For the first time in their career, BATTLE BEAST would conquer the stage of the legendary Jäähalli, after years and years of sold-out shows. The band brought good company with them and treated us with a blend of different styles of metal, but all with the same dynamics: the NWOBHM-fueled TYRANTTI, symphonic power metal act ARION, and melodic metal juggernauts CYHRA.
I made it to the arena well on time to, for the first time, witness TYRANTTI play their heavy metal tunes. This has been something that has been on my to-do list for quite some time now, ever since I got to know the band through their singles, and eventually their successful debut album. As I had anticipated the trio delivered a super energetic set. It amazed me how part of their audience, was old enough to have witnessed the first wave of NWOBHM-bands, and it seemed like they were wandering down memory lane. A lot of people cheered joyfully as the band played us more and more songs. The band played seven tracks from their debut album, and it is clear to me how these songs are meant to be played live. The guitars, vocals, drums... If you don't believe in the possibility of the existence of a time machine, I swear that I almost felt thrown back straight to the eighties. Luckily some mobile phones raised up in the air to capture the guys play their tracks put things back into perspective. A great opener altogether!
ARION recently released their sophomore album "Life Is Not Beautiful", an album that also scored really well in our end of the year lists. The band has now secured an opening slot for BATTLE BEAST and will extensively tour through out Europe in the coming months. I have seen the quintet play their symphonic power metal now on many festivals and caught them on a couple of occasions whenever they have had a gig in Helsinki within the last year, and it never ceases to surprise me how professional and great musicians these guys are. Having changed their setlist slightly, the band equally divided the setlist between new and old material, leaving out their longest track, instead choosing for energetic songs that would definitely ensure for a dynamic evening. I have seen ARION play on both small and big stages, but the more I see them the more it becomes clear these guys are meant to conquer the biggest stages of Europe, and hopefully this tour will give them the opportunity to do so!
Melodic metal act CYHRA was next up to perform, again missing in the band's lineup was former IN FLAMES member Jesper Strömblad, and this time also drummer Alex Landenburg, as the latter is currently touring the world with KAMELOT. CYHRA found their replacement in ENGEL-guitarist Marcus Sunesson and on drums Adde Larson. The change didn't bother the band that much as they smoothly performed the songs from their debut album "Letters To Myself" together with a pinch of humor. Tons of 'Suomi Finland Perkele' later the band admitted that they love going back to Finland, as its their second home, and the audience clearly appreciates this compliment. A part of me had hoped the band maybe had prepared a little surprise for the audience in form of a new song, since the four-piece have an new album coming out in the near future, but unfortunately no previews of what's to come were given. Nonetheless it was a great show, with a lot of energy. Even though the band has previously described some of their songs as "party poopers" live, the audience clearly didn't share the same opinion, as a party erupted in the audience behind my back.
Before I knew it, it was finally time for BATTLE BEAST. As the crew was building up the stage, I could immediately see what we were in for tonight. The stage had never looked this beautiful before during their shows, pyros prevented me from taking photographs in the photo pit, all-in-all it all looked very impressive. The band started out with the opening track "Unbroken" of their new album "No More Hollywood Endings". As I had expected, it being one of my favourite tracks on the album, it was a very energetic track, and made a very impressive start for the band. "Familiar Hell" and "Straight To The Heart" soon followed, after which we were treated with the live debut of "Unfairy Tales". I'm still not utterly convinced by that song in general, so I was looking forward to the rest of the set. Even though the album left me a little bit with mixed feelings, I do have to admit that a lot of the songs that I initially didn't like that much, were much more convincing in a live setting and altogether great and catchy songs. After a calm beginning, the band suddenly changed the tempo of the show with "Raise Your Fists" and "The Golden Horde". These tracks were my personal favourites on the album, and damn... I can't even begin to describe how amazing these sounded live. The energy, the massive sound, the act of the band. Hell yeah! These songs alone are worth to witness live. The band trusted again on the energy of a couple of their older songs, and then followed with "The Hero", which they also had prepared a cool little act for. The surprise of the evening came after "Eden", when the lights went out and introduced the dramatic appearance of a couple of dancers on stage. A mix of guys and girls, who performed a very dramatic dance on "No More Hollywood Endings" together with vocalist Noora Louhimo. This was totally unexpected, and a highlight of the show altogether, which definitely gave me goosebumps. In trance, I watched the song end and think by myself, wow this show is so well thought-out. "King For A Day" and "Beyond The Burning Skies" delivered definitely a Hollywood ending to the show. Jäähalli, living up to its name, is a notoriously ice cold venue, but BATTLE BEAST has taken care of that and radiates sweltering heat that doesn't discourage the sea of mesmerised followers from some spirited headbanging, and jumping to the beats. Impressive to me was that everything in this show was very well planned, from the the band playing their tunes, to the spectacle around us, to their matching outfits, even drummer Pyry Vikki had changed his normal leggings for a slightly more updated version that fitted together with the rest of the band. Even though the new album has raised a lot of discussion among the fans, it's undeniable that these songs are meant to be played live, they sound amazing, and they definitely prove that BATTLE BEAST is on the right path. Be sure to catch the band while they're touring through Europe, you won't regret!
Setlist TyranttiTyranttiKarkuriToteemiKonesydänKobraRikotaan ÄänivalliTulipyörä
Setlist ArionNo One Stands in My WayI Am the StormPunish YouSevenLostUnforgivableAt the Break of Dawn
Setlist CyhraDead to MeLetter to MyselfMuted LifeHeartrageDark ClarityInside a LullabyDrum soloBlack WingsClosureHere to Save YouKarma
SetlistBattle BeastUnbroken(Live debut)Familiar HellStraight to the HeartUnfairy Tales(Live debut)Black NinjaEndless Summer(Live debut)I Wish(Live debut)Raise Your Fists(Live debut)The Golden Horde(Live debut)Out of ControlTouch in the NightBastard Son of OdinThe Hero(Live debut)EdenNo More Hollywood EndingsKing for a DayBeyond the Burning Skies