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Finnish Metal Expo 2008

A music expo, just for Heavy Metal? Well, those Finns… but again, also the fourth time, with 60 exhibitors and 5000 visitors, the FME was a great success. (KW)

The bands themselves that were performing held a large variety, ranging from the softie-pop-idol-hard rock, Ari Koivunen to funny folk Metal Korpiklaani and truly great bands like Soilwork. Just to keep the variety going, there were some bands that should keep in mind the idiom –don’t quit your day job. It was also quite funny to see Timo Kotipelto, the singer from Stratovarius being harassed/praised by pimple-plagued teens. (OA)
Interactive photo gallery at the bottom

Friday, 15.02.2008

At 5 pm the gates of Kaapelitehdas open and this also means the FME 2008 has officially begun. The first die hard fans already secure their spots right in front of the stage to be as close as possible to their stars while other make use of the hour waiting time to stroll through the next door halls checking out all the expo stands to find one or the other souvenir. Still others used the time to stock up with two or three beers to get into the right party mood. (SM)

At 6 pm the war gods of Sotajumala opened the FME. There´s not much you have to say about this show – it was just awesome. The music was just right and singer Mynni gave his all to perform the songs so powerful and furious like never heard before. After the release of their record “Teloitus” last year the guys are now definitely back live, too. Better than ever before! The several 100 visitors, that had already arrived, also seemed to dig it. (SM)

Songwriting Workshop with Tuomas Saukkonen of Before the Dawn
If there´s someone who knows how to write a good song then it has to be Tuomas Saukkonen, singer and songwriter of the Finnish band Before the Dawn. He already made his breakthrough with his band in Finland, and also in Germany he will perform his songs at this year´s Wacken festival. During the workshop Mr. Saukkonen first played acoustic guitar and electric guitar, then he took off his shoes and socks and hit the drums. Finally, he (still bare-footed) also showed off his skills on bass, and then all those live recorded single-instrument tracks were mixed together as a complete song. This workshop was definitely worth seeing even though it was kept in Finnish and thus I couldn´t understand much. (SM)

Discard describe their music as „death fucking thrash´n´roll“ – whatever one is supposed to expect of this genre!? The gig they played at the FME was definitely „death fucking thrash“ with enough roll. The crowd had only one thing on their mind – pogoing ad nauseam. (SM)

Municipal Waste
Their first ever gig in Finland and the guys right away show who´s in charge tonight because already before the gig even starts they demand a circle pit and the crowd gives them exactly what they want. The thrashy party rock of the gentlemen from Virginia sets the pace for the cycles per minute and thus chaos rules from the first second on. Relaxing is not an option here and so a „wall of death“ is right away started when , at some point, the chaos seemed to calm down a bit. With songs like „Beer Pressure“, „Drunk as Shit“, „Headbanger Face Rip“ and „Bangover“ the band offers just the right soundtrack for everyone who´s on the brink of a alcohol-induced delirium. (KG)

Four ears, two opinions:

Municipal Waste was very memorable. Their songs weren’t that good, but they performed them with so much vigour that they could have played pretty much anything. This is the type of band that even if one won’t buy their CDs; one should definitely go to their gigs. “You guys are going insane in that circle pit, but you! You fu#ker in the middle! You’re just standing there doing nothing! When we start playing the next song, everybody get him!” (OA)

Finnish Metal Awards
The Finnish Metal Awards, which were voted for by the fans, are much sought after and show who was, in 2007, the top dog in Finnish metal. Among the winners of this year were Mokoma and, how could it be any different, Nightwish.

Album of the year: Mokoma – „Luihin ja Ytimiin“
Band of the year: Nightwish
Newcomer of the year: Ari Koivunen
Coverart of the year: Mokoma – “Luihin ja Ytimiin”
Musician of the year: Tuomas Holopainen of Nightwish
Singer of the year: Marko Annala of Mokoma

Furthermore, the guys of Amorphis received two gold discs for their albums “Eclipse” and “Silent Waters”. (SM)

Besides the bands there were other entertainments available like a Guitar clinic hosted by Alexi Laiho & Roope Latvala, Bass Clinic by Lauri Porra, Drum Clinic by Mikko Kaakkurinniemi. Besides these, there were all the stands of the record companies and several other clinics. Seems like the place to go if you want information and advice as to how to get your high school band on real stages. (OA)

The Swedes, who already had a couple of radio hits in Finland, offered, at first, neither eye nor ear candy. One was downright blinded by an almost floodlight-like lightshow and the unpleasant vibrations of the way too loud bass could be felt even in the back rows. As if that wasn´t already awful enough more problems started to arise soon after – disagreements with the drummer then with the sound. Singer and guitarist Ralf Gyllenhammar runs furiously over and over again to the sound guy, accosting him („Fuck you“) while the other band members just simply keep on playing. In doing so, Gyllenhammar comes across very unlikable and ruins the whole atmosphere because the people just want to party. After half of the set was played the problems seemed solved and the evening was saved. However, in a live setting the songs couldn´t grab the people´s attention as much as they actually should. Big gestures (posing, light show), not too much to back it up. (KG)

