BEAST IN BLACK have been on a rapid rise since songwriter/guitarist Anton Kabanen parted ways with BATTLE BEAST. With two albums under their belt now, the lastest of which came out earlier this year, they’re already headlining the Helsinki Ice Hall after having played plenty of times at the considerably smaller Nosturi. On December 13th, 2019, they continued their From Hell with Love Tour with LORDI as the opener. Check out the full gallery here!
There was already a huge queue in front of Jäähalli when I arrived at the location about 15 minutes before LORDI was set to start. Luckily the queue moved forward pretty quickly so no one needed to wait in the chilly outdoors for too long. When I got inside, LORDI was already playing their first song; the queue to the narikka [coat check] was still really lengthy so I decided to skip it and go straight to catch the show.
There was already quite a lot of people on the floor and it was difficult to get close to the band, so I stayed beside the mixing booth where I thought the sound would be best. LORDI had a nice hefty sound that reached all the way to the back of the arena. Their sound isn’t too tense; Mr. Lordi has a deep, gruff sound, but somehow simultaneously a pleasant singing voice that works well with their ominous and clear keyboard sound. Mr. Lordi‘s cool-sounding high-pitched metal screeches also added a nice spice to the vocals.
The crowd was really into the music and cheered and sang along. The song “Naked in My Cellar” was a good chant-along song that also felt pretty wrong at the same time because of the very nasty name. As a stage prop they had cool stony-looking gates and walls; they could have pushed it even further, but BEAST IN BLACK’s covered stage set took up a lot of space on the back of the stage. “Bloodred Sandman” reminded me of high school, as LORDI had just won Eurovision and we went to Helsinki harbor to see them play a few songs to a massive crowd of people welcoming them. It’s also a great song. During, Mr. Lordi wore a sandman cap and threw sleep powder onto the audience. They included other theatrics like this during other songs throughout the set.
“Devil is a Loser” was probably my favorite LORDI song since it’s super catchy and badass. Mr. Lordi had really funny speeches and jokes between the songs in a true northern Finnish way. If I would have to give some criticism, maybe they are a little bit too stylishly flowing and smooth. At times it felt a little bit too clean for such dangerous monsters. The last song was, unexpectedly, “Hard Rock Hallelujah,” and although the song is worn out beyond use, it is nevertheless almost impossible not to mosh and dance along when they play it live.
Then it was time for the BEAST IN BLACK to come out. The stage setting was really epic as they had a huge beast head on the stage with shining eyes that changed colors, golden skulls adorning the two flights of stairs leading to the upper platforms, beast logos that were a bit too reminiscent of the Mortal Kombat logo, a drum kit that was placed on a high platform at the end of the staircases, and nasty-looking spikes that were protruding from various surfaces. Visually, the stage was more than ready.
There was an epic intro and after that the first song started and suddenly singer Yannis Papadopoulos jumped on the stage from the middle of nowhere. Papadopoulos’ more mellow and lighter vocals sometimes struggled to reach the part of the floor where I was standing, but his unmistakable high-pitched screams did the trick. His vocal range is impressive and he sometimes has a feminine quality to his voice that may be confusing at first, but is actually pretty beautiful. Anton Kabanen, Kasperi Heikkinen (rhythm guitar), and Máté Molnár (bass) used the stairs well to change the positions and play on the upper platforms. Both guitarists were really talented and lightning fast in their epic solos. The drum kit was placed so high on the stage that everyone could see Atte Palokangas at his station. The show also had great pyros that enhanced the epic setting even more.
It did seem as though the backing vocals were amplified a bit too much by the backing track, but it helped to get more mass into the performance. However, BEAST IN BLACK lacked a bit of the musical depth that LORDI had in their set. During the first half, BEAST IN BLACK’s biggest weakness at this point is the lack of songs with depth and diversity. Their music needs more variety in its soundscape and hooks. Papadopoulos‘ wailing also lost its wow effect after a while, resulting in the music becoming a bit one-note. Things kicked up a notch and got again interesting during “Heart of Steel,” which had a new type of epicness to it, a confrontational front, and great choirs; it was a much-needed powerful attack and metal declaration. They played catchier material during the second half of the set.
One of the events of the night was when the band was awarded the gold record for their debut album, “Berserker“ (2017). “Born Again” is one of the best (if not the best) songs in their discography and it did not disappoint live. It’s catchy, emotional, over-dramatic, and highlights the best aspects of Papadopoulos‘ voice. They also included their cover of “No Easy Way Out” from Rocky IV in the set, which was great, though that might just be because the original is great.
There was also a baffling, stupid, and tasteless, yet still somewhat funny episode where they welcomed some sort of Santa to the stage, who was accompanied by “sexy” skimpy-dressed Christmas elf women. Santa started to throw gifts into the crowd, the contents of which remain a mystery to us. The awesome blast of confetti in the end was as cool as always and never fails to delight. The main set ended with “Sweet True Lies” and “Crazy, Mad, Insane,” but they came back of course for “From Hell with Love,” “Blind and Frozen,” and “End of the World.”
It was a night of great entertainment value. LORDI had the look and the edge, while BEAST IN BLACK had skill and flare. While the show did get a bit tiring due to the lack of diversity in BIB‘s material, it’s worth keeping in mind that they’ve only released two albums so far and with that in mind, the night was epic and it’s cool to witness how big this band has grown in a few short years!
1. Would You Love a Monsterman?
2.Hug You Hardcore
3. I Dug a Hole in the Yard for You
4. Naked in My Cellar
5. Blood Red Sandman
6. It Snows in Hell
7. Shake the Baby Silent
8. The Riff
9. Who’s Your Daddy?
10. Devil is a Loser
11. Hard Rock Hallelujah
Outro: The Night the Monsters Died
Beast in Black Setlist
1. Cry Out for a Hero
2. Unlimited Sin
3. Eternal Fire
4. Blood of a Lion
5. Go to Hell
6. True Believer
7. Heart of Steel
8. Born Again
9. The Fifth Angel
12. No Surrender
13. Zodd the Immortal
14. No Easy Way Out
15. Sweet True Lies
16. Crazy, Mad, Insane
17. From Hell With Love (encore)
18. Blind and Frozen (encore)
19. End of the World (encore)
Outro: Burning Heart – Survivor
Written by Simo Kuusterä
Photos by Miia Collander