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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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BRUTAL ASSAULT #25 – DAY II REPORT


The festival is over now and after bringing you the first day already, we got little more calm and piece to bring on another days. So here is the second one, Wednesday. The second day started with Czech band Sceletons. Guys present themselves as thrash death crossover and I totally agree. Even more, main vocalist and guitarist seems to be a really big fan of Chuck Schuldiner, which he borrowed vocal from. At least to my ears. Guys were really awesome. From the same genre, Heathen from US played their stuff, too. Call me crazy, but I have heard vocal from Iron Maiden a bit. The second day and am I nuts already, or deaf? At the very same day Czech Schizophrenia and D.R.I. closed thrash metal line-up.

Sceletons, Heathen

From old school to the new one. Core genres (especially the brutal one) were pressed into us by Lorna Shore. Guys had a hell of an audience, and their heavy deathcore with brutal and guttural vocals hit like a giant hammer! Bit behind, brutality wise, we could hear both lovely and heavy vocal of beautiful Tatiana and Jinjer. Djenty Tesseract also played at the afternoon.

Tesseract, Jinjer, Lorna Shore

Good ol’ brutality from years back were given to us by the Bloodbath on afternon and legendary Cannibal Corpse in the night. The stage was packed really tightly, tons of people definitivelly looked forward to see and hear these immortal butchers. Earlier, Misery Index made other fans really happy with their fast grind.

Cannibal Corpse, Bloodbath

We also witnessed some more experimental stuff by Igorr or Strigoi. The frontman appeared next day in other legendary band – Paradise Lost. No wonder Strigoi gave us some interesting heavy crust crossover with a doom song as a bonus. Imperial Triumphant trio was another more experimental band. Their combination of really jazzy approach (bass especially) with some black metal and masks were something many people waited for. The concert was even spiced more, when the E string of the guitar snapped shortly after the start of the show. He managed well even without it. Another not so metal band was Me and That Man. This bluesy concert was great for every fan of Nergal, as well as for everybody, who just wanted to chill from the extreme stuff.

Me and That Man, Strigoi, Imperial Triumphant

Another star appeared here for the first time. Bobby Liebling of Pentagram made lots of people (me included, especially) very happy with his old and heavy doom legacy, funny faces and lots of energy. Hard to believe he manages it in his age! With doomy aspect but more progressive, Czech Elbe was playing on afternoon. Many people waited for melancholical and calm French guys from Alcest, tho this set was much more intense due their last album. For fans of even more sadness and pain in the music, Amenra played their very heavy slow set, which was thick as the swamps in an abandoned wood. late in the night and we could hear the songs from various albums with nice classical projection behind them.

Amenra, Alcest, Pentagram, Elbe

One of the highlights of the day was the theater of Japanese cult band, Sigh. Their combination of occultism, black and thrash metal with blistering fast and cool guitar solos was really top and smaller stage suited them great for their rituals. Dark Funeral played lately that night, too. The night was closed by French black metal inspired horde Regarde les Hommes Tomber. It was 2 A.M. but there was still big pack of people craving to see the guys and party on to the morning hours as well.

Sigh, Regarde les Hommes Tomber

The most important guys – fans

PHOTO REPORT: EVANESCENCE, CYAN KICKS and TIGRESS


Photos and report by Serena Solomon

Evanescence played at Nokia Arena in Tampere, Finland this past June. They had also planned to play Rock in the City Helsinki but the festival was unfortunately canceled. Thankfully they were still able to play the brand new arena with supporting acts, Brittish rockers Tigress and home country stars Cyan Kicks. It was great to see so many people show up on a Sunday evening to support these three kick ass bands. Specially Evanescence, who don’t come to Finland often. My personal history with the band dates back almost 20 years, running into Amy in 2004 and being invited to watch a soundcheck for a gig in Florida during their debut album tour. Nostalgia and deep admiration for her and her journey in music, as well as her music’s imperative role in my own life made the gig that much more special on a personal level, but I could tell I was not alone in these feelings looking around the venue. I was also a bit surprised but grateful to see many younger attendees! Although the lineup of the band had changed (and very recently at that, only a week prior to the gig welcoming Emma Anzai to the family after Jen Majura stepped down), their cohesive stage presence was unforgettable. I also commend Amy and her ability to connect with the crowd, even a stadium gig, on a level that makes it seem like we were watching at an intimate club gig.

Cyan Kicks performed a gig beyond expectation, they definitely earned their place as an opening act! It was surprising to hear it was their first stadium gig, a they ruled the stage and captured the entire place with their energy like old pros!

