In what turned out to be our third visit to Jäähalli in less than a week, we made our way to the last show of the year for BEAST IN BLACK, one of the Finnish Metal acts with the fastest growth in terms of popularity, sales and international impact. With only three years of existence and two solid studio albums, the 80’s music-infused heavy metal five-piece have already managed to tour as a headliner around Europe and now they got an almost sold-out gig at Jäähalli in such an early stage of their career, which is a huge achievement. The band announced beforehand that it was going to be an evening full of surprises, so we wouldn’t miss the chance to check them out.
LORDI was the guest of honor in charge of warming up the audience, and they passed the test with flying colors. With their horror-inspired costumes and stage props, they were the perfect opener for a gig taking place on Friday 13th. Mr. Lordi found it a bit hard to address the audience in Finnish since he is so used to speak English onstage, which made room for tons of jokes and cursing throughout the show. Although I haven’t followed their career very actively, their songs are so catchy and infectious that after a couple of listens you feel like you’ve known them all your life. Maybe it’s not the most sophisticated music on earth, but it works excellent when it’s all about partying.
In a highly entertaining 60-minute set the Finnish monsters covered the greatest hits of their career with highlights such as “Would You Love A Monster Man?”, “Naked In My Cellar”, “Devil Is A Loser” and, of course, the song that put them on the map and made them become rock stars back in 2006, the Eurovision winner “Hard Rock Hallelujah”. They used the occasion to introduce their new bass player Hiisi and to premier two new songs live: “I Dug a Hole in the Yard for You” and “Shake the Baby Silent”, both very catchy and effective. Combining cynical lyrics, a dark sense of humor and straight-forward rock attitude, the band proved that beyond the gimmicks they are a very strong live act.
When the curtain fell down and BEAST IN BLACK appeared, we witnessed one of the biggest stage productions put together by a local band, matching the standards of international well-established rock acts, with plenty of opportunities to run around at different levels. I was very intrigued to hear Yannis Papadopoulos’ singing live since he is one of the greatest upcoming metal vocalists of the last years. In the first few songs, his voice felt a bit shaky but as the set went on by, his performance grew stronger and stronger, hitting supersonic high-notes without losing any of its power. Mastermind and leader Anton Kabanen contributed with great guitar soloing and his trademark raspy backing vocals.
Since they have only two albums and the show lasted for almost two hours, they played pretty much every song they have ever recorded, including their first-ever live rendition of their awesome cover of ROBERT TEPPER’s “No Easy Way Out”. They succeeded at combining some of their poppy stuff with heavier tracks, switching from 80’s pop to JUDAS PRIEST-inspired heavy metal and some symphonic elements that remind you of NIGHTWISH but sung by a dude. The band was visibly moved by the reception of the audience’s, who jumped, screamed and danced like it was their last day on earth. They also received a gold album award onstage for the great sales of their studio albums, which apparently was a surprise for them as well.
I won’t bore you with a track-by-track analysis but focus more on what were the highlights of the show for me: The energetic opener “Cry out for a Hero” blew my mind, as well as the powerful declaration of principles that is “Beast in Black”. Other favorites of mine were the irresistibly catchy “Blood of the Lion”, “Heart of Steel” and “Born Again”, making everyone on the room dance regardless of their coordination skills. After a couple of heavier tracks like “The Fifth Angel” and “Repentless”, the beautiful ballad “Oceandeep” was performed live for the first time in front of a Finnish audience, and the result was magnificent and touching, with thousands of flashlights lighting up the venue. A moment to remember, for sure.
The last section of the show was filled by hit after hit: from the poppy “Die by the Blade” to the cringy “Sweet True Lies”, they also added some heavier elements like “No Surrender” and “Zodd the Immortal”. They even invited Santa and his sexy helpers to entertain the crowd during the performance of “Crazy, Mad, Insane”. The encore was a hattrick of fire, ice, and apocalypse which consisted of “From Hell with Love”, “Blind and Frozen” and “End of the World”. The use of pyro, explosions, and confetti added a lot to the concert experience and made the evening a very special one, way more spectacular than I was expecting. You could see how much effort they put into this gig.
As I mentioned before, the fact that at this point in their career BEAST IN BLACK are able to get a full-house in Jäähalli speaks about the potential that the band has in the near future. They have all that it takes to become the next Finnish metal sensation worldwide: the sound, the hooks, the looks, and the showmanship. Many old-fashioned metalheads might look down on them for overusing pop elements, but once you get over your preconceptions and let yourself enjoy their music beyond genre boundaries, they are an awesome party band. There is different music for different moods and BEAST IN BLACK was the perfect way to end a stressful week and forget about all the bullshit going on in the world.
Article written by David Araneda
Photos by Laureline Tilkin
- Cry Out for a Hero
- Unlimited Sin
- Beast in Black
- Eternal Fire
- Blood of a Lion
- Go to Hell
- True Believer
- Heart of Steel
- Born Again
- The Fifth Angel
- Die by the Blade
- No Surrender
- Zodd the Immortal
- No Easy Way Out
- Sweet True Lies
- Crazy, Mad, Insane
- From Hell With Love (Encore)
- Blind and Frozen (Encore)
- End of the World (Encore)
Interview with messier — “There’s only three of us, so we have to make it count and get the sound as big as we can.”