Heidra

Pumpehuset, Copenhagen - 2013

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

As Korpiklaani came to town together with Metsatöll, they had picked up a local talent to help get the party started, and this local talent just happened to be Heidra.

A lot has happened with this band in a very short period of time; since the last time we saw them they have put out an EP called Sworn To Vengeance, produced a music video for the title track, and are in the process of creating their debut full-length album. And to think it feels like yesterday we saw them play their first gig ever, supporting Turisas at The Rock...
From that show we quickly fast forward to this night, where Heidra was about to play in Pumpehuset in front of some 500 guests, and I kid you not – for once people had actually shown up in time even for the first support band!
In other words, this was a perfect time for Heidra to create a buzz around itself, and also promote the EP. So, how did they do?

Well, they kicked the show off with the song Sworn To Vengeance, which was probably a good choice considering the focus it’s been getting since the release of the video. If the band had nay fans here, they would have something recognisable to work with, and could in turn get some more people going as well.
By the looks of things, Heidra did have some friends and/or fans present, and they were indeed ready to show their appreciation of the music by means of shouts, raised arms and Viking horns, and a bit of shouting for good measure.
There were no points in the short five-track set that stood out in any particular way from the rest, by ways of a sing along or such, but overall it looked and sounded like people were having a good time with the local Viking band, and already during this concert we turned the heat in the old pump station up considerably!

And why not? The band was after all making a real effort!
Not surprisingly, most of the crowd connection weight was pulled by guitarist Carlos García Robles who was an active part in getting shouts and raised arms out of the audience, but for once the rest of the band wasn’t lagging miles behind him. The largest improvement could be seen in vocalist Morten Bryld, who not only spoke more between songs, but also had his foot up on the speaker and felt more present during the songs as well. Not to mention the fact that he got some very decent, deep clean vocals out in some of the songs, something I haven’t noticed him doing before (as far as I recall anyway), and that he played some acoustic guitar in the beginning of Where Darkness Dwells.
After him came Heidra’s newly acquired drummer, Mikkel Køster, who was working the skins in a delightfully furious demeanour; kudos also to the fact that the band was using its own drums, with the band logo on the bass drums – good thinking, considering the recognisability it brings!
Martin Warming Jensen, Morten Kristiansen and Danny ‘Zimmer’ Svendsen had also upped their game, although not quite as much as Bryld I’m afraid. Jensen and Kristiansen did move a little bit from time to time, and also joined Robles in attracting the audience a few times, whereas Svendsen seemed a bit too occupied with his instrument to fully develop a stage-presence.

Now, even though there’s still room for further improvement in their performance, I must say that Heidra have improved by leaps and bounds since the first (and last) time we saw them, and I had a very good time watching and listening to them.

Setlist:

Sworn To Vengeance
Kinsmen
Awaiting Dawn
Where Darkness Dwells
Forfædres Kald

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