Finntroll w/ support – Porto, Portugal
Profane Omen, HateSphere, Finntroll
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
20th March 2015
Promoted by SWR Inc
With “Nattfödd” celebrating its 10th anniversary last year, Finntroll embarked on an intense European tour where they’ve been playing the album in full. The second leg of the tour included an one-off show in Portugal that was almost a no-show – there were some problems during the trip between Madrid and Porto (“you wouldn’t believe it if I told you” were Vreth’s words), but they made it, about forty minutes later. And since half of the gigs in my country run late, we didn’t even realize how serious the situation was.
Profane Omen stormed the stage with wide smiles on their faces. They had never played in Portugal before and that was something they’d been wanting to fix for a long time, which singer Jules Näveri told us in a perfect Brazilian-accented Portuguese! I later learned he’s married to a Brazilian lady, explaining why he is so fluent in this difficult language. But even if it was quite easy for him, it was something highly appreciated by everyone in the room and helped breaking the ice, since it was obvious that Profane Omen weren’t exactly famous among the crowd. Well, they are now. And not just because the singer could speak Portuguese (and even make funny remarks). I’m pretty sure their music and adrenaline-driven performance would eventually win the audience over. I’d heard of them before, but not the music, and for some reason I was convinced they were a death metal band. Wrong! Their sound is just as heavy but with lot of groove and a punk-rock irreverence that made my first expression – “stormed the stage” – quite literal. Around since 1999, the Lahti-based band has released four full-lengths so far and played a little bit from every one (well, almost every one – they left “Inherit The Void” out), kicking off with “Wastehead” and finishing with “Painbox”. It was my first time seeing them and hopefully not the last. And a longer setlist next time would be even better! (5/5)
Now HateSphere didn’t need any introduction to the Portuguese audience. Last time the Danish played here, in support of Hypocrisy, “Murderlust” had just been released – three days before – and we were hoping that they would return to promote it as headliners. That didn’t happen but it didn’t make the reaction of the fans less enthusiastic – some of them were there that night exclusively to see them perform.
Because of the delay, they had to cut their set shorter, beginning with “Reaper Of Life” instead of “Lies And Deceit”, as apparently was the original idea (I took a peak at the setlist, where “Lies…” was at the top, crossed all over by a black marker). Still, as in any other HateSphere gig, they made the best of their available time, totally owning the place.
Since Trevor Strnad wasn’t there, it was the crowd that helped Esse singing “Iconoclast”, doing the same gesture of repeatedly raising the arms in the air, as it’s typical of The Black Dahlia Murder singer. “Oh, so you know the guy? Good!”, said Esse with a grin. He would also say we looked beautiful, even if he admitted he couldn’t see a thing, thanks to the smoke machine.
And speaking of helping singing… At some point, Esse turned the mic into someone in the crowd, and later he would actually pass it into someone else’s hands. Not sure if those “someones” were random as the first was Afonso Ribeiro, drummer in local band Gates Of Hell, and the second was Raça, former singer in that same band – a band who plays this cool little song called “Abusive Resolution”, where Esse did some guest vocals on its recording.
“Oceans” and “Sickness” were the two final songs, the latter entitled to the already traditional wall of death. The moshing that followed suit was even more intense than what had been until then and trust me – that says a lot. Once again we wish next time we’ll see them as headliners, like we did back in 2010, when still promoting “To The Nines”. One can always hope, right? (5/5)
I know some people left after HateSphere, but still the room was more crowded for Finntroll than at the opening of the doors. That’s the downside of having a bill of so distinct genres – it reaches a wider range of public, more tickets are sold, but it doesn’t mean all the people will watch all the bands.
Between gigs there’s always background music playing, but this time we had… frogs. And crickets. A very nocturnal sound. I know that trolls live in swamps and “nattfödd” means “born at night”, but listening to that during the whole intermission was a bit too much. Or maybe it was my eagerness to see Finntroll after six years.
Without surprise, “Nattfödd” was performed in its entirety and then came the promotion of the latest “Blodsvept” (that’s actually two years old already – damn, time flies!) mixed with a bunch of classics. All drenched in beer and happy dancing.
Vreth was quite chatty, to which the crowd responded loud and cheerful. At some point he asked who had been at their last gig there and I was surprised that not many hands were raised. But then again, there were lots of kids at the venue, I suppose they weren’t old enough to attend a festival back in 2009… (I was there, took a few cool pics too: http://frontrowforever.net/2011/05/28/revisited-finntroll-caos-emergente-20090913/)
I believe it was after “Jaktens Tid” that they left the stage and the damn frogs echoed again until Finntroll returned for the encore. But by this time I was too pleased to be bothered by the croaking – these trolls don’t belong in the forest but definitely on stage. (5/5)
Photos & text by Renata “Pieni” Lino