Archive for the Gig Category

Vader, Annihilator and Testament live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live, Metal with tags , , , on 22nd March 2018 by izaforestspirit

Vader, Annihilator, Testament

Pakkahuone, Tampere, Finland

21st March 2018

It’s very rare that I go to a concert where I’m actually more interested in the opening act than the actual headliner. American thrashers Testament were the headlining act but for me it was all about Vader. I’ve been a fan of their music since my early teens and the last time I saw them live was at Hellfest in France back in 2009.

Vader were on first and they put on a hell of a show. They are celebrating the 25th anniversary of their debut ‘The Ultimate Incantation’ so their set included some songs from that album along with some new stuff such as ‘Send Me Back to Hell’ from the latest record. The venue wasn’t quite full yet at this point since they were the opening act but there was more than enough people to get a mosh-pit going. I really enjoyed it. Sadly their show was rather short, only half an hour. I would have loved to hear more. 5/5

I’ve never seen Annihilator live before but I recognized a few of their hit tracks including ‘Welcome to Your Death’, ‘Alison Hell’ and ‘Phantasmagoria’. This time the audience was much larger as was the mosh-pit. It was a highly entertaining show. Annihilator play exactly the kind of thrash metal that I like and I’m now tempted to check out some of their music. 4/5

Then the main headliners Testament took to the stage. Their music can be best summed up as optimized thrash metal, big riffs, complex harmonies and good vocals. I am just not too familiar with their music and didn’t recognize any of the songs so I didn’t really enjoy the show as much as the others. That guitar solo midway through their set was impressive though. Good stuff. 4/5

In summary, it was a really good night of thrash metal. Well mostly thrash metal that is, I tend to class Vader as more of a death metal/death thrash metal act these days. I loved Vader, they were the number one show for me, Annihilator were really good. As for Testament, they have a massive following and they put on a good show but I’m not that much into their music. 4/5

Iza Raittila



Therion w/ support – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , on 2nd March 2018 by Pieni

Therion, Imperial Age, Null Positiv, Midnight Eternal
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
21st February 2018
Promoted by Notredame Productions


In Portugal, scheduling an event for 7 p.m. in the middle of the week isn’t going to work out very well for the opening acts; but with four bands on the bill and an almost two-hour-slot for the headliners, there’s not much the promoter can do. Speaking of, a big thank you to Carlos Freitas and the whole Notredame Productions team for bringing such show to us and for letting Valkyrian Music cover it.

DSC_0077.jpgMidnight Eternal was the first band on stage. Frankly, I’d never heard of them before, but then again, symphonic power metal with a female lyric voice – and occasional male growls – isn’t exactly my cup of tea… Among the few people at the venue by that hour, there were a handful responding enthusiastically to their music – either they knew them already or the band caused quite the first impression on fans of the genre. Yep, they’re good.

Introducing their self-titled debut album, released in 2016, the band from New Jersey – as said by Raine Hilai; you shouldn’t trust everything you read on Facebook, where their page locates them in Manhattan/New York – charmed the small but “loud” (using Raine’s own words) crowd with songs such as the “first song they’ve ever written” “Masquerade Of Lies”, “Signs Of Fire” and the almost-9-minute long “First Time Thrill”.


Female singer as well, but completely different posture, Null Positiv followed suit. That so-German alternative, post-industrial sound which “recognizes the signs of the times”, to quote their own motto. Even if Elli Berlin joined Therion on stage to sing “Din” later on, this was the most “displaced” band on the bill, but given their feisty performance, “diversity is the spice of life” earned a new meaning. “Hass”, “Labyrinth”, “Friss Dich Auf” or “Koma” were just some of the songs that left the crowd – considerably bigger now – pretty hyped, Null Positiv’s impact being the exact opposite to their name.


If the Germans were the furthest from Therion in genre, Russian Imperial Age were the closest, with their symphonic/opera metal. The release of their third album earlier this month outlined their setlist, but they couldn’t go without performing “Anthem Of Valour” or “Aryavarta”. The combination of Aor’s tenor voice with Kiara’s soprano and Corn’s mezzo soprano, spiced up here and there by some growls of Vredes and Belf, filled the venue with a supreme vibrancy, overlaying striking melodies welcomed by everyone.


With such foreplay, it took only the first chords of “Theme Of Antichrist” to drive the crowd to a climax which would last throughout the almost-2-hour long performance of therionhc3Therion. Some highlights of their latest opera – including “Temple Of New Jerusalem”, which Thomas Vikström introduced by asking us to imagine ourselves inside a church, adding right away “boring, I know” – mingled with highlights of their whole career and we’ve witnessed a hell of a show (pun intended regarding “Beloved Antichrist”). Vikström was pretty talkative, as his usual, but the final words had to come out of founding member Christofer Johnsson. He remembered the last time they’d played in Porto, 20 years before – yes, 20! – and asked if any of us had been there. A few had – me included – and so he thanked us for the “old school support”. And he asked us to scream the title of the song that, like then – and almost always – finishes their shows, the imperative “To Mega Therion”.

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

True Black Dawn and Behexen live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live, Metal with tags , , , on 14th January 2018 by izaforestspirit

Kyy, True Black Dawn, Behexen
Olympia, Tampere, Finland
13th January 2018

My first concert of 2018! It’s been over a year since I’ve been to a black metal gig – not since Tampere Black Mass two years ago. Behexen is one of the big names within in the Finnish black metal scene and this was their first Tampere show in ten years.

Unfortunately I arrived too late to catch the first act, another Finnish black metal band called Kyy. I did however, see all of True Black Dawn’s performance. By then the venue wasn’t just full but officially sold out. Massive queues to bar and the tightly packed hall were just some of the challenges one had to face to catch a glimpse of the bands. I really struggled to get some decent-looking photos. But enough of that, let’s talk about the show…

True Black Dawn are an established black metal act who have been around in various guises since the mid 1990s. I knew them under their old name Black Dawn and only recently did I discover that they released a new album under the new name not so long ago. Music-wise they reminded me of old Marduk, Funeral Mist and most prominently of Enochian Crescent. The last band name shouldn’t come as much of surprise, since up until recently they shared the same singer. Good show but it sounded a little too familiar, almost as if I have heard similar bands before. 3/5


Behexen were worth the worth wait. Though not flawless, their performance was memorable. I particularly enjoyed hearing an old classic ‘The Celebration of Christ’s Fall’ and ‘Rakkaudesta Saatanaan’ from the new album. They also played ‘Kiss of The Dark Mother’ but sadly that didn’t sound quite as good as it does on the record. 4/5

In summary, black metal isn’t always the best genre to see live. Some bands are better than others. Out of all the black metal gigs I’ve been to, only a handful have been memorable. I cannot comment about Kyy; True Black Dawn were fairly average live but Behexen put on good show.

Iza Raittila

Moonspell introduce “1755” – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , on 3rd November 2017 by Pieni

Hard Club, Porto (PT)
1st November 2017
Promoted by Alma Mater Books & Records

1755 II

Today is the release of Moonspell’s so awaited “1755” (review here). Three shows were performed in advance and I attended the last one – the one when the infamous 1755 earthquake completed its 262nd anniversary.

1755 IIIA drawing of Lisbon in ruins – like the video for “In Tremor Dei” – as backdrop, one stand on each side of the stage for the Crystal Mountain Singers, and the new orchestral version of “Em Nome Do Medo” started playing at ten in the evening. Recorded, serving as intro, as the original version would be performed live later on the encore. So the first song to actually be performed was the title-track, Fernando Ribeiro singing it wearing a raven Venetian mask. As the album had been available in streaming format for a couple of days, a good share of the crowd was already singing along; the singles “Todos Os Santos”, “Evento” and “In Tremor Dei” had pretty much the whole house backing up the lyrics, not just the choruses. Moonspell are known for their powerful shows but when the crowd responds accordingly, interacting like they did that night, it’s always an overwhelming thrill.

1755 IVOverwhelming was also the presence of fado singer Paulo Bragança. On my album review I’ve described his voice as “riveting” and that the outcome of his collaboration with Moonspell was “mind blowing”. It’s so much more when you experience it live that there’s no accurate words for it.

1755 VIn a “city and venue that always welcomed them so warmly” (quoting Fernando himself), the tragedy told in this new album turned into rapture; Fernando said he understood that it would take us a while to get used to “1755”, not just for being new but also for being sung in Portuguese, but for what I saw that night no adjustment period is required.

1755 viiFor the cover of “Lanterna Dos Afogados” (by Os Paralamas Do Sucesso), the lights dimmed and Fernando held a lantern – the backup singers as well – enhancing that light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel feeling which the songs bears.

1755 VIThe album is a little less than one hour long, so even with the usual chit-chat – “dial 17 55 if you want more information. By now we know everything there is to know about earthquakes” was quite funny – it was too short for a concert. So they came back to play a 7-hit encore. No matter how many times you listen to those final “Alma Mater” and “FullMoon Madness”, the shiver down your spine is simply mandatory.

1755 vi

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Soen w/ support – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , on 2nd November 2017 by Pieni

Soen, Madder Mortem, Heavenwood
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
20th October 2017
Promoted by Free Music Events

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About two weeks ago, Soen dropped by Hard Club to promote their latest album “Lykaia”. It was a bold move to book the main room of the venue – 1000 people capacity – but it worked pretty well! It didn’t sell out, but it was packed enough to justify such choice. And as much as one goes to a gig for the bands playing and not for who’s promoting it, I must give my congratulations to Free Music for the successful event. Also, I’d like to thank Inês Reis and the whole staff for the cheerful and welcoming way they’ve treated both press and audience. Hope to meet them again in the near future.

DSC_0290 copyHeavenwood set foot on stage at nine sharp. As I’ve mentioned last time I’ve seen them (see here), Equaleft-Miguel Inglês occasionally assumes the singer role, whenever Ernesto Guerra can’t make it. This was one of those times – my first. Knowing Miguel’s vocal skills and posture I don’t know why I was impressed, but I was. Focusing mostly on the latest “The Tarot Of The Bohemians”, they’ve finished grandly with the new/revamped version of “Frithiof’s Saga”.

