Whoever met Finntroll and Tarot before the concert was surely shocked. Finns do look hangoverish sometimes, but this tour had just started, and all looked so wasted as if it was the last show of an extensive tours. And when you saw a rather desperate looking tourmanager hurrying through the venue, you could already assume that alcohol was not the reason. Finntroll´s bass player had had no sleep because there was not enough room in the bus and he had to sleep on the couch. With 30 Euro ticket prices and almost sold-out venues there should have been enough money to accommodate the bands... The bands took it with gallows humour, because the person at Metalysee responsible for the organisation had quit the job a few days before the tour started, and nothing had been settled. But the bands took it with humour – what else could they do.
All Ends The lack of a cloakroom caused some turmoil at the entrance, therefore All Ends played in front of 20 people who also seemed not really interested. Both vocalists tried their best, but somehow I cannot remember any of their songs. Music in the style of Within Temptation and similar bands – just a bit worse. After two songs I felt a bit bored and did not follow the whole show.
Machine Men The young Finns had made it into STALKER several times, yet the breakthrough has still to happen. I would like to say that Machine Men had improved in those years, but unfortunately this is not the case. They are still talented and have potential, but they hardly developed further since their debut. Their style is classic Heavy Metal with a Finnish touch, no longer following Maiden too much. I think there is no country in the world where Maiden are bigger than in Finland... but back to Machine Men. The singer seemed very dissatisfied and nagged on stage, something I have never seem before. It might have been caused by the tour circumstances, but still I had expected something more of the guys. But they were not as boring as All Ends and shook up the now pretty big crowd.
Machine Men´s Playlist: Circus Of Fools
No Talk Without The Giant
Ghost Of The Seasons
Dying Without A Name
Man In Chains
Scars And Wounds
Against The Freaks
Tarot Basically it is sad that a band that has been existing for 20 years is only now in the media, since one of the band members became famous with another band. I cannot hear the name Nightwish any longer, but it made Marco Hietala famous also outside Finland, and this is now positive for Tarot. Marco and those keyboard parts that are typical for Finland are the only thing that both bands have in common. Tarot play good Old School Metal with two male singers who harmonize well, and Nightwish – well, it´s Nightwish. The reason why Tarot despite the hype still have no mass appeal is: they play technically well and melodious but they do not really stick out of the pool of bands with a similar sound. But still they rock, and if you have a chance to check them out at a festival, you should have a leak after their show. Not bad.
Tarot´s Playlist: Crows Fly Black
Pyre Of Gods
Veteran Of Psychic Wars
Before The Skies Come Down
Ashes To The Stars
After Forever During a little chat I had to ask how tall Floor Jansen really is. Slim and 1,85 m tall! After she could get rid of too enthusiastic fans, Floor even agreed to do a Gibberish with Apokalyptische Reiter and Finntroll (who does not know what it is, check out STALKER Gibberish section). This is what I call hard drinking and courageous! With huge resources of stage outfit she definitely was meant to be the visual star of the evening. And I am sure many people in this Sauna called Markthalle envied her because of her ventilator on stage. She starts singing and misses one or two tones during the Opera parts, otherwise she delivers a good show. You can hear that she had voice lessons, in contrast to her Within Temptation colleague. The songs didn´t have outstanding features, therefore it felt repetitive after three songs. Not too spectacular, but better than All Ends, Within Temptation or other sirens.
Die Apokalyptischen Reiter After the Dutch band the crowd swarmed in front of the stage, and some banged their head even to the interval (Pop) music. I had assumed that most people had come for Finntroll, but T-Shirts and “we want to see Reiter” chanting told me otherwise. Spirits were high way before the band came on stage. The Keyboarder in a cage, air mattresses and getting a girl from the audience on stage, that meant trouble for the security, they constantly had to push people back into the crowd. Everybody except me knew all lyrics and sang along, therefore I cannot really say anything about the vocalist or the sound. But whether you like Reiter or not – that fun was contagious!
Finntroll In direct comparison the Finns had less audience and fun than Apokalyptische Reiter, and I assume that the main jokers were somewhere else to take care of their body fluids. Still I just was told about that, because I could not see the first 10 songs, doing the vodka-charged Gibberish with two guys from Tarot and the Reiter-keyboarder. Floor Jansen had chickened out the last minute. But with Trollhammaren I was back.
So were all the others, because there was no more room, and spirits extremely high. Technically and regarding the sound this Finntroll show was a better one. You could no longer see how tired they were, and their set was a success. Still comparing them and Reiter – I know you cannot really do that – I realized what I miss. Finntrollo with Mathias Lillans alias Vreth as singer is no longer that funny. This effect is well intended by the band, they want to be more serious, and Vreth´s voice is better than Wilska, and as Swedish is his mothertongue, this improves something, too, although for me as non Swedish speaker I cannot tell the difference. Only the seriousness that Vreth communicates takes away some of Finntroll´s originality from back then – now they are “just” great Humppa Folk Metalheads. The new songs are still catchy, and even without the smile factor – which I really miss – Finntroll are special and excellent musicians.
Finntroll´s Playlist: Gryning
Slaget Vid Blodsälv
En Mäktig Här
Det Iskalla Trollbrodet
Försvinn Du Som Lysen
After the show the organisational problems increased and only temporarily got better, therefore the show after this one in Hamburg was cancelled, and only after some gigs more, that happened to the whole tour. Earthshaker organisors Metalysee and the bands posted messages about it on their home pages, and especially detailed Die Apokalyptischen Reiter, yet only in German. The same agency is also responsible for the cancellation ot the Marduk & Enslaved Tour, and I doubt that Metalysee can survive this disaster.