Týr @ The Forge, Joliet (US)

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TÝR / ORPHANED LAND / AETERNAM / GHOST SHIP OCTAVIUS / ACT OF DESTRUCTION

Date: 11th May, 2018
Venue: The Forge
Ticket: $20/€18
Promoter: QRock, FM Entertainment


“This is a killer billing” was my immediate reaction the moment this tour with TÝR on the driver’s seat was announced. I mean, what’s not to like here? From the Faroe Islands’ Viking Metal to the Oriental Metal of the Israelis, the Progressive Metal of GHOST SHIP OCTAVIUS and all the way to Canada for the Symphonic Death Metal by the hands of AETERNAM... Did you notice how many Metal genres this billing touches upon? That’s right; there was a boatload of music that Friday night although there was no time to catch the local act ACT OF DESTRUCTION's set, as this show had to start early - otherwise, the venue would have to face the curfew’s strict hand (I have no idea what’s the curfew in Joliet, IL).

TÝR have already created a strong following in the US, so it was no surprise that The Forge was nicely filled with, mainly, younger faces. Being close to the front rows, I could not tell if the demographics changed as the time passed by, but if it didn’t, then mark me as disappointed because sometimes it is not just due to the absence of young(er) metalheads that this scene is struggling. The mature metalheads seem to have lost the drive to attend concerts, although one can always blame life, work, financial issues or maybe it is just a lack of dedication. Anyway, in set-ups like this one it did not matter as the younger audience was bound to keep the energy high, no matter what the time was.

Before this show, I only knew GHOST SHIP OCTAVIUS by name and maybe I had checked them out but I was definitely not prepared for their set. Usually, the supporting bands are just billing-fillers and can entertain you only for a bit. In the case of these guys, it was full-on from the start, and I guess the label 'Progressive Metal' does not say much about the aggression in GHOST SHIP OCTAVIUS' music. “Saturn And Skies” kicked of the set and the headbanging groove was exactly what I needed to get rid of the frustration and the fatigue the end of long working week brings along. There is a NEVERMORE touch in the guitars and also in the vocals, so yeah, using just the 'Progressive Metal' term is totally misleading. “This is our first time in your city; so, what do you do for fun?”, singer Adon Fanion asked but I don’t think he got the answer he was looking for as he added “you should have said ‘going to Metal shows’”. Maybe it was too early to grab the audience’s attention, so “Bloodcaster” was the best way to move forward. The band has a great sense of melody and this was highlighted in the slower “In Dreams” and in the amazing “Mills Of The Gods” where I think there is bit of EVERGREY in the vocals and this makes it even more enticing for my ears. “Thank you for having us and thanks to ACT OF DESTRUCTION. We have one more before going back to our cage”, said the singer and let “Delerium” close this short but definitely awesome set. The urge of checking the band’s debut LP after that performance proves how successful was GHOST SHIP OCTAVIUS’ introduction, and it was also a great start for the evening - at least for me.

GHOST SHIP OCTAVIUS setlist:

01. “Saturn And Skies”
02. “Bloodcaster”
03. “In Dreams”
04. “Mills Of The Gods”
05. “Delerium”

GHOST SHIP OCTAVIUS

Ghost Ship Octavius @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ghost Ship Octavius @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ghost Ship Octavius @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ghost Ship Octavius @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ghost Ship Octavius @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Ghost Ship Octavius @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ghost Ship Octavius @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ghost Ship Octavius @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ghost Ship Octavius @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ghost Ship Octavius @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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And then it was a radically change of music scenery but the farther into the AETERNAM set, the clearer the connection with ORPHANED LAND it became. Although, getting the Eastern atmosphere with “Damascus Gate”, MELECHESH came to my mind. Regardless of what were the bands of the evening, the music of AETERNAM brought to mind it was another solid set with lots to like. Sure, having pre-recorded parts steals away some of the rawness of a live performance, but at the same time maintains the atmosphere the Canadians have in their music. The mix of growling and clean vocals and the aggressive guitars with all those super-sweet Eastern-sounding riffs are always a delight to my ears. Eastern melodies mix extremely well with Metal, but you have to really know what you’re doing as laying down different scales in high bpms is not the only thing you need to do. If I am not gravely mistaken, it was “Praetor Of Mercury” when the MELECHESH reference came to mind, and I got hooked with what AETERNAM were delivering from the stage. One more and most important aspect in this band's MO is the positive vibes coming from singer and guitarist Achraf Loudiy who, on top of this, looks extremely grateful for being onstage. This kind of attitude is what makes connecting with the audience looks effortless and it is one the best ways to draw new fans. “Esoteric Formulae” came out great and offered a chance for the audience to join in with some hey, hey, and based on the metalheads’ level of participation, I’d say that AETERNAM will have more fans clicking on the band’s homepage to learn and listen more. The faster “Hubal, Profaner Of Light” saw some mosh-pit action and also made me think of MORBID ANGEL with the blast-beat action and the fast guitar riffs. Again, the Eastern melodies make a huge difference here and helped everyone find his bearing for the next one on the billing. I will add AETERNAM next to GHOST SHIP OCTAVIUS on my have-to-check list.

