TYR, Swallow The Sun // Eightball Club, Thessaloniki, Greece // 30.01.2016

Saturday 30th of January and the weather here in Thessaloniki, Greece was quite opposite to what anyone would expect, with the sun shining all day and the temperature far above 15 degrees Celsius. Winter, though, was certain to come upon all who were present at 8ball club that night, since Swallow the Sun from Finland, and Viking swordsmen TYR from Faroe Islands, were there to bring the cold and wrath of North!

Due to certain minor problems, Swallow The Sun, were set to open the gig, following a schedule change, a few hours earlier on the day, that inevitably brought TYR to the headlining position, on this particular night. This “accident”, though, caused unnecessary misinformation of the audience and to everyone’s surprise, Swallow the Sun, where on stage at sharp 21.00, as the announcement of the promoters was clearly mentioning, but the venue seemed sadly empty. Let’s see what went on from that point.

The intro starts and a couple of minutes later, Swallow the Sun, begin to unleash their stiff atmospheric sounds, for the next one hour and forty minutes! Not as active, on stage, but stunning with their music being far more in depth than just visual head banging or posing. With a set list focused on the fresh sounds of their latest album “Songs from the north” but also containing songs from their entire back catalogue.

Sounding a bit weird at the first couple of songs and almost great, for the rest of the show, Swallow The Sun showed everyone that they were ready for a headline show and they delivered. A few minor audio setbacks, during a small acoustic set of two songs somewhere around half of the show, didn’t help the audience to get the atmosphere of the songs, but that was just a small flow. Overall, Swallow The Sun, on their first show in Thessaloniki, stood up to the circumstances and played a full show, pleasing their audience to the maximum. I hope next time –if there’s going to be one- the apparent venue, will be packed and not this embarrassing disappointment.

A few stage set up changes, and within ten minutes of stage change over, with the venue still looking anxiously half empty or less (you could see people leaving the venue since TYR’s music does not cross Swallow The Sun’s music at any other point than just the genre : Metal in general) the Faroe Island Vikings, TYR, come up on stage with full force!

Having no idea myself, of what these guys are up to, I saw and heard their music for the first time in my entire life. Power/heavy metal with a lot more guts, if you could say so, and a quite moving stage presence, especially by their lead guitarist and their bass player! Enjoyable, for one song or two, but since not my cup of tea, I tried to focus on what actually was going on for real.

The sound, I should say, started and went on a little worse every next song. The drummer sounded weird and I’m almost certain that I got some “oops” here and there. The singer, speaking to the audience as a bad actor performing a grumpy old Viking –hilarious! And on the other hand their lead guitarist and their bassist trying to weight the scale. To be frank, I didn’t like their songs, I didn’t like their sound, and certainly I didn’t enjoy anything at all and I never got to their final song!

Maybe it was a bad day for them or maybe I cared less than their small numbered teenage fans, thus, I couldn’t enjoy anything. I do not know, I might gave them another chance on a big festival, with twenty plus bands playing at mid-day, their Viking influenced power metal, but there’s no other way, I would give these guys a chance to be a headline act! No, under no circumstances!

Closing this article, I should point out to the chances every promoter has to take and bare the success or failure of an event. This country, has most of its population, including many metalheads on most flourishing ages, amidst unemployment. Chances are all those few remaining, able to support a 25€ ticket for two bands, won’t be able to afford it on a regular basis! It’s really sad to see half empty venues and keeping high prices on your tickets! It’s time to reconsider your financial benefits, and start adapting to this country’s reality!