Moonsorrow has been touring extensively in support of their latest release "Jumalten Aika" (for our review go here), but now finally they've decided to turn their attention to their homecountry of Finland. One of the stops on their Finnish tour was Virgin Oil Co. in Helsinki and of course we had to be there to engulf ourselves in the pagan/black/folk metal masterpieces of this great band. As support they brought along the Finnish pagan black metal outfit Draugnim, so we knew we were in for one hell of a pagan ride...
Personally I had never heard of the pagan black metal band Draugnim (***1/2), but checking out some tracks made them sound really interesting. So I was looking forward how much they'd convince me with their live performance. When they strode on stage, a few things immediately caught my eyes: the almost knee-long beard of the bassist Turms, the impressive build of guitarist Morior and the imposing frontman Chimedra! They kicked in with great atmospheric black metal with a pagan witchcraft, nature and such content. Especially the vocalist completely grabbed your attention with his bone necklace, wild beard & hear and metal layered gloves reminiscent of what the Nazgûl were wearing in The Lord of the Rings movies. He growled, spit and tore the stage apart like an animal! Despite his face often looking as if he was a demon incarnate and violently stomping with his boots and the mic stand (causing the sound getting cut off twice), he had a great relation and interaction with his fans.
When the sound was gone, he riled up the crowd to shout along with him so it wouldn't be completely quiet and then complete the song as if nothing happened once the speakers shot out their dark tunes. Besides that I saw him aim his gaze towards certain individuals during his performance, grab a fan's hand and at the end of the gig the fist bumps were flying around (I wasn't jealous though, 'cause they must've hurt with those armored gloves on...). Despite not really recognizing any of the songs, I had the impression they played something of about every release they brought out and they can count themselves definitely at the top of pagan black artists!
And then it was time for the main event of the night, the ever so awesome Moonsorrow (*****)! And I can tell you one thing: you haven't seen Moonsorrow until you've seen them in front of an almost completely Finnish crowd... Every single line of Finnish lyrics of every single song was being sang or shouted along to, which created a crazy atmosphere that was almost tangible. The filled up venue was brimming with energy and excitement and the crowd went wild the whole friggin' set. They banged their heads, jumped, danced, sang, shouted and it was raining raised fists and horned hands. And the band very much seemed to be feeding off of this, playing with tons of enthusiasm and energy. The guys really seemed completely on top of their game and I couldn't see any fault in the performance of these masters of pagan/black/folk metal!
Besides their absolute reign over the room, they had a great setlist for this stop as well, filled with finger-licking masterpieces one for one. Just like on their most recent album, they went back to the past and opened their set with a trio of songs from their sophomore album Voimasta Ja Kunniasta which put them firmly on the map of epic dark pagan metal. After this they threw Raunioilla from their third album Kivenkantaja at us before digging into their creations of their latest release Jumalten Aika. This album being one of my favorites of the year 2016, I was overwhelmed with joy to hear them play the album completely from start to finish like they recorded it. From the epic title track to the ritualistic and almost trance-inducing Ruttolehto to the stomping giants of Suden Tunti and the black metal infused epicness of Mimisbrunn and Ihmisen Aika. Every single one was played fully, telling the story of people worshiping their gods but gradually forgetting their importance due to greed. They finished off their set with 2 songs of their very first albums: Tuulen koti, aaltojen koti and Aurinko ja kuu, raising the heat in the venue even more, leaving every person present breathless and through-and-through wet of sweat. What a show!
Ruttolehto incl. Päivättömän päivän kansa
Ihmisen aika (Kumarrus pimeyteen)
Tuulen koti, aaltojen koti
Aurinko ja kuu