26.3.2022 Horizon of the Mute & Saattue @ Bar Rock Bear, Vantaa

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A live gig on a Saturday night in a fairly good venue… it felt like going back to the pre-pandemic era, when concerts were scheduled and actually happened as planned. It feels good and we are not missing a single chance to enjoy live music, since we have been craving it for so long, and we will not take it for granted anymore. HORIZON OF THE MUTE and SAATTUE shared the stage on March 26th, 2022, at Bar Rock Bear, in Vantaa, slightly north from Helsinki.

The opening act, HORIZON OF THE MUTE, is a one man band who had intrigued me, being that Jani Koskela, the man behind the project, is the former guitarist in SAATTUE; the act was founded in 2015 and has been quite prolific since then. In fact there are five albums in their discography, plus a handful of EPs and singles. The subgenre can be labeled as drone doom metal, although there are many different elements in it that make this task quite difficult.

The show began at 21:59; three backdrops on stage gave the illusion of a full scenography where disturbing creatures were taking part of the gig. A man and his guitar: it was as simple as that, but it totally felt like a full band was playing, due to the powerful sound and gloomy atmosphere HORIZON OF THE MUTE was delivering. The music was a quite well-balanced mixture of drone and doom metal, with some old school black metal parts here and there, especially concerning the riffing, which were reminiscent of DARKTHRONE and THORNS. There weren’t many people yet attending the gig, so the presence of two girls dancing right in front of the stage stood out and added some sort of a ritualistic vibe to the whole thing. The setlist was made of nine tracks taken from the most recent two albums, “Voidscope,” released in 2020, and “Devious,” which was published in late 2021. The set lasted approximately 35 minutes, then SAATTUE took the stage around 23:00.

Singer Otto Haaparanta asked “Mikä meininki?,” Finnish for “what’s up?” The atmosphere was relaxed and exciting at the same time. There were not many people at the show, but those who were there did really show their enthusiasm the proper way. “Saattoväki,” from SAATTUE’s latest release, “Vain Toinen Heistä,” was the opening tune. All of the band members were at ease and deeply into the mood. The singer’s gestural expressiveness on stage was incredibly intense and entertaining – he is a theater actor indeed, so no wonder he seemed to act as if the song lyrics were actually a script. Right before performing the second song on the setlist, “Jossain Muualla,” Otto kindly asked the audience to come closer – a smart move that surely made the setting much warmer.

On the following tune, “Tumma Virta” from the previous album “Kärsimysnäytelmä,” there is one of the most iconic riffs in the whole band’s history, but I also dare to say that this song is one of the most representative expressions of what Finnish doom metal is about: slow, melancholic, melodic, catchy, heavy, solemn, and impossible to forget. The live performance of this song was stunning and I would like to confirm what was written in the review about the singer’s role as “big shoes to fill,” being this was an older tune that he was able to perform perfectly.

An even older track, “Luutarhuri,” from the band’s very first album, was the following tune on the setlist. Guitarist and main composer Tero Kalliomäki, who always provides excellent backing vocals, really gave his best throughout the whole set, both on old and new songs. The acoustic intro on “Vain Toinen Heistä” gave a warm and cozy vibe that suddenly turned into a heavy and solemn feeling, massively shared by the band members: everyone on stage was singing and the audience was doing the same, especially on the very last verse of the song. It was quite magical.

Three songs were left on the setlist, all of them from older albums. The audience kept on being very involved and excited til the very end. Right after the closing song, “Kaaosmaa,” someone shouted “yks biisi vielä!” [one more song], but the gig was officially over.

Despite the presence of very few people, those who were there really showed their appreciation to the band, and to live music in general. It was a great night and we do feel grateful for that.

Photos by Mirko Luparelli

Setlist

  1. Saattoväki
  2. Jossain Muualla
  3. Tumma Virta
  4. Luutarhuri
  5. Vain Toinen Heistä
  6. Vieraseen Multaan
  7. Reliikki
  8. Kaaosmaa