Aug 102014
 

Inside OutI’ve been a Pink Floyd fan since high school, but my Floyd-Fu has occasionally been embarrassingly low. Below the surface of the obvious (Waters/Gilmour fallout, Syd Barrett’s spiral out of the band) there’s a lot more to know, and Nick Mason’s Inside Out: A Personal History of Pink Floyd does a decent job in filling out plenty of gaps.

The book begins well before the band was founded (and subsequently named) and ends well after the band was finished (the Live 8 performance notwithstanding). Nick Mason, the drummer of Pink Floyd, covers the more than two decades’ worth of ups, downs and odd sideways movements, too. Despite the sometimes chilly interpersonal times in the band the history remains surprisingly cordial, and no-one gets called out on running the biggest progressive rock band aground. Then again, the lack of communication between members seems to be a chronic source of misunderstandings.

For such a visual band as Pink Floyd, the book certainly would have benefited from a vastly larger (and colored!) selection of pictures.

Inside Out is an interesting book, but unexpectedly boring at times. But that’s not a major sin. However, the book being devoid of stories behind the songs is one such – though as the author had very little to do with most of the lyrics, he understandably avoids putting words into others’ mouths.

Apr 052014
 

Today marks the twentieth anniversary of Kurt Cobain‘s death.

He was the artist whose passing away was the first to really hit home.

I was in Utah in 1994, and the news that came in the afternoon on a Friday th eighth electrified the whole Austin Hall – Cobain was definitely one of the biggest voices of the generation and his sudden departure did not go unnoticed. I’m pretty sure the wake of sorts we organized was a Nirvana-only evening.

Mar 182014
 

Brother Firetribe logo

Brother Firetribe, the domestic band with the most awesome pun as its name, is about to release their third album: Diamond in the Fire Pit.

Since they are moving from one record company to another, they do not have a functional web presence at the moment.

Their debut was as perfect an homage to 80s as it gets, and the sophomore album wasn’t bad by any means.

So I’m definitely looking forward to their third outing.

Jan 062014
 

I seem to be approaching pre-middleage with gusto – I find the the weekly Nyt supplement mostly boring and uninteresting.

Occasionally they hit home, though.

The Christmas issue’s “50 Bands in a Picture” is a great visual riddle.

50 Finnish Bands in a Picture

This is just a small slice of the whole image, but there’s plenty to puzzle over.

With a quick glance at least the following are identifiable:

  • Jormas
  • Stone
  • Teddy & the Tigers
  • Bogart
  • Absoluuttinen nollapiste
  • Giant Robot
Jan 062014
 

I’ve been a spineless Mauri Kunnas fanboy pretty much as long as I’ve been aware of him. Initially familiar through his Nyrok City comics, thereafter through his annual childrens’ books.

Piitles was advertised as a labour of love. The prospect of the author’s all time favorite band getting the Nyrok treatment sounded too good to be true.

Which it was.

This isn’t actually that good a graphic novel. The story covers the band’s early days, and is mostly true to life. Which means that there’s plenty of getting started difficulties and angst and the fun bits are rather few and far between. Though occasionally Kunnas’ love and skill of absurd shines through undeniably. But mostly his love for the band and desire to do them right prevails.

The art is pretty throughout the book, and the main characters well recognizable, though occasionally it feels like a rush job.

I learned quite a bit about the Beatles prehistory. I just am not sure whether I was looking for a lecture from a dedicated presenter as opposed to a jolly good time with a comic book.

So, bitten by prejudices, I came off disappointed with Piitles.

Dec 282013
 

Voivod logo(In the series of long-overdue postings.)

Saw Voivod for the second time, after an interval of nineteen years.

Quite a lot has happened since my encounter with them in Club Zephyr in Salt Lake City promoting The Outer Limits back in 1994.

For starters the guys have aged well, and they still play well.

Happily enough, they played quite a bit of the old stuff, too, instead of concentrating on the newest albums:

Voivod
Ripping Headaches
Target Earth
The Prow
Forgotten in Space
Mechanical Mind
Nothingface
Jack Luminous
Kluskap O'Kom
Psychic Vacuum
///
Tribal Convictions
Astronomy Domine

Yes. They played the whole Jack Luminous, in its seventeen minute glory.

And the songs off then-forthcoming Target Earth didn’t sound bad at all.

Jul 102013
 

Considering that it’s been more than a year, it’s better to do this quickly.

Just half a day.

It rained.

Sabaton was good, but having just jettisoned 3/5ths of the band, they were far too greatest hits-moody.

Swallow the Sun was good as well, but they aren’t much of a live band.

For the Imperium continues to impress.

Bought the Oddland album, I was disappointed with them in FME, but willing to give them a second chance.

May 062013
 

Slayer logoJeff Hanneman, the lead guitarist of Slayer passed away last week.

