Archive for the Gig Category

Igniter and Lost Society live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , on 29th December 2018 by izaforestspirit

Igniter, Lost Society
Olympia, Tampere, Finland
28th December 2018

Last gig of 2018! The Christmas holidays are over and the New Year’s Eve is just around the corner. The days in between these two holidays tend to be rather dull and there is not a hell of a lot do. So I had a look to see what metal shows were on. Mortiis was in town but since this was part of their Era 1 tour (the dark ambient albums) I decided to give it a miss. I am not that much into dark ambient and it is not something that I would like to hear live. Then I spotted an advert for a thrash metal night at Olympia. I’ve seen Lost Society live at South Park Festival back in the summer but I did not know anything about the other band Igniter other than that they also play thrash metal.

After some research I discovered that Igniter are a local band with only one self-released EP. Luckily that did not stop them from putting on one hell of a show. They played some solid, old-school thrash metal, fast and full of energy just like it should be. I was really impressed with their performance and I hope to hear more from them soon. 4.5/5

Lost Society is one of those bands who command a sizable fan-base though I honestly cannot comprehend why. It is not so much that their music is bad. It is fairly decent-sounding thrash metal but I simply could not get into it. All the songs sounded similar and it felt as though the band were trying too hard to act like some major rock stars on stage. For example the singer was often switching from Finnish (his native tongue) to Americanized English while addressing the crowd. There were only a handful of memorable moments during the show: the part when they got a running mosh-pit going and a guitar solo towards the end of their set. 2.5/5

Overall it was a fun night out. Igniter far exceeded my expectations and their show was the better one of the night. Lost Society have their fans but after watching another mediocre performance by them I do not count myself among them.

Iza Raittila

Huoripukki and Goatsodomy live

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , on 25th November 2018 by izaforestspirit

Warfare Noise, Huoripukki, Goatsodomy
Varjobaari, Tampere, Finland
24th November 2018

Just when I think that I will not be attending any more live shows this year, something new pops up unexpectedly. Varjobaari, a small pub in one of the largest districts of Tampere, was the venue for a night of extreme metal with three Finnish underground bands performing. This was my first time at the venue and I was unfamiliar with the bands but the names and the descriptions of the music sounded intriguing so I decided to check them out.

Warfare Noise were up first. They are a fairly new band with only a few self-released demos. The best way I can describe their sound would be a mixture of grindcore and black metal with an emphasis on the grindcore. I’m not the biggest fan of grindcore but I have to admit that the drum work was really good. 2.5/5

Huoripukki were the main band I wanted to see. I haven’t heard their music prior to the show but I liked their name, it means “whoremonger” in Finnish. Anyway theirs was the most energetic show of the night. They played good mix of blackened death metal and to a lesser extent thrash metal. There was no space to form a moshpit but more than enough for some headbanging. 4/5

Last up was a black metal outfit called Goatsodomy. They played raw black metal which is not the easiest stuff to play live. They started out a little later than scheduled and I only stuck around to hear a few songs so there is not a hell of a lot that I can say about their show. What I heard was raw, minimalistic black metal which seemed a bit one-dimensional at times. 2.5/5

Overall I am glad that I took the time to attend the gig. I liked the venue and Huoripukki were entertaining to watch. It’s good to see that Finnish underground extreme metal scene is alive and well.

Iza Raittila

Hypocrisy and Kataklysm live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , on 11th November 2018 by izaforestspirit

The Spirit, Hypocrisy, Kataklysm
Pakkahuone, Tampere, Finland
10th November 2018

This time I opted for an evening of melodic death metal. My exposure to Hypocrisy’s music is limited a handful of songs from their old albums but I am fan of Peter Tägtgren’s other side projects so I figured it was about time that I checked out his main band. Similar things apply to Kataklysm – I discovered them via their singer Maurizio Iacono’s side project Ex Deo. Out of the two bands I am more familiar with Kataklysm, particularly their mid-career works such as ‘Epic (The Poetry of War)’ and ‘Shadows & Dust’.

