Time to give ourselves over to the beats again! After having to skip a year due to the pandemic, Hellsinki Industrial Festival is back in full force! New location from last time, impressively international line-up, no restrictions,… We were in for quite the party, and quite possible the party of the year! Kudos to Elektrik Products and Club Infektio for playing the gamble they did, which resulted in this great event being able to take place as it did!
While it was hard to imagine a better location than the now demolished Nosturi, I have to say I was impressed with how Ääniwalli managed to be a very satisfying replacement. The need of having our COVID pass scanned, did prolong the waiting in a line to get in quite a bit, but once the majority of people got scanned, embellished by a festival bracelet and got in, everything ran really smoothly. There wasn’t even much of a delay to speak of. Two rooms each with their own bar made sure you never had to wait long for your drinks, and having that extra room on the side made for a perfect hideaway spot when you needed a break from the relentless beats in the other room. Or simply to give your feet some rest after tireless dancing. Due to some traffic and the earlier mentioned long line to get in, we sadly had to miss most of the Miseria Ultima set (we really seem to have bad luck catching these guys live), but from what I heard while being in line, I think I can say it was a pretty good one to get into the groove of what was to come still that night!
Matthew Creed (***1/2)
The first act we got to see for real, was Matthew Creed. It being the solo project and new alter ego of Freakangel vocalist Dmitry Darling, a band I absolutely love, I was really looking forward to see how this was going to be like. After his partner in crime set the mood with some beats and noise, the brains behind the project strode through the room to mount the stage with attitude for days. The music itself is relatively straightforward dark electronica conjured by a combination of sampler, looping and guitar strums and the lyrics aren’t the most complex stuff I’ve ever encountered, but the way it was brought to the stage made all the difference. Pacing back and forth like a caged wolf, kicking and throwing things away whenever they crossed his path, regularly pulling from his E-cigarette and at times grabbing his second hand in a rough embrace, Matthew Creed maintained a certain tension in the air that absolutely complemented the music. A pretty damn intriguing project that I’ll have to keep my eyes on!
By now the main room with the bigger stage opened up for the public, just in time for the London based industrial act Biomechanimal to christen it with their set. And what a way to kick off! These 3 guys have definitely energy to spare and the show was absolutely killer! While I wasn’t always the biggest fan of the vocals, it was easy to forget all about that while being at the front row getting blasted by the beats and relentless stream of energy. The vocalist was all over the place using almost every corner of the stage, whipping his red manes through the air, jumping around from time to time and seeking a connection with the people that started to gather dancing in front of him by regularly grabbing the railing at the front of the stage. And the guitarist and drummer did their upmost best to keep up with that level of explosiveness while cranking out highly catchy and danceable industrial music! Absolutely great show and if you weren’t into a party mood after this, I don’t know what was wrong with you… Looking forward to catch these (biomech)animals live again some time!
Alien Vampires (***)
When harsh electro outfit Alien Vampires was about to start, there was a clear increase in people moving to the front of the stage. It was clear there were quite a few fans showed up tonight for the duo of Nysrok Infernalien and Nightstalker. The combination of Nysrok‘s harsh vocals, ranging from high pitched screams and deep growls, energetic electronic music from the hands of Nightstalker and some melodic backing vocals by the same, translated into a quite engaging show. Nysrok, complete with face paint, colored eye lenses and occult ornaments around the neck, paced back and forth between the front of the stage and his music equipment (and small bottle of what I presume was whisky), spewing his filth. Tracks like ‘She’s On Drugs – More Than Me’ and ‘Ready To Die’ hit in hard and it was quite the harsh electro party. Add to that moments in which Nightstalker cranked out the guitar or even an empty oil barrel to bang on and what you got was an early party during which I saw as good as everyone in the crowd dance again.
I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say that if I’d have to name 1 act as the most popular and anticipated of the night (or possibly even of the weekend), Priest would be the one. This mysterious Swedish trio had blown many away (including yours truly) at their last visit to Helsinki at Hellsinki Industrial Festival 2019, and this time around there was even more of a rush to the front right before they were about to kick off their show. The synth pop band has a knack in writing extremely catchy earwurms of songs and live they deliver a pummeling of electronic beats you almost wouldn’t expect when listening to their music on record. Since the last time we caught them live, the line-up has changed quite a bit with only Salt remaining from the original setting. Not that you would notice behind those masks, that received quite the upgrade in the mean time, making it look more sleek and futuristic compared to the more bondage/medieval doctor masks. One fond memory is how enigmatic the frontman/vocalist Mercury was, seeking a close connection with his (female) fans on the front rows. And the person who took up the role now very much continued this very charming act and manages to deliver the vocals at top level. If you didn’t know that the line-up has changed up quite a bit, you would’ve never guessed. Classics in the making like ‘Obey‘, ‘The Cross’ and ‘History In Black’ of course came by, but we also were lucky enough to get their latest single ‘Let Your Body Go’ and a live premiere of the track ‘A Signal In The Noise‘ from the same upcoming new album. Both received with a lot of enthusiasm by everyone there. Simply said: Priest came, saw and conquered all.
No one really expected this to happen, but as the closing act of the first night of Hellsinki Industrial 2021, we got Hocico, all the way from Mexico. A quite popular act within the harsh electro/aggrotech/EBM scene, I was looking forward to what was promised to me as a great thing live. Bathing in gloomy red lights, keyboardist Racso brought a rather creepy start of the set staring into the crowd from behind his instruments with glaring, whitened eyes. But once the beats properly kicked in and vocalist Erik marched on stage, a fire was lit and the party was on! Face half painted in a skull design, and dressed in a stage outfit that looked like he borrowed some pieces from Mr. Lordi, Erik brought a feverish energy to the stage pacing back and forth, only pausing when he put his microphone in his with skulls adorned mic stand. His aggressive shouts riled the crowd up quite a bit and soon I found myself being quite enthralled by the anger and aggression seeping from every pore of this creature on stage. Tracks like ‘Sex Sick’, ‘Bite Me!’ and ‘Shut Me Down!’ hit in hard like a sledgehammer and I started wondering if everyone (including me) would have enough energy left for what was to come tomorrow after all this partying and dancing going on. Quite satisfied we left the beats behind us for a while to get some recharge before coming back the next day. What a night it has been!
For more pics, go see our photo report here.