March has arrived, which means coronavirus restrictions are being lifted in many countries the world round! For those few bands that had booked shows in March without needing to cancel or postpone, this means that they will indeed be hitting the stage! For me personally, there’s no better way to get back on the live horse, so to speak, than to see one of my tried and true favorites, MACHINAE SUPREMACY, with a band that I’m really growing to love, LOST IN GREY. Alas, this odd pairing was not meant to be, as the latter were forced to cancel due to a last-minute wave of the aforementioned coronavirus. With some shuffling of the other openers, WHERE’S MY BIBLE was moved to LOST IN GREY‘s slot. These bands, along with PRESSURE POINTS and last-minute addition, THURIFER, hit up an entirely new venue for me – Sammiosali in Lahti – on March 5th, 2022, and we were there bright and early to sneak in an interview before the show. Check out the full gallery here.
Arriving at the venue, this new place showed promise, with its long, narrow hall feeling reminiscent of a smaller Pakkahuone (Tampere). However, getting the sound to balance out seemed to be a bit of a challenge. Luckily, the sound guys were up to the task.
While our photographer was able to be at the venue from the start, I had to return to town to run some errands, making it back to the venue in time to get a bottle of water before WHERE’S MY BIBLE started. I was informed that the first two bands put on decent performances, but the crowd was very hesitant to move close to the stage. Sounds like that Finnish shyness holds true, at least outside Helsinki – if the show had been down south, surely the gig-starved masses would have sold the venue out on the first weekend with restrictions lifted.
MACHINAE SUPREMACY have always been paired up with unusual bands, due to their very niche sound, but the matching of WHERE’S MY BIBLE has to be by far the strangest yet. I would place them as a black/extreme metal band, with some pagan/folkish hints not unlike some of MOONSORROW‘s work. There was a decent crowd gathered by the time their set started, so it seems they have some local fans, as the attendees came to the front of the stage and responded with cheers between songs. The sound wasn’t all harsh and dark either – the set boasted some nice melodic moments, decent guitar parts, and pleasant clean vocals under all the black clothing and corpse paint.
As per the schedule, MACHINAE SUPREMACY‘s set started right around 21:30. Unfortunately, I made a mad dash to my car to see if I had spare earplugs and missed half of my new favorite song, “Pendulum.” This was followed by another personal favorite, “Edge and Pearl,” which still ironed out a few starting sound issues before the band took their first break and vocalist Robert Stjärnström declared that Sweden has Finland’s back in the current state of the world, and that Russia will not pick us off one-by-one if they decide to move west. Then bassist Andreas “Gordon” Gerdin got a taste of power when the mic was given to him, where he said he would usually say something in Finnish; Lahti local guitarist Tomi Luoma came to put him in his place with some native Finnish teasing.
“Dark City” elicited some heartfelt gestures from Rob, as the sound began to balance a bit (moving towards the sound booth also made it so I didn’t need my earplugs – curses!). A nice SID intro got the crowd revved up for “Laser Speed Force,” where guitarist Jonas Rörling got to take his rightful place at the mic for the first half of both verses, belting it out loud and proud. The guitarists (and often bassist) were all having a ball on stage throughout these songs, with some good shred-fests, coming to play together on many occasions. They moved on to their new cover of “Empire of Steel,” (originally by ESSENGER & SCANDROID), which featured one of Rob‘s best vocal performances, as he really put some strength into his lower register. I would perhaps suggest they swap this with “Pendulum” in the future – it would allow for more freedom and space to warm up his voice, even if it is a little bit less energetic.
Another industrial intro led to “Truth of Tomorrow,” one of the older songs on the set for this night, which seems to tickle the fans of the band’s earlier material, always thirsty for those classics. There was another intro, more of ambient music and radio vocals for “Rocket Dragon,” one of the de facto live songs from “A View from the End of the World,“ as well as another song where Jonas gets to sing a bit. The “as I burn down and murder” part is always chill inducing, oh man.
Rob asked if the crowd had gamed as much as they did over the past years, declaring the present to be the best time to be gaming as an introduction to “Republic of Gamers.” The crowd had no trouble activating for these guys, always willing to throw fists up or wave their arms back and forth. Luckily, the punchy setlist was full of great music to dance or rock to.
Rob gave a shout-out to the toughness of the Ukrainians and dedicated the “Renegades”-“Nova Prospekt” song duo to their resistance. As some more of my favorites from these guys, the current standard playlist is pretty tight. This led into an ode to the people you choose to keep around you via “All of My Angels,” which really got the sauced-up people on the floor moving and dancing – there was one couple who had created a vast distance between themselves and the rest of the audience due to the sloppy intensity of their dancing. Seemed like they were having a great time! This song was killing it, at least until a little accident where the venue lights came on, though props to the band – they didn’t miss a beat!
MASU finished off the main set with their latest single, “We Are the Ones Who Will Change the World,” which is currently undergoing the process of having a fan-submission music video put together. All of the new songs were easy highlights of the night and worked really well live, especially in with the dark shadows on everyone’s mind these days. The song ended, giving the guys a bit if a break, allowing the crowd to call them back for “Rise of a Digital Nation” and another classic older track, “Player One,” before they closed up shop to “Through the Looking Glass.” These were a great selection of encore songs: a fan-song, a classic fan-favorite, and their biggest radio hit made for a grand ending to a really fun night.
This gig felt very much like a gentle step back into the gig scene. For an old(ish) fart like myself, I quickly realized how old I felt at a free-rein live show. That said, there were people of all ages at the show and it was really heartwarming to see some people who were clearly 70+ rocking out and enjoying the music. The setlist was comprised of the three new tracks, plus the band’s tried and true live hits – a safe bet, but a warm and welcome return to live shows for us regular MASU attendees. The new tracks added some worthy spice into the mix and I, for one, can’t wait for them to have a new album to tour. It’s been quite a long time now, so fingers crossed we’ll get an announcement sometime this year!
Photos by Juho J
- Edge and Pearl
- Dark City
- Laser Speed Force
- Empire of Steel (Essenger & Scandroid cover)
- Truth of Tomorrow
- Rocket Dragon
- Republic of Gamers
- Renegades & Nova Prospekt
- Force Feedback
- All of My Angels
- We Are the Ones Who Will Change the World
- Rise of a Digital Nation
- Player One
- Through the Looking Glass