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DSC_0532 copyAs Madder Mortem hadn’t played here for quite a while, they were more than happy to go back before the release of “Red In Tooth And Claw”, which is the album they’re currently promoting; just as happy as the crowd was to listen to “M For Malice” or “Hangman”. So it was contradictory when, after playing “Armour”, Agnete M. Kirkevaag apologized for depressing us on a Friday night; but I don’t think anyone felt depressed, as the emotional overwhelm that Madder Mortem’s music boosts is quite gratifying – especially live, when one can witness how much the band members give themselves to the performance.

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DSC_0901 copyEverybody was already hyped, so when the first chords of “Canvas” echoed, we all reached the ultimate climax – listening to the crowd singing through and through, but especially along the guitars in “Jinn”, was a goose-bump sponsor. We were often applauded and awarded with a heartfelt smile from Marcus Jidell, while Joel Ekelöf, also with a sincere smile, thanked us for our support, ever since the first SOEN concert here, 5 years ago, when opening for Paradise Lost. That one was also memorable, but this night was simply unforgettable.

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Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

S-Tool and Battle Beast live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live, Metal with tags , , , , on 9th October 2017 by izaforestspirit

Profane Omen, S-Tool, Battle Beast

Olympia, Tampere, Finland

7th October 2017

At last a metal gig… It’s been a while. I haven’t seen any metal bands live since Destruction at the beginning of the year.

The show was part of Lost in Music Tampere, a city festival with a series of music events happening in several venues across the city centre. It was also organized by Nummirock Festival. This time the venue was a place called Olympia. It was my first time at this particular venue.

We missed the first band, Ikinä but we managed to catch most of Profane Omen. I’ve heard of them before but I’m not too familiar with their music. They were entertaining to watch at times but it wasn’t really my style. I’ve never been a massive fan of groove metal. 3/5

I’m a fan of Sentenced and Poisonblack, so needless to say that I was keen to check out Ville Laihiala’s new band S-Tool. Sadly their performance didn’t really live up to my expectations. They had a slow start and it took them a while to get going properly. Things improved a bit later on, and I enjoyed one of their songs – ‘Back to Zero’. They were also playing a few cover songs towards the end of the set including Metallica’s ‘Hit The Lights’. 2.5/5


The venue was packed by the time the night’s headliners took to the stage. It was already well past midnight by then, but luckily Battle Beast were worth the wait. Great show! The singer reminded me of Doro. Their lyrics are cheesy, almost Manowar-esque but the performance was very energetic and entertaining. Best tracks were ‘Black Ninja’ and ‘Touch in The Night’. 5/5

Overall it was a good night out even if it did finish rather late. S-Tool turned out to be a disappointment but Battle Beast were great live. I’m not too familiar with their music but after that performance I’m definitely going to check it out.

Iza Raittila



Two Witches 30th anniversary show

Posted in Dubstep, Gig, Live, Rock with tags , , , , , on 9th September 2017 by izaforestspirit

Dark Side Cowboys, Freaknagel, Harmony Garden
Klubi, Tampere, Finland
8th September 2017

The Finnish Goth rock band Two Witches celebrated their 30th anniversary last night. And what would be a better place to celebrate it than one of my favorite venues in their home city – at Klubi. I’ve seen them live before, but their anniversary show promised to be something special. Support bands including the Swedish alternative rock band Dark Side Cowboys, Estonian industrial band Freakangel and others.

I arrived too late to catch the first band Harmony Garden, who apparently played an acoustic set. The first band I saw was Dark Side Cowboys. I’ve seen these guys live before when they played Lumous Gothic Festival a few years ago, so I pretty much knew what to expect. Their style is difficult to categorize, it’s a mixture of old school, Fields of the Nephilim -style Goth rock with hints of darkwave and even some industrial. One thing is for sure, they know how to put on a great show. 4/5

Freakangel is a band that I used to like a lot when they first came out; I really like their first album. Sadly I’m not that keen on their newer releases and I don’t particularly like the direction that they are heading with their latest album. Their show was better than the first time that I saw them live, but it’s a shame that they only played one track from ‘The Faults of Humanity’. Other songs I recognized included ‘Parasite’, ‘The Used’ and ‘Book of Violence’. 3/5

Then the time came for the heroes of the day, Two Witches. These guys are usually very good live. This show was special in the sense that it gave the audience an insight into the band’s history. Singer Jyrki Witch was keen to share some anecdotes about the band’s early days. They also had some surprise guests with two former members of the band, Nauko and Toby joining them on stage for a few songs. As usual, they played an mixture of old and new songs including fan favorites such as ‘The Dark Angels of Sin’, ‘Dead Dog’s Howl’, ‘Inner Circle Outside’ and ‘Burn The Witch’. One surprise addition to the setlist was an old darkwave track called ‘Cat’s Eyes’ sung by Jyrki alone as an encore. 5/5

In summary I had a good time. Good music and it was a fun night out in town. Dark Side Cowboys were great live, Freakangel had its moments. As for the night’s heroes…Thirty years and still going strong. Happy anniversary to the Two Witches!

Iza Raittila