Helsinki 21-22.11.2003

Friday 21.11, bands: The Wake, Heaven & Hell, Arise, Moonsorrow, Charon.

The traditional in-door metal festival Spinefeast was held at Nosturi by the sea and again the place was sold out on both days. The downstairs was packed with younger crowd, while the older crowd was drinking upstairs and enjoying their view to the stage from there. It's not an easy task to see the bands here, there are only a few places you get a view to the stage if you don't happen to be really tall. I decided to watch the bands from far and the first band, The Wake, was a surprise act that easily amazed many and made people rush into the record store on Monday. These guys played a really tight set with their Children Of Bodom-style melodeath and a great metal attitude. Even I liked them, though I hardly ever get into this genre anymore.

Heaven & Hell (left) was up next, and their metal didn't have much impact to the young crowd, who were more into the brutal metal and didn't understand the various roots of this band. But having a versatile music taste I was curious to see the band since never hearing their music before and reading raving reviews about them. But the liveset didn't really impress me either. Somehow the singer didn't seem to fit into the band even though he was also overflowing with rock'n'roll attitude, like other musicians in the event. The music made only a scattered impression to move your attention elsewhere, which was the case with the next band Arise too. But the band put up a great show otherwise, taking the stage like pros and their Metallica-cover of "Whiplash" worked well.

Arise from Sweden was after them, the second deathmetal band that evening and I was looking forward to this show along with the crowd, who once again packed near the stage. But even with sounding brutal enough, Arise still didn't convince the crowd. But the guys were mainly just standing on stage looking quite bored. Now that really doesn't get the crowd going. I didn't see them moshing at all, maybe their short hair was the reason? It seemed like everything wasn't working that well with them. At least upstairs the sounds were confusing and it was quite noisy even there.

The most waited band for this evening was definately Moonsorrow (above), playing their Viking metal with finnish lyrics. Their set was better than in Tuska-festival, though with some mishaps and not the best sounds. They had the shortest set of the evening, though they should've been the main act, because after the band finished, most of the crowd left, leaving the headliner Charon playing to a half packed place.

Diminished audience didn't spoil the mood, as Charon (left) seemed to be having a good time. They had replaced Jasse Von Hast with Lauri Tuohimaa from Embraze. This was the first gig I ever saw from them, and they were exactly that tight live band I've been hearing everyone saying. JP Leppäluoto moved a lot on stage and kneeled down to the young female fans in the front row and the rest of the guys were really energetic too. Their keyboardist Marco Sneck looked like he might soon get tangled to his long hair, as it was all over the keyboards. The setlist was good, though when their hit "Little Angel" started, I could hardly stand anymore from the pain in my feet, so I had to go and sit down. Half of the long enough setlist was from their new album:

1. Guilt On Skin, 2. Religious/Delicious, 3. Bitter Joy, 4. If, 5. Sister Misery, 6. Death Can Dance, 7. Graving, 8. Christina Bleeds, 9. In Brief War, 10. Worthless, 11. Desire You, 12. Little Angel. 13. Failed, 14. No Saint

Saturday 22.11, bands: Reverend Bizarre, Rapture, Thyrane, Ajattara, Lullacry.

Saturday wasn't easy. Our feet were still aching from 6 hours of standing from Friday, we were very tired and our throats were killing us from breathing all that smoke on Friday that the sold out venue was full of. Even the people who were smoking were having a hard time, going to the doors to breathe some fresh air. And what would be more clever than whining about smoke, when at the same time you're having a cigarrette in your fingers, still trying to catch that fresh air from outside ? Stay out of booze, you kids. It only messes up your brains, as we witnessed... We were supposed to at least try and check out TOC as the first band, but before even leaving home the news came of TOC cancelling their show because of illness in the band. So the first band we saw was Thyrane. They continued the brutal line-up with their blonde female keyboardist. She was probably the third blonde I saw on this event along with Claudia of Lowe Motor Corporation, who was just hanging around, and me. Otherwise the whole place was so black you couldn't tell the people apart. And being a blonde isn't easy, you've got lots of devilish eyes measuring you, going "what the hell are you doing here".

Thyrane's show was very simple and so was their music, even to a humourous point, where your songs start reminding children's songs, hammering only three notes and repeating it over and over. But the crowd loved them, there were lots of fists in the air and the front of the stage was really packed. Thyrane isn't all that bad though, there's melody in their music as well. But their show didn't go all that well, there were some technical problems with drums and it seemed like many bands were having problems on both days.

Ajattara (left) was the other band for this evening that people really got into and they had the shortest set this evening. The band, along with its members from Amorphis, played a good set with their finnish lyrics. Pasi seemed more energetic on stage than on Amorphis gigs and was growling well enough. We couldn't watch the whole show from the guys, the air started getting too thick to breathe and almost brought a migraine headache. So unfortunately we didn't see Lullacry either. But if they played like they have before, they must've had a good show. Though once again they probably were a wrong headliner for the day in this very black event.

During the whole event there was a really colourful crowd, though still dressed in black. Young and really old, hard rock/deathmetal fans and musicians from various groups and even Kärtsy Hatakka (Waltari) and Sami Yli-Sirniö (Kreator/Waltari/Jimsonweed etc) were spotted, and you don't see them too often. Kimberly Goss from Sinergy was also having a good time and so was Tuomas and Jukka from Nightwish, along with whole bunch of other musicians. But mostly this was an occasion for the younger crowd and Saturday had more action.

Report by Satu Reunanen,
Pictures by Kari Helenius,
(c)2003 RockUnited.Com