First up was a German melodic black metal band called The Spirit. I have never heard of them before but I really enjoyed their show. Their music reminded me of Dissection and Taake. 4/5

Hypocrisy drew in a sizable crowd and rightfully so because they put on one hell of a show. They started off slow with the first song but then they really got going. Mr Tägtgren is quite the show-man and these guys did a good job of entertaining the audience. I stayed clear of the mosh-pit but I did do a fair amount of head-banging. The only thing that could have made their show better is if they had played ‘Osculum Obscenum’ but I guess you can’t have everything. 4/5

This was Kataklysm’s first time in Finland and I guess that if you like their current style you probably would have enjoyed their show. They played a lot of tracks from their recent albums which I am not particularly fond of. I actually prefer their older material. Luckily they played ‘Shadows & Dust’ which was the only highlight of the performance for me. This was not what I expected and I was left feeling a little disappointed. 2.5/5

Overall, it was a fun night out but I did not enjoy all the performances as much as I thought I would. The Spirit were surprisingly good and probably the best show of the night. Hypocrisy also put on a good show. As for Kataklysm, I do not like their latest album and I was really hoping to hear more old stuff. Maybe the next time I will check out Ex Deo live instead.

Iza Raittila

Primordial w/ support – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 22nd October 2018 by Pieni

Primordial, Basalto, Aura
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
21st September 2018
Promoted by Notredame Productions

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One month yesterday and the memories still send shivers down my spine. Primordial’s songs already have that effect on their fans, but something about that night’s performance made them more enthralling. I always thank the promoters for allowing me the chance of shooting these gigs but this time my heartfelt reverence towards Carlos Freitas and Notredame Productions goes deeper, for bringing such show to us.

DSC_0067 copyBut first things first. Post black metal Aura, promoting their debut EP “Hamartia”, which had been released in July. Aggressive, but bearing the somberness of a doom band, the mix works out extremely well, the four musicians really “into it” when on stage. For what I could gather, “Your Eyes Can Sweat My Desire For Catharsis” is their strongest track. An extra note on the bass player’s professionalism, as the piece on the bass that holds the strap broke but he didn’t stop playing; he just put his foot up on one monitor and held the instrument on his knee. I can only imagine the strain on his back and arms while doing it. In the end of the song he fixed it with duct tape, but since their songs are over 6 minutes long, consider my hat tipped.
https://www.facebook.com/oficialauraband/

Then came the 99%-instrumental Basalto. In fact, the first I’d seen them, a few months prior, I’d say they were an instrumental act. But this time, on the first and last track, guitarist António Baptista growled something indecipherable.
The final product is labelled as stoner/doom metal, but it’s achieved with a variety of other elements, such as jazz and blues, making it a lot spicier, more spirited. “Doença (“disease” in Portuguese) is their second album, released in February, and according to them, it represents everything black or dark in Humanity’s intellectuality. Interesting concept.
https://www.facebook.com/basaltostoner/

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In +25 years of attending concerts, I can only remember three concerts that went on for two hours: Iced Earth (the “Horror Show” tour, which coincided with the release of the boxset “Dark Genesis” and so the band decided to play a little bit of their full discography so far, with three different stage sets); Queensrÿche (the “Operation: Mindcrime” 20th anniversary tour where they performed both the album and its sequel in full) and Moonspell (the 20th anniversary of “Irreligious”, where they also played the whole DSC_0272 copy“Wolfheart” and “Extinct” albuns). Primordial was now the fourth, but the first without any special reason for it, apart from “not being like one of these new bands who play for an hour and go home” (quoting Nemtheanga himself). You’ve probably done the math by now: more time to play, less key-songs left out of the set, even if they have to insert new ones out of the latest “Exile Amongst The Ruins”. Plus, if you know how charismatic Nemtheanga is, you know how intense every minute of a Primordial show can be; 120 of them is something just beyond words.
Nemtheanga recalled several times their first show in Portugal, 20 years ago, praising “his friend” José Costa for it, and also mentioned the last time they’ve played at Hard Club (although that gig happened in the original venue, on the other side of the river, but that he didn’t seem to remember). Such sweet nostalgia, brought on not just by the older songs…
From “Nail Their Tongues” to “Empire Falls”, going through “To Hell Or The Hangman” or – my all-time favorite – “The Coffin Ships”, this concert was a roller-coaster ride of emotions that will hardly be forgotten by any of the presents.
https://www.facebook.com/primordialofficial/

