Pumpehuset, Copenhagen - 2013

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

Thrilled might be too strong a word for it as we don’t know the band all that well, but when we learned that Metsatöll were supporting Korpiklaani in Pumpehuset we looked even more forward to the show than we had before.
We might only have seen the band once before, but it had left a positive impression which still lingered on. Now it was up to the band to live up to that impression…

Heidra had already done a good job warming the crowd up, but I was still surprised about the massive response Metsatöll got when they entered the stage, mostly because I’ve never before heard anyone in this land mention the band! Still, it only boosted my expectations, just as the fact that Metsatöll wasn’t considered any old support band but were apparently placed high on the attractiveness scale for the tour.
This was made clear early on by the fact that drummer Marko Atso got to use the large drum-kit on the podium, instead of using the same, smaller one Heidra had used in their show, and the fact that the stage was covered with Metsatöll’s backdrop and large stage drops helped underline this further. Not that we found this out until later, but the fact that they had a 14 songs long setlist didn’t hurt either...

“I have heard a rumour that you Danish people really like folk metal!”
- Lauri ‘Varulven’ Õunapuu (guitars/various traditional instruments)

Without knowing exactly where this rumour hails from, I’d say the 500 something strong crowd at Pumpehuset proved it right tonight, the Danes were really on fire for the Estonian metal band!
Not that Metsatöll gave a reason not to, they were performing their asses of as well – all of the four looked really happy to be here, for the first time in Denmark, and they were apparently going to get as much out of the visit as possible.
Markus ‘Rabapagan’ Teeäär made a strong frontman figure who led us through the Eastern European stories with a secure hand, really rocking out during the songs and speaking quite a lot between them. He even tried some Danish at one point, and even though he got a massive response from the audience for it, I must sadly admit to almost not understanding a word of it...
He wasn’t the only one speaking either, as you can see above Õunapuu also got a word in here and there, and even took the main vocals for one song (you’ll have to excuse that I’m not too knowledgeable in their titles yet to say which one), and also donning a quite modern electric guitar at one point, contrasting the various older instruments which he usually uses. It was however with the older instruments that he played around mostly, for instance the solo-behind-the-head with a bagpipe and the air-guitar solo with two flutes were my personal favourite moments.
Nothing in particular stuck out in the performance of bassist Raivo ‘Kuriraivo’ Piirsalu and Atso, but that’s not to say that they didn’t perform well, in fact they helped keep the steam (and the heat!) up till the very end of the show with their positive energy.

“I have an important public message to make, more important than your mothers’ birthday!”
- Markus ‘Rabapagan’ Teeäär (vocals/guitar)

One thing Metsatöll could have done little bit better was to introduce their songs to this new audience of theirs. It’s not to say that it didn’t happen, and they even translated some of the titles into broken English for us (Hundi Süda Sees became something like Within The Wolf Heart Inside), but a bit more presentation would probably have gone down well for later recognisability.
Still, as I mentioned above, the crowd was more than willing to let this band into their hearts, and it didn’t take much of an effort on the bands side to start loud chants or rounds of applause. Again, it’s hard for me to put an action to a specific song, but the all-round experience was definitely one of high enjoyment and loud responses!
Compared to the last time I saw Metsatöll, I also picked more up on an underlying thrash nerve driving the folk metal onward in a furious tempo. This was great at first as it kicked the whole thing off with great energy, but for my sake it also proved the bands undoing in the end – as with many bands that rely on the fury of the thrash, the long concert ended up a bit monotonous where I lacked some more dynamics in tempo and feeling. The songs were great in themselves, but more variation would have helped keep the focus to the end.

So, did Metsatöll live up my expectations?
They most certainly did, and even surpassed them in some areas, but there is room for improvement until next time they hopefully make a stop in this country of ours.

Setlist (incomplete):

Kivine Maa
Vaid Vaprust
Hundi Süda Sees
Muhu Õud
Saaremaa Vägimees
Minu Kodu


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