Leprous, The Monuments, Kalandra in Helsinki

March 13, 2023, Vanha Ylioppliastalo, Helsinki, Finland

The band’s Bandcamp says: “Spearheaded by four Norwegian/Swedish musicians, Kalandra is a band with roots in melancholic Nordic folk and gritty guitars, weaving ethereal melodies into raw and eerie musical landscapes.” The band, while not being completely “folk”, is a close associate of well-known Nordic Folk acts. It is enough to say that the band was warming up for Wardruna in their 2022 tour and the lead singer Katrine was also invited as a second singer on Wardruna shows. A couple of years ago, the band released their debut “The Line” and was promoting it ever since. Presently the band spends time between touring and writing new music. The group is up and coming, but is already recognized by more successful colleagues – such as Amalie Bruun (Myrkur) and Maria Franz (Heilung) casually dropping by to see the same gig in Copenhagen.

While the new stuff is in the works (and the band is being completely secretive about it), they perform their first album. While the lighting on the set was definitely odd (a lot of very bright contour lights), the band’s set was as strong as their music. Leading with a masterpiece “Borders”, a true audiophile track that features a vocoder and a guitar played by a violin bow, Kalandra performed a captivating half-an-hour set.

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The Monuments
The British band The Monuments is positioned as a progressive metal, yet their performance is far from the “progressive” melancholy familiar from Opeth or Anathema. Instead, the gig feels like you are on a grindcore or metalcore gig – complete with the vocalist rolling over on stage. It is rather interesting what exactly prompted this lineup – perhaps, the headliner Leprous being somewhere between the extremities that Kalandra and Monuments represent. The band gave a very visually appealing performance, and, same as Kalandra, was immersing the listeners.

Norwegian Leprous provided a nearly two hour gig and these hours went quite impressively. The band’s sound is often described as “soundscapes”. It is one of the times when you wonder “how’s the band doing that”? Leprous has quite an unusual setup with a cello player and a vocalist Einar Solberg, who also does keyboards. Being a “progressive metal” band, stylistically Leprous kinda falls between Kalanra and The Monuments. Their records are not really that heavy, yet the large-ceiling-thin-walls Vanha Ylioppilastalo was bursting with an extremely loud rendition of their music. Even from the furthest point of the hall, from the top on the balcony, the music felt tight and energetic.

Overall, the whole evening was a very strong musical experience.

Askar Ibragimov

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