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

SVARTIDAUDI live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , on 23rd September 2018 by izaforestspirit

Antimateria, Sacrilegious Impalement, SVARTIDAUDI
Olympia, Tampere
22 September 2018

It’s been several months since I last attended a black metal show. The last one was Behexen back in January. Black metal tends to be something that I usually listen to at home. Some of my favorite black metal bands never play live shows and out of the ones that do tour, not all are worth seeing. I’ve had mixed experiences of black metal shows, ranging from the really good, decent to the downright abysmal. This time I decided to check out a bunch of black metal bands whom I have not heard of before. Svartidaudi was the only name that I recognized from the line-up but I can’t say that I am familiar with their music.

First up was Antimateria, a solo artist with session musicians playing atmospheric black metal. This turned out to be my favorite performance of the night. It was the most melodic-sounding out of the all the bands and their style reminded me of Moonsorrow mixed with hints of Mustan Kuun Lapset. 4/5

Krypts was the only death metal band of the night. I had high hopes after looking them up on The Metal Archives. ‘Death Metal’ and ‘Lovecraftian horror’ listed in amongst the lyrical themes seemed promising. I was disappointed when I actually heard them. Yes, they played death metal but the music was slow, droning verging on doom metal at times. That might sound decent when played in the comfort of your own living room but when it comes to death metal live, I would have preferred to see something with more energy and aggression. 2/5

Luckily Sacrilegious Impalement were much better. They certainly put on an energetic performance. Their style wasn’t anything super unique; just good, old school black metal. Some songs featured some melodic elements but not quite as melodic as the first band. They reminded me of Horna at times. 3.5/5

Then it was time for the main act of the night. Svartidaudi also put on a good performance. They are essentially the Icelandic equivalent of Deathspell Omega. So if you like that kind of black metal, then this would probably be the band for you. Personally I found them to be a little bit one-dimensional despite all the technical greatness. 3.5/5

 

 

In summary, this was a good night out and I made some new discoveries. I wasn’t sure what to expect from these bands. Antimateria was the show that I enjoyed the most and the main one that stood out for me. Svartidaudi are good live but not really my type of black metal.

Iza Raittila

Speed Metal Party

Posted in Festival, Gig, Live with tags , , , , , on 11th August 2018 by izaforestspirit

Dethrone, Prestige, Razor
Klubi, Tampere, Finland
10th August 2018

Speed Metal Party is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. It was originally held in Tampere back in 1988 with local thrash metal legends Dethrone and Prestige. Now thirty years on, they decided to re-create the same line-up as it was back then with some new additions in the form of death-thrashers Dead Samaritan and Canadian speed-metal band Razor. For the Canadians, this was their very first show in Finland.

