Live Review: Nordic Giants – Cardiff

Live Review: Nordic Giants – Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff
28thFebruary 2022
Support: False Hope For The Savage, Aaronson
Words: Richard Oliver

Sometimes you go and watch some live music that is so incredible it ends up making all other music sound inferior on the days that follow. Nordic Giants are one such band that have done that for me. I have heard comments for a while about how amazing an experience a Nordic Giants show is and tonight I had the chance to finally experience the spectacle for myself. The band have been embarking on a U.K. tour throughout February with Årabrot supporting with the tour coming to a conclusion with a show at Clwb Ifor Bach in Cardiff. Unfortunately Årabrot could not make this final show of the tour so local support was provided instead.

The opening act was instrumental post-rock band Aaronson. Considering they are a local band (coming from the town of Barry) they are not one I have encountered or heard of before this show. The band are a three piece and play a fairly light and delicate style of post-rock. There was plenty of shoegaze influence in the band's sound with shimmering guitars and songs that incorporated plenty of slow burn and build up resulting in gorgeous crescendos. It was a nice and light way to start the show especially after an admittedly heavy weekend having preceded it.

Landing the main support slot were Cardiff based instrumental post-rock band False Hope For The Savage. Again another band I had not seen or heard of prior to this show but they certainly impressed. After the lighter sounds of Aaronson, False Hope For The Savage had a more muscular and intensive sound aided by the fact the band were a five piece with three guitarists. There was a far heavier and intensive rhythm section in the band but they also had their lighter moments building to crushing crescendos with beautiful melodies and bags of atmosphere. Definitely a band I would love to catch again soon. The set was briefly interrupted when a member of the audience fainted and injured themselves falling on the floor but thankfully they were fine after being attended to by the venue security.

And then it was on to the headliners cinematic post-rock act Nordic Giants. I met a handful of friends at the venue who had seen Nordic Giants play before on multiple occasions and all they could say to me was ‘your mind is going to be blown’. They really were not wrong! Nordic Giants are an anonymous two piece who are both multi-instrumentalists. They were set up on either side of the stage with Rôka on drums, samples and bowed guitar and Loki on keyboards, synths and trumpet. In between them on the stage was a large projection screen with a smaller screen set up on the front of the stage. This is where the term cinematic comes into play as not only is the music performed by Nordic Giants vast and gorgeous with the breadth and scope of a movie soundtrack but each song is accompanied by a short film on screen which is in sync with the music being performed. It resulted in the show being an incredibly immersive experience aided by lots of dry ice and elaborate lighting as well as the on-stage feathered costumes of Rôka and Loki adding to the effect. The imagery presented on this screen is very dark and foreboding with images of dystopian science fiction, horror and cutting social commentary on the current state of society juxtaposed with the beautiful, ethereal and dramatic music being played. Some of the messages and imagery on the screens was particularly affecting given the current circumstances in the world at the moment. With this being the tour to support latest album Symbiosis a good deal of the set was lifted from said album with the stunning compositions of Philosophy Of Mind, Faceless, Convergence and Spheres amongst others getting breathtaking renditions. Debut album A Séance Of Dark Delusions was represented by Illuminate and Evolve Or Perish whilst material was taken from the bands trio of E.P.’s with songs such as Through A Lens Darkly and Dark Clouds Mean War.

Summing up this show is difficult as words cannot really do it justice and the Nordic Giants live experience is something that really needs to be experienced. If you have never heard Nordic Giants before then the music is spectacular in itself being a mix of the epic edge of Sigur Rós, the dark brooding atmosphere of Sólstafir and the emotional fragility of bands such as Anathema. If you want to fully experience the Nordic Giants experience then the live environment is where it truly comes to life and they are a band that I cannot recommend enough. If you are a fan of emotional and atmospheric music then it is a show that needs to be seen. A breathtaking live music experience that is truly like no other.

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