FME – Finnish Metal Expo / Helsinki Metal Meeting
Cable Factory, Helsinki, Finland
The 12 –13 th of February 2009
FME – Finnish Metal Expo has become a serious metal event and a gathering place for the metal community. The purpose of the whole event is to gather all the important and influential persons, labels and managers involved in the rock/metal business to meet each other and above all have a relaxed feeling and enjoy the atmosphere with colleagues, beer, and tasteful food. Several famous faces could be witnessed from the music business and of course a lot of metal fans having a chance to take pics with their idols. Several instrument clinics played an important role at the Expo when for example George Kollias from Nile demonstrated his drumming talent.
Even though the previous events have been completely sold out and were an utter success, the fifth expo wasn’t sold out even though 6000 people visited during two days. However, here is a brief article covering a few bands and in general the feeling of the Expo. It is truly impossible to check out each band in action because of the normal schmoozing with personal contacts and other important persons.
Grendel kicked the night off and delivered melodic metal with some growled vocals. The bearded long hair delivered both the growling and normal traditional singing style combined with the Grendel music. The whole band sounded tight on the stage. Unfortunately, the early timing and schedule resulted in only a handful of people watching Grendel.
Misery Index’s frontman truly adores Finland because of his past involvements and close contacts to the land of thousand lakes. Last time the four piece extreme grind noise makers supported Fear Factory a few years back and gained at least a few fans. Misery Index didn’t let down as they delivered a most intensive brutal approach of grind core meets death metal. The band’s hyper active bass player literally lived up to the hyperactive tag as the man appeared to having received a brutal electric shock through his body. Frankly Misery Index is nothing but a killer act.
IRON WILL by Grand Magus was one of major surprises of the last year as for heavy groove metal output featuring a bunch of killer catchy tracks. It is obvious Grand Magus is still rather an unknown name, but hey come on and open your ears/eyes IRON WILL is a damn great output from the beginning to end. The three piece sounded as tight and damn sharp as on the albums. The Swedes’ powerful and groove riffs ground to the bone and deep. Even though the visual aspect for the three piece at a big stage may look quite odd, but Grand Magus works better in a club environment..
Some kind of veil of mystery has surrounded the world of Chaosweaver since the formation of the whole group. Their debut gig at FME had been advertised in advance and therefore plenty of people interested to become familiar with Chaosweaver gathered to take a glance at this mystery band. As for the mystery in general, well the vocalist had covered his face with some kind of hockey goalkeeper mask to hide his real identify but took places to be posing for photographers. In general the band’s music could be described as a mix of horror metal combined with the atmospheric blackish metal approach. Due to the first appearance in public in front of thousands of people, therefore obviously the whole band was kind of nervous about the debut gig. Even though Chaosweaver is a more studio thing, but hopefully they will be seen on the stage more often.
The Profane Omen terror-squad were just finishing their set on the early stage of the day even though they could have placed in another slot, cos their have a new album coming out and therefore would have got better attention and interest. The band raged with ultimate passion. Especially the frontman appeared to be a real relentless frontman. Profane Omen is worth checking out as they are a damn killer on both the stage and on the output.
The Dutch extreme thrashers Legion Of The Damned have constantly visited Finland and made a debut visit to Tuska a few years ago and gained a lot of fans. The dutch thrashers’ third attack to the soil of Finland delivered a 30 minute of blistering and neck breaking straight forward played deadly thrash metal. The tight and uncompromising tracks rolled through without showing any mercy. Legion Of The Damned is a lethal package of brutal death thrash with killer riffs.
Black Dahlia Murder had been given a hour and half playing time for the metalcore approach. The frontman Trevor Strnad, surely reminds one more or less of the movie celebrity Jack Black. The band’s tight played stuff has been influenced by several known death metal names from the past. The frontman’s relentless boxing and the wiggling of hands up and down looked quite comic after all. But on the other hand, his relentless and wild stage performance fit his and Black Dahlia Murder’s manners more than well.
Pirate metal was up next with the Scottish Alestorm. This band has arisen to the pirate metal ranks made famous by Running Wild, with the folk inspired elements. The Scottish happy “let’s sing together” sounded quite exceptional and a refreshing choice compared to more extreme bands being at the expo. The band’s happy and funny sounding piratefolk metal definitely put some happy looking smiles to faces of several people who sang along with the Scottish pirate folk metallers. Alestorm is a real interesting outfit with the joyride attitude to the pirate world of metal.
Realizing only a handful of people were watching Andre Matos being a last act of the whole event was quite embarrassing. The former frontman of Angra, Shaman, and Viper is relatively an unknown greatness up in Finland even though he’s certainly well known in Central Europe and the Latin countries. The major lack of attendance didn’t prevent Matos from giving a firework of songs picked up from his long career from Viper days to his present works. Matos’s voice definitely has a personal touch and grip liked or disliked by people. Despite attendance being lame, Matos pulled a show through with professional care and gave to the die hard hard rock metal fans what they were eager to hear and see.
With the Finnish Metal Expo now behind us, some critical words could be expressed before concluding this article. Even though metal and rock enjoys a massive success in Finland, some kind of glimpse of the lack of interest toward FME could be noticed. The event was sold-out at all unlike to the previous FME events as stated in the opening paragraph. So called big names were missing as there are a plenty of great names on the stage, but most of them are still unknown and belong to the marginal category. The weirdest thing was that both Entombed and Opeth had been schedeluded to open in the following night in the same place and of course it was totally sold out. Obviously people were saving their money for Opeth. Another thing pulling interest away from the main event was special club nights at Tavastia and Dantes where Deathstars, Sabaton and Amoral were doing their own gigs. Above all, people were leaving the venue, when Andre Matos was doing his set resulted there were only a handful of die hard classic hard rock metal fans watching his gig. However it is sure events like FME are needed to present new bands and give a great opportunity for PR and label people to gather together and above all predict who the metal and rock will develop in years to come.