Turisas, Revoker, Astrohenge, O2 Islington, London 9/10/13

Autumn is by far my favourite season not only for the weather but also because it hails the return of the tour season.  With so many bands hitting the UK shores you have plenty to keep you occupied and entertained and tonight was one to those nights.  Heading down to the O2 in Islington you could already see what band was about to play even if you didn’t have a ticket.  With the t-shirts and face paint it was a bit of a give away.  Walking past the doors earlier in the evening and again just as the as doors opened there were chants of ‘Battle Metal’ going on from the waiting crowd eager to get in.

Three bands on the list for tonight and first up was Astrohenge who’s style was somewhat at odds with what you would normally have for a gig such as this.  Though the line up combined was a bit surprising and not one you’d necessarily put together on a tour.  Don’t take that the wrong way; I’m a Revoker fan indeed so I was looking forward to their set, but Astrohenge, Revoker and Turisas – it’s definitely a different way to go.

So how did it go?  By the time we got into the venue there was a decent crowd gathered at the front who were attentive and appreciative of what Astrohenge had to offer.  A new one on me I was intrigued to see later how it would sound on CD as the sound varies in the venue depending on where you stand and for this type of music that could leave you missing the point.  There are a lot of layers to their sound which is often purposefully conflicting, such as the off sounding keys at clear odds with the guitars.  It also changes throughout the songs drawing out different moods or telling changing sections of a story. It’s very atmospheric and to me would be better to see in a smaller venue where you can more easily ignore what’s around you and concentrate your focus.



I stuck to my decision and listening to them again at home (try Coracle or Piefight as a starter)  which just backed up my original impression (in a good way).  There was warm applause for Astrohenge on the night and for those of you there but were unsure, just have another listen at home.











Revoker in contrast brought some real balls to the evening with a change of musical direction.  The  gentler atmospheric tones of earlier were replaced with mixes of heavy metal, rock and thrash which alternate throughout the set.  The Great Pretender is a good example of added thrash, with a lazy back feel to the song.  Musically and visually they are a good mix of hard metal and heavy rock and are always good to watch.  A much larger crowd had by now gathered and the audience was more engaged during Revoker’s set, rewarding them with louder cheers.

They were very well suited to the size of the venue and would look just as comfortable on a much larger stage.  They’re a good ‘fun’ band to watch who know how to rock and it was clear that the audience enjoyed it.  You’re welcome back to London anytime lads.










It is definitely fair to say that before the headliners, Turisas came on stage the venue was packed, with people trying to squash their way forward in the hope of a better view.  This had me clinging to the left hand side barrier space I had managed to grab which though didn’t afford me a view of the drum kit, did enable me to see almost everything else (I’m a short arse – a view at all is a rare and valued thing).

Tension was definitely building amongst the crowd with shouts and chants again of Battle Metal, which increased with cheers as the lights started to dim.  The sound of seagulls began to fill the air caused the crowd to shift slightly in anticipation as the music built up to welcome the band on stage.

The first time I had ever heard of or seen Turisas was at Myötätuulirock in 2008 (a small festival outside of Helsinki) and I’ve never been disappointed with any of their shows, which was the same for tonight’s gig.  Every one of them performed with energy which gave you lots to watch on stage.  Robert Engstrand worked like a demon on the keyboards and though I couldn’t see Jaakko Jakku on drums I did see the drum sticks flying high above speakers.





Hitting the stage and leading with For Your own Good showed that they were there ready to bring it.  The audience absolutely loved all of it and were treated to a good mix of their recent album Turisas2013 as well as songs from previous albums.

Jussi Wickström (guitar) and Jesper Anastasiadis (bass) were engaging to watch with Mathias Nygård leading the way with those brilliant vocals, and a clear favourite on violin, Olli Vänskä getting huge cheers from the crowd every time he stepped towards the front.

It was the first time I had seen the recent line up live and for me there seemed to be a change in the manner of the band; tonight there seemed to be just…more from Turisas than previously.  They looked at ease and the whole set up seemed to be very settled.  Before you could even blink it was 10pm and half the set was over and it seemed even less time before Stand Up And Fight heralded their last song.  There was the obligatory short break before the en core where the crowd shouted for (Ra Ra) Rasputin again yet again – but who wouldn’t want to hear it – and were rewarded with this as the very last song of the show.

Those that were there will agree that this was a top gig, one that you would happily go see again the next night…and possible the one after.



Set List

  1. Intro
  2. For Your Own Good
  3. A Portage to the Unknown
  4. Ten More Miles
  5. Piece By Piece
  6. To Holmgard and Beyond
  7. Greek Fire
  8. As Torches Rise
  9. One More
  10. Battle Metal
  11. No Good Story Ever Starts With Drinking Tea
  12. We Ride Together
  13. Stand Up and Fight
  14. Encore:  Rasputin







About Rowena

Interviewer, Reviewer, Radio DJ (Metal Nymph Presents) and Digital Media Wizard at Planetmosh.