VOLA (Jäähalli, Helsinki) – 19/3/2022

/ 0 Comments/ By : and

It was good to be back out and about! After several years of no gigs, this concert in the Brewer’s Street of the big (and cold) Helsinki Jäähalli venue marked the first one for our photographer Vaim Hull and yours truly to reunite. With the ice skating rink right next to the part of the building we were, that at least explains the cold draft we regularly noticed inside. For me personally it was the first time being here, but I was excited as it was my first gig since pre-corona times. On the menu: Atlas, Port Noir and main act VOLA, all acts that were pretty much unfamiliar to me until shortly before this night. Let’s go!


Opening the evening was the band Atlas, coming from the Finnish city Tampere in the west of Finland. They were there representing their brand new album ‘Ukko’ (our album review here) that came out in December last year. The five guys had loads of energy and were all-in on this gig. Drummer Aku Karjalainen was so enthusiastic he even lost his drum stick at some point during the very first song. Atlas is referred to in broad terms as a metalcore band, but the guys like to call their own style as being ‘Northcore’. I would say the style is definitely metalcore with somewhat of a twist. The band gets their inspiration from life in the north of the globe, and the darkness that is paired with that lifestyle.

The band members say they “play a mix of heavy hitting riffs, paired with catchy melodies and immersive soundscapes”, and I could not agree more, as the mix of grunting and clean vocals is perfectly balanced to my taste. The mix of hardhitting guitar riffs and breakdowns with the more melancholic and atmospheric parts is absolutely compelling, as is the mixture of Finnish and English in the lyrics. And that mesmerizing atmosphere building is something they manage to translate absolutely perfectly in a live setting. As soon as they started, the already pretty large crowd was very responsive, though with the third track ‘Taivaanrantaa’, coincidentally from their new album ‘UKKO‘, the audience really became wild and engaged into this gig.

Port Noir

Second band of this evening was the Swedish outfit Port Noir. At the beginning of their set they seemed to be struggling a bit with staying in tune, but after a song or two this seemed to be less of a problem. Maybe it was an issue with the soundmixing at a place that is not made for live music or then they just needed a bit warming up since this was the first time they were on a stage again since the pandemic hit hard. After hearing the guys from Atlas, I must say that hearing Port Noir’s first song seemed a bit soft for me in comparison and the three guys on stage didn’t really convince me. And after the hard hitting show from the opening band, also the audience seemed to need some time to get warm and cheerful for the Swedish guys. A pity, because their music is not bad at all and actually their energy and musicianship quickly convinced the majority of the crowd, cheering them on loudly after a while. It maybe could have helped if they had a bit more interaction with the audience between the songs, since when they did the few small bits that involved talking to the people in front of them, they clearly got a really enthusiastic and positive response. To end with a positive note, the show marked also one of the first times they played the songs from their new album ‘Cuts‘ that wasn’t even out yet at this point. Singles like ‘All Class‘, ‘Deep Waters‘ and ‘Sweet & Salt‘ were absolutely killer live and fit in perfectly with their older music!


All Class
Deep Waters
Sweet & Salt
Young Bloods
Old Fashioned


Headliner of the evening was the Danish band VOLA, who released a new album last year with ‘Witness‘. An album that has been received by many people as one of the top albums of the year 2021, including us (check out “Albums of the Year 2021” list here)! The guys from Copenhagen were obviously very loved by the audience since although we still live in corona-times, many people have showed up to support this band and enjoy the gig, filling up the venue pretty much. Vocalist Asger Mygind has a very special voice I must say. The timbre sounds very low and deep, but at the same time the pitch is high and open sounding.  Somehow the sound of his voice reminds me a little bit of the frontman of last year’s Icelandic Eurosong entry Daði & Gagnamagnið. The on record often angelic sounding voice seemed to be a bit of a fickle thing live to come across as steady as it does on record, but it definitely grew on me.

VOLA handles a lot of rhythmical changes in their music which make the songs more interesting than the average metal bands do. With the heavy hitting djent bits that are so integral to the “VOLA-sound” combined with more classic progressive music, they seemed somewhat like the perfect combination of the 2 bands before. The rhythm changes and the way the drums were paving the path for that, gave a very jazzy and atmospheric vibe to the concert venue. Added to that the stage lights that were different than your regular setup, with bars of light in the back and a row of lights on the ground of the stage in front of them. About half of the setlist consisted out of tracks from their latest release and the crowd clearly really were into it. And while the hip hop/trip hop track ‘These Black Claws’ seemed a bit out of place at this amazing rock/metal show, it didn’t really bring down the gig at all. Of course they also played a bunch of their older songs, where for instance the first encore of the show was the song ‘Inmazes’ which they apparently performed again for the first time since 2015, which seems like a lifetime ago… (thanks corona).


We Are Thin Air
24 Light-Years
Straight Lines
Ruby Pool
Head Mounted Sideways
These Black Claws
Alien Shivers
Inside Your Fur

Stray the Skies

I really liked this gig! Although not all the bands were a 100% my taste, the sound and PA were good, the atmosphere was there and I had good company this evening. First time being back out to concerts in years and first time in the Jäähalli venue was a great success. On to many more concerts hopefully soon!

For more pictures of the night, go check out the photo report here!

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *