A few months ago we got to see Wolfheart in Belgium as one of the support bands for Insomnium's "Winter's Gate" tour (for the coverage go here) and had a talk with Tuomas Saukkonen, musical brain behind the band, about their new album "Tyhjyys" (for the interview go here). During that talk he told us they'd have a release gig in Helsinki the day after the official release. A headlining show in support of their album release? We just couldn't miss out on that! So there we were: at the atmospheric Virgin Oil Co. in the center of the capital city of the country of metal...
First band to warm the crowd up was Magenta Harvest (***), delivering us a dose of old school Scandinavian death metal. With members from much respected Finnish metal bands like ...And Oceans, Finntroll, myGRAIN and the lot, there was only quality to be expected! Checking out their music online didn't really convince me, but boy, did they change my mind with their live performance! We got unrelenting and uncompromising death metal from the highest level. Not everyone was as active on stage, but frontman Mathias Lillmåns (Finntroll, Chthonian,...) made up for it plenty. There wasn't a moment he stood still, expressively motioning with his arms and jumping around absolutely lifted the show. And being backed up by master musicians this was a really great band to get things going. They had the crowd going a bit now and then when they played their faster material and treated us with a new song. They mentioned near the end of their set of half an hour that they'd be releasing a new record this year still, hopefully around September. Definitely something to look out for if you're any bit into death metal...
Flock of Reckoning
Spawn of Neglect
One Walks Down
The Search for the Higher Water
Limbo In Rime
The Pane of Eden
And then came the Dust
Second band taking over the stage was modern melodic death metal outfit The Hypothesis (***1/2). They play some really melodic and intricate death infused with some beats and electronic music here and there, giving the overall sound a very up-to-date modern sound. The lights go out, the band comes on stage and starts playing, leaving the mic unmanned. After a short instrumental intro of the first song, frontman Antti Seppälä runs on stage to grab the mic and immediately jump into really typical growling, overflowing with energy. The charismatic vocalist basically takes over the stage with some impressive vocal capabilities, expressiveness, even fist-bumping someone from the crowd along the way. But not only he caught my attention: the tall Markku "Neissu" Ruuskanen was pretty imposing as well and was a very active man for a bassist. And last but not least I have to mention the beast of a drummer (and man) The Hypothesis has backing them up: Rolf Pilve. That guy can friggin' hit the skins relentlessly like a machine! It's very clear that he and his bandmates definitely master their instruments. Their heavy and often kind of groovy music brought up the headbanger in me regularly and you could feel the more filled up venue getting excited and riled up. One minor thing though: I know that their guitar work is quite intricate and beautiful, but when they charged into one of those blistering twin solo moments it was hard to pick it up live in the sound mix. But a band to check out and support for sure!
I've seen Wolfheart (****) twice now before I got to see them here. Both times they got to play a set of half an hour with a sound that was kind of disapointing, yet both really cool shows. To celebrate their third album Tyhjyys (read our review here), they have a few Finnish headlining dates and a small tour in Spain and Portugal. The fact that they get to play a full hour as the headliner made me look forward to this really much, hoping for a much higher quality sound and more of my favorite songs played live. They mounted the stage on the tunes of Valhalla, immediately setting a certain atmosphere down. Without any further introduction or hesitation they dove head first into the first single of the new album: Boneyard. Being the track the most on the heavy side of Wolfheart's musical scale, they clearly wanted to put down the statement that they were here to destroy us with their Winter metal. One thing that immediately caught my attention was that despite being on the frontline where the music was pretty loud, the sound was heaps better than I've ever experienced from the band. You could hear almost every beautiful melody underneath the heavy and brutal metal blasting. I can only imagine how much better the sound was even a bit further to the back. This proved just one thing to me: Wolfheart's music needs room to breath and works better in a more airy venue.
The kept on blasting one after the other awesome composition onto their ever enthusiastic fans, mixing up songs from their first 2 albums with some music from Tyhjyys. To be honest, for a sort of release gig I would've expected a few more songs from their recent album since besides Boneyard they only played their most recent single World on Fire. But on the other hand I wasn't complaining since I got a whole bunch of favorites thrown in my direction like Strength & Valor, Zero Gravity and the Finnish Veri. In between the songs main man Tuomas kept very quiet and let bassist Lauri Silvonen do all the talking and riling up the crowd into moshpits (which they happily complied to). They ended their set with the masterly Routa pt. 2 and disappeared from the stage.
But soon they came back, 'cause a Wolfheart gig without The Hunt wouldn't be complete really. Which the people present very much appreciated clearly. Very last song of the whole set is one of my absolute favorites that I missed in their set last time I saw them: Aeons of Cold. Just like the live videoclip from Summerbreeze, the songs heated up the room to new heights, even without the pyros... With the first quick words "Kiitos Helsinki" from Tuomas, the show was over and they disappeared for real this time. What a show... Spain and Portugal, better be ready for Winter is coming to you soon!
Strength and Valor
World On Fire
Ghosts of Karelia
Aeon Of Cold