Tigress made a good name for themselves, although I felt their style of music and presence would have shined much brighter in different atmosphere. That said, I look forward to seeing them progress and grow!

PHOTO REPORT: SWALLOW THE SUN, KAUNIS KUOLEMATON AND EDGE OF HAZE


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:

KAUNIS KUOLEMATON:

SWALLOW THE SUN:

Photos and review by: Serena Solomon

PHOTO REPORT: KÆLAN MIKLA AND KANGA


Kanga (US) and Kælan Mikla (IS) graced Tampere’s Klubi with their ethereal and mystifying presence on May 4th  . I was introduced to  Kælan Mikla the last time they were in Finland, opening for Alcest right before the lockdowns in 2019. One of those bands who were way off from what I typically listened to but stuck with me afterwards and ended up being one of my favorite gigs of the year. They released a new album Undir Köldum Norðurljósum later that year, which turned out to also be one of my favorite albums, so it was needless to say I would at least attend one of the two gigs they had in Finland (though I actually ended up attending both, so I may sneak in a few comparisons).

Kanga, much like Kælan Mikla the first time around, was not music I would typically find myself searching out and getting into. It was also quite a different style gig than what I would naturally attend or write about. From what I’ve gathered, Kanga is an accomplished producer and remixer who has worked on many well known films, and is quickly gaining popularity in the darkwave and electronic scenes. My interpretation of her music would be, kinda…West Coast Pop meets the grittiest corners of dark industrial. Her performance conveyed just that. Dark, mysterious and almost melancholic while also constantly emanating the pulse of both the trendiest night club and most raw underground rave. I did enjoy the the vibe of the gig and the audience (more so in Helsinki, since the floor was packed and it contributed to the dance club vibe vs. Tampere where people were still very slowly trickling into the venue) though, at times I got more DJ vibes than performance, as if I should not really be watching her, but focusing on the music and dancing, which is a bit unfamiliar to me.  

My first thoughts of Kælan Mikla’s gig was that they had matured so much in their performance from the last time I had seen them. More polished, more in sync and seemed more confident with themselves as musicians and people. Of course, their newest album is quite a bit darker than their previous music, which was also prevalent in their stage presence, attire, and the whole atmosphere of their show.

If you aren’t aware of the meaning or source of the name “Kælan Mikla”, it is the Icelandic name for the Moomin character Jäärouva or The Lady of the Cold. This knowledge tinged my perception of their gig with a touch of frost. Laufey (vocalist), moved around the stage at times, as if she was skating on ice (and only when I got closer did I realize she was barefoot in stockings, which totally fit with the witchy aesthetic they had going on!). Her nails were also long and clear and, when caught in the light, resembled icicles. Her presence, stoic and queen-like, otherwise perfectly portrayed the mystical yet powerful essence their music provides.

The performance of “Sírenur” particularly stuck out to me, the mood and the lighting made you feel as if we were all swimming underwater, peaceful yet melancholic (not to mention the sound of waves in the background  and the fact  that the song is indeed about, you guessed it, the Sirens of the ocean). The other most memorable moments where during “Sólstöður”. There is this intense guttural, banshee type screaming on the album and honestly didn’t expect them to do it live but they did and it was soul shattering and inspiring all at once. As exhausting as it must be to do that night after night, I truly appreciated it and was in awe by its affect live! The other thing that stuck out was Sólveige (synth/keys) playing flute live during “Stormurinn”. That also gave me chills and went beyond expectation. Margrét (bass) was also incredibly inspiring to watch. I can’t really put it into word but she seemed to really connect with the music and put great energy and emotion into playing, as well as when she sang backing vocals, or contributed to screaming. I kind of wish these two would be highlighted a bit more though they all have their spotlight moments. They are all incredibly talented and passionate musicians and I am super eager to see what they do next and catch them live again!

Photos and report by Serena Solomon

PHOTO REPORT: Eivør and Lucky Lo


Eivør and Lucky Lo played not one but two magical shows in Tampere Finland 11-12.4 2022. The first show at G Livelab was a very special show for both acts. Lo excitedly mentioned that it was the only show on the tour she had a piano to play and looked like she was truely enjoying herself while playing! Both acts included the grand piano in their set, as well as Lo with her banjo and Eivør (accompanied by Mattias Kapnas on the piano) with her drum and guitar. They played unique renditions of songs as well as other songs not previously played on the tour. I was only at the second gig at Olympia on “official” business but since I also attended the G Livelab gig I want to include it in the report. I really loved the idea of these two shows together, very different venues and atmosphere that complimented each other well and gave us an opportunity to see, feel and hear these beautiful artists in unique contexts.

