dates. All I can say is watch out Newcastle, Sheffield, Norwich and Southampton.
1. Ten More Miles
2. Take the Day
3. To Holmgard and Beyond
4. The Land of Hope and Glory
5. Rex Regi Rebellis
6. For Your Own Good
7. Battle Metal
8. No Good Ever Starts with Drinking Tea
9. We Ride Together
10. Miklagard Overture
11. Stand Up and Fight
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