Nanowar of Steel, Sellsword, Warlock A.D. – a rousing cry of Valhalleluja ends global conflict in London

So far so 'Stranger Things' but the lyrics... oh the lyrics... let's just say 'Geralt of Labia' and leave it at that. 

Words & Pictures: Adrian Hextall \ MindHex Media

Imagine these three on tour…. the amount of steel, armour, Cthulu masks, neon clothing and general battle readiness attire, along with a little rainbow unicornery, would make any sensible border guard sit up and take notice. 

“Business or pleasure sir?” comes the bemused question from the man in uniform. “For V A L H A L L A..!!!!” comes the response as the assembled warrirors grab their tools of the trade and charge the unsuspecting border guard before riding off into the sunset… Or something like that maybe! 

Having managed to get across the English Channel, thanks to a well timed vin et fromage delivery to the Calais border force, the UK is playing host to Italian tour-de-force Nanowar of Steel, having added the ‘of Steel’ after countrymen Rhapsody changed their name and added “of Fire”. When in Rome and all that I guess. 

They are joined by our very own Warlock A.D. and Sellsword. The former new to the fantasy and power metal scene, the latter a firm favourite from Yorkshire with their unique blend of progressive power metal. To get the ball rolling…. battle metal, fur and more than a little humour courtesy of Warlock A.D. 

Warlock A.D.

Warlock A.D. might be new to the scene but they sure have some history, lore and more importantly a stack of literature that adds layer after layer of mythology about the band and their exploits. Just check out the list of publications available for your delectation in the band’s very own library: 

https://www.theworldofwarlockad.co.uk/thelibrary

Chapter one of the books sets the scene perfectly and hooks the reader in: 

A Strange New World

Quiet was the night of Midsummer’s Day on the 400th year of the first millennium of Nanum Imperium as Prince Quinn of the Line of Eilianther sat atop a rock face staring out across the Northern Woods of Brittanni, north of The Mountains of Titus which were visible in the distance. He was a handsome creature, tall and broad, unlike the usually slight elves of Sherwood – adorned in the white garbs of nobility fortified with Lightsteel armour.”

With this sort of effort in place, you’d expect the band to be knee deep in the sort of lore that would keep the Wizards of the Coast more than happy and sign the band up for a multi-year deal. However as they take to the stage, kitted out with more fur than a Paris fashion model, when the lyrics start to flow, we realise that this is a little more tongue in cheek than expected and it also explains why the band were the perfect addition to the Nanowar of Steel bill for the UK tour. 

The songs and direction of the show are determined on the roll of a multi-sided dice. The sort that you’d typically find in any Dungeons & Dragons board game.  Lead singer Whiteacre
The Nomad would cast the dice out in to the crowd and get them to throw it back and the song choice would depend on the number that landed. Of course, when the audience is a little close and the drum kit is empty, then a good right arm can see said dice flying to the back of the stage. 

Cue muttered curses and second attempts before songs are identified and played. With Horatus The Mushroom Wizard (Guitars/Growls), Quinn Eilianther, Elven Prince (Bass/vocals) and Cullblade, Shadow Assassin (Guitars) making up the band, it looks and feels like a quest is in the making. A staple mix of characters and attributes that make for the perfect game of D&D. So far so ‘Stranger Things’ but the lyrics… oh the lyrics… let’s just say ‘Geralt of Labia’ and leave it at that. 

Most amusing, great fun and with more backstory than an Italian mobster’s alibi, there was much to enjoy. 

  • 2024 04 02 Warlock A.D. , Islington Academy, London
  • 2024 04 02 Warlock A.D. , Islington Academy, London
  • 2024 04 02 Warlock A.D. , Islington Academy, London
  • 2024 04 02 Warlock A.D. , Islington Academy, London
  • 2024 04 02 Warlock A.D. , Islington Academy, London
  • 2024 04 02 Warlock A.D. , Islington Academy, London
  • 2024 04 02 Warlock A.D. , Islington Academy, London
  • 2024 04 02 Warlock A.D. , Islington Academy, London
  • 2024 04 02 Warlock A.D. , Islington Academy, London
  • 2024 04 02 Warlock A.D. , Islington Academy, London
  • 2024 04 02 Warlock A.D. , Islington Academy, London

Sellsword

Now The Sellswords is a trilogy of fantasy novels written by R. A. Salvatore. The word sellsword speaks about someone who will.. as the name suggests.. sell their sword to the highest bidder. In effect mercenaries. No wonder then what sort of lyrical content our next band throws into the mix. 

A little more serious than the previous band, Sellsword are described as a “Mercenary” power metal band hailing from the Viking city of York, UK. Formed in 2013, they have been on a continuous gig campaign; laying siege to many venues across the United Kingdom, including shows at Bloodstock 2018 and HRH Vikings. With two albums and a new lead singer in Nathan Harrison in place and a third release forthcoming, the band look set to lay siege to a whole new audience in the coming months.

Their set, held firmly in place by Nathan’s stunning vocal work took us back to the middle ages, tales of Saxon battles, epics struggles and more with the majority of music coming, as expected from ‘.?.?.?and Now We Ride’ and ‘…unto the Breach’. 

