3.12.2022 Nailed to Obscurity, Dark Tranquillity, Eluveitie, & Amorphis @ Helsingin Jäähalli, Helsinki

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A strong 4-band-package came to visit the Finnish capital as part of a massive European tour on the cold wintery Saturday night of December 3rd, 2022, and Helsinki’s Ice Hall closed their curtains around the bleachers, resulting in the Black Box being used as the venue for the sold-out event. Finnish progressive metal juggernauts AMORPHIS are no stranger to Helsinki, but this time they teamed up with Swiss folk metal act ELUVEITIE for a special double headlining show along with Gothenburg metal act DARK TRANQUILLITY and progressive death/doom band NAILED TO OBSCURITY.

The first ones planned to perform around 18:10 were the German 5-piece, NAILED TO OBSCURITY, who played a 30-minute set that included songs from their last album, “Black Frost” (very suitable for the current weather in Finland). They kept their stage setup very minimal and any interaction with the audience was also quite scarce, except for singer Raimund Ennenga occasionally speaking to the crowd. Naturally, this suited the type of music they play just fine. Musically speaking, they were a very interesting and appealing band to discover, with a lot of atmosphere and nice guitar work. Although I’m not so familiar with their catalog, they reminded me of mid-era OPETH and they also showcased two new songs from their upcoming album (“Liquid Morning” and “Clouded Frame”), which sounded very promising. I will keep my ears open for their new material in the future. Altogether, with their solid performance, the band managed to attract quite a crowd already, despite many of the shy Finns hiding in the back.

Next up, were the Swedish Gothenburg legends DARK TRANQUILLITY, who are still touring their excellent latest studio album,Moment,” released in 2020. At this point, Black Box was filled out pretty nicely, quite an achievement for the second band during such a long evening. The 45-minute set was a pleasant journey through their career, with a few deep cuts and emphasis on their last album, with “The Dark Unbroken” being an instant highlight. Although the Swedes have been a highly influential band since the ’90s, I must admit that I prefer their current style, with more instantly recognizable melodies, Gothic vibes, and some clean vocals. Mikael Stanne seemed very moved by the reaction of the audience, which was indeed, at times, truly overwhelming.

Since this gig was announced, I felt ELUVEITIE was a bit of an odd choice for this co-headlining tour. Sure, they are very popular and probably brought a lot of their own fans along to the concert, but from the musical point of view, I couldn’t see much connection with the rest of the bands. While the three other bands displayed an elegant mix of melody and darkness with great taste, the Swiss nine-piece personally felt a little out of place with their folk metal tunes. Being the second headliner of the event’s lineup, the band played a longer slot, with lots of hits from their entire back catalogue to choose from.

Having only seen a handful of ELUVEITIE‘s shows (mostly during festivals), one of the band’s pitfalls in the past has been a struggle to balance out the band’s sound. With nine members on stage with traditional instruments, a good mix is important. Thankfully, today’s show was probably one of the better-sounding shows we had ever seen from ELUVEITIE. Every instrument, from the hurdy-gurdy (played by the newest addition to the band, Annie Hurdy Gurdy) to the Celtic harp, was audible and well-balanced. Thus, we were able to enjoy songs like “Epona,” “Thousandfold,” and “Call to the Mountains” to the fullest extent.

The audience seemed to enjoy a lot of the songs, despite having to come into their performance after all the broody music, but singer Fabienne Erni managed to hype up the crowd nicely, which comes as no surprise with poppy offerings, like “Ambiramus.” The band rounded out the setlist with one of their latest songs, “Aidus,” which is an incredibly heavy ELUVEITIE track, along with “Ategnatos” and the mandatory closer, “Inis Mona.” All-in-all, the Swiss folk metal act played a dynamic show, with lots of space on stage for each member, allowing them to give themselves completely during the set.

The Finnish progressive metal titans AMORPHIS were set as the last band of the bill, performing an amazing set that went through their history, including early tracks from their doom/death classic “Tales from the Thousand Lakes” such as “Into Hiding” and “Black Winter Day.” Four songs taken from their newest album were also performed, which is great since Halo is one of my top 10 albums from 2022. The band sounded very tight and the visuals were stunning, creating a mesmerizing live experience. Unlike the rest of their tour, the band had adorned the stage with a large screen that we already saw during Tuska, where they projected atmospheric imagery during the entire set. It seemed that there may have been something up with the visuals though, as sometimes the images looked a little pixelated. However, this could have also been intentional.

The band mostly focused on the Tomi Joutsen-era, with highlights such as “Silver Bride” and “Death of a King,” and only one nod to Pasi Koskinen in “My Kantele.” Their previous studio album Queen of Time was also heavily represented in the setlist with “The Bee,” “Wrong Direction,” and “Amongst Stars.” Unfortunately, Dutch singer Anneke van Giersbergen couldn’t join them on stage this time like she did on Tuska Open Air 2019, but her voice and image were featured during the song.

The band seemed more relaxed than on previous occasions and I’m pretty sure they missed being on the road and were happy to get such a great reception in their hometown. Of course, the evening had to end with the singalong classic, “House of Sleep”; a perfect way to close a flawless 80-minute set. Luckily, they switched the silly outro cover by ELÄKELÄISET for the beautiful “My Name is Night,” which suited the mood far more nicely. It’s quite interesting that a band like AMORPHIS, who plays fairly complex and highly sophisticated music, can be so popular and attract so many fans to a big venue like Black Box, time after time. I think this was my third end-of-the-year gig by them at Jäähalli, so this has become some kind of a tradition, only interrupted by the pandemic years. No matter where and with whom, these Finns always manage to create a great concert experience for everyone, in this case helping us to get through the darkest part of the year.

Written by David Araneda & Laureline T.
Photos by Laureline Tilkin

Eluveitie Setlist

  1. Exile of the Gods
  2. Nil
  3. Deathwalker
  4. Epona
  5. Anu
  6. A Rose for Epona
  7. Thousandfold
  8. Ambiramus
  9. King
  10. Breathe
  11. The Call of the Mountains
  12. Aidus (Encore)
  13. Ategnatos (Encore)
  14. Inis mona (Encore)

Amorphis Setlist

  1. Northwards
  2. On the Dark Waters
  3. Death of a King
  4. Silver Bride
  5. Into Hiding
  6. Wrong Direction
  7. The Moon
  8. Seven Roads Come Together
  9. Amongst Stars
  10. Black Winter Day
  11. My Kantele
  12. The Bee (Encore)
  13. House of Sleep (Encore)