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On stage: Highland Glory

- Highland Glory, Orden Ogan & Silvanesti - Dec. 2009 - Oslo (N) -

- No Hope For Norway Tour: Highland Glory, Orden Ogan & Silvanesti -
– December 12th 2009 – Oslo (N), Skuret -

I arrived at Skuret, a small pub in central Oslo and grabbed a beer (and then another...and another) and waited for the first band of the evening, Silvanesti. I wasn't sure what to expect from this band as I'd never heard of them. If anything I was probably thinking it would be a group of fifteen year old's playing run-of-the-mill power metal, I'm sure you know the types.
What a pleasant surprise it was when the band took the stage and launched into a set of high quality symphonic metal that I believe rivals the best in the genre at the moment. From the first moment I was amazed at what was unfolding on the stage in front of me and could hardly take my eyes from the band.
Silvanesti, this young band were extremely tight and technically superb. Special mention here must go to guitarist Jo Fahlstrøm whose break-neck solos were jaw-droppingly impressive.
Front-woman Maria Bentzen is a talented singer / songwriter also adds another element to the music with frequent piano solos that combine with the symphonic keyboards of John Petter Sæterdal to give Silvanesti something to differentiate themselves in a sub-genre that seems to be becoming over-saturated with Nightwish and Within Temptation clones in recent times.
Despite the small size of the playing area the band played an astounding set that I would highly recommend to any fans of female-fronted symphonic metal. Even my friend Rob, a self-confessed hater of the genre, enjoyed them! Check them out at:
Up and coming German metal band Orden Ogan are just getting ready to release Easton Hope, their third opus of high quality melodic power metal upon the world.
I spoke to them before the show and they all confessed that they weren't feeling particularly great. However, when they launched their set with New Shores Of Sadness, one of my favourite tracks from their Vale album, any signs of weariness seemed to disappear.
The band played a short but brilliant set which included nearly all my favourite songs such as the aforementioned New Shores Of Sadness, Lords Of The Flies and ended with a new song entitled We Are Pirates, a real headbanger with a catchy singalong chorus.
Orden Ogan were as great as I thought they would be live. Technical, heavy and a lot of fun! Its a shame that there weren't more people at the gig to appreciate them but those who were there bloody enjoyed it!
With the small crowd now suitably in the mood for some headbanging Highland Glory took to the stage. They began with Holocauster, one of the newer songs not on the current albums. As soon as they started I knew we were in for a good night.
Trine Elise Johanson's voice is a a lot higher than Jan Thore Grefstad's but this doesn't affect the delivery of the songs which are just as stirring and uplifting as they are on the albums. Trine really gave a great performance in the fine traditions of proper female metal singers like Doro and Marta Gabriel (Crystal Viper).
The highlights of this set for me were hearing From The Cradle To The Brave and Wild Child (a stunning cover of the W.A.S.P. song) live and singing along during the choruses. They played a good mix of songs from the first two albums and a few new ones that I think are only available on the band's myspace page at the moment.
I think in the case of all three bands I would have preferred to see them on a bigger stage where the musicians have a chance to move around and put on an entertaining performance. Kudos to all three bands who made the most of it though and kept us entertained all night with some quality melodic metal.
The acoustics however seemed to be spot on and despite its small size I think Skuret is a good venue for live music and would certainly make the trip to Norway again if I was sure I'd get as good a show as I'd seen this night!

Mike Thompson


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