FINNISH METAL EXPO
CABLE FACTORY: Helsinki, Finland
15th – 16th 2008
Article and Pics by Arto Lehtinen
The Finnish Metal Expo was arranged for the fourth time. The previous events have been an utter success with sold out nights and awesome band line-ups. The expo is held every year, where several more or less important and not so important musicians and above all metal leaders usually gather to hang out and of course check out the latest on the metal map. Due to overwhelming interest and success, the organization of the Expo has expanded the expo capacity by arranging more space for different kinds of studio and other guitar and band clinics. Two notable band clinics were held by Children of Bodom and Stratovarius members. Of course, record labels, several magazines, and festival representatives werein attendance at the event and all in all everything related to a wide range of metal and hard rock was at the expo. The metal expo wouldn’t be any real expo event without live music and above all metal bands playing there. During these two days plenty of known as well as unknown bands got the great opportunity to play in front of thousands. As a matter of fact, 5000 metal maniacs visited the event during the weekend!
Despite there being a lot of bands to cover, it was unfortunately more than mission impossible to witness every band on the stage as it was also important to meet PR people from record labels, magazines, and a bunch of other media people to discuss various issues and create new deals and relationships. Therefore, it is quite a logical choice to pick up a couple of interesting names from the band list for a closer look. Domestic metal bands for obvious reasons played a more important role in the line-up of the expo. A few international names such as Municipal Waste and Soilwork pulled huge crowds.
Sotajumala gives a total straight forward punch direct to the face with their brutal death metal. They unleashed one hell of ballistic maelstrom at the Metal Expo. The band hammered with 30 minutes with an intense grip which this five piece is known for. This is brutal and uncompromising death metal for sure.
Municipal Waste was instead one of the most anticipated acts of the expo. Richmond’s thrashers have gained a wild stage reputation, which could be testified at Expo. The tremendous ballistic circle pit was revolving on the floor and some hilarious looking crowdsurfers tried to struggle overhead. The four piece unleashed a thrashing set of songs picked up from the latest album. Above all “Headbanger Facerip” and the legendary S.O.D. cover tune “United Force” definitely made the Finnish pitters loose their minds entirely. It has to be admitted, Municipal Waste rules on the stage.
Before the Swedish Mustach conquered the stage, the announcement of The Finnish metal awards was held and awards to Tuomas Holopainen as the best musician of the year, Marko for the best album and singer of the year) and newcomer, well it will be found out later….
Mustasch’s bulldozing heavy and dark riffs roared out into the hall of Cable Factory. Well to be honest it could be a little bit boring to follow. Instead, Mustach’s dark and heavy riffs would be more suitable in dismal and gloomy club environments.
Turisas have gained nothing, but huge following in Europe due to their eccentric look and above all the personal “metal meets the Finnish forest feeling” approach. Eccentric and exceptional instruments such as accordion creates an entirely new as well as imaginative sound giving a new perspective to the battle metal presented by Turisas. The six piece battle metallers gave a hell of show by having more visual aspects than some black metal bands could ever offer. Pyro, battle masks, furs and fireworks provided these fur wearing metallers with killer cool visuals indeed. Turisas will start their first USA crusade as a part of the Paganfest line-up later this spring!
In wake of incredible success of Nightwish and other female fronted bands, there are a plenty of new promising melodic metal bands fronted by lovely looking ladies coming out of nowhere. Amberian Dawn could be added to that list of bands as stated above. Catchy songs and symphonic oriented singing styles could be referred to some certain bands and especially its former singer for sure. Amberian Dawn could be the next big thing if things will work out and they are in right places at right time.
The Finnish idol contest winner Ari Koivunen definitely divides metal and rock fans to various camps, which either enjoy his material or truly detest. Actually ironic or not, but the idol winner was awarded as the best newcomer of the year. Obviously, kids of kindergartens have got their hands on the net and voted Koivunen. At least most of the attendance seemed not to be that thrilled about that at all. However, the basic hard pop rock appeals more to the mainstream audience who have got an entire wrong impression of metal and hard rock of nowadays than a true metalhead. But so far people seem to appreciate him, so let him sing his heart out.
While chatting with the editor of the Bravewords mag we paid attention to a bunch of kids wearing Norther t-shirts. Norther have always been quite popular amongst young kids for some reason, but for a reason or another the five piece haven’t been able to make a real breakthrough even five album under the belt. Probably their luck will turn until now with the deal of Century Media as a band like Norther absolutely has more attention outside Finland. Norther combines of melodic metal reminding more or less of COB with the singing style provided by the current Ensiferum vocalist. Thrashing stuff was unleashed by The Scourger whose frontman is known being for an extreme muscle wildman whipping with micwire all the stage. The five piece banged heads and raged with the merciless driving force on the stage.
Korpiklaani was another interesting addition who will also be at the upcoming Paganfest package together with Turisas and a few other atcs. Korpiklaani combines musical and lyrical ideas from the ancient Finnish cultural background. Having appx. 30 minute playing time was a little bit too short as the band is absolutely entertaining on the stage with the old fashion looking clothes and moose antlers on the mic stand. However, Stamina concluded the two day expo event in front of the huge crowd.
The Finnish metal expo is arranged every February in the legendary old Cable Factory in the heart of Helsinki. Travelling from Sweden, Estonia, Russia and a little bit from long distance is definitely worth to see and feel new rising talented metal bands from the Finnish colourful metalmap. Well next year again !!!