SKÁLMÖLD + FINNTROLL + BLÓÐMÖR, 20-21 December 2019 (Reykjavik)

Definitely Skálmöld is one of my top bands and all four times I saw them it were unforgettable shows. The first three were in Portugal, opening for Eluveitie, Omnium Gatherum and Alestorm, and everytime, in my opinion, their bright performances "stole" the show. I can't refer any other band that demonstrates such happiness while playing alive, as well as the care with their fans. Hey, and I proudly belong to their Born Loka Official Fan Club.

When noticing that Skálmöld is going on a break after celebrating 10 years and booking a very special party show in their hometown Reykjavik, what the hell I must be present! The reason for this break is understandable: being requested for constant long tours and many shows abroad, personal and professional lives are affected. As the band said "Thanks for an incredible decade. Our little hobby band grew into a huge monster and now that monster needs to rest."

The chosen date was 21st December, winter solstice, and the shortest daylight of the year. And if their show wasn't enough, they gather Finntroll, another favorite band of mine, and Blóðmör, a young Icelandic Thrash/extreme band. But, as the tickets for this show sold out in a matter of hours, the band scheduled another show for the day before. And guess, this also quickly sold out, so a third show was scheduled for 19th December. I have to thank Tómas and Björt from the Fan Club, without them, my presence wouldn't be possible.

So, on the 20th December, after sleeping only a couple hours, I got the first Lisbon Airport flight at 5h00 AM. After some hours on a scale in Amsterdam, I got the Icelandair flight to Reykjavik, completely full. Arriving at sunset, around 15h30, the Airport bus to the city centre took twice the normal time. I never expected traffic jams in Reykjavik! I've been in Iceland two years ago on holidays, and since there, the tourism increased exponentially. The island, one of my favorite countries, has so many nature wonders, so it was only a question of time for the tourism explosion. I arrived to the Guesthouse at 17h20, full night, just for refresment, wear the battle vest and went to Gamla Bíó, the venue. I met there several Born Loka members for the first time, Brotherhood at its best!

On the 21st, I wake up at 09h00, full night and took some time for sightseeing. Those days, sunrise was at 11h30 and sunset was at 15h30, quite strange for a portuguese guy. It was cold, around 0° Celsius but quite tolerable. And of course snow and ice, the lake near the Town Hall was frozen, it was even possible to walk on it. After taking some nice photos, at 16h00 I attended a Born Loka meeting at Hard Rock Reykjavik, just before going to the last show.

I attended the shows on the 20th and 21st. On the first one, I was glued to the fence on the first row, on the second I was at the balcony. As setlists were the same, my report, next, is considering both shows simultaneously.

But I have to highlight a very special presence on the last show, seaten 6 places to my right: the President of Iceland, Mr. Guðni Thorlacius Jóhannesson. There's no doubt, Iceland is an amazing country in all aspects ☺

BLÓÐMÖR is an interesting new Icelandic band that plays a mix of Thrash and Punk. They won the battle of the bands in Iceland in 2019. I don't like Punk and what I heard before didn't caught my attention. But seeing this trio alive was really nice, with their fast music and aggressive stage attitude. They sung in Icelandic, some parts reminded me Alien Weaponry. They played eight songs, the last one, Líkþorn, has a Skálmöld vibe and it was my favorite.

Less than a month after seeing FINNTROLL for the first time at HRH Vikings, here I was and for a double shot. Now with a much larger setlist, 17 songs that span all albums, where the last one, Blodsvept (2013) and Nattfödd (2004), each with 5 songs, had the preferences. The set started with Blodsvept and practically all hits were included, since the midtempo Nattfödd to the fast Solsagan or the folkish Slaget Vid Blodsälv. Of course Trollhammaren was included just before the final song Under Bergets Rot. On both shows the audience participated a lot, more active on the 20th. The Finnish Trolls are always a pleasure to see alive, allying good and envolving performances with some humour and a great set of songs. A side note, the keyboard player was Filipe Muñoz from the excellent band Frosttide.

And finally SKÁLMÖLD, seeing them for the first time as headliner. Probably more than 500 persons attended each show, of course the vast majority were Icelanders but there were some people all around the world, at least France, Germany, Ukraine and Australia, for what I noticed. Only two national flags were there, Ukrainian and Portuguese.

As soon as lights went down, the epic Heima chorus, without instruments, started (first song on the first album Baldur), preparing the band entrance and the first song Árás, followed by Fenrisúlfur. By then, the audience was already crazy and strongly supporting the band. This was well seen on the third song, Narfi, where there was an epic spontaneous chorus from the public without any guide from the band members. All dialogue from Björgvin was in Icelandic (I still didn't understand a word) with the exception of some regards in English, after Miðgarðsormur, dedicated to the foreign attendants. If there is a band that expresses their joy in playing alive, this band is Skálmöld, all members with a permanent smile and complicity between them. Including 3 songs on the encore, the show lasted almost for two hours, counting a total of 13 songs, if I'm not mistaken. Among all known songs, from all albums, some less known and that I've never heard alive were included, thus giving a good overview of a bright 10 years story.

The public participation was great, some mosh and walls of death, specially on the last show (maybe a little violent).

After the last show, as usual the band came to chat with the fans and many friends. I just briefly talked to the guys, so glad they recognized me, but the hall of the venue was too crowded and my flight back was only some hours later.

It was an unforgettable experience, moments like this make me proud of my 40 years love for Metal and fulfilled me with joy. The shows were professionally recorded, so in some months I hope a DVD/Blue ray will be available. Unmissable!

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