Oct 8, 2016 Circus, Helsinki
What’s positive for a band can be less positive for a photographer – which was the case this evening, Surely it’s great that the first band on stage faces quite a big crowd already, for me it felt like an eternity to reach the photo pit… and as it turned out, getting somewhat nice shots of Pressure Points would be the easiest task on this night, although it was not that easy at all… At least it was easy for the band to win over the crowd – and probably some new fans – with their short but very appealing Progressive Metal set.
A quick changeover, and several stools on stage already gave you a hint to a rather calm semi-acoustic opening of the Swallow The Sun set. And indeed, The Heart of The Cold White Land, followed by Pray For The Winds To Come and the title track of the Songs from the North release. On guitar – as it was the case at Tuska festival – not mastermind Juha Raivio himself but Juho Räihä, who will also be playing at the STS US tour. No idea how the band feels about it, but I still feel a certain sting hearing Aleah’s voice as backtrack… (RI:P). Some people near me actually seemed to be worried that the whole set would be dedicated to the second of the triple-album – nope, 10 Silver Bullets opened the tougher, or much tougher part of the show, incl. Black Metal-shouts and blast beats.
We got to hear much older stuff as well (Hate Lead the Way, New Moon), before the classic Descending Winters rounded up the show. Once again a great gig that somehow felt way too short by one of the best Melancholic Metal bands from Finland… (KW)
The strong sense of of dramaturgy evident in Swallow The Sun’s set was no less present in the performance of headliner Insomnium, although it was rather differently structured. Naturally so, given that its focal content was “Winter’s Gate”. Based on Niilo Sevänen’s novella of the same name, the new album consists of only this one song, which the band played it in its glorious 40-minute entirety right at the beginning of the show. And it didn’t get boring for a minute – if anything, I would have wished for it to be even longer to devote some more time to the storyline of Asbjörn and Sine, which was musically translated into dreamy interludes beautifully contrasting with the harsh main story and providing space for Ville’s clean vocals which I’ve come to like quite a lot. More of him was heard in the latter part of the set, which was not simply an encore following the main piece but a fully-fledged firework of greatest hits. Emphasis was placed on Above The Weeping World, the seminal album that had its 10th anniversary this year. This second part started with its opening sequence (“The Gale”-“Mortal Share”-“Drawn To Black”) and later on featured three more songs from it, mixed with a couple of tracks each from Across The Dark and Shadows Of The Dying Sun. Nothing from One For Sorrow actually, now that I think back on it, but anyway the set was so tight and full of highlights that not for single a moment I had the feeling that anything was missing. Insomnium live has become a rather rare pleasure in recent years, but whenever they do show up on stage, they own it right from the first chord. (TS)
Photos: Klaudia Weber, Tina Solda