Mar 292009

Sisters of MercySaw Sisters of Mercy on a non-specific tour in Nosturi last Monday. And came away underwhelmed, the concert failed to move me any which way (apart from towards the coat check to avoid the rush at the end).

I’ve never been a big fan of the band, and as such this occasion was more of a chance to see yet another rock’n'roll dinosaur than a thus far unfulfilled dream.

The soundscape was surprisingly clean, apart from the drum sound mixed over everything else.

Recognized a couple of songs, but they weren’t simply enough to keep me in the arena, split halfway down the first encore.

Mar 042009

Saw a doubleheader of metal yesterday at Tavastia. The last date on the DragonForce‘s tour accompanied by Turisas was a very pleasant way to spend four hours on a quiet Tuesday evening.

The gig started at a very reasonable hour – following my arrival at nine pm, the finnish barbarians were just about to roam onto the stage. Turisas played for an hour. Extending their allocation with an extra song and constant extolling of finnish virtues – after all they’d spent five months touring across the North America and Europe. I’d seen the band once previously, their long gig in last year’s FME was one of the highlights of the year, so I had high expectations for the warm-up slot. And the band certainly didn’t disappoint, from the initial bars of Battle Metal to Holmgard and Beyond the stage was packed with rawest energy and wit. Last time the accordionist had been a stand-in for the one they lost in Netherlands, but in the meantime Netta Skog had been promoted to full membership. Too bad Turisas was given a meager hour – like the band, I’m looking forward to their return as headliner to these shores.

I didn’t take notes, so the following set list might be wrong on too many levels:

Battle Metal
A Portage To The Unknown
In The Court Of Jarisleif
One More
The Dnieper Rapids
Rex Regi Rebellis
To Holmgard And Beyond

DragonForce sounded and looked almost clinically clean in contrast to Turisas. The lightning-fast power metal took a while to adjust to, but in the end the ninety-ish minutes were worthwhile enough. The stage seemed crowded for the band. Apart from the drummer the rest of them kept running and jumping (guitars were tongued, bounced on the hip and spun around in gravity-defying fashion). And whatever the keyboardist’s cheerios were laced with in the morning, the dose was quite a bit over the top (the teddybear-presenting ceremony was a surprising turn of events). The last song was predictably the very song that introduced them to a wider audience, Through the Fire and Flames, famous from being the final song in Guitar Hero III. During it the stage was stormed by Turisas members, each bearing a tiny plastic guitar.

I didn’t recognize half of the songs on the selection, so the set list is cribbed from blabbermouth:

Heroes of our Time
Operation Ground and Pound
Reasons To Live
Fury of The Storm
The Warrior Inside
Revolution Deathsquad
Soldiers of The Wasteland
The Last Journey Home
Valley of The Damned
Through the Fire And Flames

Tavastia was sold out, but surprisingly enough the floor got emptier as the evening drew on. Turisas’ set was fully packed, but it seems that quite a few people left after their set.

The selection of t-shirts was good, albeit not cheap. Ended up pledging my allegiance to the warm-up band by purchasing their tour shirt.

Feb 192009

Missed opeth in December when the Helsinki gig was cancelled after the vocalist fell ill.

The band played a replacement tour this February, and the last of the four concerts was also the capstone for the Finnish Metal Expo.

The concert was again in Kaapelitehdas, and the based on the extremely echo-y sound of the warm-up band, Entombed, I was quite worried that the conditions would play an adverse role in the gig.

Happily enough that turned out not to be true, and the acoustics were not a detracting factor.

As a reward for the missed concert the band turned into a metal jukebox, and included both audience requests and snippets of classic songs in the set. Mikael Åkerfeldt’s stage presence was charismatic as usual, though this time he refrained from telling jokes.

Didn’t take notes, so the setlist is taken from the band’s forum.

Heir Apparent
Ghost of Perdition
Godhead's Lament
Leper Affinity
Hessian Peel
Black Rose Immortal / Bleak / Burden / The Drapery Falls / Master's Apprentices "Medley"
The Night And the Silent Water
The Lotus Eater
Feb 182009

Finnish Metal Expo 2009 - Grand Magus on stageSpent Friday evening in the fifth Finnish Metal Expo at Kaapelitehdas.

Entered just as Grand Magus took to the stage. They were by far the most interesting group of the evening’s lineup. Grand Magus played old school heavy metal with a minimalistic stage presence. Quite a few songs off Iron Will, but occasional glimpses into the past with older material.

Stam1na cleaned the table in the awards ceremony, picking up pretty much every category they were represented.

Skipped Blake, and spent the next hour browsing the salesfloor. Bought one record (Candlemass’ newest), and picked up a few freebies (some as giveaways, some as rewards in games), the loot was rounded out with a towel (crimson one for Children of Bodom’s Blooddrunk) and a frisbee (again crimson, this time for Brother Firetribe’s sophomore album).

Chaosweaver played their very first gig. Melodic industrialish metal played in horror regalia. Not bad, interesting enough to warrant further investigation. At some point.

The last band of the evening was Ensiferum. Just like last year, the day was capped with a bout of folk-infused metal. And just like last year, the crowd went ballistic over the band. Though this time the pitting was of the regular kind and no wall of death was invoked. Ensiferum sounded a lot nastier on stage than they do on record.

The acoustics of Kaapelitehdas are never optimal, but somehow the crew managed to conjure a decent soundscape for the entire evening.

Finnish Metal Expo 2009 - Ensiferum on stage

Jan 162009

Saw Brother Firetribe in On the Rocks yesterday, and was quite impressed by the band. Fortunately they failed the “great on album, sucks live”-test, and actually put on an enjoyable show.

Too bad the environment wasn’t really that great – or perhaps I was just standing in a place where people were chronically in a need to get a new beer, go for a quick smoke or just walk around aimlessly. And if a bar takes the trouble to announce the kickoff-time in a newspaper, it would be considerate not to fail that by fifty minutes.

But that’s enough bitching – the gig was great, and I definitely look forward to seeing the band again.

Dec 162008

Following the cancelled Opeth gig, the warm-up bands turned up at Dante’s Highlight, a downtown metal bar, for a very moderately priced fill-in gig. Five euros for two bands was too good a deal to ignore, even if I had no idea whatsoever about the first band, and had heard the second the last time in the first half of nineties.

First surprise of the evening was a sizable queue. Though the doors had been open for more than an hour, there were a couple of dozen lined up. Despite initial misgivings the line was pulled in quickly and painlessly.

The first band, Ocean (or Ocean Collective, as it appears to be) was playing when I walked in. I can’t really place the band into any single genre, as they appeared to flit between several. At least doom, death and progressive metal got namechecked during the gig. The german band was easily interesting enough to warrant buying their newest album on cd (again at a very reasonable price, which seemed to be the theme of the evening)

The second, band Cynic was vaguely familiar from the nineties. I dimly recalled them playing very complex death metal. And they were still at it, despite a fifteen year hiatus before a very recent reunion. The songs were progressive indeed, with the number of different parts reaching high in each song.

Took no pictures, the place was packed enough to prevent decent access to the front, and from the rear the shelves of the bar placed in the very center would have dominated the image.