Interview – Juha Raivio (Hallatar/Swallow the Sun/Trees of Eternity)
Photos – The Nightingale plays Aleah and Hallatar- 23.2.2018 – Turku, Finland
Interview and Photos by Serena Solomon
I had the amazing opportunity to meet with Juha Raivio in the cold, quiet, graffiti covered back stage loft of Gong in Turku, Finland, and discuss the present and future of Hallatar, the meaning behind the music and future plans for Juha and the music Aleah left behind for us.
PHOTO REPORT: Harakiri for the Sky (AUT) and Bloodred Hourglass – 17.1.2018-Turku, Finland
Turku Saatanalle continued… 3 months later.
By: Serena Solomon / Dark Art Conspiracy
The most anticipated band of Turku Saatanalle V, Batushka, finally made it to Turku along with the homegrown black metalers Korgonthurus who also didn’t make it to their TSV appearance. The double make-up gig also included a much anticipated bonus – hailing from Sweden, melodic black metalers; Wormwood.
At Ravintola Kåren, the venue hosting the gig, it is more typical to find events that involve cloth covered tables and fancy food being held there. Needless to say, when the venue was announced for this gig, I was quite intrigued. The last gig I attended there (or was even remotely interested in attending) was a cover band night hosted by Åbo Akademi’s rock club three years ago. Not only is it rare to see a gig such as this hosted there, the more frequented venues in Turku have a completely different setting and ambiance. Experiencing this kind of gig at Kåren was refreshing in a way, but in other ways, felt off… such as watching Korgonthorus in all their corpse–painted rusted–nail-covered bracer glory– then looking to the left and seeing a renaissance style mural taking up the entire wall, complete with crystal chandeliers.
Despite having to get used to this new atmosphere, the bands played, the people watched headbanged, moshed, and even meditated?
Upon entering the venue, the curtains were closed (scoff) and doused in red lighting as atmospheric music played in the background (nothing I could recognize).
The curtains were pulled back and the band was in position… which was a bit comical and theatrical, completely out of place in comparison to the simple “walk on” typical for this type of gig. They had a bit of sound difficulty but their performance and the acoustics of the place distracted and the crowd soon relaxed and got into the music.
Their sound was solid for their genre but compared to the other bands playing that night, to me, they were like a base coat for a more intricate design- a solid band to set the mood for something more anticipated and unique.
The crowd was noticeably more attentive when the curtains opened for Wormwood. The band also, in my opinion, started with one of their strongest songs (The Universe is Dying) and the crowd was hooked.(4 left)
They, too,had some sound problems but powered through and it didn’t hinder their show a bit. Their presence and sound had that something unique I had been waiting for during Korgonthurus. And similar to the headliners, only having one album, in my opinion played the best songs off the album.
Their energy on stage was infectious and I think my memory of the gig is partially foggy due to my own energy catching up and running around to try to capture it all and enjoy at the same time. My only complaint is that they didn’t play longer! Also to the asshole who kept putting his arm around my waist, fuck you.
Initially it was hard to discern when the atmospheric music being played between bands ended, and Batushka’s intro began. But then,the stage hands came to light the candles-enter the frankincense I was hoping for.
That sensory element only certain bands can pull off and an added component that can almost be noticeable if missing.As the candles continued to be lit, one solitary undistorted guitar played the intro to their music to set the mood. Though it is known a large portion of Batushka’s show and stage presence revolves around ritual and symbolism, I couldn’t help but remember someone complaining at Turku Saatanalle, that these days there is more ritual activity happening on stages at such events than actual instrument playing. The person had a point, but I also think many fans of such music appreciate the variety in stage presence and activity on stage embracing and supporting the bands imagery and lyrical themes.
It also surprised me that some unexpected things happened as well as a few things being left out from what I was expecting after watching some of their live videos online (to get a feel of what was coming). I didn’t think their activities on stage could vary that much but it was, in a way, a good thing that it was a bit unpredictable (for someone who had never seen them before).
Though their faces were covered, the main vocalist successfully portrayed some emotion and somehow translated facial expressions through hand gestures and body language. I could visualize, for example, when he had his hands out towards the crowd a certain way, what kind of facial expression might go with such gesture, which gave a bit more of an idea of at least the mood behind the lyrics (since I could not understand them). The setup of the stage was also interesting to me. Of course, the vocalist/frontman is up front and, to go along with their ritual/mock-religious ceremony theme, was set up behind a podium/alter. The backup vocals had their place somewhat behind and to the side… but three of the four musicians were far far behind, in the shadows, as if they should be heard and not seen. One of them I couldn’t even manage to get a photo of and it wasn’t the drummer. I’m curious about the significance of that.
It was also incredibly interesting to observe the crowd’s reaction and response to their music and show. At some points, the vocalist directed the crowd to “shh”… and they did. Other times, I looked around and saw people with their arms extended and palms out as if truly at some religious ceremony. Others seemed as if they were meditating… eyes closed or open. Feeling and interpreting the music in ways I have never seen at such gigs, as if it was more of a ceremony to them than a metal gig.
Check out rest of the photos at https://darkartconspiracy.com/concert-photos/
#darkartconspiracy #metal #music #news #report
Finnish Samurai Metal band WHISPERED – April 13, 2017 at Gong in Turku, Finland by Serena Solomon
Check out their latest music video “Strike” below.