It’s a feast of folk metal as the Korpiklaani and Moonsorrow double header rolls into town for the people of Bristol.

Wednesday night gigs are a bit of a lottery at times. Some of them become the perfect escape from the 9-to-5 slog; others are undermined by that very factor as punters stay away with two days of work still to go. Judging by the near sell-out at The Fleece in Bristol tonight, it’s pretty clear that the former has won the first battle of the evening.

The second is yet to be fought to determine who will finish on top – Korpiklaani and Moonsorrow. There is no support on this co-headliner tour. Instead, both acts play a full 90-minute set; a practice not used nearly enough and one which would certainly give fans greater value for money.

Now, as all mid-00s UK teenagers will testify, the “…sonic recreation of the end of the world” is masterminded by Aussie rockers Pendulum. It turns out they were wrong: that honour belongs to Moonsorrow, who over the course of their set provide the best soundtrack to the apocalypse possible.

The band plays a blend of songs from their new album, Jumalten Aika, and other fan favourites. They might only play eight numbers, but they have the crowd behind them from the very beginning.

The synchronised headbanging for “commercial video” song “Suden Tunti” is a sight to behold but it’s the stirring rendition of
“Ukkosenjumalan Poika” that is the pinnacle of the whole set.

The spine-tingling “woah’s” during closing number “Sankaritarina” could give “Fear of the Dark” a serious run for its money. For a debut Bristol performance, it’s certainly one to remember.

Korpiklaani, on the other hand, are not ones for bringing about Judgement Day. (If they are then, it’s going to be one big folk metal party until the very end).

With considerably shorter songs than their fellow countrymen, they fit a full twenty-three tracks into their set and the floor doesn’t stop moving until the last few drops of “Beer Beer” have drained away into the night.

Frontman Jonne Järvelä leads a quite delirious Fleece audience on a merry dance for the entire show, through the Celtic stomp of “Lempo” onto the thunderous “Erämaan Ärjyt” and onwards with a smile on his face and a jig in his heart.

The rest of the band are clearly enjoying themselves too; this is a jovial gathering of the highest order. Even when they drop the tempo on “Minä Näin Vedessä Neidon,” they are no less riveting.

The set could have done with starting earlier, for as the clock ticks past eleven, there is a notable departure of work-conscious folk. Even so, the vast majority are more than happy for things to continue. After summoning their final reserves of energy to power through “Wooden Pints”, “Vodka,” and the aforementioned “Beer Beer,” they depart into the cold April night with a warmth that cannot be quelled.

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The Fleece
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