Slayer was one of the first thrash bands I became aware of back in early 1986. Hell Awaits had recently been released, and it got quite a lot of air time in Radio City’s Hevitaivas (the only show that played metal). After the rather safer Metallica and Megadeth, Slayer was something rawer, something far more vicious. Something that seemed to exceed the listening norms of my schoolmates. Hence, as I had quite a backlog to acquire, I somehow missed the release of their seminal Reign in Blood album, and lost touch with the band for a while. But got re-acquainted with South of Heaven in 1988 (now loaded with summer job cash, new albums became a weekly thing) – the band had slowed down, but lost none of their intensity. My interest in the band peaked with Seasons in the Abyss and I lost touch with them once again. This time pretty much for good, the newer albums somehow disagreed with me.

Saw Slayer live in 1998. The gig still clocks in as the loudest concert I’ve been to. Tried removing earplugs for a couple of songs towards the end of the concert, and was assailed by such a volume that the plugs went back in quickly indeed.

The bandmembers of Slayer were strangely distant. Apart from Dave Lombardo’s frequent departures and rearrivals, the rest of them were nowhere as vocal as the likes of Hetfield and Mustaine. Jeff Hanneman I knew as one of the most incomprehensible soloists in the metal world and of his interest in wartime Germany. The former gave us plenty of unimitable songs, the latter gave us Angel of Death – a sadly misunderstood true thrash metal classic. The third ascpect that I dimly recalled was his infatuation with Heineken, proven to be common knowledge in the pictures his fans posted in the Drink A Beer In Honor Of Jeff Hanneman event last Saturday.

Feb 022013
 

Celebrating the first Metallica gig in Finland back in 1984: Metallisika tribute.

Back in the eighties the up-and-coming bands had to settle for lesser arenas, hence the future multiplatinum artists played in Tarvasjoki, a definite middle of nowhere up in ostrobothnia.

Jan 022013
 

Portal of I coverNe Obliviscaris is the first band I’ve picked up from Spotify.

The multi-genre australians would be nice to own on disc as well, but thus far I’ve been unable to scrounge up a copy. It’s available on Amazon, so that’s more a question of laziness rather than it being truly difficult to find.

Sep 022012
 

Spent two halves of an evening in the Finnish Metal Expo back in February.

On Friday: Missed most of Soen; saw ICS Vortex, Oddland, Swallow the Sun and finally Paradise Lost.

On Saturday: Just Turisas.

ICS Vortex was definitely not what I expected based on the lineup. Far more serene than a long history of Dimmu Borgir-membership would suggest.

Oddland was very progressive, and impossible to get a good idea of in thirty minutes. The songs were seriously on the right edge of the complexity scale, and the vocalist took a long while to get used to.

The two-headed doom metal attack was why I was in Kaapelitehdas, and both bands were new to me.

Swallow the Sun concentrated on material from their newest album, and were pretty much what I assumed: loud, professional and quite static on stage.

Paradise Lost played the best gig of the evening. Their set list covered their career, with one new song from the then-forthcoming album:

The Rise of Denial
Erased
Pity the Sadness
Forever Failure
The Enemy
Enchantment
Honesty in Death
Requiem
One Second
As I Die
Faith Divides Us - Death Unites Us
Say Just Words

Turisas played their worst gig I’ve seen thus far. Shorter than expected and just not that awesome as usual. Hangover from the major victories in the awards ceremony cannot be the cause, since the prizes were dealt out pretty much immediately before. The set list was short indeed, and missing the usual Boney M cover:

The March of the Varangian Guard
Take the Day!
To Holmgard and Beyond
The Dnieper Rapids
One More
The Great Escape
A Portage to the Unknown
Battle Metal
End of an Empire

Didn’t buy very many records, and only one shirt (as far as I recall).

Finnish Metal Expo 2012

Jun 092012
 

In the sadly prolonged series of seriously overdue posts: a gig report for a change.

Saw Iced Earth in Nosturi on the World Dystopia-tour back in late 2011.

Iced Earth live

The band’s new vocalist, Stu Black, had injected a lot of energy into the group and he blazed a quite decent trail through the long history of Iced Earth. His takes on the originals by Matt Barlow or Ripper Owens didn’t leave much to be desired.

The gig was long, and included plenty of classics in addition to material from the newest album. Split during the encore, and thus missed the extra song. But a quick exit instead of a thirty minute wait in the coat check was probably worth it.

Set list (as provided by setlist.fm, I missed quite a few songs):

Dystopia
Burning Times
Angels Holocaust
Slave to the Dark
V
Stand Alone
When the Night Falls
Damien
Dark City
The Hunter
Anthem
Declaration Day
Days of Rage
Watching Over Me
//
Dante's Inferno
Iced Earth
//
My Own Savior

Saw half of the the warm-up band, Fury UK. Their old school metal was much better than expected, and I ended up picking up their record on the way out.