Saarihelvetti 2022 was full of top notch music. A perfect omnium gatherum (yes it is a word! n. a collection of miscellaneous people or things. Merriam-Webster.com. 2022) of genres ranging from fresh new black metal to popish metal core to headlining raw industrial metal. Although the weather was epic as well (in a not so enjoyable way), festival goers were almost able to overlook the constant rain as they enjoyed the first restriction free Saarihelvetti in 3 years. Although the festival was able to slither between the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021, there were still inevitable lineup changes and restrictions which made the festival a bit more difficult to navigate. This year we were finally free!Continue reading Saarihelvetti 2022
LIVE REVIEW by Carina Lawrence / Dark Art Conspiracy
UK’s heaviest metal festival, Bloodstock, returned to Catton Park during a heatwave, but that didn’t stop thousands of metal heads clad in primarily black clothing. The festival keeps getting bigger and better, initially starting as an indoor event, and now it’s an open-air event with a capacity of 20,000. 2022 was hot as hell, both in terms of the impressive line-up of big well-known acts to upcoming rising stars of metal and, of course, the scorching temperatures.Continue reading LIVE REVIEW: BLOODSTOCK FESTIVAL, CATTON PARK UK – 11-14TH AUGUST 2022
Photo Report: Nummirock 22-25.6.2022 in Kauhajoki, Finland
Photography by Serena Solomon
Ah, to be back on the shores of Nummijärvi! Back at our midsummer home! How liberating and comforting it was to be back to normal, back to Nummirock, no restrictions, just festival life as we know it (plus a few extra bottles of hand sanitizer). I have to say though, the atmosphere was a bit more chill than I remembered, whether it was the two years break taking its toll or the simple fact that we were all two years older. Mostly, the crowd and camp grounds were back to their normal crazy selves, but maybe it was the stamina that was tuned down a few notches, or the fact that there seemed to be significantly less attendees than in past years. Either way, it had no affect on the quality of the festival! The weather stayed on the better side of “typical Finnish midsummer weather”, even a bit too much at times. The first time in my memory that the main stage crowd had to be sprayed down by security to keep cool! The festival staff took good care of the artists, attendees, media and staff.
Wednesday provided an extended “pre-party”. As previous years usually kept to the Klubi stage with a few bands, this year the Inferno stage was also open, and included a special performance from the future of music, a local band camp. Highlights from Wednesday included Rytmihäiriö setting the crowd off into their four day spin, mosh pits during Vorna, and the first Estonian band to perform at Nummi in 30 years, Metsätöll, closing out the evening!
Rytmihäiriö, Memoremains, Ember Falls, Vorna and Metsätöll
Thursday kicked off with Kaunis Kuolematon on a more melancholic note, but maybe a good decision for those of us who celebrated being back at Nummi extra hard the night before. But not to stay somber for too long! Inferno and Main stages were opened by legends! Kiuas and Korpiklaani filled up the 18+ areas as if prohibition just ended. Other highlights from Thursday included Rotting Christ blasting the Inferno stage during a firey sunset, Alien Weaponry giving one of the most memorable Main stage performances I have ever witnessed, and Chamber of Unlight closing the evening with a noteworthy night cap of modern black metal at its finest.
THURSDAY 23.6: Kaunis Kuolematon, Kiuas, Korpiklaani, Carach Angren, At the Gates, Rotting Christ, Crimson Sun, Alien Weaponry, Mimorium and Chamber of Unlight
Friday’s lineup was back to back “can’t miss that” bands. Fear of Domination opened the day with their undeniable dance party that took the conga lines all the way to the main stage for Ensiferum. Dawn of Solace gave us a mid-day cool down, but not for long before Borknagar played a highly anticipated set. Other highlights were Mgła, probably the most anticipated gig of the entire festival for me personally, which went beyond expectation, even more so with the imagery of their blacked out faces against the deep orange of the sunset. Gorgoroth and their spectacle of pure black metal aesthetics. That was really cool to see on the main stage. And last but not least And Oceans closing the evening against a dramatic evening sky.
FRIDAY 24.6: Fear of Domination, Where’s My Bible, Dawn of Solace, Borknagar, Diablo, Mgła, Gorgoroth and And Oceans
Saturday brought the tiny humans back to the festival grounds, mini-metal heads in the making came with their families to see the world famous Hevisaurus, enjoy balloons, rides, and cotton candy, joining in conga lines and flexing their little devil horns! There was a bit of a scheduling fuckup as Sepultura had travel issues, so the beauties from Tampere Burlesque went on earlier than expected to fill the space. Unfortunately many didn’t get the memo in time and missed their first set. Otherwise, highlights from Saturday included a hefty helping of folk metal from Brother of Metal, legends Sepultura and Hammerfall saturating the main stage with all the international music we’ve missed out on these past few years, Turmion Kätilöt giving us some comfort food and a proper closing of the Inferno stage and Apocalyptica as the grand finale. They never fail to impress and seemed as if they also did not want to end the show and would have continued playing all through the night!
