REVIEW: Gloryhammer – Beast In Black: Live at The Mill, Birmingham

Greeted with a queue that stretches the length of the entire street and beyond, the nearest many get to seeing Italian Dwarven Metal act Wind Rose is listening to them from outside. ‘The Breed of Durin’, ‘To Erebor’, and of course ‘Diggy Diggy Hole’ sound like they’re going down well, but it’s disappointing that a large percentage of the crowd has to miss most of their set.

By the time Beast in Black hit the stage, everyone is firmly inside the venue and the place is absolutely heaving. Taking the evening by the scuff of its neck, the band are in irresistible form. Cheesy chorus follows cheesy chorus as the strident voice of singer Yannis Papadopoulos, and the solos of guitarists Kasperi Heikkinen and founder member Anton Kabanen ring out across the room. Singing with noisy abandon, the crowd bounce elatedly to the likes of ‘Unlimited Sin’, ‘Sweet True Lies’, ‘Blind and Frozen’, and ‘From Hell With Love’, the band’s name chanted at every given opportunity and well after they leave the stage.

Just before the arrival of the main act, and for reasons best known to themselves, a life-size standee of Tom Jones – complete with its own microphone stand – is placed in the centre of the stage. ‘Delilah’ booms from the speakers and within moments everyone is belting it out at the top of their lungs.

Why? Because Gloryhammer, that’s why. Don’t argue. Just fucking sing.

The cut-out is removed and the crowd remains in a state of chuckling confusion as the unicorn botherers from Space Dundee hit the stage to ‘The Siege of Dunkeld (In Hoots We Trust)’. Frontman Angus McFife (aka Thomas Winkler) is on top form, his vocals matched only by his cheerleading ability as he whips up the crowd into a frenzy. Fists are raised, hammers are wielded, and goblins are smashed with lasers as we are treated to the epic fight of ‘Glory Hammer’, ‘Angus McFife’, ‘Legend of the Astral Hammer’, ‘The Land of Unicorns’, and ‘Questlords of Inverness Ride to the Galactic Fortress’.

After a brief blast of ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra’ (the theme from 2001 – A Space Odyssey), we are introduced to ‘The Hollywood Hootsman’, ‘The Goblin King of the Darkstorm Galaxy’ and the mighty ‘Hootsforce’ before entering the ‘Battle for Eternity’ and eventually being crowned ‘Masters of the Galaxy’.

Returning to the stage for an encore of ‘Rise of the Chaos Wizards’, ‘Universe on Fire’ and – of course – ‘The Unicorn Invasion of Dundee’, Gloryhammer stand triumphant. Their victory complete, the band leaves the hot and sweaty venue to cheers, hoots, and chants of adulation. With a capacity of around a thousand, The Mill isn’t a small venue but if last night is anything to go by then bigger venues are surely on the horizon for Gloryhammer.

GARY ALCOCK