Jorvik Viking Festival, Fibbers, York - 22nd February 2014

Soundscape Magazine Review

Svartsot formed in 2005, but it wasn’t until 2014 that they made it over to UK shores for an exclusive first gig, headlining the fringe event for the 3rd Jorvik Viking Festival in York – and what a night it was!

The venue was already nicely full when openers Jaldaboath took to the stage for an exceedingly rare live performance. With all members dressed up in costumes, Jaldaboath instantly had a great stage presence as the set began and it only got stronger as it progressed. There was a lot to take in from the all-round amusingly brilliant performance and the final track of their set, The Wailing Witch Of Moulsecoomb, even featured an appearance from one of the characters featured within the video for it! It was, quite simply, about 30 minutes of absolute madness onstage and it was a hilarious and great start to the evening.

Up next was Old Corpse Road, who always put on a great show. With them making an announcement that they were trying to fit a 35-minute set into a 30-minute one, it did unfortunately mean that the crowd interaction was a little lacking but the set didn’t suffer as a result. It was a highly atmospheric set and it really was fantastic to see just how into the music they were – when a band really makes an effort with their performance, it really pays off and it was incredible to see near-enough the whole crowd head-banging in tandem with one another.

Of course, the night was always going to belong to the mighty Svartsot, who utterly dominated the stage from start to finish, and by the time the second song had begun, a pit had already opened, which wound up descending into a moving mass of bodies dancing – it was the perfect atmosphere and mood for a folk metal gig, as it is a fun genre that does require a bit of movement and dancing!

With bassist James giving an introduction by yelling “we’re Svartsot from Denmark…and I’m from Yorkshire!” it really helped to get the crowd on-side (well, not like they weren’t already!) and the banter with the crowd was just spot-on all through the set. It’s always good when a band has a laugh with the crowd, and there was even some space for some crowd participation, with everyone being invited to sing along to the group vocals of Farsoten Kom.

Svartsot even treated the crowd to some brand new material, which sounded absolutely wonderful. As discussed in our upcoming interview with the band, the new material really sounds like they’re progressing with their sound and are unafraid to try new things, which is always great to see.

The set ended with arguably their most-known song Gravøllet and the room went crazy as everyone knew it was their last chance to party, and things rounded up nicely with Cris atop of someone’s shoulders and practically crowd-surfing round the entire venue! What a triumphant and memorable way to end the set.

A truly formidable set from the band, and one that will be talked about for months afterwards. Worth the wait to finally see them? Most definitely!