SATURDAY 25.6: Hevisaurus, Brothers of Metal, Sepultura, Hammerfall, Turmion Kätilöt and Apocalyptica
As impressive as the lineup for this years Nummirock was, with headlining bands that don’t come to Finland often, the Main stage crowds seemed to be much smaller than previous years. I hope with all my heart this is only due to people being hesitant to commit to attending a festival after so many canceled and postponed gigs, and the next few years will bring things back up to the speed it was going before the world collapsed. Until next year!
Swallow the Sun played at Pakkahuone in Tampere on 27th of May. It was the second date of their Finnish tour promoting their new album Moonflowers which was released last year. Kaunis Kuolematon and Edge of Haze were the opening acts (for only two of the seven dates in Finland). It was a solid lineup. Edge of Haze opened with energy and heaviness, and Kaunis Kuolematon brought it down to a more melancholy yet powerful level. Then, Swallow the Sun hit all of the above, including songs from their first few albums that they haven’t played live in a while. From the more melodic “Stone Wings” to one of my personal favorites, and heaviest song off the new album “This House Has No Home”. So heavy in fact, that a mosh pit broke out! I don’t think I have ever seen a pit during a Swallow the Sun gig! It was great to see all three bands at a bigger venue. I don’t believe this gig was sold out but it was pretty well attended. I, like many others, cannot get enough of Moonflowers and it is just magic to see live. I wish I could say more, but this band always leaves me speechless. Let the photos speak for themselves…
EDGE OF HAZE:
SWALLOW THE SUN:
Photos and review by: Serena Solomon
Words about the world opening up again part 2? Part 3? Hopefully the last part anyway… ah to be at a club gig again! The Frozen Oceans Abyss tour played in Tampere’s Olympia-Kortteli on March 18th. Local band Kuoleman Galleria opened with full energy and edgy yet funky energy, followed by the fan favorite Frosttide and the black/industrial headliners who had their comeback right as the epidemic was birthing, And Oceans.
The club gigs post lock down these past few years have all had a similar “getting back on our feet” aura about them… people are happy to be out but it feels a bit rusty and unfamiliar. Although there were not restrictions on time, or capacity, people tended to stick to the sidelines and came and went through out the gig. It felt there were more people in the audience in the beginning than the end, and the crowd wavered through out the night.
Kuoleman Galleria had a surprisingly solid and enthralling performance. With no previous knowledge of the band, they left me wanting more, or more like a “what did I just watch, I need to see that again” kind of lasting impression. Unexpected, unpredictable and a unique twist to the evening wit their dark yet groovy sound, and somewhat eccentric stage presence. Hope to see again soon!
Next up was Frosttide. Familiar faces and sounds all around! Somewhat comfort food of the evening. The audience was obviously full of hard core fans, and it felt like an intimate family gathering. Although the band seemed to take a little while to warm up after the all to well known hiatus of live performance, the crowd was pleased and they definitely woke the venue up for the final act.
And Oceans never fail to impress. With a balanced mix of new and old songs…and new and old members… they didn’t miss a beat. They played from start to finish as if there had never been a break in live gigs, and as if they had all been playing together since the start. The energy and chemistry between the band themselves and the audience was flawless and began to fill the void of gigless months. Although the crowd and atmosphere of the gig still had holes and an obvious unsettled, unfamiliar feeling, it faded once they hit the stage. Lets hope it fades all together and we can truly get back to this essential part of life!
photos and report by Serena Solomon
With the world opening up again, bands that formed during the lockdown are finally getting the chance to spread their wings. Noora Louhimo Experience was one of them! They had their best gig ever at Yo-Talo in Tampere 27.10.2021. The premier gig of Noora Louhimo Experience was definitely an experience to be remembered. A rich and vibrant show to wake up the senses after a year and a half near devoid of live music. Eccentric, bright, shiny and colorful outfits adorned all the musicians. Feathers, sparkles, fishnet, and bits and pieces from every corner of the spectrum were a perfect visual representation of what the sound and aesthetic of the band represented on their debut album Eternal Wheel of Time and Space. In addition to the core band, the live lineup also included three backup vocalists and a three piece brass section. Pekka Louhimo , Noora’s brother, also joined on stage for a few duets as well as harmonica accompaniment. I have to say it was also really cool to see Juuso Raatikainen doing his thing in a different setting. Needless to say, the stage at Yo-Talo was filled to the brim with talent and energy and although it was a Wednesday evening, there was a pretty decent turnout with enthusiastic fans.
Live Lineup inlcuded:
Noora Louhimo – Vocals
Samuli Erkkilä – Lead Guitars
JC Halttunen – Guitars
AP Kauppinen – Bass
Juuso Raatikainen – Drums
Sussu Ketola – Keyboards
Pekka Louhimo – Vocals,Harmonica
Anni Lintula, Riikka Liisukka and Petra-Miisa Juusenaho – Backup Vocals
Aino Heikkonen – Saxophone
Antero Salonen – Trumpet
Markus Larjomaa – Trombone
photos and report by Serena Solomon