Heidra

Pumpehuset, Copenhagen - 2015

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

Two and a half years ago, give or take, Korpiklaani visited the cosy venue Pumpehuset, and Heidra stood as the local support of the gig.
Now that Korpiklaani was back again, same venue and all, what could be more fitting than to have Heidra supporting once more? I don’t know, and apparently neither did anyone else, because there they were, on the large stage and ready for battle!

“You ready? You look ready. Are you ready?!”
- Morten Bryld (vocals)


Compared to their last time here, Heidra had quite a few new things up their sleeve. For one, their debut album, Awaiting Dawn, had now been released (you may remember our review of the release party? if not, check it out!), and it was from this album that most of the evenings material was picked. Four fifths to be precise, and if you wonder how I can easily make that calculation, well, Heidra only had a short five songs setlist, and four of them were from the aforementioned album. So there.
With the new album, the band has also begun to tread some new territory. Without making radical changes to their sound, they have still slowly moved away from their Viking metal roots, and moved over towards what I can only call a hybrid of extreme metal and power metal. This is something seldom seen, and I think it’s good for the band to carve out their own identity like this.

There were more visible changes as well - two to be precise. Since the last time we saw Heidra, drummer Mikkel Køster and bassist Morten Kristiansen have both left the band, leaving them now on stage with new drummer Dennis Stockmarr (ex-Illnath) behind the skins, and their old bassist Mickey Holm Nesager handling the four string. Of these two, apparently Stockmarr is the only official member, whereas Holm Nesager went as a hired gun. Still, the chemistry seemed to work just fine between both of them and the rest of the band.

Which brings us back to the show at hand.
If you recall, I was pretty impressed by the level of improvement Heidra had done the last they time they were here, and yet I can just as easily say that they had only brought it even further this evening. Bryld was now on equal terms with Carlos García Robles in getting the audience fired up – yes, there were fists in the air, and friendly shouts all over the place! If anything, I would like to see Bryld closing his eyes a little less in the future, but on the other hand, his facial expressions were vastly improved and helped keep the show relevant.
Stockmarr stepped up and did what he could to be in on the fun. Heck, at one point he had a very nice connection going with Martin Warming Jensen. Whether or not he stays in the band, Holm Nesager proved that he still has the chops for the job, and helped further the general image of a band well on its way.

The crowd wasn’t exactly overly large wen the set opened, but the concert quickly saw more and more people rushing towards the stage, as soon as they got under way.
Heidra still has many friends and fans around, and the audience in Pumpehuset was definitely rooting for them to succeed in the night’s endeavours. Well-deserved I should add, for the band does pick up more and more for every time we run into each other at events like this.
I have already mentioned the shouting and the arms in the air, but Heidra managed to create more than this despite their short stage time. The speedy The Eyes Of Giants welcomed headbangers in its embrace, and the now aging Sworn To Vengeance, saw a reliable sing-along core vent their lungs.

As you may have gathered, I found Heidra to be pleasantly surprising this evening. The improvement the band had done was a welcome one, and they sounded better than ever.

Setlist:

Awaiting Dawn
Witch Of Prophecy
The Eyes Of Giants
Sworn To Vengeance
Wolfborn

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