Ragnarok comes to New York City


The sounds of Norse Gods echoed throughout B.B. Kings Blues club and Grill as Paganfest 2008 invaded 42nd street. Paganfest is a tour made up of some of the finest Folk Metal bands to grace this earth. Tonight’s lineup featured Tyr, Eluveitie, Turisas, and Ensiferum, but due to poor planning on my part and personal duties the next morning I was only able to experience the first three acts this evening. Nevertheless, the night was still in my favor for the fact that Tyr, Eluveitie and Turisas were all bands I had heard very little (if anything) from before.

Tyr was the first band of the night and the most conventional of the three. They brought some serious metal to the floor and, despite the ‘No Moshing’ signs posted, brought the crowd up to a nice slow boil. With a heavy and occasionally slow sound and clean lyrics they stepped away from the sometimes-grandiose sound that folk metal bands tend to have. Tyr doesn’t employ the more unique instruments (i.e. bagpipes, flutes, and the like) found in many folk metal bands, but this doesn’t stop them from bringing to life the Scandinavian lore contained in their lyrics.

Once I glanced at the plethora of traditional folk instruments that Eluveitie was bringing to the stage I was filled with giddy anticipation. Just the appearance of the 9-member band (their heavily bearded and tattooed bassist and flutist as well as their lead singer who looks like The Undertaker of pro wrestling fame) gave me chills as they besieged the stage.

Bagpipe Discontent

Rocking with the hurdy-gurdy

Eluveitie blends the old style with the new school with a sound reminiscent of bands such as In Extremo but with the modern edge of Arsis. This was the only time I could ever remember being able to discern all of the various instruments being used on stage. Even the unassuming hurdy-gurdy could be heard over the cacophony of the other instruments (Side note: I always thought the first time I would ever see a hurdy-gurdy used onstage would be at an In Extremo show; I guess I was wrong). Eluveitie is a band that every folk metal lover should have on his or her play list.

Unfortunately, the last band I was able to see was Turisas. And even more unfortunately, I was only able to catch the first 4 songs of the night. This was enough, however, for me to get a hint of the power behind Turisas and some really cool pictures too. They dominated the stage in war paint and animal skins akin to their mighty Norse ancestors. Even their lovely female accordion player was dressed for the battle to come. Songs about the glory of battle and beer folk metal at its finest was what Turisas brought to the table; and I gorged.

Stompity STOMP!

As an added bonus to the evening, between the Eluveitie and Turisas sets I took a short breather outside the venue and bumped into the always delightful Bill Zebub who was tirelessly handing out his newsletter, The Grimoire of Exalted Deeds. I decided to chat him up and he was nice enough to hand me a copy of the Director’s cut to “Stereotypes Don’t Just Disappear Into Thin Air” entitled “The Most Offensive Movie Ever Made”. To make up for this shortened article, expect to find a review of this film to pop up in the coming weeks.

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