Category Archives: Live Reviews

LIVE REVIEW: Kreator – Chalk, Brighton UK 11th March 2023


Live review by Carina Lawrence

Kreator is currently touring with Lamb Of God as support, but they managed to slot in two UK headline shows, one in Leeds and the other in Brighton on the 11th of March, which I was fortunate to attend. To make the occasion even more unique, this was the first time the German Thrash veterans have played in Brighton, and to top it off, they played a special deep cuts set list, especially for these two shows. The CHALK venue is a small intimate venue; you wouldn’t expect a band of their calibre to play here, which added to the rare thrash metal spectacle.

Continue reading LIVE REVIEW: Kreator – Chalk, Brighton UK 11th March 2023
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PHOTO REPORT: KATATONIA, SÓLSTAFIR and SOM


January 20, 2023 we in Tampere, Finland were lucky enough to catch not only the first show of an epic European tour, but also the first ones to hear Katatonia‘s much anticipated 13th full-length album Sky Void of Stars live, on its release day! Pakkahuone was sold out long before the gig in Helsinki, although that too was eventually a sold out show.

Hailing all the way from across the pond, SOM from the US opened the night with a flurry of ethereal doom-pop-shoe-gaze sounds emanating from a smoke clad stage. It felt as if their sound pulled those still trickling in slowly forward as if on a string. Their sound and presence gave me similar vibes to Hangmans Chair…. but replace the grit and grime with fluffy clouds and you get SOM. Hangmans Chair meets Deftones.

Next up was Icelandic cowboys of metal Sólstafir. Although it has been over two years since their last release, it was still fresh and new to see live. We all know why. Their gig flew far beyond my expectations. I could never have imagined such an attention grabbing, spectacle of a show after years of listening to their music. It was intriguing to see how all the members have their own style and pace on stage, yet it all blends together seamlessly. At times it felt as natural as if watching them during a jam session in someones garage. Sæþór with his chiller than chill guitar playing in the shadows, to Aðalbjörn’s most eccentric front man agility, there was not one single dull moment. They also had a special (local?) guest come on stage to play the saxophone live.

Katatonia was another first for me. It was really astonishing how all three bands had a totally different sound and stage presence yet they fit together in one lineup. Katatonia was more of a performance. All the members flowed together on the same page, not as if over rehearsed but just incredibly in sync and with the same level of passion. That dry Swedish stage humor that is becoming more and more familiar to me was hidden a bit under, maybe nerves, of playing all this new material for the first time, but it was there. Jonas’s vocals have such unimaginable soul and yet a subtle flare of eccentric charisma (fueled by his walking around the stage as if arguing with himself, and classy wine glass). The backing vocals also added a beautiful undercurrent of raw emotion that the recorded versions of these songs just couldn’t portrey. It was an honor to be the first to see these new songs live, and a real pleasure to finally be able to hear a few old classics live (not to mention to achieve the impossible of photographing Mr. Renkse’s face on stage!)

PHOTO REPORT: Talvihelvetti 2023


Talvihelvetti, the winter sister of Saarihelvetti summer festival that takes place on Viikinsaari, an Island in a lake in Tampere, Finland. This year, Talvihelvetti was a heaping warm bowl of comfort food for the ears and eyes. Bands we know, love and cant get enough of. A metal extension to the comfort of the holidays, or the finale some look forward to, to get through the noxious and relentless jingles and cheer.

Although the lineup was traditional for the Tampere metal fest scene, all the bands had a pleasant mix of new and old. Aside from Brymir being the band with the most recent album release, and the excitement of seeing their new songs live, Fear of Domination brought back their glow paint along with a tweaked live setup to accommodate their missing drummer. Finntroll also put a new spin on their live set up with new stage gear, including an epic smoking ram skull. Both Detset and Mors Subita brought the energy from the summer festivals indoors, and played a surprisingly genuine and enthralling set as well. Most memorable moments personally was how cozy Brymir’s set was, maybe it was being home after their long European tour that made them give off such a friendly familiar vibe, as if we were all just hanging out in their living room (not to mention throwing fish into the mosh pit), and the crowd during Finntroll. Not only was it the first time I’ve experienced the “rowing” trend happen at an indoor gig, the whole audience seemed to partake in that or mosh pits at some point. It was a different feeling of coziness, even in the larger space of the venue.

Mors Subita

Brymir

Fear of Domination

Detset

Finntroll

Saarihelvetti 2022


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!

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LIVE REVIEW: BLOODSTOCK FESTIVAL, CATTON PARK UK – 11-14TH AUGUST 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 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!

WEDNSDAY 22.6:
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!

#oispanummi

FESTIVAL LIFE