Festival: Jorvik Takeover
Venue: The Barbican, York
Dates: 19th-21st February 2020
Promoters: Descended From Odin
Check out my playlist of (almost) all the bands playing at the Jorvik Takeover here.
Get your tickets for the event here.
About the Festival:
Jorvik Viking Festival in York, which occurs every February and celebrates the city’s Viking history, attracts visitors from across the globe. It may not be surprising that a lot of visitors and re-enactors who visit York over this festival are also avid fans of metal and Viking/pagan themed music.
For every year as far as I can remember, there has been some form of musical entertainment; from Asgard Events, then Northern Extremity, and this year from sportswear and clothing brand Descended From Odin.
Set at The Barbican, a venue more known as a snooker hall with its championships broadcast across the country, The Jorvik Takeover is different this year, in that it runs over 3 nights, bringing some amazing bands from across Europe from the atmospheric, folk, and ambient scene.
The Friday night headliner for the Jorvik Takeover, I am really looking forward to seeing Heilung live yet again. I was a little frustrated at their Wacken Winter Nights set because of the crowd noise, so I hope during this performance the only noise I hear is chanting and dancing!
The ritualistic start, the traditional instruments, and the primal nature of the composition puts you into some kind of light trance for the duration of the performance, and you always come out feeling a little more free, and more connected to the world around you. Definitely something we could all feel a little more, especially in the modern age.
One of my long time top bands, I am really excited to be able to see Týr live again. I’ll be missing them at Wacken Winter Nights this year, so to get the opportunity to see them in the UK again is fantastic. I loved their latest, much anticipated, release Hel, and it was among my top albums for 2019. I’m looking forward to hearing some of the newer tracks for the first time, and experiencing those beautiful acapella group vocals once again. I have never seen a bad performance from them, and they are always really tight live. Catch them on stage on Thursday 20th February.
Hopefully this time they play in York, Gunnar won’t almost break my ribs with a bear hug!
As with quite a few bands on this lineup, I was introduced to SKÁLD due to their announcement for this festival. The rhythmic drums and uncomplicated yet effective melodies using traditional instruments brings a unique spiritual atmosphere to the music, it’s something you can get lost in. The male and female vocals mix beautifully together, and I expect there will be a very special atmosphere when these guys grace the stage on Friday 21st February.
I have not heard much of Gaahl’s previous work with Gorgoroth or God Seed, so I wasn’t sure what to expect here. I think I was expecting lots of pure, grim black metal, but I was pleasantly surprised when I had a listen. There’s a lot more ambience and atmosphere than I was expecting. Gaahl’s vocals are deep, and sometimes lead into harsher vocals styles. I’ll be interested to see what the live show is like on Thursday 20th.
Saor are a band I have heard a lot about, but have never fully taken the time to listen to before. Saor have some epic and long tracks, which blend atmospheric black metal styles seemlessly with flutes and folk instruments. It’s a great blend, and the male vocals can seem almost ethereal at times. I’m unsure as yet whether I’ll be able to make the Wednesday evening show, but that’s when to catch Saor if you are able to.
Winterfylleth are another atmospheric metal band on the lineup, but they still have their own sound. As well as the harsh, crushing black metal style, they can also perform softer songs such as The Shepherd. I’ve heard a lot of good things from my friends about these guys so hopefully I’ll be able to catch them live on 19th February.
Another band that has escaped my radar until they were announced for The Jorvik Takeover, Nytt Land are an ambient band making use of simple instrumentals to bring a big calming atmosphere. When the flutes come in on the track I have listened to, along with the female vocals I get a very Faun feeling to the music. This is the kind of thing I can listen to on walks through nature, and any time I need a little escape from the modern world of the office jobs, horrible public transport, and all the technology that keeps our brains buzzing all the time. Nytt Land hit the stage on Wednesday 19th.
For me, Draugurinn are one of the most stripped back bands on the lineup. The music is pretty much the definition of ambience and spiritualism. I strongly recommend checking out the music if you need to relax or take some time out. I can see there being a very special atmosphere in The Barbican when Draugurinn take to the stage on 21st February.
With only live performances to go by, Wyrdstæf are one of those bands I just have to keep seeing now. With traditional instruments mixed with crushing and brutal metal, and every member of the band fully engaged in the ritualistic performance, it’s definitely a site to behold.
My first time seeing them was Warhorns Festival 2019, and I strongly encourage anyone to go and see one of their live performances.
A relatively late edition to the lineup, Seidrblot have been added to the Friday night lineup. I definitely get Witcher vibes from the instrumental with the nyckelharpa (I believe). The main vocals are almost primal in their tone, and the group chants add a ritualistic feel to the tracks. I’m definitely feeling this style of music, and they make the best late addition to the Friday night.