Report: Insomnium, Wolfheart and Barren Earth in Prague

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I wonder, whether I should write an ordinary report from a concert. When I say ordinary, I mean the kind of report, where a reporter writes about many mistakes made by bands, then list the songs on playlist and finally surmise some pros and cons.

I don’t want to write such report, for an exceptional experience requires an exceptional writing.

I was witness of a music. And that music was exceptional, so even the report should be a bit different.

Three bands, which I like very much, visited Prague on their tour. Insomnium, Barren Earth and Wolfheart. Three bands and three dimensions of Finnish melodic death metal.

Yes, there were some problems with organisation in the beginning, I admit. Some fans almost froze to death in Prague winter, some suffocated with smog, but those are only minor losses, which don’t worth more attention. Those, who survived and weren’t trampled to death in front of the cloakroom in Prague club Futurum, got something more, then they had expected.

Wolfheart was the opening band of the evening. It’s one of those bands, which makes me think, I’ve known them for at least twenty years, despite it exists for such a short time. I really wished they would be good, so that those people who hadn’t met them before, would fell in love just like me. Because, if I have any mission in my life, then it’s propagation of unbelievable qualities of Finnish metal (I don’t suppose, I would invent a cure for cancer or solve problems of the third world… and so this mission is quite adequate.)

It was a first time I’ve heard Wolfheart live too. So, trembling with nervousness and crossed fingers, I rooted for my favourite team as if they were my own children. And Wolfheart started the wave of music shattering on the rocks.

It was a sea full of energy in its purest form. The live performance, supported by the quality of sound, wasn’t only as good as the studio recording. It was better. It burned with the joy of music. These musicians don’t work in the music industry. They don’t wake up and go to work, wearing overalls with sign ‘Wolfheart’ painted on them. They fly forward on the wings of their music and they won’t stop until they stop enjoying it.

Tuomas Saukkonen is a charismatic personality, whose natural self-confidence and authority are hearable from his scream. His voice technique almost never changes. This however isn’t bad or boring. It’s turning Saukkonen into a pillar, or rather a tree with roots deep in the frozen ground, while a fantastic, dynamic music of Wolfheart wheeze around him. The combination of melodiousness, dynamics, aggressiveness and almost touchable joy of creating music is better than any energy drink.

Joonas Kauppinen’s drums are a mighty war snare from the ancient times, they’re a rhythm of a land covered in ice. Joonas is a brilliant drummer. And Lauri Silvonen, whose charm lays in contact with audience, is an excellent navigator of this northern ship. Tuomas Saukkonen, that strong bear of Kalevala, is the stable pillar of the music and Mika Lammassaari ?

I don’t have word to describe my enchantment. I wanted to tell him how much I respected his, how much I was bewitched by his talent, but I actually said only some nonsense, as one usually do on such occasion. I say it now. I bow to him. This union of man and guitar is just what was the instrument invented for. The new Väinämöinen played to us, bewitched animals, and we listened with our eyes widened. Wolfheart was simply great. They could play for an hour more.

 

Barren Earth isn’t so known here in Prague, therefore the number of disappointed fans, who bewilderedly realised, that there were only two members from the actual line up of the band (Jón Aldará and Olli – Pekka Lainne), wasn’t so high.

Nevertheless, the music of Barren Earth worked just fine, despite this fact. It would be unfair to say that the sound missed Sami – Yli Sirniö’s guitar, Kasper Mårtenson’s keyboards, Marko Tarvonen’s drums or the creator of a beautiful song Flicker, Janne Perttilä. I missed them, but those, who were chosen as substitutes were very good. Sometimes I couldn’t even tell the difference between them and missing members. The lead guitar’s sound was perfect, musicians looked relaxed and Jón Aldará sang… well, what could I possibly say about this Faroese Pavarotti? His talent is monumental. I don’t understand how he’s able to switch from a deep growl to clean vocal without a single hesitation or mistake. Aldará is irreplaceable in all his projects. In Prague, he was perfect… as always. Hearing the music of Barren Earth live was a reward for me.

I only feel a bit sorry about the band not explaining reasons for missing members. I know them, so I know even that Kreator releases new album and they need their guitarist, I know that Moonsorrow needs its members home in Finland, but still… I allow myself a little sigh. I would like to add my thanks too. I would like to thank those, who had played Barren Earth’s music in a high quality, so that audience didn’t notice any change.

I’d relaxed before the legendary Insomnium hit the stage. Those, who read my reviews know, that I wasn’t really bewitched by Winter’s Gate, so when I learned that Isomnium will play the whole album live, I was a bit disappointed. I went to bar to refresh myself and I talked to my friends. And then… the beer trebled in my hand.

All that because there was dark… and there was light… day one… and then only music remained.

I, the talkative reviewer, am short of words here. There are no words in any dictionary, which could describe my emotions during that show. Somebody torn me apart, removed useless organs and filled me with pure beauty. Somebody filled me with music. And it was one step too strong.

Winter’s Gate sound a bit distant on the recording, but the live performance is totally different. It’s as if Insomnium were holding the beating heart in their palms. It has such a rhythm. It is about the heart, feeling depths, colours… it’s more than a story. The runetellers didn’t vanish from Finland. They survive in this admirable form, which is link with heartbeat.

Hearing Winter’s Gate live was a strong experience. I can only add… I was there. I live in this time and have an opportunity to be a witness of something unforgettable. Yes, I know how long is Winter’s Gate. However, it could last even longer. Forever and ever. I confess, for the first time in my live I broke into tears because of music on metal concert. I cried like a little girl, not like a forty years old mother of two children. It might be an awkward confession, but it’s true.

I have to add that Insomnium, unlike Barren Earth, explained in advance the reason why Ville Friman wouldn’t participate on this tour. I was a bit disappointed in the beginning.

I don’t listen to Sonata Arctica much, so the name Jani Liimatainen escaped my attention. I will remember it from now on. The sound of Markus Vanhala’s guitar and Liimatainen’s guitar was amazing. Janni’s clean vocal was strong, pleasant for ears and suited the style of Insomnium perfectly. It was almost as if Jani has played with the band from the beginning of its existence. Even though I have a weakness for brilliant Ville Friman, it would be great if Janni would cooperate with Insomnium in the future. He was fantastic.

We watched the musicians packing their instruments after the show. They were marvellous and they brought the best of what the land of a thousand lakes has to offer. A club atmosphere brought musicians and listeners closer and so the whole concert looked as a family meeting.

What’s left to be said? I was there.

 

Translation: Toni Střítezská

 

O autorovi

- spisovatelka, nakladatelka, publicistka - reviews focused on Finnish metal - Rubrika: Finský koutek

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