Tyr / Alestorm / Suidakra Opera House, Toronto ON March 23
Published Mar 24, 2009One of the more interesting metal tours currently making the rounds is the Pagan Knights package. Featuring three quite different musically, yet similar thinking groups of various European descents, the tour only managed to make it to Canada for a few shows, the first of which was in Toronto.
Germany's Suidakra were the first international band of the night. Although together for the better part of a dozen years, this was their first ever Canadian performance and the band were clearly delighted to be there. Expanded to a quartet for live performances, they did a good job delivering their distinctive brand of Celtic metal, even if the accompanying bagpipes and tin whistles were on a laptop.
Up next were Scotland's Alestorm, easily both the most popular and controversial act of the evening. The band lovingly refer to their style as true Scottish pirate metal; it is something you either love or loathe - there's no middle ground with this bunch. Their highly energetic set had the majority of the crowd pumping their fists in adulation, with a number of attendees even dressed in full pirate gear just for the occasion.
Out of the three touring acts, the only one making a return visit to Toronto was Tyr (pictured). Hailing from the Faroes, a remote group of islands north of Scotland and west of Denmark, the quartet were both the most musical and most exotic act of the evening. Tyr are a band with their own distinctive sound, one that is both heavily influenced by traditional Scandinavian folk songs as well as pounding '80s metal.
What really set them apart from the pack however was their strong vocal harmonies. Few metal bands are willing to start a song a cappella with three distinctive voices singing in Norwegian. These guys did exactly that with their second song of the night, set highlight "Sinklars Visa," and proved why they were indeed the definite headliners of the bill.