First up was Dead Samaritan, a female-fronted death-thrash metal band. They reminded me of mid-career Arch Enemy, a good mix of melodic death metal and thrash metal. It was good performance even if it started out a bit slow. 3.5/5

Next up was a local thrash metal band Menticide who haven’t played a live show since 1992. They were brought in from retirement specially for this occasion. I couldn’t really get into their show. The music sounded a bit demo-esque at times. The vocalist didn’t have much of a stage presence. 2/5

Dethrone have been around since the late 1980s. They keen to share some stories from the past and pay to their fallen brother, bassist Jouni Rinta. I really enjoyed their show, especially their cover of The Misfits ‘Last Caress’.5/5

Prestige was originally formed about the same time as Dethrone, then had a long-ish break but they are nowadays very much active again. They are one of the more established bands in the local thrash metal scene. By the time they came on stage the venue was packed and there was a mosh-pit forming. These guys don’t take themselves too seriously.They clearly like to add humour to their lyrics and crack a few jokes during the show. Maybe a bit too many jokes at times. I can’t fault the music though. It was a good show. 4/5

Then it was time for the night’s main headliners – Razor. As mentioned earlier, this was their very first time in Finland and I sincerely hope that it will not be their last. This was my favorite performance of the night. Top class speed metal. The highlight for me was when they played ‘Evil Invaders’. 5/5

 

 

In summary I had a great time at Speed Metal Party. I’m not that well versed in Finnish thrash metal but that didn’t stop me from enjoying Prestige and Dead Samaritan. Razor were excellent live. Happy Anniversary Speedy Metal Party! 30 years and still going strong…

Iza Raittila

 

Cannibal Corpse live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , on 17th July 2018 by izaforestspirit

Mörbid Vomit, Pillorian, Cannibal Corpse
Pakkahuone, Tampere, Finland
16th July 2018

Last night was hot. Finland is experiencing a heatwave at the moment and the temperatures don’t seem to show any signs of cooling down. I was still technically recovering from Lumous Gothic Festival and in this heat I would not normally want to leave the house. This time however, I had a good reason – the world renowned death metal band Cannibal Corpse were in town. I’ve been a fan of their music for several years so I was really excited about the show.

The Finnish death metal band Mörbid Vomit were the opening act. They put on an entertaining show that seemed to go down well with the local crowd. Their music reminded me somewhat of the Swedish death metal band Unleashed. A good start to the night. 3,5/5

I couldn’t really get into Pillorian. Their sound can be best described as a mixture of black metal and atmospheric doom metal with occasional progressive elements. It’s the kind of stuff that would probably sound decent when you listen to it at home but not live. I wanted something a bit more energetic. 2.5/5

 

Luckily the headliners did not disappoint. Energy is one thing that Cannibal Corpse has in spades. This was the second time that I’ve seen these guys live, so I knew what I was in for. Right from the opening riff the mosh-pit was in full swing. It didn’t take long until I too was headbanging along with the rest of the audience. When it comes to headbanging, no one can keep up with the band’s frontman George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher. That guy is a real headbanging professional. They played some of my favorites including ‘Kill or Become’, ‘Hammer Smashed Face’ along with some new material from their latest album. 5/5


In summary, I keep stating that death metal sounds great live. Cannibal Corpse definitely lives up to that description. I’m really glad that I decided to brave the hot weather and attend their show.

Iza Raittila

 

Sick N’ Beautiful + Supports @ Manchester Aatma

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , , on 4th June 2018 by Mickelrath

Sick N’ Beautiful w/ Bad Pollyanna & Novacrow

Venue: Manchester Aatma Date: 02 June 2018

This was an interesting show, to say the least. First of all, I struggled to find the venue. I like to think that I know Manchester pretty well but I had to lap the building a few times to even find it. So that wasn’t the best start. Also since this was one of the last dates of the tour and this date was a last minute addition to the tour, there wasn’t much of a crowd in the venue. Still the bands really brought the energy and intensity, resulting in a fun time regardless. I have recently reviewed the new album from Sick N’ Beautiful and I really liked it. It had so much personality to it, so naturally, I had to check out what a show from them would be like. Also for an added bonus the support came from Liverpool’s mad rockers, Novacrow. Also, one of my favourite bands, Bad Pollyanna. With all that in play I knew I was going to have a good time.