Eivør and Mathias at G Live Lab
Lucky Lo at G Live Lab

I have to admit, Lucky Lo‘s music is not something I would naturally listen to, but I thoroughly enjoyed both sets. She has such a humble charisma that delivers her music to the audience in such an honest and comforting way its entrancing. Although her music spans themes and sounds that are light, funky and uplifting as well melancholic and fragile, it all feels intimate and warm. In the state of the current world, it was a welcome feeling.

At the Olympia show, she explained how playing simply on the banjo is a glimpse of the core of her music and writing process, and that the recorded music might sound a bit different than what we were hearing then, since it includes a full band and much funkier vibe. One moment that gave me chills was when she was introducing the song “Sunrise/Sunset” explaining it was about life and death inspired by a good friend who had passed away.

As she struck the first notes of the song, a puff of smoke shot up behind her, illuminated by a light, like a ghost. I don’t think it was intentional or if many others noticed but it struck me.

She seemed to go with the flow of the gig, and at one point was openly pondering which song to play next. Someone from the audience suggested one of her songs and she bashfully admitted she could not play it on banjo, that she had tried but she just didn’t think it sounded right. She then remembered the previous night she had been inspired by Eivør when she played a Leonard Cohen cover (which she hadn’t done on the rest of the tour), and decided to also play a cover, and excitedly jumped into “Strawberry Fields Forever”.

These two shows were also special because they were the last of the tour, at both shows they both deviated from the setlists they had stuck with for the tour, and graced us with songs they hadn’t played live in a long time or ever!

Eivør‘s set at G Livelab was quite different on many levels (an intended pun because I personally experienced the gig both from the balcony of the venue and standing in the crowd, and even that provided a different experience). Watching from the balcony felt a bit more like watching a show, still intimate with the ability to also watch the audience but a bit detached. When I went to the floor though, it was surreal. Eivør‘s voice was so ethereal and being closer to the stage and closer to the music was almost other worldly and yet made it all more real. She played a few songs there they didn’t play at the other show such as “Verð Mín”, “Silvitni”, and few covers from Leonard Cohen and Julee Cruise. As well as really interesting adaptions of the songs they had been playing, since it was a somewhat acoustic show, or at least “Duo”, minus the full band plus a grand piano. A few of the more melancholic slow songs had an almost old timey cabaret feel.

However, at Olympia, even the intro music took the night into a completely different atmosphere. It was intense. Epic yet melancholic low grumbles of orchestral, electronic music that slowly built up the anticipation. I think because it was the last show of the tour, the whole band also helped build that anticipation through out the night. As the end came closer, they all played harder, more passionately, more loose.
Eivør‘s music strings together such a wide spectrum of emotion and sound into a short space of time its really intense to see live! One moment you’re dancing to a light-hearted beat, the next you’re traveling into another time and place, something ancient and foreign yet nostalgic, and the next you’re almost in tears with a raw melancholic comfort. And of course those ethereal chants and throat singing she does with her drum are always an experience on their own. Although they are simply sounds and chants, her movements and facial expressions while she’s singing almost tell a story of their own, up for interpretation on a personal level yet clear somehow.

It was great to finally be able to see her “new” songs live, unfortunate that her latest album Segl had been released amidst the first year of the pandemic. Although I had seen her perform some of them during her live stream shows during the 2020 summer (I have to mention it was really great to kind of get to know her and her music during those weekly home recorded live streams that summer, and made me even more eager to see her live again!). And was also a treat to see, again, some songs they had not played during the rest of the tour, since it was the last show (I have a personal history with the song “Boxes” and that was one extra song they played, not to mention seeing that insane vocal magic live, gave me chills!).

To introduce the song “Gullspunnin” she recited a poem and explanation of the song and its meaning, with low atmospheric background sounds as accenting her words. It almost felt like a guided meditation, which, as I think now, isn’t such an unexpected thing to experience at her gig. Her spoken words, and sung words, chants, throat singing, growls, laughs and all the lows and highs of the music hit so many different themes and emotions its like acupuncture of the soul, in some ways providing a release that ends in peace and contentment. Even if you aren’t familiar with her music, or don’t have any personal history with her songs, it is such an intense and magical yet humble performance it will be an unforgettable experience for anyone.

Lucky Lo at Olympia

Eivør at Olympia

Eivør Live:

Eivør Pálsdóttir – Vocals / Guitar / frame drum

Mattias Kapnas – Keyboard /Piano and Synth

Mikael Blak – Synth / Bass

Per Ingvaldur Højgaard Petersen – Drums

Photos and report by Serena Solomon