Metaldays - 2013

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

A new day threatened over the mystic mountains surrounding Metaldays on all sides, and to get things started we had the fresh symphonic power metal act Gloryhammer on the main stage, ready to take up arms against any who would oppose them. If in fact that any wouldn’t mind dressing up in a not so serious dragon suit as if it was Halloween or some such that is…

”We are going on a quest where your hearts must be as hard as steel and your steel must be as hard as... You know what I mean.”
- Thomas Winkler (vocals) (while touching himself indecently)

The prophecy had told me but little of Gloryhammer before this meeting. All I knew was that Christopher Bowes of the Alestorm pirate gang was part of the troupe, and that they weaved tales of ancient Scotland.
Well, that last part was slightly misleading – surely the place names were true enough, but the authenticity of the story I found highly questionable as it seemed to stem more from a teenagers adventures with a game of D&D than of the same teenagers’ history class lessons…
The D&D references continued on in the bands appearance as we saw (well, almost anyway) Bowes behind the keyboard wearing a large hooded cape, bass player James Cartwright in chainmail, guitarist Paul Templing wearing a paladin like outfit, drummer Ben Turk sported a blue (and presumably very hot) gugel, and last but certainly not least, singer Thomas Winkler was looking very much like a fairy (and I don’t mean this in the supernatural way) elf-warrior.
Oh, and let’s not forget their names and titles which I have found later on (I wish I had known about these at the time); Angus McFife – crown prince of Dundee and heir to the kingdom of Fife (Winkler), Zargothrax – dark sorcerer of Authermuchty (Bowes), Ser Proletius – grand master of the templar knights of Crail (Templing), Hootsman – barbarian warrior of Unst (Cartwright) and Ralathor – the mysterious hermit of Cowdenbeath (Turk).
I must admit, they take this tongue in cheek business quite seriously. I hope it is tongue in cheek.

Costumes alone neither makes music nor performance, so before venturing further down the magic path towards the castle of doom with these fighting men at my side, I needed to know whether they were to be relied upon in a tight situation such as might appear when facing many a foe.
When put to the test upon the small plain of Tolmin, Slovenia, the proverbial hammer was all but glorious however – Bowes seemed sick, at least he was not performing nearly as actively as he is known for in Alestorm (and even there he’s not doing all that much to begin with), and the rest of the gang seemed like mere novices as they did little else than standing their ground whilst looking at their shoes and instruments of war. The only one taking any form of action was Winkler who gave us a selection of standard frontman poses as he shouted out the cliché filled lyrics of songs with unbeatable titles such as The Epic Rage Of Furious Thunder, Quest For The Hammer Of Glory and my personal favourite, The Unicorn Invasion Of Dundee! My head spun, my grasp on the normal world was quickly slipping...

As my head spun, my eye caught the crowd.
There had been but a few insignificant peasants present at the beginning of this quest, but here further down the road the mass had grown, without ever becoming overly crowded though. This was lucky I suppose, as the mightiness of the quest had attracted more warriors, and I was especially amused by the group fighting each other over by the hill with huge inflatable weapons – this was so much in line with what was going on up on the stage, it couldn’t have been done better if it had been planned by the band!
By this time I believe the golden drops of the first few ales of the day were beginning to take effect as well, I at least have no other explanation for the generous and positive feeling that was spreading from within.
Even with this generosity in place, I still can’t bring myself to hail Gloryhammer as anything even remotely glorious – I tried closing my eyes for a while, and what I found was that their musical recipe for success was to play symphonic power metal in the style of Rhapsody Of Fire and the like, but completely unoriginal and uninspired.

I won’t go as far as to say that Gloryhammer were bad. They could certainly handle their instruments, and although I am no fan of Winkler’s voice I’ll let that go as a difference in taste, but what I will not let go is that they seem to have been blinded by their own appearance, spending more time imagining up spectacular titles for themselves than writing music with personality and noteworthiness for their listeners.
If anything, they are indifferent, and this is one quest better nipped in the bud.


Anstruther’s Dark Prophecy
The Unicorn Invasion Of Dundee
Quest For The Hammer Of Glory
Magic Dragon
Hail To Crail
The Epic Rage Of Furious Thunder
Angus McFife

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