HRH Metal at the O2 Academy, Birmingham

HRH Metal made up Days 2 and 3 of my three day adventure of live music. I also played camerawoman to Big Dan of Heavy Metal Entertainment, who was attending the UK gigs in the Heavy Metal Entertainment divide across Europe, whilst Little Dan was in Amsterdam for a folk metal bonanza of Korpiklaani, Heidevolk, Arkona and Trollfest (I am still a little sad they didn’t do a UK date and so couldn’t go to see them). They will be posting a video soon including both adventures, I have put a link to their YouTube channel in the links at the bottom of this post. Also a big thanks to Big Dan for taking most of my photos as I was too short to get my phone about the crowd for 10-15 seconds to get any photos that weren’t the backs of people’s heads.

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I managed to catch 3 and a half bands on the Saturday, after a roundabout way of getting from York to Birmingham and parking up. The first band I managed to catch was Haerken. I have seen Haerken once before, at the Jorvik Festival gig in 2017, so pretty much a year ago. I remember them being a lot more atmospheric, especially with their entrance, but I did miss this at HRH so it’s possible they still did this. There was a different, happier energy to their set, and they brought on Oliver from Isarnos onto the stage for guest bagpipes. Haerken have harsh vocals and a bit of a heavier sound.

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Next up was The Dread Crew of Oddwood. These guys are from Missouri, USA, and from what I could hear it is the band’s first time in the UK, and they are currently touring with Alestorm, who headlined the same night. The music was very much more folk instrument heavy, which for me is not a terrible thing at all. Our friend King Pavel was seen dancing his way through the crowd during the set. It was really good fun.

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The main support was Evil Scarecrow, which aren’t under the “folk, power and pagan metal” umbrella at all, but they’re good fun. The classics of Crabulon and Robototron always go down amazingly, and even though Evil Scarecrow weren’t able to turn off Earth’s gravity (apparently, I couldn’t see). Evil Scarecrow never disappoint, even when things go wrong, they take it all in their stride and go with it!

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Headlining the Saturday were Alestorm. These guys just really don’t care anymore. They have fun and so does everyone who sees them play! (Even our friend Laura who loves blast beats definitely enjoyed herself, despite pretending not to). There was so much dancing, singing, jigging and headbanging. We didn’t hear a full rendition of a No Grave But the Sea For Dogs song, but we did get a verse and chorus of Wenches and Mead for dogs. They finished the set by telling us just what they thought about each and every one of us, by seranading us with Fucked With An Anchor. Such a sentimental bunch of guys…

On Sunday we stayed in for a little while, and watched some of the Chinese New Year celebrations which were taking place the same weekend. We headed up to see The Mighty Wraith, and we did arrive on time, but the room was so packed we just couldn’t get in. We witnessed the wonderful Matt Gore do his thing from two pairs of open double doors in the smoking area. For the room to be that packed, I knew it must have been yet another amazing performance from that amazing power metal outfit, who deserve to go far.

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The first band I actually managed to see was Kaine. They were fairly generic sounding metal, a little bit thrashy, but they were solid, and the bassist really knew how to work the stage. He also had some amazing bass faces.

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Power Quest were one of the main bands I really wanted to see at this weekend. I missed them when they supported Dragonforce in October last year, I had tickets but was far too ill to make the show, so I had to make up for it at HRH. They were so energetic, a couple of new friends were singing after every song finished (“We love you Power Quest, we do!”). Power Quest are so cheesy, and have so much energy. They really didn’t disappoint me at all, I loved their set and so did the crowd. I don’t really know any specific songs by Power Quest (a travesty, I know), but I really, really enjoyed the set. I’ll definitely be going to see these guys live again, and I’ll definitely be making more of an effort to listen to their back catalogue as well as their latest album The Sixth Dimension.

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Elvenking were the final band I saw this weekend. Again, they are a band that I had heard of, and heard great things about, but hadn’t really listened to them before. Their appearance wasn’t what I was expecting, but the music did not disappoint. For me personally, they blew Power Quest a little bit out of the water, and that’s not to say that Power Quest were bad, it’s just that Elvenking had the bigger impact for me. They are a mix of power and folk metal, with the usual power metal vocals and melodies, but also with a six string fretted violin to add some of that folk element. Immediately after their set I went up to the merch stall to buy a t-shirt, and that is not something I have ever done for a band I have seen live for the first time and not really heard before. They had so much energy, and the lead vocalist really knew how to work the crowd and get everyone involved in the set. I was very happy in the knowledge that Elvenking were going to be the last band I saw at HRH, they were really great to watch. I’ll be keeping an eye out for the next time they appear in the UK!

Links:
Heavy Metal Entertainment:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCD26fXw8XTz7w-yPRr2MgYA
HRH Metal: https://www.hrhmetal.com/
Haerken: http://www.haerken.com/
The Dread Crew of Oddwood: http://thedreadcrewofoddwood.com/
Evil Scarecrow: http://www.evilscarecrow.co.uk/
Alestorm: http://www.alestorm.net/

The Mighty Wraith: https://www.themightywraith.com/
Kaine: https://kaine-metal.com/
Power Quest: http://www.power-quest.co.uk/
Elvenking: http://www.elvenking.net/

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