The days are getting shorter, the nights longer and as we stumble into grey September, the only beacon in the mist is Yorkshire’s finest festival of folk, Viking, pagan, black and death; Warhorns. Now in its 6th year it is a much loved fixture in the calendar, a testament to the sheer hard work of the organisers and a lesson in how to grow something steadily rather than overreaching yourself.
Now first apologies are in order: Due to serious family issues I wasn’t expecting to review this, just watch, so my prep work was non-existent and my camera elsewhere. Erich Zahn manfully stepped in for the latter where he could, but any badly researched factual errors are on my head alone. But when you’re greeted so warmly by Glynn Beasley on the first night you really just feel you have to do something for the Warhorns crew.
The Thursday evening show is a new addition this year but, with Selby being where it is travel wise, it actually makes more sense than extending into Sunday and when me and the other better looking two thirds of the Stooges roll up there’s actually a pleasantly reasonable crowd finding drinks and mooching at merch. We say hi to acquaintances, meet a couple of new faces, chat and gear up for the opening act.
This year after a little line-up rescheduling with acoustic act Stonebearer moved to Saturday, that falls to The Crimson Brigade. The last time I saw this vampiric black metal/war metal duo it was fairly disastrous but not entirely down to the band so I was keen to see what they could do in a more balanced setting. Visually and thematically think Stuka Squadron. Musically though with everything bar the guitars, bass and vocals on a backing tape this was twenty odd minutes of blistering and genuinely passionate but inflexible noise. Honestly and constructively they either need to get a live drummer at the very least, or have a serious musical rethink. Sorry guys.
I think we can officially call Arkham Witch stalwarts by now, yes? The Keighley quartet, after the previous band, provided the kick start needed with their trademark blend of traditional heavy metal, touches of doom and serious fun. The riffs pile on with fist raising energy and weird tale anthems such as Tower Of The Elephant and a truly grand rendition of Viking Pirates Of Doom get them an enthusiastic response.
So properly warmed up, we were really hoping Necronautical were going to be good as their t-shirts were fantastic… We shouldn’t have worried. Sporting a militaristic look and a couple of sets of candlesticks, they ripped into a fiery set of heavily blackened death metal. Even on first contact they have great songs, full of tight tempestuous time changes and a fine, compelling stage presence. Great set, and yes t-shirt and cd bought.
I hate pirate metal. No, I mean it. Hate it. But I’m a pro (utter bollocks that of course) it’s my duty to hear out Lagerstein. If you want to know where all the bad 80s haircuts went, Lagerstein collected them. Fronted by a guy who looked like a pirate version of Adam Ant in his Wild Frontier days, the Aussie seven piece (I think there were seven, it was a little hard to tell they were bouncing around so much) proceeded to board the venue and play a jig littered set of great catchy folk metal that was received with an equally energetic response. Whether drinking beer from a boot, persuading the crowd to sit down on a floor swimming in sticky beer for an acoustic number or leading the audience on a dance round the venue it was all utterly ridiculous but great fun from a band who look like a pirate metal Village People. I was all pirated out after about 45 minutes, but the crowd lapped it up. As our mate 3 Socks said, “Drink six pints and dance like a Cossack!” They really brought the fun, and that’s what you want yeah?
Words by Gizmo
Pictures by Eric Zahn.