Ensiferum, Turisas, Thaurorod, The Circus, Helsinki, 20/04/14

Helsinki raised its drinking horns and pumped its fists to a rousing night of folk, battle and symphonic power metal on Easter Sunday. Long time friends Ensiferum and Turisas joined forces with locals Thaurorod to deliver a night of tribute to swords, beer, historical battles, fantastical journeys and leather skirts... erm.. kilts.

Every time I have seen Ensiferum and Turisas live, there have been intricately costumed and painted fans carrying drinking horns. The love of Finnish folk metal is strong even in their home country, as the crowd inside The Circus in inner Helsinki on Easter Sunday was once again an advertisement for different brands of facepaint. Some punters rocked the black glare stripes of Ensiferum allegiance, some dripped with the red and black stripes of Turisas, and others were content to simply garland themselves with chainmail and fur.

Not long after the bulk of the early birds who had queued outside had entered, Thaurorod stormed in with their uplifting brand of symphonic power metal. Hailing from just outside of Helsinki, these passionate musicians put on an energetic and charismatic show as the venue filled to capacity. Catchy riffs, a lively stage presence and banana hurling (actual fruit tossing, no strange metaphor intended) pleased old fans and created some new fans for this captivating group in the masses clustered around the stage.

The front rows of a crowd before Turisas enter the stage can often be mistaken for Beatlemania. Men and women screaming as the houselights dim, the voiceover starts and the band members enter the red-light flooded stage. Last to enter, frontman Mathias ‘Warlord’ Nygård walked purposefully to the front of the stage, spreading his arms to receive the crowd before the band launched into the anthemic Ten More Miles. Filling the set with electric violin solos, well-loved songs and new tunes from last year’s release Turisas2013, Turisas sweated off their blood red warpaint and stirred the crowd into a cheering frenzy. Not content on ending with the motivational Stand Up And Fight, the Finnish Battle Metallers brought some disco to the evening with their cover of the 1978 Boney M hit, Rasputin.

Ensiferum roared into their set with In My Sword I Trust. Harsh vocalist Petri Lindroos paced the stage clutching his microphone, his guitar conspicuously absent due to a hand injury. However, the power of the music wasn’t lacking as former bandmate Jukka-Pekka ‘Jukkis’ Meittinen joined them onstage with guitar in hand. The crowd pushed forward in a happy moshing mass, fists raised to songs stretching from the first album, Ensiferum (2001) to 2012’s Unsung Heroes. Lai Lai Hei had drinkers at the bar raising their beer glasses and singing along, and when the sombreros came out for the cover of the Gipsy King’s Bamboleo I spotted members of the crowd dancing with complete abandon. 

As the final strains of the encore faded away and the houselights came up, smiles lit faces and friends found each other to talk excitedly about their favourite songs. The crowd dispersed to after parties all around the Finnish capital, and band members raised pints with friends and fans to yet another night of rousing folk metal in good company.

Check out the photo gallery from the night here

Thaurorod: http://www.thaurorod.com/
Turisas: http://www.turisas.com/
Ensiferum: http://www.ensiferum.com/