Upon recommendation of Roadwolf’s (review) drummer („Dead Lord, come and see them, they sound like Thin Lizzy! Totally Thin Lizzy!“) I was looking forward a lot to this gig on february 27th at RedBox in Mödling, Austria. The line-up listed four bands: High Brian (Austria), Tiebreaker (Norway), Dead Lord (Sweden) and The Vintage Caravan (Iceland). Since the location is quite a bit outside of Vienna, I arrived in the middle of Tiebreaker’s set.
Tiebreaker counts five members: Thomas Espeland Karlsen (vocals), Eirik Wik Haug (guitar), Olav Vikingstad (guitar), Patrick Andersson (bass) and Pål Gunner Dale (drums). The singer was the first one this night to completely convice me. It was not only the strong and rough quality of his voice, but also the amount of feeling he did not hold back during the show. This became obvious through his crazy on-stage movements, especially with his hands – at times he looked like a madman, really, but I just love this sort of thing, it was uncompromisingly authentic.
The rest of the band did a great job, too, motivating the audience, but the climax of the show was definitely when Thomas E. Karlsen went off stage and continued his performance down in the audience. The band describes its music as a mixture of rock `n`roll, blues and progressive rock. Though I did not hear blues so much in that set, I several times had the impression of doom influences in the heavier parts.
With an impressive and energetic performance, Tiebreaker is definitely worth looking into. Their album We Come From The Mountains was re-released worldwide in November 2015 on Karisma Records.
Next in line were Dead Lord, a quartet of voice & guitar (Hakim Krim), guitar (Olle Hedenström), bass (Martin Nordin) and drums (Adam Lindmark). Founded 2012 by singer Hakim Krim, the band’s major influences are Thin Lizzy (as expected), UFO and Iron Maiden. They consequently play hard rock mixed with early heavy metal, including a lot of guitar solos and harmonies. And it is true indeed – they do sound very much like Thin Lizzy, only that Krim’s reminded me of Gary Moore’s voice more than Phil Lynott’s.
Dead Lord do a lot of twin guitar, which was not perfectly done the whole time, but did rock doubtlessly. They played songs from both studio albums Goodbye Repentance (2012) and Heads Held High (2015), like Hammer to the Heart, Onkalo, Because of Spite, No Regrets (great one!) and When History Repeats Itself. At the end one song somebody in the audience screamed “Hank!“ – and the band’s reaction was flawless: Krim looked at the fan, then at the band, merely said „She wants to hear Hank!“ – and off they went playing the song. That’s the spirit!
The success of the group is well-earned, considering their instrumental talent as well as their ability to do a great live show. I could not help myself buying both albums instantly at the merch that very evening – they’ve definitely won a new fan! But after listening to the albums, I must say the vocals sounded much better live. Usually it’s the other way round, so there is not much to worry about. But maybe the current producer(s), i.e. also Nicke Andersson from Imperial State Electric (review), could improve their job on the mix?
The Vintage Caravan
For the evening’s grand finale, the Vintage Caravan rolled onto the stage. This band from Iceland formed in 2006 but got serious on professionalising their music in 2009. The members Óskar Logi Ágústsson (vocals, guitar), Alexander Örn Númason (bass) and Stefán Ari Stefánsson (drums) were first signed to Sena (Iceland’s biggest label), but switched to Nuclear Blast Records a few years later, the same label Graveyard (review) are signed to, who I had to think of a lot during their show. They have released three studio albums so far. I was really impressed by the quality of the band’s music and performance. It is rare to find such young artists on this high level of proficiency.
In comparison to Dead Lord, the Vintage Caravan sounded more aggressive and modern, whilst influences from the 1960s and 70s of bands like Led Zeppelin, Cream and the like were impossible to overhear. Honestly, by the impression I got from name and artworks, I expected the Vintage Caravan to be a psychedelic project – the music was not very psychedelic, though. The lyrics might be, in some cases, the music is much more classic hard and prog rock, however.
Óskar L. Ágústsson was the third singer that night to convince me with his vocal ability. Though his voice might not be as rough as those of his tour colleagues, it is very melodic and a pleasure listening to. The band prove versatility by including a wide range of interesting elements and effects in their songs. That night they played tracks like Shaken Beliefs (cool choir-like parts!), Let Me Be (“A party song!“), Innerverse (amazing intro), Crazy Horses, Cocaine Sally and the incredibly catchy Expand Your Mind. And whilst rocking the stage, they did not fail to bond with the audience and make sure to leave a very sympathetic impression.
Conclusion: The Vintage Caravan is a young, high-quality music project that understands how to maintain a vintage sound while adding a fresh and modern twist. Absolutely recommendable!
Author: Robin Frank
More info / photo credits:
The Vintage Caravan