Novacrow


Straight from the get-go these guys brought so much fire. They just went absolutely crazy on the stage. The guitars roared and the bass pulsated as they brought their tunes to life. Unfortunately their drummer was absent but nothing that a cardboard cutout of Danny DeVito and a drum machine couldn’t fix and to be fair it was mixed pretty well into the set. They wouldn’t stand still for one moment and I liked that. Lead vocalist, Kitty was a mad woman, roaming around the venue and screaming with such passion. They were a lot of fun and I was really into it. Every moment they were playing the audience were captivated by their antics. I haven’t seen them in a long time and I have to say they haven’t missed a step for a single moment.

They’re just as fun and enjoyable as ever and they’re clearly having a good time when they play. The only real problem I had with the set is that the balance was out at times. There would just be moments where the distortion was just a little too much and you couldn’t hear the actual music more just noise. However they made up for that with their personalities. They were beaming with big grins as they played great tunes like “Fight The Horde” and ending the set on the ever popular “Fat Frog”. Where the band went into full on crazy mode. Definitely an enjoyable opener and it made me realise that I need to see them more often. They put on a great live I hope more and more people catch on to them.

Bad Pollyanna


I’ve already kinda gave this away but yeah Bad Pollyanna are one of my favourite bands. I could go to see them again and again and never really get bored. They have the really nice balance of rock and electronica. Once again they didn’t disappoint. They blasted full force on the stage and I think a lot of the audience knew who they were as well which added to the show immensely. I loved the set list, each song followed into the next, it all felt like it really flowed well. Songs like “Pull the Trigger” and “Bionic Heart” got the people moving and I was really enjoying myself. The electronic sections really add layers to their live set. It was mixed really well with the live instruments and the vocal performance was sublime. Frontwoman, Olivia Hyde and bassist Nikki Kontinen had some really great moments of vocal harmony as well. The whole set just felt so fluid. “Define Me” was really well received as well, as one of their biggest hits. They just injected so much charisma and energy into their set. Their performance was engrossing. Maybe a little more restrained that Novacrow’s set, but still really fun to watch. It was really hard to take your eyes off of them.

There wasn’t too much in the way of negatives in this set. To be perfectly honest I was enjoying myself too much to really notice. The mark a really good set in my opinion. The only thing I wish is that there was some new material for them to play. As much as I love the two albums they have I wish there was some new music just to spice up the set list a little more. To be fair though that’s not a bad criticism to give, I want more music.  Bad Pollyanna continue to be one of my favourite bands to watch live. Everything they do while on stage is really enjoyable and their songs are very entertaining.

Sick N’ Beautiful


Okay…This was actually really good. Very much worth the wait to see. Sick N’ Beautiful really know how to put on one hell of a show, even the smallest and cramped of spaces. Seriously talk about making the most of the space given to you. They really brought their set list to life in the best of ways. Their music was excellent as they played some of my favourite tunes from the album. Their performance was out of this world with strobe lighting and a very interesting presentation. The sound was pretty damn good as well. The songs were well played.

Unfortunately the crowd had thinned out even more than before so there wasn’t quite as much energy as there was for the openers. I would love to see them play to a much bigger and more energetic crowd because I think a show like that would be quality. They clearly put a lot of time into their stage personas. I really loved them for the short time they were on stage. The setlist was great I really liked “Megalomaniacal” and “All Wanna Go To Heaven”. They just performed really well. I loved that they put their all into the set, I can really respect that. They clearly have a passion for performing and it shone through here. I wish there was more of an atmosphere to the show, but beggars can’t be choosers and I had a great time listening to them.

Mick Birchall

Vlad in Tears live Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , on 12th May 2018 by izaforestspirit

There are lots of fun events happening in Helsinki this weekend. For example one of my favorite bands is playing two shows. It’s a shame that I can’t make it to any of them…

So I had a look at what was available locally and I came across Vlad in Tears. They’re a Berlin-based Italian Gothic rock band whose music sounds similar to the likes of HIM and The 69 Eyes. I only recently discovered them and I’m probably not alone in thinking that they are somewhat underrated. Assumedly low early ticket sales meant that this event actually became a free show but the venue wasn’t busy at all.

