14.1.2023 Pressure Points & Silver Bullet @ Lepakkomies, Helsinki

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It’s felt like a long few years since SILVER BULLET‘s Mooncult was released back in 2019, but with the pandemic more or less behind us, we’ve had their upcoming release, Shadowfall,” to look forward to, along with a long-delayed tour with TWILIGHT FORCE. However, before any of these things happened, the band took part in a small Finnish tour before their release, starting at Varjobaari in Tampere on the 13th and continuing to Lepakkomies in Helsinki on the 14th. Naturally, we had to be there to check out these bands out live!

Personally, I can’t remember the last time I’ve been to a show at Lepakkomies, so it was as much of a nostalgia-run to Helsinki as anything else on the 14th. However, alongside my relentless desire to make up for missing SILVER BULLET‘s club show in Hämeenlinna in December was also my desire to make up for missing PRESSURE POINTS a few times last year as well. They share a vocalist, Juha Tretjakov, with VANSIDIAN, whom we are naturally well-acquainted with by now.

The first act was set to take the stage 30 minutes after the doors opened at 20:00. However, 20:45 rolled around and there was no sign of anyone near the stage, so we wondered if the show was running late or if the playtimes were listed wrong on Facebook. The intro track started at 20:48 and PRESSURE POINTS took the stage a minute later.

Being fairly unfamiliar with them, we were surprised at how synth-laden and funky the intro was. In fact, it was so funky and synth-y that we were not fully prepared for how heavy the first track was… nor were we prepared for how loud the volume in the basement was – it felt like we weren’t wearing earplugs at all! The melodic vocals were a pleasant change-up every time they appeared and the driving guitars and relentless rhythms also had a good deal of appeal. Then we discovered the synth player, Veli-Matti “Wellu” Kytönen – who was previously hidden in the shadows – rocking a very Ken Hensley/Jon Lord style of organ in some moments, which definitely needs a looking into on future listens.

If there was ever any question as to why this band occasionally gets labeled as progressive, the reason became clear as we heard the songs taking unexpected twists and turns and they used surprise influences at several points (like the aforementioned organ sound) that worked surprisingly well. Generic melodeath, this most certainly was not. The crowd was pretty full and Juha was able to elicit some fists and chants from the crowd in more ambient moments as the guitars mellowly shredded. They also had a funny moment where they tried to give a drink ticket to an audience member to get the bassist a beer, but I guess her effort unfortunately was unsuccessful. Their show felt fairly short because the songs were so long, but we enjoyed it quite a lot.

Next on the schedule was SILVER BULLET at 22:00, which meant that everyone was hustling and bustling during the stage changeover and the floor mostly cleared out as people went for a drink or upstairs to get some air.

If PRESSURE POINTS were late to start, SILVER BULLET was then surprisingly early, getting on stage at 21:50 – 10 minutes early? – to the cinematic intro track, “Overture to Armageddon,” which was quickly followed by “Shadow of a Curse.” Singer Bruno Proveschi has really found his stride with these guys and all the live practice at the festivals has proven these guys to be a pretty tight unit by now. Fortunately, people didn’t seem to be too late to catch the first songs, as the floor had filled out by the time the show started.

They then took a trip to their previous albums for “She Holds the Greatest Promise” and “Lady of Lies,” and even went back to their first album for “Slaughterhouse” and “More Than Meets the Eye,” proving that Bruno has no trouble whatsoever singing his predecessor’s tracks! It’s also worth mentioning already how spectacular the shredding was throughout the night. Hannes and Henri Asikainen surely know what they’re doing and are having fun while they’re at it.

Bruno introduced the band before they went back to the new album for the latest single, “Creatures of the Night.” “The Ones to Fall” is of course as catchy as Bruno promised it would be, while “Under the Spell” was another great nod back to “Screamworks.” They then started to wrap things up with “The Thirteen Nails” Bruno said that they had high hopes for that song, which also happens to be my personal favorite off the album and the song was as awesome live as they hoped it would be! The only sad part was that it was a bit hard to hear Bruno‘s epic high notes from where we were standing. Since there’s no backstage at Lepakkomies, however, they didn’t bother to leave before the encore, but instead stayed for “The Resurrected,” “The Witches Hammer,” and of course, their biggest hit, “Forever Lost,” which kicked our butts all around the venue.

For a Saturday night in Helsinki, the biggest problem with this show was the lack of crowd! With two perfectly awesome up-and-coming bands, you’d have hoped to see a small venue like that filled to the brim. PRESSURE POINTS showed us that they aren’t following any traditional patterns, while SILVER BULLET made us even more hyped up for their new album. If the old dogs of classic Finnish power metal ever want to hang up their hats, they can do so safely knowing their genre lives on magnificently in bands like SILVER BULLET.

Written by Bear Wiseman
Photos by Jarmo Siira

Setlist

  1. Overture to Armageddon
  2. Shadow of a Curse
  3. She Holds the Greatest Promise
  4. Lady of Lies
  5. Slaughterhouse
  6. More Than Meets the Eye
  7. Creatures of the Night
  8. Under the Spell
  9. Eternity in Hell
  10. The Thirteen Nails
  11. The Resurrected (encore)
  12. The Witches Hammer (encore)
  13. Forever Lost (encore)