LIVE REVIEW : TÝR + ORPHANED LAND + GHOST SHIP OCTAVIUS + AETERNAM
TÝR + ORPHANED LAND + GHOST SHIP OCTAVIUS + AETERNAM + MASSIVE SCAR ERA
Rickshaw | Vancouver, BC
May 15, 2018
Rarely does it happen that I am 100% satisfied with a tour lineup. There is always something I am indifferent to, if not entirely not into. So when this one was announced, I rightfully flipped my proverbial lid, and bought tickets right away. After waiting some months for the date to finally come, I made my way to the Rickshaw for one massive metal show. Aeternam, who released my favourite album of 2017. Ghost Ship Octavius, my discovery of the year in 2016 and a band I have now had the pleasure to see a couple times as I live in the Pacific Northwest. Headliners Týr, whom I have seen several times and have a particular fondness for. And my favourite band in the world, Orphaned Land, who had just released their latest album Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs a few months prior. Opening band duty was gifted to an up and coming Egyptian-Canadian band who I had never heard before, Massive Scar Era.
Chen Balbus (Orphaned Land) with some serious Slash vibes
I almost hopped and skipped to the venue, and of once there was greeted by a small number of anti-Týr protesters. Without getting into personal politics, I’m going to say that knowledge is power, and these people could have used a bit more research (and spell-check). They were entertaining for a minute, no fights were had, and they pretty much yelled at the walls until the venue opened its doors. Good times.
Massive Scar Era is an Egyptian-Canadian quartet of talented musicians with a strong female presence, and while I had not heard of them before that night I found myself getting into them quickly. Formed in Cairo and transplanted to Vancouver, they have a particular dark soulfulness in their music which sways between hard rock and folk. I’m glad they are local because I intend on seeing them again.
Aeternam took the stage first of the 4-band tour bill. It was the band from Quebec City’s first ever stop in Vancouver, and they did not disappoint. I had seen them in February on 70,000 Tons of Metal for the first time and I was incredibly happy to see them again so soon. They played a short but varied set, throwing in some oldies along with newer songs like "Paropamisadae". I think they sold the crowd on their folk-influenced metal pretty hard judging by the amount of people who walked over to their merch table once they were finished.
Ghost Ship Octavius is well-known in this city, but they had not been here in a while and people were very excited to have them back. GSO was, to my surprise, sans snow machine! Their performance was therefore unfortunately less theatrical than usual, and I am not sure they were as impressive as they could have been to people who were seeing them for the first time. They did make up for the absent snow flurries by playing extra hard, even gifting us a new song off their upcoming album, Delirium. As always, they were a pleasure to see.
Following them was the highly-anticipated return of Orphaned Land to Vancouver, after many years. As they took the stage it was like the venue was bathed in light. People clapped their hands along merrily to "All is One", and bitterly to "We Do Not Resist". The contagious energy of this band is unreal, and everywhere was smiles, and raised fists. Orphaned Land were joined on stage by friend of the band and local metal belly dancer Mahafsoun, who put on a beautiful performance during both "Sapari" and "Nora El Nora". I can’t remember how long they played — Orphaned Land’s performance is never not long enough! — but it was heartwarming to me, and I felt very fortunate to be able to see them again.
The headliners of the night were Týr. The band has reached an almost cult status for both their unique music and their run-ins with the likes of Sea Shepherds, and have been slinging their special brand of metal for many years. Viking metal? Folk metal? Heavy metal? Kind of all of these, executed to perfection. A new (for some!) face appeared on stage first — Tadeusz Rickman, formerly of Dalriada, now a full-time member of Týr. After seeing the likes of Waltteri Väyrynen (Paradise Lost, Vallenfyre) filling in for ex-drummer Amon Djurhus, the bar was high for a permanent replacement. But Tad is a fantastic drummer, and seems to have slipped flawlessly behind the new kit.
This was the first time I saw them headlining a tour; exciting times, as their set was going to be much longer than my usual 45 minutes! Almost an hour and a half of Týr could not tire me out, but as I was watching them I couldn’t help but feel their performance was overshadowed by Orphaned Land’s. Týr has in their ranks two extremely talented and technical guitarists, but this level of technicality seems to leave them often staring into their instrument, and leaving the brunt of the crowd interaction to their charismatic bass player Gunnar Thomsen. Nevertheless, as always they played extremely well and the crowd always participated, whether by clapping their hands to “Tróndur Í Gøtu”, stomping their feet to “Regin Smiður” or by sitting down into a rowing pit like it has strangely become tradition for some obscure reason.
After close to 20 songs, Týr bowed out and so did the fans — after fighting over discarded drumsticks and picks and set lists to take home. Ah, the spoils of war!