KAUNIS KUOLEMATON’s latest album came out almost one year ago via Noble Demon Records. I had the chance to write a review about it and was therefore quite eager to see the band play the new songs, but for reasons we all know, the release party has been postponed three times, as far as I remember. Needless to say how excited I was when the band announced the “Syttyköön Toinen Aurinko” album’s one year anniversary show at Kuudes Linja in Helsinki on November 20th, 2021.
Two opening bands, MARIANAS REST and VORNA, took part in the live show, making the whole event really consistent in terms of type of sound, general attitude, and overall feeling… at least in theory, because later I realized how deeply different the three bands are. Being melancholy was a sort of a guiding thread, as was melody, which is a staple in this music subgenre, I could not help but noticing how much this feeling was in contrast with the touchable sense of joy, on and off stage.
MARIANAS REST got the ball rolling at 19:00 by playing the title track of the latest album, “Fata Morgana.” The place was already packed with people and the atmosphere was nice and warm. One band member, the keyboard player Aapo Koivisto, was not present at the show, but the act managed to deliver an outstanding performance anyway. Most of the songs they played were taken from the latest release, but there were also two tracks from the previous album in the setlist. Frontman Jaakko Mäntymaa does have a distinct personality in terms of vocals style, especially if compared with other singers from the very same field, making the overall sound quite unique. The set lasted about 40 minutes and after a short pause, the audience was ready for the second act.
VORNA took the stage at 20:00 and after a short intro, started playing “Virvatulet.” The 6-piece group came up with a setlist mainly focused on their most recent album, “Sateet Palata Saavat,” except for “Yksin,” the fourth song on the setlist, taken from their second full-length. The audience seemed to be totally at ease and quite excited at the same time: many people were singing along, which means that many of the crowd knew the lyrics by heart. This could be considered one of the main goals for a band, in my opinion, as it really warms up the atmosphere and creates a deeper connection between the musicians and their supporters. I was amazed once again by singer Vesa Salovaara‘s skills – his very intense clean singing voiceprint does not go unnoticed, not even in a country where the standards are pretty high. The last song in their setlist, “Kauas,” always leaves me speechless because of its intensity. The audience was, once again, singing along, giving some sort of a suspended reality as a result.
The headliners hit the stage at 21:08. One thing that caught my attention from the very first time I saw KAUNIS KUOLEMATON play is the perfect balance between the two singers’ styles and attitudes – Mikko Heikkilä is not only a skilled guitar player, but also an extremely talented singer and his clean vocals pair perfectly with frontman Olli Suvanto‘s otherwordly deep growls and high-pitched, iconic screams, making his performance way more relevant than the average backing vocals.
The opening track was “Sub Idem Tempus,” which happens to be also the first song on the album whose first anniversary’s celebration was ongoing. The massively melancholic features of this intro worked as a recurring theme during the whole live show. Six songs in a row followed the same tracklist on “Syttyköön Toinen Aurinko,” with “Tuhottu Elämä” as the only exception, as the one song taken from the previous album “Vapaus.” Since also the other four tunes had been played in the same order as on the album, it was nice for the audience to have the chance to listen to a live version of it in its entirety. Smart choice, since I was pretty curious about how those beautiful tunes would sound in a live setting.
The energy was flowing both on and off stage. From the corner of my eye, there was a guy dancing right next to me, people were singing along, and the band’s frontman was rousing the crowd by doing the iconic “horns up” gesture with his hands. The reaction from the audience was pretty obvious – we were in this together and we were shamelessly thrilled. At some point, the guitar player kindly threw two copies of the CD from the stage and my husband managed to grab one of them… lucky!
The performance was solid, full of powerful and passionate moments, and the one-year wait for the show was worth it. The last song was “Hyvästi,” whose title can be translated as “goodbye”; it fit like a glove, because I already couldn’t wait to see KAUNIS KUOLEMATON play again. I am quite sure the feeling was shared by many in the room.
Written by Licia Mapelli
Photos by Mirko Luparelli
- Sub Idem Tempus
- Syttyköön Toinen Aurinko
- Kylmä Maa
- Kuolevan Surun Alla
- Tuhottu Elämä
- Paha Ihminen
- En Ole Mitään