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Insomnium / Barren Earth / Wolfheart

Winter’s Gate Tour – 20.1.2017, Grünspan, Hamburg

Waiting in the line in front of the club, I could not avoid to notice that I was not the only one who had travelled far for this delicious package – which did not travel Finnish home grounds this time, unfortunately. How well this tour was going became obvious quickly – Wolfheart faced a full house, and many seemed familiar with their music. Even way back people rocked along, and the band’s mix of brutal blasts and gentle tunes – well defined by a brilliant sound – has definitely won some new fans.
Set list: The Hunt, Strength and Valor, Ghosts of Karelia, Boneyard, Zero Gravity, Routa Part II

The Melodic Death Metallers Barren Earth rather focused on the Melodic part, and a crystal clear sound supported the multi-layered choirs well. In comparison with the band before they took on matters a bit more slowed down, with a touch of Doom and some Prog – yet still powerful.

Singer Jón Aldará impressed with his range from tenor to growls, and in between songs with his witty remarks about his home, the Faroese islands.
Setlist: The Leer, Dead Exiles, Set Alight, Flicker, Shapeless Derelict, On Lonely Towers

The headliner Insomnium had drawn a crowd big enough to qualify for „sold out“, as some had arrived later to the show. And yes, once again a celebration of victory for those guys who pleased the audience not with one but with several encores. More from my colleague later plus some more photos; and below the report from Erfurt. (KW)

Insomnium created a positive feeling, although you could see a „typical Hamburg“ attitude in the audience, which means people rather remained motionless, just listening, instead of rocking along with a headlining band; only the front rows put their full energy into full participation. Still it was an evening for all ages to enjoy – the teenager as well as a more mature metal head, they all seemed very pleased with the performance. The sound was good and also the light show, quite fitting to underline the atmosphere and mood of the songs (although photographers cursed the fog and backlight…). In short, a great evening! (Carina Ullmann)

HERE the photo galleries, or check out the video filmed at this gig below.

21.01.2017, Erfurt, From Hell

Close to the airport of the Thuringian capital, the Airfurt airport, a horde of bearded men from the North had gathered to bring melodic death metal to the East of Germany. Apparently not many wanted to miss out on this musical treat – the show of Insomnium, Barren Earth and Wolfheart, had been sold out for weeks. The number plates in the car park revealed that the prospect of a decent metal evening appealed to people far beyond Thuringia’s borders. After the Hamburg show the night before, this was the 11th gig on the current Winter’s Gate European tour.

Amongst others, Wolfheart had agreed to warm up the approximately 500 person-strong crowd (yes, the venue was packed at this point already). Already after the first notes, devil’s horns appeared everywhere. The band’s sound went down very well with crowd. Heavy, intense, right in the face but also with softer elements, the four Finns played exactly the kind of music, the people want to hear right here, right now. Instead of a howling wolf, it, however, sounded more like the ear-shattering roar of a bear and that’s good. Any approaching aeroplane would have been easily drowned out.

As the second support band tonight, Barren Earth then entered the stage. Since 2014, it’s not Swallow the Sun’s Mikko Kotamäki anymore, who makes his vocal cords vibrate, but Jón Aldará from the Faroese Islands, as Wikipedia tells me. As unusual as his homeland, is Aldará look (short hair, denim jacket), appearance (lively, communicative) and especially his vocals. Latter range from clean tenor-like pitch to powerful growls – both are great. And as versatile as his range is the band’s style, which unites many different genres and vibes. Loud and soft (also celebrating the quiet moments to their fullest); progressive, psychedelic (keyboards) or simply heavy. The guys dished up a rather unorthodox and demanding composition and thus, the crowd needed some time to digest it. Also the opinions of the STALKER reporter team were divided.

After Barren Earth, the sympathies were obvious. Finally, it’s Insomnium’s turn and the band kicked off their gig with a musical thunderstorm and mystical keyboards in semi-darkness (a nightmare for every photographer). Close to the stage, the heavy showers (mostly drums) heavily poured down on us, suppressing pretty much all the rest. Even in the back of the club, it’s very hard to hear those melodic, melancholic guitars that make Insomnium’s music so special. But the crowd doesn’t really mind – hair flew, numerous fingers were in the air, people sang and rocked. It’s a raving success – for band and fans. (KG) – Winter’s Gate Tour

Shortly after 11 pm, we swapped thunder for coldness and started back for home.

HERE the photo galleries.
Photos: Klaudia Weber, Falko Windisch

Insomnium @ Gruenspan, Hamburg, 20.01.2017


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

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