9.4.2022 Brymir, Kaunis Kuolematon, & I Revolt @ On the Rocks, Helsinki

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The chance to step out of my comfort zone when it comes to getting to know new music is something of great value. If we are talking about a live event, it is even more exciting, since the live setting adds many important elements to the overall perception of something new, as a whole. BRYMIR is a symphonic melodeath/pagan metal band whom I had never had the curiosity to listen to, as at a first glance they were not exactly my cup of tea. Well, I was wrong, and I kind of feel like I owe the band some sort of an apology. They played at On the Rocks in Helsinki, on April 9th, 2022, and, making a long story short, it was a blast, but first things first…

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Two more bands were playing on that very same night: I REVOLT, a 5-piece metalcore act founded in Kerava in 2016, and KAUNIS KUOLEMATON, a melodic doom/death metal band whose name should be quite familiar to our readers, at this point: we had the chance to provide evidence of their long-postponed and long-awaited release party, in late November 2021.

I REVOLT took the stage around 19:30, as scheduled. One thing that was pretty clear from the very beginning was the amount of energy they were able to show while playing, and the reaction of the audience was something I have rarely witnessed during an opening act: the band’s ability to involve the people off stage was stunning. The band’s overall sound is clearly and massively inspired by American acts, such as PANTERA and LAMB OF GOD, but they managed to put some personality in their music, giving a nice blend of aggressiveness and melody as a result. They could totally be mistaken for an American band though, considering their attitude on stage and the frequent and quite explicit interactions with the audience. Just to be clear: it is absolutely a point in their favor. The setlist consisted of nine songs and we noticed that the audience started moshing at some point: that’s a pretty clear sign that the band were putting on a good show.

The second opening band was KAUNIS KUOLEMATON, an act I have seen play many times now, but I have to say that it is always a pleasure to attend their gigs. The band has a close and meaningful bond with the audience, maybe also because of the lyrical themes, something many people end up relating with: loneliness, a sense of loss, and the uncountable shades of melancholy… in a very peculiar Finnish way. It almost felt like they were the headliners based on the deep engagement with the people off stage: a group of guys in the front row were hugging each other, many were singing along as if the band was playing a national anthem, and the sense of unity was almost touchable. As already stated, we can say that there are two full-fledged singers in the band, whose stylistic features are as different as they are complementary: Olli Suvanto’s singing style is quite extreme, both with growling and screaming, and Mikko Heikkilä’s is more clean-oriented, very intense and solemn, as it should be. Their setlist included old and new songs, with an extra tune as an appreciated surprise, which the audience reacted to with joy.

BRYMIR took the stage a little bit later than scheduled, so we were visibly impatient to see the gig started. We felt like the band was impatient, too: after 2 years of almost no live gigs at all, it is more than understandable. The set started with a very epic track, which happens to be the first one on the band’s most recent release: “Gloria in Regum,” in my opinion the perfect song to start with, due to its blend of orchestral elements and pure, energetic metal vibes. The audience reacted accordingly, as if we were waiting for this to happen for a long time. The way the band members managed to balance a very professional attitude with an easy-going way of being, with no intention to hide how much fun they were having, was absolutely heartwarming: this is what live music should be. Their ability to blend extreme metal elements with a more symphonic/epic/power metal -oriented overall structure is what makes them so unique; some melodeath twists here and there make their sound complex and approachable at the same time. This balance was present in the live performance as well, as much as in the setlist, which included songs taken from all of their three albums, plus a new song the audience had a very positive and enthusiastic response to. A clear statement against the war that is currently going on in the Ukraine made the atmosphere even more epic: we are in this together and music is a great tool to talk about very important topics. It was also fun to see the band play a couple of snippets from two super classic tunes, such as “Crazy Train” and “Paranoid”: it truly felt like a party!

All-in-all, it was a very nice gig. These three extremely different bands did prove how a live show can be emotional, engaging, and entertaining at the same time, beyond the music genre.

Written by Licia Mapelli
Photos by Laureline Tilkin

Setlist

  1. Gloria in Regum
  2. Ride On, Spirit!
  3. Sphere of Halcyon
  4. Unconquerable
  5. Starportal
  6. Slayer Of Gods
  7. Lament of the Ravenous
  8. Chasing the Skyline
  9. Untitled (new song)
  10. Wings of Fire
  11. For Those Who Died
  12. Ragnarök