HARPA THEATRE, REYKJAVÍK
Iceland’s Viking heroes add some bows to their bombast
VIKING METAL SEXTET
Skálmöld may not be an overly familiar name in the UK, but such is their status in their native Iceland they’ve sold 6,000 tickets across four nights in reykjavík’s stunning Harpa theatre in just a matter of days. These shows are something truly special for an altogether different reason, however; accompanying them is the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra. Including band, orchestra, two choirs and conductors, there are 198 people onstage and the opening orchestral overture is suitably bombastic. Act I sees little room for subtlety, with band and orchestra powering through the likes of Múspell, Loki and Sorg with an overwhelming sense of gravitas and power. The sound is crystal clear throughout, and the two musical worlds coalesce with what appears to be consummate ease. The adult choir in particular are truly spectacular, wringing emotional resonance out of what could easily be grandiloquent material and the children’s choir are adorable, throwing the horns and headbanging along to the music with great enthusiasm.
Act II sees much more range and dynamism within the music, beginning with a sublime rendition of the a capella Heima, courtesy of bassist Snaebjörn ragnarsson. After all the grandiosity of Act I, the contrast is startling and works extremely well. The crowd’s enthusiasm is saved most for cuts such as Narfi, Með Jötnum and an encore of Kvaðning which gets the entire room singing in unison. It’s a brilliant, soul-stirring emotional climax to a very special show.
Skálmöld were heavily outnumbered ontheir University Challenge appearance
Skálmóld: the viewfrom the gods