It was a strange night to be in Worcester, Massachusetts. Stranger than usual, that is. At the Palladium, the city’s cardinal music showcase, two very different forces were converging on the city. Finntroll was in town with Blackguard in tow, a powerful double bill of folky heavy metal.

Dark, cynical roadhouses lke Bogie’s in Albany, New York have been and continue to be the proving grounds or metal. It is here that the crowds deem bands worthy, encouraging their heroes with raised glasses of ale while passing judgment on inferior act with their austere silence.