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Finnish Metal Expo 2011 - Day 1 - 2/18/2011 - Kaapelitehdas - Helsinki

This year Finnish Metal Expo gathered 3500 metal fans to hang around, meet each other and listen to their favorite music. The cold weather didn’t scare anyone, not even the ones who came from warmer countries to this godforsaken asshole of a polar bear. And to stand in a line for over an hour to get in, god... This was already the seventh Helsinki Metal Meeting, and it sure has kept it’s line of performers as tough as always. This year’s superstars were definitely Sabaton, Triptykon and Accept. They were on everyones’ lips the whole weekend. Also, the Finnish Metal Awards were once again given to the year’s best workers on the metal scene. The brightest star of the evening were Stam1na and Mokoma from Sakara Records. Stam1na being the number 1 band of the year with the album of the year, the singer of the year and second place on the best cover art of the year. Mokoma came second on the band of the year, the album of the year and the singer of the year. The best cover art of the year also went to Mokoma. The title of the best player of the year was given to Finland’s multi-talented Tuomas Saukkonen, who was also third with his band Black Sun Aeon on the best cover art of the year and the band of the year. His other band, Before the Dawn was third on the band of the year. Not bad Tuomas! 10 ”coconut coins!!” (see note at the end).

Deathchain was the opening band this year. The playing was energetic and the audience was going crazy already at 15.45. The sound was pretty much clean, so I was happy with the bass too. This band gave an hour of good music for people who loved it. What could be a better start for FME? Listening those crispy guitars and watching these professionals sure was a pleasure. The only thing that left me wondering was the cute Chthulhu doing the backing vocals. It was truly a shame that they started so early, a few hours later the house would have been even more packed and the atmosphere would have been even hotter!

The second band to climb the stage was a group from Canada called Zeroscape. I had never seen this band live before. The context was certainly interesting. The band is mixing rock, metal and reggae. WHAAAAAT?!! Sounds like a difficult task, and almost impossible. Reggae as a genre is so far away from metal, at least to me. The lead singer Binski offered the audience a full set of power and might. He seemed like he was at home on that stage. Although the songs didn’t really convince me on the record, as a live band Zeroscape was just great. All-time festival favorite this one! The songs were somewhat confusing, but the music was perfect for partying. I shall say no more, great music to bring the summer back to this frozen ass of a country.

Dreamshade: what more could I expect than CRAB COINS COMIN’ UP! (again see the note at the bottom). They opened the set with power and great energy and the band was totally all over the place. Specially the vocals were really good and clear. The gig was not only pleasant to listen to, but also comfortable to watch. The band, especially (of corse) the guitar players had a good connection that also showed. Call me a pussy but it was nice that the boys had had a look in the mirror before they went on stage. Some bands could do that more often too. 3 CRAB COINS! YAY!

After making an idiot out of myself and trying to hit the little Finland on a big poster blindfolded, I went to see Mygrain. Before the band started playing, there was a bit of hype going on the stage with the producer of Mygrain’s latest album, so I was expecting a lot. The sounds were (surprise surprise) very finnish. Little problems with the tech, sometimes the synths totally disappeared to what we call the carpet. One could see that the band is really comfortable doing what they do. I wasn’t blown away by the music, it was traditional Mygrain, but the gig was good.

For the Imperium was also new to me. At first I thought they were a fucking trio which totally broke my coconuts, but then the singer came out and he turned out to be Hakim from a rock band called April. His voice and performance is always a pleasure. This guy really loves what he’s doing, and he’s always giving a 110%. The set was full of spontaneous acts and definitely was NOT boring! Even the security guy got yelled at! This band is really worth checking out, metal hand-crafting like this was simply good also sound-wise. I’m hearing different influences, some of them even surprising, with the boys’ own twist. For The Imperium truely brings something new to the Finnish metal scene. They do what the others don’t have the guts to do.

