For the 20th anniversary of Shade Empire‘s existence, they organized a small tour in Finland, baptized “Hatefeast”. First stop was in the underground venue of On the Rocks in Helsinki with support bands Soulfallen and Ereb Altor. A perfect ending to a beautiful, warm and sunny day high up in the (not so cold anymore) North.
The first band Soulfallen had to start their show a little later then planned. This because they probably wanted to wait a bit until the audience was a bit bigger. Which took some time since the weather was rather nice that day. All terraces in the city center of Helsinki were completely packed! So slightly later than anticipated they started the concert with ‘Devour’ from the third album ‘Grave New World’. This dark, death/black band has quite a lot of symphonic sides as well. The band started off in 2003 in Finnish Jyväskylä, quite high up north in the country. In 2007 they made their first album ‘World Expiration’. 2 years later the second album ‘Grave New World’ was born as well. A third album came about in 2012 called ‘Promise of Hell‘.
Personally I really liked this band, although not everyone seemed as excited as I was. The atmosphere and sound were good but maybe not original enough to stand out of the mainstream. Fun fact: singer Kai Leikola has a brother Ismo, who is a well-known stand up comedian in Finland. Another interesting thing is that when the band played their last song, the audience was completely silent and “in the zone” till the very very last notes of the outro. Magical! Overall this concert was a very good opener for this little mini tour, good atmosphere although not everyone felt completely “ready” yet for the evening.
Ereb Altor (****)
Second band of the evening Ereb Altor was formed in Gävle, Sweden around 2003, but there has been more history about this band. Originally there was the band Forlorn in the 90’s. They were an underground doom metal band that had a lot of hints of other metal genres as well. In 2003 two band members decided to give new life to old hymns and started the band Ereb Altor for this. A new epic, viking, doom metal band was born.
Lyrically, the band mostly sings about Norse mythology and its corresponding gods such as Odin, Freya, … A big inspiration they got from the band Bathory who was a big hit back in the day and seen as one of the founding bands of the “viking metal” style.
The band had really cool moments and speeches during the show and of course the songs were good as well! But I especially liked the transitions between songs. This because the vocalist was telling stories about the songs, and the mythologies in general. Everything very viking orientated, loved it! The songs somehow reminded me of some slow Ensiferum songs. By now there were already some more people showing up to the venue, luckily. Nice that the band doesn’t only sing in English but also in their native language Swedish.
Shade Empire (****1/2)
Then finally we arrived at the point where Shade Empire was going to take the stage. First notable thing: they have the same guitarist of openings band Soulfallen! Also, the setlist they played that evening was completely chosen by the audience! Not on the day itself of course, but there was a poll open on social media where fans all over the world could chose which songs they wanted to hear. In my opinion that’s a very nice gift from the band to the fans for the 20th anniversary tour. It’s always nice to see when a band keeps up a good connection with their fans.
A pity that the audience was a bit lacking, even when the headliners of the evening started. Maybe because it was a Wednesday and the sun was out? Anyway, the people were wrong! They missed a great explosive set from the guys of Shade Empire. The vocals from the relatively new vocalist Henry were extremely good i must say! Impressive sound.
The evening ended in good atmosphere and lots of happy people who enjoyed the gigs. Thanks to On the Rocks and all the bands that played this evening!
For more pictures go here: