The Into Darkness tour 2012 sent a massive pack of darker hardness with bands from Greece, Finland, Portugal and Sweden through nine European countries: Scar Of The Sun, Lake Of Tears, Swallow The Sun, Moonspell and Pain. From Doom till Gothic Metal the black kettles were heated; presented by Metal Hammer, Legacy, Noizeletter, Orcus, Musix, Metal.de, X-tra-X, BLAST. Therefore even two STALKER team members have set out to report about it:
Pratteln, Switzerland, 12th November 2012 My car and me, still this age-old Renault Clio, have a mission tonight - the Into Darkness-Tour promising sinister sounds, dark grooves, melancholic vocals and evil growls. Everything you ever wanted. Because of 5 bands it starts early at 18:30h. When I arrive it doesn´t look good attendance-wise – but things will surely change, it´s still early and I´m sure on a Monday many cannot just leave their jobs earlier.
Scar Of The Sun In the meantime some more people came in and the band can start. The Greeks are powerfully presenting their debut album „A Series of Unfortunate Concurrencies“. Their music, a mixture of Gothic-Doom Metal, convinces people as well as singer Terry Nikas, whose voice fits perfectly to their style. But as soon as they started the spectacle is over. Showing in 30min what you are capable of and warming up a crowd isn´t easy, but Scar of the Sun manage easily, and it should not take too long to see them live again.
Lake Of Tears A short changeover, then the next band is due. Gothic Metal from Sweden, sinister and melancholic, combined with Doom and Psychedelic Rock. We get to hear songs from the recent album „Illwill“ - beautiful songs, played perfectly and also Daniel Brennare´s voice is a perfect fit. Now there are about 600 people at the venue who cheer to ghe band. And among the black-dressed crowd – one sticks out with bright yellow working pants and heavy worker´s boots, who came to the show directly from his tough and hard workplace. That´s how Metalheads are – tireless fighters, loyal to their bands and brave in destroying beer supplies.
Swallow The Sun When it´s getting dark in Finland and winter approaches, many tend to depression or alcohol – others use this creative time to capture this special mood in music. Sinister, sad, heartbreaking – this is Swallow the Sun. Their way of expression through Melodic-Death/Doom-Metal is special, they are all excellent musicians, and nobody else but singer Mikko Kotamäki could communicate those moods. Yet there are other two members who stick out, first drummer Kai Hahto, who had just been on tour with Wintersun, working his tempi changes, and then keyboarder Aleksi Munter with his acrobatic headbanging – with his facial expression he surely scares kids. The setlist consists of songs of their latest CD „Emerald Forest And The Blackbird“. Although the guys delivered a great show, they have to make room for the next act.
Moonspell A Combo from Brandoa near Lissabon – this Portugese band should be known to fans of this genre as they are masters of their trade. Singer Fernando radiates enormous strength on stage, with the mask he is waring his mystic aura is intensified. Also the band colleagues know how to rule the stage. The setlist is identical with the festival tour´s, some were added, e.g. Some jewels from the „Alpha Noir/Omega White“ album. Yet the fans give the most enthusiastic reaction when „Vampiria“ was announced. Moonspell live are always a pleasure, because they are really making an effort to please their fans.
It seems Pain isn´t the most popular band tonight as the audience loses a bit of its mass when the Swedes enter the stage. But perhaps the reason is simply the fact that the last trains are leaving Pratteln about 23h. Pain promote the material of their new album, „We come in Peace“l still the show begins with „The same old Song“, yes indeed, like always. But it´s a good song. Peter in his strait jacket is something special, you feel that you really should put this guy in one to stop him from producing new music just for a little while. Mr. Tägtgren and his guys offer a good mix of old and new songs, ending with „ Shut your mouth!“ as a treat. Then it´s handing out picks and sticks before the band ends the show and leaves the stage.
Summary: A good package for the Into the Darkness Tour, but maybe one band less would have been better, just fitting all of them on the bill, especially on weekdays. Let´s be honest, it is always the first band who gets f**ked, paying a lot of money just to be part of the tour and then only 30min playing time, that´s simply not fair. Therefore sometimes less is more. Still, the Swiss show was top.
Scar Of The Sun from the land of the ancient temple ruins, the modern Euro ruin and the city of night owls had the task of warming up. It took two to three portions of their melodic, sometimes progressive Metal in this initially largely empty hall,before the smoking, drinking or otherwise diverted crowd found their way from the corridors and vestibules to the sunny scars. The band kept on the accelerator and drove their show forward with a lot of energy. Complex Metal structures always require a certain time before they ignite. At the end of the show obviously quite many visitors felt inflamed, although the clean vocals by Terry Nikas sounded strained especially in the higher registers, half an octave lower his voice seemed to feel more comfortable. In the previous year they had released their debut album, which received many positive reviews; currently they work on their second cd.
After the scars the tears: as well known there are many lakes in Sweden, even in music - called Lake Of Tears, whose debut on the other hand already looks back on 18 years. Eight studio albums and a reboot later, one can speak of an old warhorse which offered a kind of heavy Death Metal, sometimes roaming in Gothic Rock and - characterized by the scratchy rough vocals of Daniel Brennare - switched off the mental lights in the hall and spread darkness over people´s mood. For the followers of the dark scene and fans of bands like Tiamat or Anathema, delicious melancholy was served here. Especially from the last album "Illwill" came several songs such as "Taste Of Hell", "Illwill" or "House of the Setting Sun." Now the hall was already pretty nice filled.
The scars, the tears and the darkness: those who swallow the sun come from the Finnish gloom. But their world is not pitch-black, rather illumined by an inner, very melodious and atmospheric lighting; the sound spread like a magical glow over the walls of the hall and the audience. From the forests of varied Metal presented Swallow The Sun their own, rather slow and sparkling of melancholic beauty version up to Doom, the vocals most diversified of all: clear sung parts were torn terrifically of malignant deep growls and screams like a whip. In addition to the guitar, the keyboard had a main function and ranked visually in front of the stage, too. The show raised the intensity of the evening to a whole level up.
The hall full, the mood after swallowing the sun ready for the magic of the moon: Moonspell from Portugal celebrated their 20th anniversary and proved that they are definitely neither calmer nor negligent and that in this regard they belong to the top acts of the metal circus acrobats. After a short introduction, Fernando Ribeiro, the charismatic front man with the powerful voice, came onto the stage, decorated with a fierce ancient warrior helmet, and thus demonstrated the character of this year´s Gothic Death Metal double album "Alpha Noir/Omega White". But he took off his helmet soon, and the setlist did not stick to the new productions, but offered old works even back to the dark werewolf times of "Wolfheart" and the classic "Irreligious"; howling, demonic and savage. In the beginning, Rebeiro was not quite satisfied with the Hanseatic restraint level of enthusiasm, but to obtain this, he and his band fought with full dedication and finally reached their goal: At the end of the show the sweat distilled on the walls, the enthusiasm made massive waves and the connection of the audience to the band had risen to a rare form of warmth and intensity. This feeling was clearly perceived by the band, too, who did not want to move away for several minutes from the stage and bathed in applause.
This performance was difficult to surpass. For the appointed headliner of the tour, Pain from Sweden, it was difficult to increase this highlight of the evening. And indeed this happened not really, although with Peter Tägtgren, the singer, guitarist and songwriter of the band, a big name in the metal scene (Hypocrisy) and in music production was at start. Probably to set morbid accents, he was dressed casually in a dirty straitjacket, due to practical use. His music combines Industrial and Heavy Metal ("Dirty Woman"), rocking, straight and very dynamic. The roots like Led Zeppelin, Slayer or AC/DC were easy to discover; a base that is significantly different from the mystic aura of the band before and therefore a certain fraction in the evening. The curve of a fictitious highlight diagram would have slightly dropped down, nevertheless the musical level of this concert presented an impressive experience and a successful conclusion, even though - as Tägtgren himself had declared in an interview - his band meant not an ideal choice for an "Into Darkness" tour, which turns towards to a rather darker scene.