Four ears, two opinions:

Mustasch was the perfect mirror to the whole event. Although the sound was horrid at moments, their performance was very entertaining, especially when the singer went to scream at the mixer. Their performance as a whole was very nice, and they played all the songs the audience wanted, from “Bring Me Everyone” to “Double Nature”. (OA)

Like the name already suggests, the band is named after the Finnish war god Turisas. Dressed in fur the guys enter the stage and bring the metal expo to a successful close on this Friday. However, the sound left a lot to be desired but that´s not too bad because the guys are great anyway and thus, with “Holmgard and Beyond” and “Rasputin”, provide just the right aftershow party mood. (SM)

Four ears, two opinions:

Turisas then had the honour to heat up the crowd with their battle metal for a last time on this Friday night before everyone had to go back into the icy cold night of Helsinki. And heating up was taken literally here because a spectacular pyro and fire show made the gig of the guys from Hämeenlinna even more worth watching. With all their war paint on and armed with all sorts of instruments our fur-clad friends made a lot of fists rise into the air and, in the spirit of the old Vikings, one could hear „hey hey hey“ yells everywhere. If that wasn´t already good enough there was another visual treat on offer because suddenly two belly dancers joined the band onstage and accentuated the battle chants with their dancing. There´s a reason why this band is so successful at the moment! (KG)

Saturday, 16.02.2008

Amberian Dawn
Those who think „oh no, not another Nightwish-wannabe band“ with Amberian Dawn, are wrong. The music sounds more like Leaves Eyes or early Therion and not much like Nightwish. With their very choir-heavy singing and the enchanting voice of Heidi the band will soon surely make it also in the rest of Europe. (SM)

Ari Koivunen
There are probably not too many who have heard of the former karaoke champion outside of Finland but Ari Koivunen was the one who has pulled a Lordi at the Finnish version of „popidols“ and mercilessly rocked off all those popstar wannabes with amongst others Iron Maiden´s „The evil that men do“. However, now Ari has also become something of a popstar himself, his songs are played on the radio and his fanbase consists mainly of little girls and moms, that´s why his performance at the Finnish Metal Expo seems a bit weird. At the popstar contests he has already proven for weeks that he´s able to sing and so it´s rather the songs themselves that don´t really work. Not really challenging 80´s hardrock with simple structures – just something for the masses and the record company who wants to make a lot of money with the popidol winner. And so the show is rather unspectacular, most of the time Ari hides behind his mic or his long hair. Maybe better songs or a more exciting show could still save his metal credibility. (KG)

The mic stand with its attached antlers already give a hint that the „people of the forest“ will soon emerge from the thicket to delight the crowd with their folk metal and to spread joy all around. Fun always comes first with Korpiklaani and so also that evening everyone was a „happy little boozer“ somehow, but only for 30 minutes because after that the gig was already over – and you were just getting into the right mood. Way too short! (KG)

Soilwork was one of the few bands, who avoided the gargantuan sound-rape by the acoustics. Their sound suites closed spaces anyhow. (OA)

What could a metaler want more? The FME couldn´t end any better than with the guys from Stam1na. Four naked chests were on offer! Carnal desire made the girls´ hearts in the first row melt and the drooling was not only because of the awesome sound but be that as it may. With the last sounds of Stam1na the FME 2008 was over and we´re already looking forward to next year. (SM)

All in all it was once again an enjoyable event. But there is always a “but”. Two main problems are present within this event, them being the time and the place. It is understandable to hold an event like this when the winters grip is at its hardest; lifting up peoples spirits is somewhat vital, especially in a country that has a high suicide rate. The location, on the other hand holds no excuses. Kaapelitehdas is situated right at the seaside, where one can experience the lovely sea breeze blowing through ones clothing at minus 20C and the acoustics are truly awful. However, the event is very much worth going to as their line-up holds some great names and there are several clinics and other wholesome family activities. (OA)

Kathleen Gransalke (KG), Sandy Mahrer (SM), Ossi Aikas (OA)

photos: Samira Alinto, Sandy Mahrer, Kathleen Gransalke, Klaudia Weber


Kathleen Gransalke

Editor for Reviews - translations, reports, photos - - - Favorite genres? - Punk, Rock, Death Metal, Mathcore - - - Favorite bands? - Coheed & Cambria, Black Dahlia Murder, Dillinger Escape Plan, Mastodon