Heart of Steel: Concert Reviews

Dimmu Borgir / Hypocrisy / Norther
October 25, 2003
Nosturi - Helsinki, Finland

Review and Photos by Arto Lehtinen

The first infernal blizzard of this year stormed over Finland leaving the whole ground entirely white and welcomed the Norwegian six piece uncrowned kings of symphonic black metal, Dimmu Borgir. The band were here for two sold out gigs!

The line to get in was quite long, circling outside the club. It consisted of people of all ages dressed in black, masked, not so serious wanna be Satanists, gothics and other silly and amusing looking personalities patiently waiting for the doors to open.  They kept the atmosphere up with the thunderous roars in the extreme chilly windy evening.

Several sold out gigs, larger and more massive tours and bigger venues are the obvious pieces of evidence of Dimmu Borgir’s incredible current flourishing success. Having step by step, and year after year, strengthened their already strong and solid status as the leading and successful combo in the extreme / black metal genre. As usual, there are always interesting opening bands with Dimmu Borgir. On the previous tour the German thrash legends Destruction opened now it was the long waited Hypocrisy, and of course, Finland’s own Norther.

The evening was set off by the domestic Norther, ironically claimed to be little brothers of Children Of Bodom for several obvious reasons. But being a little brother or not, Norther still kicked all the borders down by raging through a 30 minute set with melodic keyboards dominating overall. Even though the space on the stage was quite limited due to the extra drum set and other equipment, the Norther dudes managed to set the corners straight with intensive action and definitely had the domestic advantage to conquer the place. As far as the set list is concerned, it consisted mostly of their latest studio output Mirror Of Madness.  For example: "Betrayed", "Of Darkness And Light", "Unleash Hell", and finally a cover song of the 80’s Swedish hair-metal band Europe’s "Final Countdown" concluding the Norther set.

Peter Tägtgren has been quite  visible here on the soil of Finland during the last two years. He's been here with the techno-metal combo Pain who has achieved incredible hype on the Scandinavian dance charts as well as seeming to even appeal to the most fanatical metalheads. But Hypocrisy’s visit for the first time to Finland had been anxiously awaited for years in order to test the reactions and acceptance of the local Finnish metal crowd toward one of the respected and valued Swedish death bands. The years of waiting were finally awarded  as an opening second band on this night’s bill. There was definitely an outstanding and positive reception by the maniac audience packing the whole floor.

Even though much water has flown in the river during the last decade, the deadly death metal assault of the early 90’s has got to step aside by giving more space for the more progressive melodic riffs and parts in the newer material. But however, Hypocrisy kicked  ass by delivering a solid and equal set of both new and older material.  For example, "Pleasure Of Molestation", the newer stuff off from the Catch 22 album like "Destroyed", the immortal classic alien oriented "Roswell 24" wasn't forgotten from their list either. The setlist as well as the performance were under control, but the sound was a little bit messy in one point of the 40 minute molestation.

After receiving such an overwhelming response from the crowd, Tägtgren guaranteed to reconsider bringing Hypocrisy to Finland more often.

When the Dimmu Norwegians visited the same Nosturi club a couple of years ago, they had just released the Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia opus that had gone like a rocket to the Finnish top ten chart guaranteeing them a massive rush to the gig. Now the same thing happened - Death Cult Armageddon made a triumphant rise to the top…rewarded in Helsinki by two sold gigs!

The atmosphere of the packed club started heating up becoming hotter than hell with a darker feeling. The tremendous maniac shouting kept increasing and rising beyond human pain tolerance as the lights were faded and the dark characters of the six masked black metallers emerged onto the stage with their hands crossed in the air as a symbol of the evil brotherhood.

After the opening intro "Leper Among Us" roared out of the loudspeakers, it was followed by "In Deaths Embrace" off from Enthrone Darkness Triumphant. The whole set list was based, for obvious reasons, on the material of the new excellent Death Cult Armageddon. But the overall sound quality didn’t justify the mighty DCA on a couple songs.  For instance, the blackish "Progenies Of The Great Apocalypse" did not reaching the needed and deserved supercilious brilliance, although the clean majestic opera vocals definitely sounded excellent by giving variety to the brutal vocal approaches by Shagrath. Galder’s appearance with the grimaces, and his entirely shaved head, definitely sent a cold ripple thru the spine. In general, the man fits into the ranks even though Old Mans Child is his main target. Once again the keyboard player Mustis remained somewhere in the darkest and smokiest corner of the stage, occasionally his painted face glimmered when the light hit him. The outfit has indeed definitely found their own spots on the stage, well Shagrath typically shaking his head with the mic stand, but other guys seemed to be in the exact same place on the stage like on the previous gig. The enjoyable gig got its non surprising, but prestigious conclusion when the well known tune "Mourning Place" blasted out.

It wouldn’t be any surprise if Dimmu Borgir will be witnessed in some metal festival in Finland next summer….


Set list
Leper Among Us
In Death’s Embrace
Cataclysm Children
Kings Of The Carnival Creation
Unorthhodox Manifesto
Progenies Of The Great Apocalypse
The Blazing Monoliths Of Defiance
The Insight And The Catharsis
Raadbjorn Speiler Draugheimens Skodde
Mourning Palace

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