Heart of Steel: Concert Review

Force Of Evil / Trouble / Candlemass

Fryshuset / Stockholm / Sweden
The 29th of November 2003

Text by Arto Lehtinen
Pics By Arto Lehtinen and Marko Syrjälä

The whole autumn had been damn silent regarding good gigs in Finland even though a few recognizable and known bands had visited. Strange rumors about a gig featuring Trouble in Stockholm emerged thru the net and finally the official confirmation was announced along with Candlemass and Force Of Evil. When confirmation came, every thing and plan of the whole Finnish Metal-Rules.com team went totally upside down. Things had to be re-arranged as the main focus was only to drag our asses to Stockholm in some way, at any cost, in order to witness Force Of Evil, Candlemass, but above all the legendary doom metallers Trouble!

 

Force Of Evil

As far as Force Of Evil is concerned, it turned out to be quite an interesting outfit consisting of the legendary Danish axe duet Michael Denner and Hank Shermann having gained their fame and glory in Mercyful Fate as well as the current FOE drummer Bjarn T. Holm. King Diamond’s bassist Hal Patino had been recruited to handle the bass duties and the young vocal talent, Martin Steene from Iron Fire. Even though the names and faces definitely sound and look familiar, the whole band concept is based on the vision of Shermann’s willingness to carry on with music writing because of Mercyful Fate’s neverending hiatus.

The whole event was entirely sold out and people traveled all the way from Finland and Germany to witness this spectacular heavy/doom metal extravaganza. Super group, Force Of Evil, began the evening with a 30 minute set with such material as Hell On Earth, Samhain, and The Calling off from the band's debut album. Seeing the former influential Mercyful Fate axemen in action made several old school MF die hard fans severely ponder the current situation of Mercyful Fate and thoughts of once more seeing the same guitar duet in the legendary Mercyful Fate some day. The band definitely shared routines and experiences from the past to deliver on the gig, but however the Iron Fire vocalist (Martin Steene) still finds his own place on the stage as it seems like the guy is a bit astonished to have such a great opportunity to be on the same stage and between Denner and Shermann. Despite the lame attention of the crowd towards Force Of Evil as the opening band with unknown material (the debut album wasn’t released yet), when two old Mercyful Fate classics cut the air, people woke up and were entirely spelbound by Evil and Curse Of The Pharaohs. Shermann remained in the background whereas Hal Patino stormed thru the stage as usual. Despite Denner’s minor technical problems the band survived the gig with a positive professional grip, even though it was their second one by now. I am looking forward to seeing them on the stage again… 

 

 

Trouble

Trouble have been inactive during the last few years as members have pursued other things. Now the resurrected the old cult outfit from the beyond embark on a Euro tour and have landed at Sweden to play at the sold out Fryshuset club. Trouble have basically enjoyed a true underground following since the late 70’s amongst the cultivated metalheads. They have gained a loyal fanatical fan base and have influenced a number of metal bands from the doom/heavy metal genre.

The re-activated Trouble was definitely the most anticipated act of the night as seen from the standpoint of the audience. The core of the band has remained basically the same, although the bassist spot had been picked up by a new guy named Chuck Robinson . The start of the doom legends set was awesome as newer tracks like Memory’s Garden and Come Touch The Sky rolled perfectly. The guitar duet of Rick Wartell and Bruce Franklin worked together damn well and Eric Wagner’s recognizable, more falsetto based, was the band's crowning greatness. The bassist looked a little bit strange not fitting to the Trouble concept. Despite the brilliant beginning of the set, the atmosphere and general feeling became a little clotted on the stage. Old classic tunes like Psalm 9, Pray For The Dead, End of My Days fought for their own classic place in the set list and had an outstanding response from the audience. Trouble is definitely one of the most respected bands in the heavy doom metal genre and it was obvious their gig pleased several fanatical Trouble fans.

 

 

Candlemass

The Swedish Candlemass has been damn active since the majestic and prestigious comeback at the SwedenRock show of 2002. Messiah and the band have pretty much visited every European metal festival and did the Scandinavian tour in sold out clubs (apart from Helsinki) and reached a new level of success.

 

A local Swedish DVD crew had been recruited to capture this night of 'epicus doomicus metallicus' by shooting the set of each band for seperate upcoming DVD releases of each band which however is somehow weird, but however damn great. Due to the DVD shooting, getting photo passes for the gig turned out to be more than an extra complicated task and in general the whole photo taking was under pretty exaggerated control by the hyper active and enthusiastic security wise-guys, which caused a little bit sarcastic situations.

Candlemass came and conquered the whole place with their outstanding performance by blowing the whole audience away with their massive epicus oriented sound. The band was in great form through the whole set by giving 100% of themselves on the stage, even vocalist Marcolin left the stage a couple of times to have some drinks as the atmosphere turned out to be extremely warm or even hotter than hell. Bassist Edling and guitarist Mappe definitely had an excellent and enjoyable performance as shown by their on stage joking with each other.

The whole floor, and above all, the frontline of the stage was totally packed with die hard Candlemass freaks banging their heads with ultimate passion. The Swedish doom legends did a basic set based on material off the band's four classic masterpieces from EPICUS DOOMICUS METALLICUS to TALES OF THE CREATION. Some songs played included Ancient Dreams, Mirror Mirror, and Samathrian. It was rumored in advance that we'd hear a brand new Candlemass tune called Witches. This new song sounded as expected  - like pure classic Candlemass with doomy melodic and recognizable Candlemass elements. Judging by the great melodies, expectations toward to the long waited come back studio album rose.

Although Candlemass had the domestic advantage to win the crowd, it wasn’t any unexpected surprise that the Swedish / Finnish / German metalheads left the venue totally astonished and excited about Candlemass’ awesome set.

This night was fantastic for every old school heavy doom metalhead that crawled their way here to testify three bands in action. It was pretty obvious that the gig was worth every penny as missing this kind of chance would have bugged anyone for a long time. In general, Stockholm is one hell of an old school heavy metal paradise with several record stores and above all metal gigs.