Treated to a new song, which, if I recall correctly, was Saxon Steel, the musicianship was second to none, with smart, technically impressive solos and extended breaks in the songs which explain why they’ve been accepted as much by the prog crowd as they have the power metal fans. 

Nice to see a bunch of lads from Yorkshire getting the exposure they truly deserve. 

  • 2024 04 02 Sellsword, Islington Academy, London
  • 2024 04 02 Sellsword, Islington Academy, London
  • 2024 04 02 Sellsword, Islington Academy, London
  • 2024 04 02 Sellsword, Islington Academy, London
  • 2024 04 02 Sellsword, Islington Academy, London
  • 2024 04 02 Sellsword, Islington Academy, London
  • 2024 04 02 Sellsword, Islington Academy, London
  • 2024 04 02 Sellsword, Islington Academy, London

Nanowar of Steel

And so to our band of Italian mad-hatters. You never quite know what you’ll get from a Nanowar song or album because their ability to spoof genres is done so well we can easily experience hard rock, heavy metal, power metal, pop music, boy bands, reggae bands, folk music and much much more. All laced with the sort of sugar that Mary Poppins would claim “helps the medicine go down”. The only difference, Mary suggested a ‘spoonful’ was enough. Nanowar throw in half a kilo of the stuff. 

The end result though is the sweetest of treats and as you can see from the set-list, tramples (without a care in the world) all over the staples of pop culture, modern musical styles and world renowned artists. 

The fan favourites delivered a full show (and it’s nice that we get to see the band headlined in the venue for once) with props and visual effects including a large telephone handset and monster mask during ‘The Call of Cthulhu’. If it’s the little things that make all the difference then Nanowar add just enough subtle to the absurd to make the show vastly entertaining. Be it a faux sax solo from Careless Whisper or the N-Sync \ Backstreet Boys homage with ‘Disco Metal’ or the brilliant parody of new single ‘Afraid to Shoot into the Eyes of a Stranger in a Strange Land’ which takes the best of Iron Maiden and condenses their entire career into a 4-minute burst. Nanowar can seemingly turn their hands to anything and turn it into a masterpiece. 

If ever a band deserves to make it big then these guys do and then some. Potowotominimak (vocals) in his neon fishnet sleeves and vest has all the moves. Mister Baffo with his purple wig and pink tutu is the eye candy we never knew we needed until he stepped up to the microphone. It’s a beautiful pairing and one that again, offers all sorts of opportunities to the band, with different vocal styles that give the outfit a killer range to suit (as proven) any and all styles. 

Looking into the crowd, the packed floor of the Academy in Islington was a sea of pearly whites. Everyone’s teeth were on show. Why… ? Happiness and laughter. Entertainment levels through the roof and comedy gold ensured that this was as much fun as A Night at the Apollo as it was a metal gig. 

Nanowar of Steel can do no wrong… and that’s coming from someone who listens to ‘Uranus’ on a regular basis. 

  • 2024 04 02 Nanowar of Steel, Islington Academy, London
  • 2024 04 02 Nanowar of Steel, Islington Academy, London
  • 2024 04 02 Nanowar of Steel, Islington Academy, London
  • 2024 04 02 Nanowar of Steel, Islington Academy, London
  • 2024 04 02 Nanowar of Steel, Islington Academy, London
  • 2024 04 02 Nanowar of Steel, Islington Academy, London
  • 2024 04 02 Nanowar of Steel, Islington Academy, London
  • 2024 04 02 Nanowar of Steel, Islington Academy, London
  • 2024 04 02 Nanowar of Steel, Islington Academy, London
  • 2024 04 02 Nanowar of Steel, Islington Academy, London
  • 2024 04 02 Nanowar of Steel, Islington Academy, London
  • 2024 04 02 Nanowar of Steel, Islington Academy, London
  • 2024 04 02 Nanowar of Steel, Islington Academy, London
  • 2024 04 02 Nanowar of Steel, Islington Academy, London
  • 2024 04 02 Nanowar of Steel, Islington Academy, London
  • 2024 04 02 Nanowar of Steel, Islington Academy, London
  • 2024 04 02 Nanowar of Steel, Islington Academy, London
  • 2024 04 02 Nanowar of Steel, Islington Academy, London
  • 2024 04 02 Nanowar of Steel, Islington Academy, London
  • 2024 04 02 Nanowar of Steel, Islington Academy, London
  • 2024 04 02 Nanowar of Steel, Islington Academy, London
  • 2024 04 02 Nanowar of Steel, Islington Academy, London

SETLIST:

Barbie, MILF Princess of the Twilight
The Call of Cthulhu
Il cacciatore della notte
Wall of Love (George Michael cover)
Ironmonger (The Copier of the Seven Keys)
Odino and Valhalla
Disco Metal
…And Then I Noticed That She Was a Gargoyle
Norwegian Reggaeton
Armpits of Immortals
Metal Boomer Battalion
Afraid to Shoot into the Eyes of a Stranger in a Strange Land
Uranus
Hail to Liechtenstein
Power of the Power of the Power of the Power (Of the Great Sword)
Encore:
Pasadena 1994
La Polenta Taragnarock
Valhalleluja

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