Sat. Nov 28th, 2020

24.5.2019 Savage Messiah & Symphony X @ The Circus, Helsinki

Over ten years, that's how long I have been waiting for an opportunity to see the American progressive metal act SYMPHONY X. When it was announced that the band would take their show to Nosturi, I just knew I had to be there. The show was instantly sold-out, and because of a lot of demand, moved to The Circus. Apart from their unique progressive metal sound, this might be explained because of the fact that the band hasn't been around in Finland all too much, and moreover, this is the first headlining show ever in Finland, and perhaps even the biggest show of the tour. 

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I discovered SAVAGE MESSIAH thanks to autoplay on YouTube, and soon found out about their latest album "Demons", which I had spinned a couple of times. When I noticed they were the support act of SYMPHONY X, I just had to make sure to arrive on time, so I could catch the band play their songs as well. The band is part of a new wave of thrash metal, you know the kind of thrash metal that has a very strong 80s vibe, but still sets foot in current society by its modern sound - even though their latest album "Demons" is more melodic. Something that I really like, and that also translated to the stage...

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The quartet played a dynamic set, with a lot of energy, it surprises me that the band hasn't been in Finland before, since this is definitely a band that the Finnish audience could appreciate. When I looked around I saw enthusiastic faces, who all seemed to enjoy the show. My personal highlight of the show was without a doubt "The Bitter Truth", as this is also my personal favourite of the new album. With five albums on their plate, the band had a lot of material to chose from, and ended up playing no less than 9 songs, "Down and Out" was the end of their, unfortunately, way too short show! 

Setlist

  1. Virtue Signal
  2. Heretic in the Modern World
  3. The Bitter Truth
  4. The Lights Are Going Out
  5. Under No Illusions
  6. What Dreams May Come
  7. Parachute
    (Chris Stapleton cover)
  8. The Fateful Dark
  9. Down and Out
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An ambient intro filled the fully packed venue in the time before the show started. While waiting in the photo pit, the front row impatiently started shouting for the band to take over the stage. I have seldom been in the position where the front row was screaming that loud, a sign of how devoted SYMPHONY X's fans are. Right on time SYMPHONY X marched the stage, and started blasting "Iconoclast" from the stage. 

Right from the start it was clear to me that The Circus may have been the right choice to get the biggest audience, but, unfortunately, the sound was not that on point. This is a well-known problem for the venue, so of course it's not the band's fault, and it still doesn't take away from the fact that the band did one hell of a performance! Song after song, it looked like the band had missed performing, and it even felt like they were feeding of the energy of the audience. 

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The crowd definitely welcomed the band by singing along loudly to the tracks, especially during songs such as "Nevermore", "Sea Of Lies", this was a lot of fun. The setlist was a combination of songs of their latest album "Underworld", and older songs, with the highlight of the evening being the encore "The Odyssey". I was not surprised the band played through the whole 24 minute epic, with any other band you'd be kind of worried if it would get boring to play one song for half an hour, but not with SYMPHONY X. In fact, those 24 minutes flew by like nothing. 

During the whole show my mind could only think of one thing, how can these guys be this good live? I've been listening to them for over ten years, and still they manage to blow my mind with everything they do. Unfortunately, except for having watched an awful lot of footage of festivals, and concerts, I have nothing to compare it with, but seeing them live for the first time now, sure made it a great experience. While the show was very minimal, it was just the guys playing their songs, no big production or anything, it sure as hell was a great performance, and definitely something I hope to repeat in the future - let's just hope the band releases something new very soon, or starts touring again more frequently.

Setlist

  1. Iconoclast
  2. Evolution (The Grand Design)
  3. Serpent's Kiss
  4. Nevermore
  5. Without You
  6. Domination
  7. Run With the Devil
  8. Sea of Lies
  9. Set the World on Fire (The Lie of Lies)

    Encore:

  10. The Odyssey

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