A week ago, a handful of us Enslainers had a planning session [otherwise known as “we drank beer”] at Enslain Headquarters, and we noticed that a curious and relevant musical affair was being held early that Wednesday evening; curious because it was apparently occurring at a “squat” somewhere nearby, and relevant because several friends (crust punk pummellers Pelkotila from Helsinki, and powerviolence à la Tallinn-based Sociasylum) would be performing at the event. We collectively decided that it sounded just peculiar enough to warrant our interests… and it was BYOB, so it wasn’t much different than what we were doing prior!
Those who missed Sadistic Intent’s show at last year’s Steelfest were lucky enough to have the opportunity to see the band in town again. The small but great venue Kuudes Linja hosted both Obscure Burial from Turku and Sadistic coming all the way from Los Angeles.
Performing a satanic ritual onstage is such a good way to spend time with your sibling, isn’t it?
Helsinki Black Mass in Ääniwalli was an event I couldn’t miss. Not just because of the excellent lineup, but also because of the tasks awaiting me – the very gig review you’ve just started reading and, this time, taking photos. Sometimes life is full of surprises. Even the venue was quite a surprise, since I’ve always connected Ääniwalli with electronic music rather than metal. This time, luckily, this place hosted six black metal bands. Continue reading
My love affair with FEAR FACTORY takes me way back to high school [yes, that was millenia ago…] when Demanufacture revolutionized the mainstream metal scene with their machinistically precise locomotion and anti-“machine” propaganda — and, of course, those sporadic clean vocal interludes that pierced the drilling battery with profound emotionality. These were my teenage idols, and going backwards and discovering their debut Soul of a New Machine also played its part in opening my horizons to more extreme music. Yet, the following decades saw my heroes developing into more “jumpy” directions, and struggling with complications in their rank and file… and I began to lose connection.
Fast forward to 2015, and Fear Factory’s suddenly got a reinvigorated line-up with integral members Burton and Dino still leading the pack, the promise of a “Demanufacture” anniversary tour, and a release called Genexus, with material compellingly reminiscent of their later 90’s outputs. So, despite some reluctance and cynicism, I figured, fuck the what, let’s time travel and see if I can plug back in to this machine!
Judging from the result of this interview, our directions and impressions about music have significantly forked, and the conversation got borderline combative at times – in a respectfully provocative way, of course. Burton tolerated my jestful acrimony and answered with eyebrow-raising candor, making for a deviant and delightful discussion.
After their gig, which was a total shock to the system, [I nearly lost my frikkin’ brain when they closed with “Martyr,” and I’ve got a lump to prove it…], I think it’s safe to assume I’ve plugged back in to their upgraded machine.
For fans of of progressive metal and phenomenal bass playing Mike LePond needs no introduction, for the uninitiated he’s the virtuosic bass player of Symphony X, Silent Assassins, and Heathens Rage. We met up at the Tampa stop of Symphony X’s co-headlining tour with fellow New Jersey natives Overkill to discuss Symphony X and his other musical endeavors. Continue reading
With one of the sickest line-ups we’ve seen this year, and a fortress location in an as-yet unexplored part of Europe for us, this’ll be our next adventure! Report and photos to follow, naturally.
Dance on the Graves: A Celebration of & a Tribute to Sentenced – The Circus, Helsinki – January 10, 2015
When Crimson came out fifteen years ago, I was a clueless pre-teen living in the backwoods of Lehmijärvi, only starting to take my first dips into the vast dark pool of heavy metal music. Being at an impressionable age, heavy consumption of the album – along with the cover-seasoned reissue of Frozen and the Greatest Kills compilation – served as my gateway into Sentenced’s funereal world. The last two albums that followed didn’t hinder my enthusiasm either, and further explorations into the band’s earlier works kept them in regular rotation even during times when I could hardly be bothered with much else than black and death metal.
Traveling out of town for a gig – let alone a festival – didn’t feel like a simple task for a minor small-towner, so when the Northernmost Killers lowered their coffin into the frozen ground with the extensive Funeral Tour in 2005, I somehow managed to let it pass me by. Talk about (guilt and) regret! Seeing the Sentenced cover band Forever One at Nummirock ’07 and ’09 was about as good a substitute as I could imagine, as those Southern Ostrobothnians nailed the sound of the originals in a stunning fashion. It’s too bad that they apparently called it quits as well a few years later, but I guess that makes my two encounters with them seem all the more special in retrospect, and merely milking a tribute band concept for years on end would seem somewhat cheap from a group of skilled musicians anyway.
So, with close to a decade having passed since Sentenced’s last appearance on stage, I warmly welcomed another opportunity to hear their everdying tunes live at the release party of Matti Riekki’s (mostly known as the editor-in-chief of Inferno Magazine) brand new biographical book Täältä pohjoiseen: Sentencedin tarina, as the event date was announced in late 2014. Despite the first given details being quite vague, I knew it wasn’t going to be a reunion, with my trust in the integrity and honesty of Sentenced being too firm to think that they would betray themselves and their followers by digging up the corpse after having already given it the most proper burial. As more specs surfaced, it was revealed that some of the band members would be climbing onto the stage, but only for an interview, followed by a lengthy tribute spectacle from a specifically assembled line-up of rising talents from the Finnish metal underground. Now this was starting to sound like a night I couldn’t afford to miss. Continue reading
Borknagar, Shade Empire & Atena – Nosturi, Helsinki – November 29, 2014
Arriving at Nosturi some twenty minutes before the beginning of the show, the room was cold and quite empty. Coming from France, that’s quite a cultural difference which never ceases to amaze me, since people usually start queuing some hours before doors open there.
Still, Atena would have deserved a warmer reception given the performance they offered. The bassist and guitar player entered the stage with long strides, the latter holding an instrument with an insane amount of strings (I counted eight of them). Always moving in exaggerated motions, it felt like they were inhabited by some kind of malicious spirit during the whole show. Continue reading
Til Dovre Faller Metal Fest – Dombås Hotell, Dombås, Norway – September 19–20, 2014
While the third Thursday of September saw most gig-hunting Nordic numskulls pack themselves into Close-Up Båten to sail between Sweden and Finland along with Bolt Thrower, Katatonia et al, our compass was pointing at Norway instead. Since our first Til Dovre Faller experience in 2012, a September visit to the land of expensive beer and jaw-dropping natural scenery has become a cherished Enslain tradition, thanks to the fest’s reliably intriguing band roster, uniquely gorgeous and cozy setting, and the welcoming and friendly atmosphere among the annually returning crusaders that we feel proud to have become a part of. Continue reading