AETERNAM

Aeternam @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Aeternam @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Aeternam @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Aeternam @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Aeternam @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Aeternam @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Aeternam @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Aeternam @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Aeternam @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Aeternam @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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It was time for ORPHANED LAND and also the time for me to see the Israelis for this first time live as I missed their last visit in the US for reasons beyond my control. This is definitely not your typical Metal band that uses Eastern (or Oriental) elements in its music but has a deep knowledge and understanding of the culture it draws influences from, and, on top of everything, has the mentality of "all is one". Yeah, no matter the color of your skin, your sexual orientation or what god(s) you believe in, you can still enjoy the company of people and feel free doing so. You see, nowadays being different has become a burden, and unless you are part of a group (religious, political or whatever), it is hard to just do what you want without being ostracized, or even worse, contemned for not following where the wind blows and is right(eous). The pre-recorded intro marked the time for “The Cave” and I just wished everyone inside The Forge could think about what the lyrics are talking about (google search for “Plato’s Cave” to learn more). The band entered the stage wearing huge smiles on their faces, and especially Chen Balbus seemed like the most pleasant guitarist on the scene. Visually, there was a lot to watch as everyone in ORPHANED LAND was constantly moving with the Metal-iest of them all being bassist Uri Zelcha who was dominating stage left. Of course, singer Kobi Farhi was the perfect frontman with moves that are not common in the Metal scene as they belong in a different (and) Folk universe. And that’s one (more) beauty in ORPHANED LAND’s music where their music / style / atmosphere digester knows absolutely no boundaries. The clapping / bouzouki intro (there were pre-recorded parts here too) brought the amazing “All Is One” with its burning lyrics. It turns out that dancing / headbanging and singing along make it even harder to concentrate on shooting photos and fighting these not lenses-friendly lights. One complaint that I had (and my close proximity to the stage may have something to do with) is that I couldn't clearly hear the vocals and that’s a shame because Kobi does a lot with his voice. After the heavier “The Kiss Of Babylon (The Sins)”, it was again time to play one more from the excellent “Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs” with the impossible to resist (no pun intended) and not sing / hum along “We Do Not Resist” which by the way gave another reason for a nice mosh-pit. It also was absolutely enjoyable clapping along Kobi during the “clap your hands” part and I was happy to see many people being familiar to ORPHANED LAND. The next and last song from the band’s latest album was “Like Orpheus” during which Chen was singing Hansi’s parts. This song is so moving once you consider what the video clip is showing to make you realize that there are metalheads out there who are not free to listen to their favorite music or wear their favorite Metal gear just because the tradition or some religion says so... I hope (but I am not betting my arm) that this band will grow in the US and will continue gathering people, no matter their race or religious affiliations.

Speaking of dancing / clapping along, then if you know “Sapari”, then you can imagine what went down inside The Forge. Ok, I’d like to see more people participating, but the ones who did were all in giving a different flair in the Metal and soon Viking atmosphere. There was not enough time to enjoy this band and even less to hear what Kobi had to say because in case you don’t know, he is a very interesting person to talk with, and you can learn a lot from him. “Nowadays everyone is fighting everyone, Muslims fight Christians, Muslims fight Muslims and of course metalheads are Satanists”, said Kobi before praising the Metal community for knowing no boundaries and for accepting everyone as they are. It was just a shame that ORPHANED LAND did not have more time at their disposal because during the last three songs of the set there was jumping up and down, hands waving (I should mention the ooooo chanting during “Ornaments Of Gold”) and it seemed that the band had managed to also reach out to those who most probably came to see TÝR. Would it be too much to ask an encore tour in the US anytime soon?