First up was up was the Finnish dark wave band Rain Diary. I quite enjoyed their set. Their music is melodic and good to dance to. So not a bad start to the night. 3.5/5

Next was Psyyke, an old and well established post-punk band who are apparently one of pioneers of the Finnish Goth scene. The crowd wasn’t big this time either, but these guys did their best to keep the audience entertained. There’s not much I can say about their show. It was good, old school post-punk and everyone seemed to be having fun. 4/5

The night’s headliners came on stage with a slight delay. I kind of felt sorry for them having to come all this way to play a free show to a limited audience. This was apparently their first time in Finland. The performance was really good. They played most of their hits including the most recent ‘Sorrow’, ‘Bleed Me Dry’ and ‘The Devil Won’t Take Me Home’. 4/5

Overall, I had a good time. I like Vlad in Tears and I hope that they will visit Finland again at some point. They do deserve a bigger audience.

Iza Raittila

Insomnium + Tribulation – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , on 28th April 2018 by Pieni

Insomnium, Tribulation
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
9th April 2018
Promoted by Prime Artists

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“Winter’s Gate” is the name of Insomnium’s latest album and therefore the name of the tour – even if the release is one-year-and-a-half old. Plus, given the cold wave that’s been washing over Europe when Spring was supposed to be settling in, “Winter’s Gate” sounds pretty fitting.
Monday night, the crisp weather, the 2-band bill instead of the usual 3, the ticket price somewhat higher than normal… I confess I was expecting a poor crowd in terms of numbers. Well sometimes it feels good to be wrong and see that, after all these years, your hometown can still positively surprise you.
DSC_0054 copyWhat I didn’t like to be wrong about was the duration of Tribulation’s gig. Sure, I knew this wasn’t a co-headlining tour, but since there was no other band on the bill, I was hoping for a little more than 45 minutes – especially when they have a new album to promote as well. “Down Below” was released in January and only a third of its fantastic tracks were performed – “Lady Death”, “Nightbound” and “The Lament”. Of course we wanted to hear everything else they’ve played, from their previous works, but we wanted more – hence the 45-minute slot not being enough. I remember the first time Insomnium played here, eight years ago, asking us to buy something at the merch stand in order to “help the little guys”. Here they were this night, not so little anymore, so let’s cross fingers that next time Tribulation come here they’ll be headlining their own show. And that it won’t take that long – even if there’s only 5 years left to complete the 8 since the first time they’ve played in Porto.
The “Down Below” artwork is in shades of red and black but the lights during Tribulation gig were green. And black. Too much black. It was pretty hard to capture those enthralling movements of Jonathan and the devilish faces of Adam; but then again, no still image can truly show what one experiences at a Tribulation gig.

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www.facebook.com/Tribulationofficial/

DSC_0448 copyThe darkness came back in full when the Police Academy theme echoed – Insomnium’s intro – but then went on. And on and on. There were only glimpses of a weak light during the whole performance of “Winter’s Gate” (in case you don’t know, the new album has just one 40-minute-long track, divided in 6 parts, although the second, “The Golden Wolf”, is subdivided in two). If the idea was to illustrate the long winter nights they have in Finland, congratulations, you’ve made it! Wasn’t the spirited vibrancy of their performance – and the matching feedback from the crowd – and it would’ve been pretty depressing.
After Insomnium closed their winter’s gate, “The Primeval Dark” lived up to the exact opposite of its name and the room lit up like a summer day. By then I had retreated to enjoy songs like “Mortal Share”, “Weather The Storm” or “The Promethean Song” in the far back – so no bright pics, sorry.
The photographer in me left the venue frustrated, but the music lover had her heart full – and a pleasant smile for the first chords of Moonspell’s “Alma Mater” that preceded the encore “Only One Who Waits”.

