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The Darkness Festival VI - 9/5/2014 - PRKL Club - Helsinki

Held for the first time in Helsinki, The Darkness Festival arrives at its six edition here at Club PRKL. This year the event spans over two days, and the line-up is a well-balanced mix of foreign as well as Finnish bands, with the headliners being Desaster and Ofermod.
The festival clearly aims to become more international, as last year the Danish Denial Of God was the main act (when The Darkness was still at Yo-talo in Tampere). It’s good to see there is people willing to arrange this kind of happenings, keeping up the underground and bringing here some interesting acts at the same time.
Too bad there isn’t so many people as I would have imagined, because the level of the bands is quite good: we start on Friday with Valoton, warming up the stage with some Finnish satanic black metal as the fans are slowly flowing in. The atmosphere has to still get heated up properly, but the guys makes for an interesting opening with the songs from their “Beastificate” album. I always appreciate also the performance of the band, who tends to keep it quite simple and straight to the point.
Next you can tell the air has changed (and some interesting characters appear among the audience) when after a quick changeover is Goatmoon’s turn to hit the stage. The band has just released the new “Voitto Tai Valhalla”, and their gig is as entertaining as ever, making the fans go wild in front of the small stage. For one reason or another these guys make it always worthwhile to check out their shows, and this time is no exception.
Now that we are getting fully into the festival’s mood, Sacrilegious Impalement plays the role of being the last Finnish band for today. SI has evolved quite a lot during these years, and has reached a certain stability now that their vocalist Wrathprayer has been around for some time. What they show today confirms my opinion of them being a good live act, as the guys are really into it from the beginning to the end.
So far so good, but probably the weakest show of the evening is the one from the Swedish industrial black metallers Diabolicum. It doesn’t quite seem to fit much. Not that different is necessarily bad, but most of the crowd appear to be gradually losing interest during their performance, which in turn is a good thing for the bar, as it means more alcohol flowing and wallets opening up. Unfortunately for them to make it even more difficult to get into their music, what is probably the most awaited band of the weekend is about to take over the stage.
Desaster sure has a long history, and I remember still very well the first time I saw them live in Germany. They struck me with an excellent live performance, and reminded me a lot of a more extreme version of Destruction, from which in fact they took inspiration for their name.
Tonight they again live up to the expectations, and in fact their show will be my favorite of this festival. There is of course space for some newer material (“Phantom Funeral”, “The Splendour Of The Idols”) from the latest “The Arts of Destruction”, but the set touches mostly the older songs, and the crowd’s response is pretty good considering the venue size. Infernal is surely the most active on stage, but Sataniac and Odin hold their ground very well. Their 60-minute set passes by even too fast, as everyone is still shouting the band’s name, expecting for an encore. I confess I was almost hoping for it myself
All in all this first day has been a positive start of the weekend, with Desaster being as devastating as expected, without forgetting the Finnish warm-ups, all valid bands. But the best part is that there are still good things to come on the next day!

Friday photo gallery:

In fact on Saturday I knew very well it would have been best to come as early as possible: I wouldn’t want to miss Saturnian Mist, as I know their shows are always incredibly powerful and captivating, not only in their music but in its performance. They again manage to get their fans hooked. The singer ventures into the audience in a pair of occasions, and the crowd is unperturbed by that as if in a trance-like state. Or maybe they are just Finnish.
I am rather surprised when the following band, Malicious, makes its appearance. The band, featuring for the occasion also Urgamla’s vocalist at the bass, is better than my expectations, which as a matter of fact were none, since I had’t heard their name before. I recommend checking out if you are curious their EP “Mental Illness”.
Devouring Star is another band I wasn’t familiar with, although the reaction is not quite the same. Their black/death metal sound is still interesting but maybe not as engaging as the previous band. Like the band before them, also these guys have only one release so far, their self-titled demo. Regardless these hood-covered guys, with the singer having his eyes covered in a Zorro-like fashion, prepare the atmosphere for Morrigan with all the smoke engulfing the stage.
After the show in Hammer Open Air a lot happened, and the original duo split up last year. Now the singer has moved to Finland, and he is back with a new local drummer. Of course that makes it more practical for having the guys here tonight. It is also a very good thing for I think the show itself is probably the best of the evening, featuring songs from both Morrigan and the Mayhemic Truth era. Great booking, great show. Absolutely no complains here.
Finally we come at the last moment of the festival when today’s headliner, the Swedish Ofermod, bring their ritualistic mysticism on stage. The small setting of PRKL fits quite well for the purpose, and the band does indeed a good job, with the setlist being based mostly on “Thaumiel”, without forgetting though the good debut “Tiamtü” nor the older material (“Mystérion Tés Anomias”). Obscure vibes fill the atmosphere from the dark nature of their music, but somehow for me the Swedes don’t manage to top the previous band’s performance. Still a rather intriguing gig, and proper ending of the weekend.

So The Darkness comes to a closure for the sixth time - the first in Helsinki - and I would say the outcome is not at all bad. The festival is evidently still growing, but it seems to be constantly improving, bringing now a solid mixture of local and foreign bands. One remark is that maybe it would have been better to have four bands per day instead of five, as these kind of evening gigs can be quite tiring, especially after a long day at work.
Anyhow the organizers are already one step ahead: the next edition has already been announced for March 2015 in the same venue, featuring Lord Belial, Lvcifyre, Osculum Infame, Possession, Heretic, just to throw a few names. Be sure to be there!

Saturday photo gallery:

Report a cura di Marco Manzi

Archivio Foto


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