With a little bit of snow still covering the whole of Helsinki, it seemed like the perfect evening for SONATA ARCTICA to present their latest album “Talviyö” to their dedicated fans. The band was set to play a show supporting the new album at The Circus on 7 November 2019 and brought along the hard rock act TEMPLE BALLS, and the symphonic power metal act ARION to ensure a good time. View the photo gallery here.
The first act of the evening was the promising hard rock act TEMPLE BALLS. I have had the chance to see these guys perform as a support act of BATTLE BEAST two years ago, and was pleasantly surprised by their energetic songs. Two years ago I wrote that the band (except for the lead singer) is still a tiny bit reserved on stage. It was great to see an evolution in their performance. It was very noticeable the band has played a lot more shows and has even made an appearance on Tuska Open Air. All this practice seems to have paid off.
The first song of their performance perhaps didn’t sound as tight as it could have been, however, the rest of the songs sounded top-notch and of high quality. Their music is super catchy, and just fun to listen to. This also translates on stage, especially when it comes down to songs like “Hell and Feelin’ Fine”. These guys have a bright future ahead of them if they can keep it up, and were definitely a great band to open up for SONATA ARCTICA, they definitely warmed the hearts of the audience on a dark wintry evening.
Next up in line were the symphonic metal act ARION. We have seen these guys a couple of times already this year. Especially since after the release of their latest album “Life Is Not Beautiful”, they were the festival’s season’s favorites, and booking agents made sure that the band was part of every Finnish festival of 2019. Having seen their show quite a lot of times now, it almost feels boring to review them, considering every time I’m always blown away by their performance all over again. Every time I repeat the same thing, which is that I swear that every performance of these guys is the best one I’ve ever witnessed, and it was the same this time around.
Being a band trusting on a backing track for a huge part of the songs, has been often a challenge. Often they struggle with technical issues before the show. This wasn’t a problem now, in fact, the sound of the whole gig was well-balanced. Even though by now I have memorized the whole setlist, it’s never old to hear songs like the energetic opener “No One Stands In My Way”, the thrash metal infused “Punish You”, the classic “I Am the Storm”, and the catchy “Unforgivable”. The set ended on a high note with a dynamic singalong with the audience during “At the Break of Dawn”.
The time had come for SONATA ARCTICA, and after a quick changeover, the stage transformed into a “Talviyö” styled Winterland. Right on time, the band marched on stage after an enchanting intro, and started playing the single “Little Less Understanding”. The song sounded a little bit faster than on the album and seemed to convince the audience behind me.
After a couple of songs, it was clear to me that the set featured songs mostly from their latest album “Talviyö” including songs like “Cold”, “Whirlwind”, “Storm the Armada”, and “Who Failed The Most”. The heaviest track and most power metal song to be found on the album “Message to the Sun” was unfortunately not included in the setlist, as well as the quirky “Ismo’s Got Good Reactors”. The set felt thus more emotive and introspective and could have used songs like the ones previously mentioned to spice things up a little bit. Nonetheless, the tempo changed with songs like “I Have A Right” and “X Marks the Spot”, transforming the dynamics of the evening.
Towards the end of the set, their set picked up a little bit more. The audience got a real treat with old classics such as “Black Sheep”, and the popular karaoke track “Tallulah”, but it wasn’t until “FullMoon” that the audience started going crazy. “Life” had the honor of closing the show with the “Vodka” outro tacked on to the end, since the band skips on “The Cage” as the last song. The setlist altogether was a new wind on the horizon, very little classics made it to the stage, as the focus was clearly more on “Talviyö” and the newer albums, making the set of the evening perhaps a bit more mellow, and melodic than their previous tours. Nonetheless, the band was in great shape, Tony Kakko being a great performer as ever, engaged the audience every step along the way, and it’s really fun to watch these guys play their show. Along with great production, and an outstanding lighting show, the band managed to translate “Talviyö” well to the stage.
- A Little Less Understanding
- Closer to an Animal
- The Day
- Storm the Armada
- I Have a Right
- X Marks the Spot
- Black Sheep
- Who Failed the Most
- Losing My Insanity (Encore)
- Life with Vodka outro (Encore)