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www.facebook.com/insomniumofficial/

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Vader, Annihilator and Testament live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live 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

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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”.

www.facebook.com/MidnightEternal/

NULLPOSITIV

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.

www.facebook.com/nullpositiv/

IMPERIAL AGE

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.

www.facebook.com/imperialageofficial/

therionhc2

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”.

www.facebook.com/therion/

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

True Black Dawn and Behexen live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live 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

Moonspell
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

https://www.facebook.com/moonspellband/
https://www.facebook.com/almamaterrecords/

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.

https://www.facebook.com/FreeMusicEventsOfficial/

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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https://www.facebook.com/HeavenwoodOfficial/

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.

https://www.facebook.com/mmortem/

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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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https://www.facebook.com/SoenMusic/

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

S-Tool and Battle Beast live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live 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

http://lostinmusic.fi/home

http://www.nummirock.fi/

 

 

Two Witches 30th anniversary show

Posted in Gig, Live 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

Blue Cheer – Live At Rockpalast – Bonn 2008

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , on 9th September 2017 by Paul Macmillan

Blue Cheer

Live At Rockpalast – Bonn 2008 (double live CD & DVD)

Hard rock/Blues

Released 31st March 2017 via M.I.G.

 

Blue Cheer might ring a bell, but I’d be lying if I said I thought they were a household name. This is certainly the first time I’ve actively sat down and listened to them, or rather, watched, as is the case here. Not for the first time, I wish I’d paid more attention. This is some badass old-school riffing, with an incredible level of energy for doomy blues/metal, especially doomy blues/metal churned out by three fairly haggard looking old dudes.

The video itself is a little odd. The footage is great; nice angles, every member gets some screen time, and the quality is nice. It’s more a case of the setting. It’s a little like a cross between a music college theatre and The Old Grey Whistle Test stage. From the start, you can spot bar maids carrying crates (not trays) of empty glasses, and punters making their way to and from the toilet. It is nice, up close, and personal, but there’s something about it which seems at odds with the massive sound coming from the stage.

And it is massive! This shouldn’t have come as a surprise, though. If my German is correct, the announcer tells us at the start that they once claimed the title of ‘loudest band in the world’. Sharing that part of rock and roll which saw the likes of Cream, Sabbath, and Motorhead at their most basically visceral, this is absolutely a band who were part of the melange which gave birth to what we now know as heavy metal. There are all the best characteristics of what made that movement in the beginning. Suzzed out, aggressive blues. Post-Vietnam punk energy. UK power trio riffs. It’s all there.

Sadly, founder and frontman, Dickie Peterson, is no longer with us, otherwise this band may still be giving the young ones a run for their money. If you, like me, hadn’t given Blue Cheer a proper day in court, and you want to dig deeper into the (pre-) history of stoner doom, give this a spin. It’s a great performance, featuring some surprisingly recognisable musical moments which may or may not have been pinched by a number of our heroes down the line. I’m looking at you, Clutch and Alice In Chains.

4/5

Paul Macmillan

Sepultura w/ Equaleft – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , on 8th July 2017 by Pieni

Sepultura, Equaleft
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
4th July 2017
Promoted by Prime Artists

derrick1

Drummer Marquito left Equaleft last October but when your former band is invited to open for Sepultura, you must return for (another) last gig.
Everybody came out of the shadows, apparently – media included. So we were divided in groups and each shot one of the first three songs. My only concern was regarding the exchange between songs but the situation was handled smoothly. So kudos to Prime Artists and the Hard Club staff – thanks to them, we all had a shot at covering such memorable show.

marquitoIt was the closing of a chapter in Equaleft’s book, marking the last gig promoting “Adapt & Survive”. If memory serves me well, they’d said that already a few months ago, but just like Marquito, they couldn’t say no to Sepultura. I believe this time it was really the last one, though, as I know a new record is taking a solid shape, with a new drummer who will be announced soon. But that night was still just for what are already considered classics among the national underground – the intrepid “Invigorate” (featuring the mandatory Star Wars lightsabre), the groovy “Tremble”, the eccentric “Maniac” or the classy “Uncover The Masks”. And in the end, “their trademark” box of cookies was distributed among the fans.