After a long day of okay-ish bands, finally it was Triptykon’s turn. The new (and far superior) project of former Celtic Frost frontman Tom G. Warrior, Triptykon, is heavy as a really heavy thing. The crushing sounds and slow tempos combined with the preaching vocals of Warrior combined with faster parts make the band a prime example of a versatile and incredibly engaging band.
This was probably the gig I was most looking forward to in this FME. I saw them at last summer’s Jalometalli, and they were amazing. Luckily, this time was also incredible. The sound was nigh on perfect for this type of music, the bass drum felt like a kick in the chest, and the distortion was just enough to make it feel like the end of the world was hanging on top of the crowd.
Sadly, they didn’t play their EP’s hit “Shatter”, but otherwise most of the best songs from “Eparistera Daimones”. A bit annoyingly, the band turned into a Celtic Frost cover band every once in a while. For example, out of the four first songs three were CF songs. Since, at least for me, Triptykon’s own material is way stronger and better thought out than Celtic Frost’s, it’s rather disappointing that the new band isn’t allowed to make it on its own.

(by Markus Karppinen)

I ended my friday evening by forcing myself to watch Symfonia. The comeback band of the 90’s metal hero Timo Tolkki (Stratovarius, Revolution Renaissance) that was already known for it’s hyper line-up. The intro was very promising, after all it was from Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance no.1. However, what came after the intro was horrid. Yes, the players are good, separately. The sounds were [insert: ugly words]. All one could hear was the snare, you could actually hear it to the other side of HELLsinki. Then there was the ride. The nearest cities could all hear it. Just a thick carpet of sounds and suddenly ”KÄNG KÄNG KÄNG KÄNG”, and somewhere in this jungle of ”bzzz” there was someone yelling with his balls tight. I was also dragged into a catfight during all this.

Finishing off Friday was Sabaton. Having worked their way into the metal mainstream they’ve managed to greatly grow their fan base in the last few years, to which a huge crowd was a living testament. Europe’s "Final Countdown" was the first intro tape, followed by another intro tape, a bit overdoing it in my opinion.
They started their show with "Ghost Division", but sadly it was evident from the first measure that the mixing was waaaaay off. Everything was a muddled mess, with the bass drum overpowering everything, and the guitars being completely unhearable. It took the sound guys over five songs to obtain something audible out of this glaring flaw, but in the end they managed to get the sound from ’excruciating’ to ’bearable’.
Luckily, there was absolutely nothing wrong with the band itself. The vocalist and band leader Joakim Brodén was his usual energetic self, jumping all over the place and lashing the crowd into a frenzy. The crowd itself wasn’t quite as intensive as it was on Sabaton’s last gig in December at Tavastia, but that can be expected since not everyone was there to specifically see this band. Still, the audience was chanting and singing along, and during "Primo Victoria" jumped along to the choruses.
The stage show was entertaining, having the backdrop change into a Finnish flag with the bands logo on it at the beginning of "White Death" really got the crowd going. Also worth a mention was the huge pyros on stage, the heat of those things could be felt halfway across the hall. Overall a really good gig, but due to the sound problems probably the weakest of the three I’ve seen so far. It really says something when the worst gig I’ve seen of a band can be said to have been only phenomenal. Tack och god natt!

(by Markus Karppinen)

Setlist Sabaton:
01) Ghost Division
02) Uprising
03) White Death
04) Cliffs of Gallipoli
05) 40:1
06) Attero Dominatus
07) Price of a Mile
08) Aces in Exile
09) Screaming Eagles
10) Saboteurs
11) Coat of Arms
12) Primo Victoria
13) Talvisota
14) Metal Medley


Crab coins are points given to CRABTASTIC bands. The more CRABALICIOUS the band, the more Crab Coins are given. From this year on I will announce the CRAB SCORE WINNER of the year. Yay. So keep following your favorite bands’ Crab Score.

Coconut coins are pretty much the same as Crab coins, but are given to bands that aren’t crabtastic, but good in another way.




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