ORPHANED LAND setlist:

01. “The Cave”
02. “All Is One”
03. “The Kiss Of Babylon (The Sins)”
04. “We Do Not Resist”
05. “Like Orpheus”
06. “Sapari”
07. “Birth Of The Three (The Unification)”
08. “Norra El Norra”
09. “Ornaments Of Gold”

ORPHANED LAND

Orphaned Land @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Orphaned Land @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Orphaned Land @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Orphaned Land @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Orphaned Land @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Orphaned Land @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Orphaned Land @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Orphaned Land @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Orphaned Land @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Orphaned Land @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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It was easy to understand that TÝR have their own solid following here in the States just by noticing the exciting audience as the lights went out and the taped intro started blasting from the speakers. Without any bells and whistles, the band entered the stage and kicked off the set with the mid-tempo “The Gates Of Hell” and a massive sound, especially from the guitars. The heat was turned up a notch with the faster “Blood Of Heroes” with guitarist Terji Skibenæs and bassist Gunnar Thomsen changing spots at stage left and right, with the latter of the two being the most active as far as interacting with the fans and getting them into the same party mood. And it felt like a party alright with the young metalheads being in an almost non-stop mosh-pit and having the first three songs coming back-to-back helped a lot to get the blood pumping hard. Sure, “Mare Of My Night” leans more towards a sing-along and less to mosh-pit along, but really an involved crowd does not need much to get going. You’ve got to appreciate when a band is focused on playing music without taking many breaks or doing long talks and this is exactly what TÝR did. They served their Viking songs in pairs or triplets, keeping the energy at a steady level, and additional credit is in order for the young metalheads who did not seem to back down on their moshing activities.

“Thank you so much, you kind and wonderful people”, Heri Joensen said and then added “here’s a song about freedom and fire appropriately called “Flames Of The Free” and it was once again action time inside the venue. You just cannot resist the epic riffs, the galloping rhythms and the lyrics sung by the two guitarists and one bassist in unison, and that’s the biggest asset in a TÝR show. Action-wise, it was a mix between dancing, headbanging and moshing and it was fun to watch. What was also a delight was hearing the sing-along during the songs with lyrics in the Faroese language like in the epic “Sinklars Vísa”. Well, I don’t think anyone would blame you if you just trying to sing along without understanding a word of what you’re saying and without appropriately handling the pronunciation. I mean, these songs are so inviting to sing-along that the actual wording and accents do not mean anything. It is all about having fun and finding an energy outlet to all the things that are bugging you in your daily grind. After the epic and Pagan hymn "By The Light Of The Northern Star”, Heri asked: “How many of you have heard the first album?” marking the time of the first of the two hammer-related songs. Yeah, despite its mid-tempo, “Hail To The Hammer” brought more mayhem inside the venue and I think there were a couple of not very successful crowd-surfing attempts, but still, the sweat was flowing.

After the groovy “Wings Of Time”, Heri said: “Friday night, huh?” but was kind of interrupted by Gunnar’s bass doodle that sounded so damn familiar... “I could go with that” responded Heri and right there TÝR started playing LOVERBOY’s “Turn Me Loose”... Oh my, this sounded so damn great and it was a shame that they did not go all the way with it, although whoever recognized this one revealed the decade he was born. And yes, I am not talking about millennials... Not even close... Anyway, after this break which showcased the great form of TÝR, it was time for the loudest singing-along in the Faroese language. “Tróndur Í Gøtu” was the occasion and even it was already getting late, the crowd kept it going, so again, I tip my hat to the metalheads at the center of the venue’s arena. And there was no sign of stopping with the characteristic seven-string guitar riff introducing my favorite “By The Sword In My Hand”, and there were lots of fists in the air holding imaginary swords. “Thank you so much, we appreciate everyone who came to see us. Here’s the other hammer song” hinted Heri but really it did not require a PhD to understand that it was time for my other TÝR favorite, “Hold The Heathen Hammer High”. After this one, the band left the stage and if this was the end of the set, everyone would be equally happy, because the Vikings did deliver the goods and there is no question about it. However, a couple of minutes later, TÝR were back for the two-song encore with “Shadow Of The Swastika” being the most powerful of the two, although I saw more dancing during “Ramund Hin Unge” and even more smiling faces. So yes, there were longships that night in Joliet from the Faroe Islands and they even brought some cold weather along to match the Viking aesthetics.

Until next time, and with a beer in hand, skol!

TÝR setlist:

01. “Gates Of Hell”
02. “Blood Of Heroes”
03. “Mare Of My Night”
04. “Grindavísan”
05. “Hall Of Freedom”
06. “The Lay Of Thrym”
07. “Regin Smiður”
08. “Flames Of The Free”
09. “Lady Of The Slain”
10. “Gandkvæði Tróndar”
11. “Sinklars Vísa”
12. “By The Light Of The Northern Star”
13. “Hail To The Hammer”
14. “Turið Torkilsdóttir”
15. “Wings Of Time”
16. “Tróndur Í Gøtu”
17. “By The Sword In My Hand”
18. “Hold The Heathen Hammer High”
19. “Shadow Of The Swastika”
20. “Ramund Hin Unge”

TÝR

Týr @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Týr @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Týr @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Týr @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Týr @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Týr @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Týr @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Týr @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Týr @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Týr @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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