For the first time this year, the 2-day indoor festival “Metal Crane” was organised at Nosturi in Helsinki, Finland. Not too far fetched of a name for the festival, since the name of the venue is literally Finnish for “crane”, so under the “metal crane” a bunch of quality metal bands gathered to blow off the roof with the crowds of metalheads marching down to the harbor for some good music. The first day had already an impressive line-up of bands with the Finnish bands Kalmah, Catamenia, Brymir and Among the Prey, but sadly I had to make the choice to only go one of the 2 days. Since the second day had as the headliner the one and only non-Finnish band Harakiri For The Sky that has been gaining a lot of popularity the past few years with their post-black music and intense shows. Throw on top of that 3 more quality Finnish bands with Whispered, Bloodred Hourglass and The Hypothesis and we were sold!
When we saw The Hypothesis (***) as support on Wolfheart‘s release show last year, we were very impressed and kind of blown away with the sheer energy of the band. So my expectations for the first band of the night was pretty high. Their melodic death metal with touches of electronic samples here and there has a very modern sound and really touches that right snare in me that wants me to jump into a moshpit! Backed with a beast of a drummer under Rolf Pilve (Stratovarius), they usually bring quite the show.
On this level I was left a little bit disappointed afterwards. I couldn’t really see the drummer well enough to see his crazy skills and for some reason vocalist Antti Seppälä came across a little bit distant and uninterested. I don’t know if it simply was because of the constant hoodie on his head or if it wasn’t really his day, somehow they didn’t hit me with that “bang” this time as they had before. They’re right now working on new material (of which they already released a new song), so I’m really hoping to catch them live soon again for a better show. One thing is sure: one for one they’re really talented guys and their music is intricate and heavy at the same time…
Up next was Bloodred Hourglass (***1/2), another band in the direction of melodic death/thrash metal. This time covered with a heavy sauce of catchy metalcore. They recently released their new album Heal that sounded like a damn blasting piece of heavy stuff from the excerpts I heard on beforehand. Hence, I was very curious to see and hear how they’d come across live. Overall, I have to say that the energy of these guys definitely was on a good level, on which the crowd responded really well too.
For a scrawny looking guy like vocalist Jarkko Koukonen I was very impressed by the one time melodic clean vocals and next brutal growling that came out of him. I have to say that the music overall felt a little bit “generic” so to say: despite not really knowing any of their songs, somehow with most of them I had the thoughts of “Hey! I’ve heard this before somewhere!”. Looking past that small bit of critique, I was still really impressed with the band’s show. Bloodred Hourglass is a great live band, which was apparent from the very energetic reaction of the crowd with plenty of moshpits swirling around!
One but last band, was the only band to sport painted faces this night: Whispered (***1/2). Their music style is a mix of melodic death metal with symphonic/power metal elements and the use of old Japanese folk instruments. They’ve branded the result as “Samurai metal” and it was quite clear that they’ve put their money heavy on the Japanese element. When vocalist/guitarist Jouni Valjakka and his friends mounted the stage barefooted and dressed in samurai robes, quite a chunk of the crowd went wild. There is a certain cult following in their homecountry that strongly supports the band. The whole Asian theme with mythology and samples of traditional instruments and Japanese speeches was woven perfectly into their music and at times really complimented the sound and atmosphere.
The guys themselves were damn active and energetic as well, seeking a lot of interaction with the crowd and having a flair for dramatics. Somehow their performance and sound made me think that this could be the result when you blend Children of Bodom with the symphonic/power sound and theatrics of Powerwolf and dipped it in a dollop of wasabi. This translated yet again into several moshpits and circle pits, shouting along and raised horns and fists. The music was well-crafted, the show was energetic,… though after a while it started to get a bit “too much of the same” to my taste. Especially the last song was a seemingly never-ending yet still quite epic and exciting track.
Last but not least, the only foreign band of the night came to the stage. Headliner and Austria-based Harakiri For The Sky (*****) was a bit of the black sheep of the night. While all three of the earlier bands played some form of melodic death metal, Harakiri brings a whole other beast into this world. Their post-black metal drips of self-loathing, depression and suicidal feelings and paints a different picture than their predecessors. Despite playing a completely different style of music, they definitely ruled the night. They carried us away on their music that is filled with cold, yet melodic and often even catchy rock riffs into a world of darkness.
Vocalist J.J. was completely engulfed by the music and simply embodied the themes of depression and suicidal feelings with an introspective look, staring to the ground, rocking and pacing back and forth with a certain nervousness, throwing himself on his knees on the floor and at times seemingly strangling himself with the microphone wire. An impressive show with a different kind of energy than before, but in a way even more intense than all the violence of the former bands. This band is simply a must-see if you haven’t yet. And with their upcoming new release Arson, I’m pretty sure you’ll get the chance to catch them somewhere near you soon!
For more pictures go see our photo coverage here.