Sat. Nov 28th, 2020

8.2.2020 Silver Bullet & Metal De Facto @ On The Rocks, Helsinki

With a thirst for spreading the gospel of making power metal great again, METAL DE FACTO unleashed their debut album “Imperium Romanum” to the world a couple of months ago. The band had scheduled their album release party at On The Rocks in Helsinki on 8 February 2020 and brought the power metal house of SILVER BULLET with them. All-in-all a great evening celebrating old school heavy metal and power metal, which meant, of course, we had to be there to witness their legendary first show.

Before SILVER BULLET released their most recent studio effort “Mooncult,” we had the chance to see the band perform their songs from “Screamworks,” an album dedicated to horror movies. Back then the band integrated cheesy eighties movie re-enactments in their live performance. Due to their limited playtime, they left most of this behind, focusing purely on their music. This was the first time I had seen the band since the release of “Mooncult,” and admittedly I had been looking forward to hearing some of those songs live as it was definitely one of my favorite releases of 2019. Much to my excitement, we got served some tracks of “Mooncult,” which by the way sounded epic, the highlight being “The Witches’ Hammer.” If you like the raw energy of bands such as ICED EARTH, SILVER BULLET is definitely a band to look out to. A mere thirty-minute slot certainly didn’t do justice to what SILVER BULLET has to offer.

After SILVER BULLET had opened up with some pretty awesome symphonic power metal, the gospel of METAL DE FACTO was scheduled next. Because you can’t make a perfect entree without being a tiny bit behind schedule, the band marched on stage ten minutes behind schedule during an intro which progressed smoothly into their lead single “The Conqueror.” While looking behind me, I realized just how crowded On The Rocks is. “Not bad for a first show,” I thought to myself. Surely the musicians involved in the band must have attracted some of their fans from their respective other projects they are or were involved in such as ENSIFERUM, KIUAS, DREAMTALE, KIVIMETSÄN DRUIDI, and EVERFROST, but regardless of their motives, the audience seemed to be in trance with the sudden burst of energy on stage, which continues in “Inferno,” and “Naturalis Historia.”

The party continues with the catchy “Legionnaires’ Oath,” a song that allows the audience to sing along to part of the chorus. As everyone chanted “The Empire Shall Not Fall” along with vocalist Mikael Salo, I see fists pumping in the air. “Colosseum,” the only instrumental track on the debut record, allows a little break for the energetic vocalist, while the rest of the band almost set the stage on fire with their dynamic playing. It was fun to see that the track allowed some different variations in its live version, such as a power metal version of the classical “In The Hall Of The Mountain King” by Edvard Grieg.

Next up were a set of surprises that the band had prepared for us since they wanted to have something special for those who made it to their debut gig. Discussing the band members’ past and current projects, Mikael Salo announced the first track of a set of plot twists “Warrior Soul,” originally composed by none other than guitarist Mikko Salovaara during his time with the legendary heavy metal act KIUAS. As if that was not a surprise by itself, former-KIUAS vocalist Asim Searah (also known from DAMNATION PLAN, and WINTERSUN) marched on the stage to sing along with vocalist Mikael Salo, a nice surprise for those who were reminiscent of the past. The audience clearly knew the song by heart, and as fists were pumping and words were sung, they burst out in big applause as the band ended the song. Bass player Sami Hinkka is also known as the bass player of the folk metal act ENSIFERUM, so it was quite logical the band continued with “Deathbringer From The Sky,” coincidentally a song coming from one of my favorite ENSIFERUM albums. If you were hoping to see singer Mikael Salo growling, you may have been a tad surprised to see ENSIFERUM‘s singer Petri Lindroos joining the stage to accompany the young singer. Even though during the first bit of the song Petri Lindroos‘ microphone wasn’t working, the party went on, and it was very fun to see how the chemistry between him and bass player Sami Hinkka also continued in his guest appearance during METAL DE FACTO‘s show. As was a little bit expected the band concluded their set of surprises with a DREAMTALE song, the power metal band was once blessed with the many guitar licks and solos of guitarist Esa Orjatsalo. I kind of assumed that SILVER BULLET vocalist Nils Nordling would have joined the band on stage, but much to my surprise it was the current DREAMTALE singer Nitte Vänskä who joined the guys on stage and sang a powerful cover of “Dreamland” with Mikael Salo.

After these outstanding covers, it was time to explore METAL DE FACTO‘s own repertoire and the band continued with the dramatic “Ides Of March.” Unfortunately, all shows must end, as the band announced their last song “The Ascending Of Jupiter,” which probably one of my favorite songs on “Imperium Romanum.” While Mikael Salo‘s voice goes to heights as if he’s soaring through the sky like an eagle, the band plays the song energetically up until the last note after which the audience burst out in chanting “lisää!” The band reacted by playing one more song for On The Rocks. With the uplifting and folky “Bacchanalia,” the atmosphere, and lighting completely changed, and a decadent party soon took place in the audience, concluding an really explosive evening on a high note.

All-in-all METAL DE FACTO showed us their true skills and musicianship. Unfortunately for the band, the stage was terribly small, and the band members would often bump into each other accidentally. This, however, didn’t cause much distraught, but I wanted to mention this anyway to argue that METAL DE FACTO doesn’t belong on the smaller club stages of the world, with their mission to make power metal great again they need to be on the biggest stages all across the globe. That being said, if you missed the legendary first bacchanalia of METAL DE FACTO, another one is taking place at Nummirock this summer, so make sure to catch them and get a chance to understand what real power metal sounds like.

Article and photos by Laureline Tilkin

Setlist

  1. Intro / The Conqueror
  2. Inferno
  3. Naturalis Historia
  4. Legionnaires’ Oath
  5. Colosseum
  6. Warrior Soul (Kiuas Cover) ft. Asim Searah
  7. Deathbringer From The Sky (Ensiferum Cover) ft. Petri Lindroos
  8. Dreamland (Dreamtale Cover) ft. Nitte Valo
  9. Ides Of March
  10. The Ascending Of Jupiter
    —Encore—
  11. Bacchanalia / Outro (Germanicus/Echoes In Eternity)

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