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  • Writer's pictureThe Metal Mayan

Týr, Trollfest, Æther Realm @ Gramercy Theater

For all the brutality and intensity in the metal world, every now and again a single word comes to mind - one that was said countless times by the line of eager metalheads outside Gramercy Theater. "This is going to be a fun show", "I can't wait for the fun, "you can't come to a folk metal show and not have fun".

Indeed, after a five year absence from North American stages, and just as long since their last release, Faroese folk metal heavyweights Týr had at last returned to New York City to celebrate their upcoming album, Battle Ballads (out 14 April on Metal Blade Records), with a frenzy of folk infused fun.

Joined by Trollfest, Æther Realm and The Dread Crew of Oddwood, the night was sure to be full of song, dance, drinks and more than a handful of curious sights even before doors opened.

The Metal Mayan regrets to have missed The Dread Crew of Oddwood; we wish you safe travels and hope to see you in New York again soon.

Starting the night off right, North Carolina's Æther Realm brought out their very best with their stellar blend of melodic death metal - folk metal fusion.

Having released their last record, Redneck Vikings from Hell, in 2020, fans had plenty of time to learn the words to their favorite songs, and sing along with vocalist/bassist Vincent Jones. Instigating pit after pit over the course of their set, those not caught in the mosh gazed in awe at the immense solo work of guitarists Heinrich Arnold and Donny Burbage.

Sharing influences with bands such as Wintersun and Ensiferum, the quartet already had hordes of rabid fans anxious to get things moving to their favorite songs, and most certainly gained many more followers over their set.

Though dropping the single "Should I?", featuring Soilwork vocalist Björn “Speed” Strid, last year, with the level of energy delivered in one set, no doubt audiences are eager for Æther Realm's next record and tour.

Somewhere in the history of heavy music between the pages of folk metal and 'what even was that?', one will find the name Trollfest. Having released three albums and an EP since their last appearance in New York City back in 2015, all eyes were on the pink feathered clad brigade for "Kjettaren mot strømmen" and "Happy Heroes".

Acknowledging the obvious homage to "the other national bird of Norway (move over white-throated dipper)", the band's last release, Flamingo Overlord, brought the band to the global stage as the song "Dance Like a Pink Flamingo" was a semi-finalist in the 2022 Melodi Grand Prix - a qualifying tournament where the winner would go on to represent Norway in the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest.

While perhaps the rest of the world was a amused, if not puzzled, the Gramercy Theater was simply delighted to sing and dance to the now internationally known song.

Notorious for their unconventional moshpits and crowd engagement, a point that longtime fans shared with those unfamiliar with Trollfest prior to the set, the band did not disappoint. From having half of the room sit down while the other side jumped in place, and then trading off duties, to the center of the dancefloor becoming a row of seated fans paddling an invisible canoe, it all came back to the aforementioned points of having fun.

Perhaps the pinnacle...or rather "Piña-cle" of the set was during the performance of "Piña Colada" when the crowd switched between a traditional circle pit and a conga line as the song pivoted between speedy and groovy. Where else but New York is a good mosh as appreciated as a good beat?

Even with an incredible headliner act still to come, it was not surprising that the crowd was not ready to bid farewell to Trollfest. Though Flamingo Overlord has now been out for nearly two years, New York clearly waits to hear the songs from the album, along with the rest of Trollfest's finest, ring out in town again soon.

As the lights dimmed, a roar of excitement rang out from the crowd as the pride of the Faroe Islands made their way on stage for the first time since 2019. Singing out the chorus of "By the Sword in my Hand" loud and proud with vocalist Heri Joensen, the legions of Týr were primed and ready for epic stories of Norse mythology and heroes.

With the release of their ninth album, Battle Ballads, just a few weeks away, New York was treated to brand new material with "Dragons Never Die". Challenging the audience to sing the melody with him, the Gramercy Theater did not let Joensen and company down and caught on quickly - joining the band in song yet again.

Additional new cuts came later in the set, with "Axes" and "Hammered" making their NYC debut later on.

As the second of four songs in the set from the beloved 2009 album, By the Light of the Northern Star, fans were ecstatic to hear "Tróndur í Gøtu", which was later paired with the album's title track - though this song was unfortunately cut short due to technical difficulties.

Fast forwarding to 2013's Valkyrja, the title track was joined with "Blood of Heroes" and "Mare of My Night". All the while, wave after wave of crowd surfers took flight as the moshpit gave no quarter throughout the set to anyone caught in it.

Closing with fan favorite, "Hold the Heathen Hammer High", the wait was long but absolutely worth it for those who hoped to see Týr's long ship make port in New York.

Ticket & photo pass courtesy of Freeman Promotions



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