8.3.2022 Nestruction & Beast in Black @ Tavastia, Helsinki

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We all know that BEAST IN BLACK is the hottest thing in Finnish synth-metal since sliced bread, so it was a no-brainer that we’d attend their next possible show now that their new album, Dark Connection,” was released last year. However, what was potentially even more exciting was the presence of NESTRUCTION in the opener’s slot, as this new retro game-oriented pixel metal band has yet to play a full live set for an audience. So, with new material from BEAST IN BLACK and a debut show from NESTRUCTION on the roster, we headed to Tavastia on March 8th, 2022, for a night of nerdy metal!

The evening started with the pixel metal act, NESTRUCTION. We had been curious to see this band since the BEAST IN BLACK tour announcement. There are lots of bands out there that play metal versions of game music, however, I thought NESTRUCTION‘s set was truly refreshing. The band only consists of guitarist Emil Pohjalainen (AMBERIAN DAWN) and keyboardist Otto Närhi (PSYCHEWORK), yet we were pleasantly surprised to see that, while the band may only be a duo, that they really thought out their live set. The stage was adorned with some band decorations and a huge LED screen. While the band played through their set, which consisted mostly of old school 8-bit game music, the LED screen supported the music by showing scenes from classic bit games. During their set, they also used some game gimmicks; for instance, they pretended the LED screen was broken and Pohjalainen then punched the screen with a PAW noise, and it worked again. During the set they also invited Mario on stage, who was carrying a case with merch, pointing people to the merch booth.

While their set was sort of on the short side, with only a handful of tracks played, you could easily understand why Anton Kabanen and co. decided to invite NESTRUCTION as an opening band – foremost because we all know how Anton Kabanen is influenced by this kind of music while writing his songs. Apart from a visually appealing set, the guys had a very dynamic show, interacting with each other, but mostly losing themselves in the nostalgic music.

While NESTRUCTION had gathered already a good-sized crowd, Tavastia packed pretty full up afterwards. Apparently, the show was almost sold-out (with a lower capacity), however, I actually quite enjoyed that there was still some space in between the audience members. BEAST IN BLACK started their set sharply on time with the intro track that they were also using during the From Hell With Love Tour. As the intro reached it’s end, drummer Atte Palokangas took his place behind the drum kit, grinning broadly. Soon, the stage was filled by the band and they started playing the opener of their latest record, “Blade Runner.”

“Blade Runner” was the first piece of proof that “Dark Connection” stands through the live test, as each of its tracks played this night were excellent live songs with killer energy! “Bella Donna” continued the party, after which the band switched things up a little bit with the title track from their previous record, which is always a great party song. The slightly more aggressive “Beast In Black” followed, with Anton Kabanen doing some additional vocals. After all the high-energy songs, the five-piece chose for the live debut of the emotional “Broken Survivors.”

The band raced through their setlist, including songs from three albums worth of material. Due to their latest release being so recent, naturally most of the setlist was “Dark Connection” -heavy. Only a couple of songs from “Dark Connection” were left out, including – unfortunately – the amazing “Dark New World,” which was arguably expected because, with nineteen songs, this setlist must have been very demanding on singer Yannis Papadopoulos‘ vocal cords. However, we were really happy with the rest of the selection, with highlights such as “Revengeance Machine,” “One Night in Tokyo,” and “My Dystopia.” We were also treated with the live debut of a song that appeared as a Japanese bonus track: “Hell for All Eternity.” Isn’t it great when bands decide to include rare bonus tracks into their setlists? Thankfully the selection of songs also had room for some golden oldies like “Die by the Blade,” “Cry Out for a Hero,” “Born Again,” and most certainly their biggest hit, “Blind and Frozen.”

In 2019, BEAST IN BLACK filled Helsinki’s Ice Hall for the first time (coincidentally the last show before the pandemic in Helsinki), with the biggest production the band ever had. Shows like the one at Tavastia show a different, albeit more intimate side of the band – a smaller crowd, more minimal production, closer to their audience. While shows with high production value are always great, I would argue that a band like BEAST IN BLACK doesn’t necessarily need huge productions to make their audience satisfied. The Beast is back and thirsty for shows, so better beware, even a sauna doesn’t heat up that fast!

Photos by Laureline Tilkin

Setlist

  1. Blade Runner (Live debut)
  2. Bella Donna (Live debut)
  3. From Hell With Love
  4. Beast in Black
  5. Broken Survivors (Live debut)
  6. Die by the Blade
  7. Hell for All Eternity (Live debut)
  8. Highway to Mars(Live debut)
  9. Hardcore (Live debut)
  10. Revengeance Machine (Live debut)
  11. My Dystopia (Live debut)
  12. Unlimited Sin
  13. Cry Out for a Hero
  14. Born Again
  15. No Surrender
  16. One Night in Tokyo (Live debut)
  17. Moonlight Rendezvous (Live debut)
  18. Blind and Frozen
  19. End of the World