JEDIMIG

www.facebook.com/equaleft

derrick2There were a lot of Equaleft t-shirts in the crowd, but when Derrick Green himself goes on stage wearing one… damn, even I felt proud – hence the need of mentioning this little detail. Regarding what really matters: when you’ve been in a band for over 30 years and “big” for almost as long, one hour and a half always seems awfully short, especially after the release of another album. The trick is finding the right balance between new and old and, of course, performing both like there was no tomorrow. Guess who were able to do just that? (Okay, I confess I’d rather watch them play “Troops Of Doom” than “Inner Self”, but we can’t always have our way, and the near sold-out venue went bananas screaming along “nonconformity in my inner self / only I guide my inner self”, so who am I to complain?). Also, if you’ve read my live reports before, you probably know how I disapprove of solos; Sepultura seem to share this opinion as Andreas Kisser proved his skills – as if he still needed to – by playing the instrumental “Iceberg Dances”, out of the latest “Machine Messiah” the band’s currently promoting.
JUNIOR“I Am The Enemy” kicked it off, “Roots Bloody Roots” (what else?) finished it up, in-between Derrick told us “this is your fucking territory” and that he wanted to see us all arise, and Andreas dedicated “Sepultura Under My Skin” to Moonspell and F.C.Porto – the first for being good friends and representing Portugal’s metal throughout the world, the same way Sepultura do with Brazil’s; the latter… well, we all know how football is big in Brazil.
It was such a brutal show that no one even took offense when Derrick mistook Porto for Lisboa. Of course he was booed loudly, but his apologies were so immediate and genuine – plus, he’d said Porto several times during the evening – that it turned out more of a funny moment than an actual fail. Therefore, a perfect night.

KISSER

www.facebook.com/sepultura

Gallery at our Facebook page here.

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Epitaph – A Night At The Old Station

Posted in Gig, Live, Review with tags , , on 23rd May 2017 by izaforestspirit

Epitaph
A Night at The Old Station
Released 28th April 2017
Hard Rock/Prog-rock with jazz elements
Released via M.I.G Music GmbH

A Night At The Old Station’ is an acoustic live album from the German hard rock band Epitaph. It was recorded at the Old Station in Anderten, near Hanover, Germany. The set features a mixture of old and new material played using mostly acoustic instruments. Although full concert recording is available as a 2CD &DVD box-set, this review will focus of the promo CD version which features six tracks plus two enhanced live videos.

Two keys words – “live” and “acoustic”, are a good indication of the what you can expect from this release. I’ve never been to an Epitaph show but the live videos offer the next best thing. The use of acoustic instruments gives the songs a relaxed, more melodic feel which is only enhanced by the additional cellos, piano, keyboards and violin on some of the tracks. Take Looking For A Friend for example, it has that chilled out vibe to it. Then they speed things up a notch with One of These Days, a catchy hard rock ballad with a memorable chorus .

I recognized Love Child, having previously heard it as a bonus track on their most recent studio album ‘Fire From The Soul’. The acoustic version is far more laid back but it definitely has its charms. Then if you’re looking for a good tune to dance to then look no further than Ain’t No Liar, the longest but also the most catchy song on the CD.

Overall, this is clearly more for the die-hard Epitaph fans who wish to add this release to their existing collection. As with any live album, it’s no match for the real live show experience but it gives the offers the listener/viewer the next best thing.

3.5/5

Iza Raittila