It was a Thursday night, and the local club Močvara was almost completely crowded. Acoustics and general sound of the bands in the club is always somewhat of a gamble. So, it wasn’t a surprise that on this night we have yet again seen two excellent bands giving their best, while the sound was mediocre to bad, something I got used to by now, visiting the club throughout the years. Yet, this classic “setback” was overshadowed by the overall atmosphere and positive vibe of the crowd and the bands.
You could feel that many people were ecstatic, motivated by the enthusiasm and eager enjoyment of both bands. To make it simple, contact between the bands and the crowd was quite solid. To be honest, I can’t even remember the last time I’ve seen that many people at the gig in Močvara during the working week.
Obviously, miracles do happen! These “miracles” were provided in a musical way and delivered by Finnish and Swedish metal craftsmen: Insomnium and Tribulation.
Tribulation appeared on stage and presented an unusual visage. Dressed alike, with ghostly corpse paint and dim lightshow, they’ve hit me with impression of uniqueness and a special kind of “craziness aura”. After a couple of incense burners were setup and the lights dimmed, it was time for their set. Tribulation climbed the stage and due to their energetic performance, people in the club immediately got hooked, engaged and energized by their music.
This band takes showmanship deadly serious and it was instantly obvious that they take pride in what they do.
Dark, moody and the perfect lead-in for the headliners, Tribulation’s music had an interesting experimental twist – dark progressive black/death metal style that occasionally adds in other influences (some of which give off an almost psychedelic feel to it). The riffing was simple, and at the same time sad and beautiful, owing to its atmospheric adornments as much as any internal nuance. Vocalist and bassist Johannes Andersson had an impending and demanding stage presence, while absolutely nailing his gruff and growling vocals.
Basically, they gave off an impression of a professional band with decent songs. They’ve certainly won some new fans with this gig.
From the land of a thousand lakes comes a band with a thousand melodies that spawn a thousand emotions.
Insomnium were touring in support of their latest epic and saga-like album, “Winter’s Gate” – a conceptual album that spans exactly 40 minutes, a feat not many bands take on. The album is divided into seven parts. The main line of the story is the Vikings’ trip to Ireland, told in a successive form.
Headliners of the evening, Insomnium, are an incredibly tight band live, with not a single note or beat sounding out of place. With particularly impressive vocals and mesmerizing, sorrowful guitar riffs, Insomnium stood tall and executed their musical art to perfection. For me, it was easy to get swept away in the hypnotic atmosphere. Their mixture of heavier and darker elements worked well on the audience, who reacted pretty enthusiastically.
Another thing that struck me was how simplistic yet fitting the drums are. They provide the drive where needed but also fall back when necessary. Their music manages to be both tranquil and vicious: guitarists Ville Freman and Markus Vanhala produced an absolute symphony for the ear.
Vocalist and bassist Niilo Sevänen, whilst possessing an absolutely commanding presence and demeanor on-stage, possessed the vocal capabilities to match it. For a band that are essentially static on stage, the power they generate musically is incredible and sets them apart from so many of the bands within the scene. The Finnish band’s expansive sound and melodic-death metal splendor came across extremely well, despite the poor acoustics of the club.
Overall, Insomnium is full of talented musicians and they know what they have to do on the stage.
In spite of the piss poor sound and quite a lot of younger and hipster-like crowd, as a whole, it was a fantastic evening with both bands putting on a great show, a memorable evening of ambient heaviness. Iconic and formidable!