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Korpiklaani And Moonsorrow Pillage London's Islington Academy

North London is no stranger to heavy metal shows, with venues like the Underworld, the Koko and the Electric Ballroom (all in Camden) regularly hosting bands from the genre. The 02 Academy in Islington has really been spoiling fans of the genre this week however as only a day after Udo Dirkschneider and Anvil graced the stage (see review here,) two of Finland's most beloved bands docked in the capital to treat the Islington crowd to a grand but highly enjoyable night of pagan metal.

I arrived at the venue to find that Moonsorrow had just started, opening with the title track from their new album, "Jumalten Aika" and immediately capturing the attention of the crowd, who had packed this relatively small but still impressive concert hall. The band are a seriously impressive live act, in addition to their complex compositions, somehow creating images in the mind despite their striking stage presence. Just listening to songs like "Suden Tunti" and "Jotunheim," I could practically see the Viking vessels arriving on the shores of England (I'm glad they weren't really, the Vikings took all our hot women to Iceland last time they showed up.)

Moonsorrow were then joined on stage by Korpiklaani vocalist Jonne Järvelä during the medley of "Ruttolehto" and "Päivättömän Päivän Kansa," which was perhaps one of the most epic performances I've ever witnessed. Despite the long songs, the corpse paint and pagan spiritualism, Moonsorrow are a very interactive band, with frontman Ville Sorvali displaying humour throughout, telling someone in the crowd that he'd seen texting to send greetings from him and informing the crowd before the finale of "Sankaritarina" that the band would stop playing if the audience stopped singing, which the London crowd obliged to in fine voice, to the point where it was hard to hear Sorvali's singing over the choir he had formed in front of him. All in all, Moonsorrow may well be one of the most imposing, grandiose and all round best live bands to come from Finland, which is no mean feat considering who they were sharing the stage with...

Korpiklaani have become beloved all over the world for their catchy but nonetheless heavy brand of folk metal and rightly so, as they are a band that one will never forget after witnessing. The six members were greeted to a huge cheer and almost instantly launched into their jig inducing music, much to the delight of practically everyone in attendance. The group kicked things off with "Viinamäen Mies," the opener from their latest album, "Noita," which was promoted heavily throughout the evening, with songs such as "Pilli On Pajusta Tehty" and "Minä Näin Vedessä Neidon" also on display.

Of course, there was plenty of older material for the audience to enjoy like "Journey Man" and "Karhunkaatolaulu" before the band finished up their crowd pleasing set with "Wooden Pints" from their debut album, "Spirit of the Forest" blended into perhaps their most well known song, "Vodka." The two bands may be quite different musically, if still under the same umbrella to speak, but they really compliment each other and create a great lineup for an excellent tour.

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com since 2007 and a metal fan since 2001, going as far as to travel to other countries and continents for metal gigs.

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