The 1st of March 2013
Pakkahuone Tampere Finland
Back in the 80’s, the speed/thrash metal phenomenon spread out like a wildfire all around the world. The speed/thrash mania hit the Finnish soil and new bands started out and popped up in several towns and villages in Finland. Getting a deal with labels was definitely a dream-come-true for several bands. One of these young acts was Stone, who managed to seal the first deal as a speed/thrash metal outfit in Finland. Their self titled debut album drove young metal kids totally crazy and Stone left their mark on Finnish metal history forever. After their four albums in the early 90’s, Stone just went on a long-term hiatus until the late 90’s and early 2000 the speed/thrash legends got on stage. Since then the four-piece has occasionally gigged when time has permitted. Stone announced their return to the stage by doing a handful of shows crisscrossing Finland. The tickets sold like hot cakes. The gig in Tampere was basically one of kind and unique as the roster consisted of two other speed/thrash bands from the heyday of the 80’s namely A.R.G (Ancient Rotten Graveguards) and Santa Lucia. The whole venue was entirely packed by hundreds of old school metal worshippers.
Stone’s meaning and importance in the Finnish metal culture and scene is kind of hard to understand elsewhere, but the band’s influences can be heard in current bands. Therefore, inviting a young band to open up the night was logical. Nerve End was one of those “never heard” before and the audience seemed not to be familiar with their stuff. Therefore, a polite distance between the members of audience and the band was inevitable. The guys of Nerve End were extremely skilled with their instruments and had reheased a lot. Songs were complex with technical elements with various changes. Listening to their songs became more than a painful process rather than of enjoyment. Sorry guys..
The audience started crawling to another club in the same building though as the five-piece female metal band Santa Lucia kicked the show off. All right, a little background info on them now, they started in the mid of the 80’s and got one album out in the late 80s and then the members decided to part. Years passed by till 2011 when the band reunited for a few shows. As for the supporting slot for Stone, It was obvious the ladies were totally overwhelmed by the reaction as the crowd were in the front row were out of control. The clenched fists in the air and the ultimate headbanging could be witnessed in the front row. The stuff sounded like a mix of metal meets punkish elements with the Finnish language. The frontlady appeared to be extremely passionate and thrilled about being on the stage, performing the old old songs of Santa Lucia from the heyday of the 80’s. All the essential Santa Lucia got played and concluded by the raw sounding Stone cover “No Commands”. The audience was definitely spellbound. Now rapidly we get prepared to see Stone.
When Santa Lucia had finished the set, crawling to another club and to the frontline to testify Stone in action was the next thing to make. The four piece speed/thrash icons let the audience wait a bit before the sold out venue got stoned, literally. Stone literally blew the ceiling away by delivering the stone cold and hard set of the old Stone evergreens picked up from their four albums. It could be mentioned songs such as No Commands, White Worms, Meat Mincing Machine, Back to the Stone Age Sweet Dreams, Small Tales etc. The audience, being the kids of the 80’s, and having lived and experienced the speed / thrash metal extravaganza, went totally beserk. The younger kids arranged nice looking circle pits, but there was no old school stage diving. Especially the songs off from the debut album got a raging response in the pits. As for the sounds, they had managed to have an utter clear level that every part and note could be heard easily. The band sounded tight and extremely skilled and offered a real head blowing gig experience. Of course, guitarist Roope Latvala, has a strong stage experience as the Children Of Bodom guitarist and toured all around the world. The vocalist has shared the stage with other Finnish bands. The stage experience and playing and working as a group is nothing but completely professional. Thrash maniacs out reading this article, should immediately pick the Stone albums to check out. Stone came and and conquered with the stuff which is never aged.
After Stone had finished, it was necessary to crawl back to the smaller club to witness the reindeer thrashers A.R.G. (Ancient Rotten Graveguards). Finland’s answer to Sodom was how the band was described back in the day. They hit the stage by giving an ultimate set of the aggressive raw thrashing whipping metal. The set contained as usual the most essential A.R.G battle hymns Aggressive Confessor, Died For What and of course a couple of cover tunes “Fight It Back” by The Exploited and “Sodomy And Lust” by Sodom. For everyone’s surprise the entire new song “Ramming Down Your Throat”. The reindeer thrash metal is still in the vicious strike after gigging quite a lot since returning to the limelight. The band thrashed the whole set with the intensive grip and insane headbanging.
The event was absolutely amazing with the old school metal vibe. It was like taking a time capsule to return back in time to the 80’s. The old metal with speed/thrash giants of the heyday of the 80’s gotta be this sort of nostalgia trip back to youth. Hopefully these kinds of events will be seen more in the future. Get STONED.