If you dragged a passer by toward the door of the Underworld and told them that six trolls were going to be putting on a party inside, they would probably run away while weeping and you would be surely arrested... again. Luckily, the arrival of Finntroll didn't need such actions to be taken as hordes of painted loonies were readying themselves for a folking good time... sorry.
Norwegian epic extreme metallers Keep of Kalessin (8) aren't here to be one-upped by anyone and hit the ground sprinting with a flurry of musical majesty. Their set seems to whiz by in a blizzard of frosty, blackened riffs, crushing melodies and an abundance of technical prowess. The band recently became a three-piece after losing their vocalist, Thebon, but seem all the more invigorated for it. Guitar-toting front man and mastermind, Obsidian C, looks as though he has something to prove after taking on vocal duties himself and doesn't disappoint as he wields his axe with deadly precision.
19 year old Sondre Drangsland takes a seat behind the kit to replace the regular sticksman Vyl, who unfortunately had to drop off the tour for personal reasons. Sondre does a great job in his place and is brilliantly in sync with perpetually wind-milling bassist, Wizziac. The new track 'Introspection' goes down well and gives fans a taste of what to expect from the next album – otherworldly soundscapes, insanely fast guitar-work and some fists-up choruses. Keep of Kalessin have pulled us all into their snow-capped, dragon battling world and depart the Underworld with yet more fans.
After managing to fly over from under a bridge in Helsinki, the Finnish trolls... err, Finntroll (8) treat us to some rather fantastic beer swigging fun. The stage is looking awfully short of space as six trolls, with instruments and a retina-charring light show, jostle around the stage. Uplifting keyboards dance over the pacey riffs and singer Vreth leads an army of pagans around the Underworld. Although the lyrics may be Swedish, there are more than few people chanting along with everything from the brilliant 'Blodsvept' back to their origins.
You never know where to look as each band member is trying to summon up their own mayhem. Bouncy, jazzy monster tracks like 'Mordminnen' lift everyone and sound phenomenal. Finntroll have a rather unique sound and a strong image, so it isn't difficult to work out why the Underworld is swelling under their legion of followers. As 'Solsagan' brings the evening to its merry, inebriated conclusion, we are all left with the dilemma of 'the bar or home' conundrum. This is some of the best fun you can experience without getting arrested, which may have happened when I was calmly explaining to a resident of Camden who Finntroll were – some people just don't understand.