A couple of years ago, the annual Finnish Metal Expo was for the first time marketed as an expanded format, dubbed Helsinki Metal Meeting and including various club gigs in addition to the Expo itself. This year there were no additional gigs on Friday and Saturday, but the opening event at Virgin Oil Co. on Thursday night offered an attractive billing in its own right. [TS]
Avatar were not from another planet but they were from Sweden. However, the sound was quite terrestrial and stuck out with very well matching guitars, bass and drums. Johannes Eckerström’s vocals were very original.
More photos here He somehow combined growling and screeching. Not everyone in the audience liked that. But for me, all stress that piled up during the week was screamed out through his voice. And I would have really liked a sip of the stuff in the fuel can, which the frontman used to lubricate his voice between the songs. By the way, the songs got better and better over the gig. (GK)
The Swedes were followed by Verenpisara, who were returning from an almost five-year hiatus. Their line-up had changed slightly, since original bassist Niclas Etelävuori had quit some time ago.
Friday, February 18, 2011 The basic layout of Kaapelitehdas was the same as last year, and most exhibitors were back in their familiar places. The number of visitors, however, seemed to have dropped quite a bit from last year´s figure, which might be partly attributable to the simplified ticket policy. Whereas in previous years it had been possible to buy cheap tickets for the general Expo area (fair stands, clinics and bar) areas without access to the main stage, this year there had been only the more expensive full-access version. I was told by several people at Virgin Oil Co. the night before that they were skipping the main event this year for this very reason, and presumably they were not the only ones.
More photos here Deathchain I arrived a little bit late to the Deathchain gig. However, I immediately found myself in a completely different atmosphere compared to bright sunshine outside, which was created by very gloomy Black/Trash Metal. Unfortunately also the photos drowned in fog and murk. Beside me just a handful of people had arrived yet. But the first row raised their fists and in the second row all the headbangers were ready to get started.
More photos here Zeroscape played a very surprising mixture of Rap Metal with Reggae elements. At first the knees were brought into a relaxed condition and with the refrain the neck muscles came into action. The gig was very entertaining. But again, only few people were present yet. Therefore frontman Binski used this situation to climb over the barrier in order to get into contact with the audience. Also after the show, fans could hug him and make photos with him.
More photos here Dreamshade The Swiss Melodic Death Metal band Dreamshade got powerfully of the right foot. The setlist comprised songs like “Miles Away” and “Wide Awake” from the current album “What Silence Hides”. But again it was obvious that mainly only fans were present at this early evening at the cable factory. However, especially the fans were heated up by frontman Iko so that the group in front of the stage started to move. (GK)
Of Friday´s domestic bands, the one I was
most eager to check out was MyGrain . I haven´t paid much attention to them in the past, but the new album sounds pretty complete, with many facets to it and never dull. Neither was their live set.
More photos here The stage setup brought to mind Swallow The Sun, because apart from the drummer, everyone including keyboardist Eve was positioned in the front row. The keyboards cut through nicely - which is not always the case at Kaapelitehdas - and added defining nuances to the massive onslaught. Variety is also an essential characteristic of singer Tommy, whose clean range seems to encompass almost three octaves, not to mention his mean growl. Of the five songs MyGrain played, "Trapped In An Hourglass" was arguably the best demonstration of his skills and also featured some of the set´s finest guitar work, but unfortunately it was already the last song. Wouldn´t have minded listening to more of this stuff.
Setlist: Into The Parallel Universe / Dust, Devils And Cosmic Storms / Of Immortal Aeons / ? / Trapped In An Hourglass [TS]
More photos here For The Imperium played sound guitar-based rock. The guitarists gripped energetically into the chords and twirled over the stage. The rather small audience kept waiting and – me included – probably tried to get an impression. But the band could not ignite a spark. Songs with growled chants were quite okay, but some more melodic ones appeared out of tune. (GK)
The coming summer will mark my tenth time at Tuska, but in all those years few if any bands there have left me as deeply awestruck as Celtic Frost did in 2006. That was the first and last time I saw them live, since they disbanded not too long afterwards.
Trying to impress me after Triptykon would have been a tough job for almost any band, but one that was definitely not up to it was Symfonia. Being of German and Italian descent, a love of power metal should presumably be in my blood, but fortunately I´ve been spared this genetic defect.
Sabaton were much anticipated by a large audience which started to run hot with chanting the band´s name. Joakim Brodén thanked all the Finnish fans already at the beginning. Sabaton are currently on world tour but they will come again to Finland during the summer for the Ruisrock festival. It was obvious that this show was dedicated to the Finnish fans. After a few songs a Finnish flag was exposed on the stage and also the Sabaton-banner appeared within the Finnish flag.
More photos here The show was really hot. Literally. Flamethrower accompanied the stammering beats and fans shouting Hei-Hei. For this reason taking photos directly in front of the stage was impossible. Nevertheless, we found a way to capture the great mood also visually! (GK)
Saturday, February 19, 2011
More photos here Turmion Kätilöt Besides this early hour amazingly many metal fans found their ways to the cable factory on Saturday afternoon. And they were rewarded with a very good concert. “Verta ja lihaa” belongs to the standard program. But also the new single “Ihmisixsixsix” was on the playlist. The atmosphere was great right from the beginning. The show as well but – unfortunately – reasonably for this time. Especially Spellgoth wore way to many clothes in my opinion and only dropped his jacked after few songs. However, this way we could spend all our attention to the very impressive and bloody make-up by MC Raaka Pee and Co.
More photos here Corroded When the Swedes entered the stage, way less audience was present. Nevertheless, Corroded played really good guitar rock, which was underlined by Jens Westin’s strong voice. After the second song he thought that it would but already time for beer, but instead he intoned “Time and Again”. Also songs from the current album “Exit to Transfer” were played, for example “Forget About Me”. But you should not forget these guys. And to everybody who missed them: you really missed out something.(GK)
As mentioned before, on Saturday the clinic stage was dedicated to a band contest, hosted by Century Media who would offer a recording contract to the winner. As my little notebook was running out of pages, I visited a downtown bookstore before heading over to Kaapelitehdas, but my misconception that there was a direct subterranean connection from that shop to the nearest metro station led me right into a prolonged odyssey through the miraculous underworld of our beloved capital. I ultimately ended up on a train all right (albeit from a different stop than the one I had envisioned) and reached my goal, but not until two out of four contestants had finished their sets.
Next, it was time for the Sakara Awards (which officially still go by the moniker Finnish Metal Awards), but shockingly enough, the label missed out in one of the categories they were eligible for - best instrumentalist - and it doesn´t look like they are going to sign the newcomer or the demo act of the year anytime soon either. Epic Fail!
Anyway, here´s the winners for 2010: Best...
...album:1. Stam1na - Viimeinen Atlantis 2. Mokoma – Sydänjuuret 3. Black Sun Aeon - Routa
...band: 1. Stam1na 2. Mokoma 3. Before The Dawn
...newcomer: 1. Barren Earth 2. Pressure Points 3. The Man-Eating Tree
...album artwork: 1. Mokoma – Sydänjuuret 2. Stam1na - Viimeinen Atlantis 3. Black Sun Aeon - Routa
If the awards ceremony was - apart from the historic moment of known teetotaller Tuomas Saukkonen taking a victory gulp from a bottle of beer - a rather boring affair, the next band definitely wasn´t. I don´t particularly care for 1980s mainstream metal and the music of Battle Beast is consequently not really my cup of tea, but you just gotta love Nitte Valo for her powerhouse voice and take-no-prisoners stage personality.