It has been years since we last covered a FINNTROLL show. YEARS! And that’s not a due to lack of effort on our behalf. While FINNTROLL keeps their music on the road every once in a while, their last album was released in 2013. Needless to say, the cravings were high when the gig was announced on October 4th, 2019, with FROSTTIDE opening (and RYTMIHÄIRIÖ to follow). Check out the full gallery here.
FROSTTIDE has been back in the scene with a vengeance lately, as we saw them earlier this year at On the Rocks and then again at Dark River Festival, and this was easily the best show of them all. The lighting was truly gorgeous (MAN, we’re going to miss Nosturi!), the sound quality was spectacular, and the band had tightened up their show until they sounded flawless. The show was sold out, so we were pleased to see that most the crowd had shown up in time to give these guys some well-earned and deserved love.
Juho Patinen (vocals, guitar) dedicated the day (which had been cold as hell and snowing on and off) to everyone who was complaining about the heat in the summer. My partner, who has been ghosting around gigs with recently, commented on the very Belzebubs vibe these guys have, which hadn’t occurred to me before but the “true kvlt” darkness is actually quite evident when you think about it. It’s so easy to get lost in their ambiance, feeling cold and dark and grim and powerful. Their set included new songs like “Tranquility” as well as older hits like “Blood Oath” and “Ruins of Defeat” before they finished up with “Revenant” and took a picture with the crowd. Really, can you find a more perfect opening band for FINNTROLL?
The band of the hour, FINNTROLL, was set to take the stage at 21:45 and a few minutes prior, the ambient swamp sounds of moving water and frogs began. Soft, possibly-shamanic instruments joined in and the curtain opened to green light on the backdrop. The band appeared with Vreth taking the stage last in full mock maestro diva form, and it only took about five notes for a moshpit to form and turn the floor into pure chaos.
They opened with “Människopesten” and continued into “Mordminnen.” Most of the attention in the set was dedicated to the more recent albums, like “Blodsvept” (2013) or “Nifelvind” (2010), but we did get treats like “Korpens Saga” and “Nedgång” from “Ur Jordens Djup” (2007) and the title track from “Nattfödd” (2004).
The band was lit up and alive on stage, roaring around like the trolls they are, yet playing as effortlessly as if they could do it in their sleep. Mörkö on drums is truly one of the Finnish greats and we wish FINNTROLL would play more often just so we’d have more chances to see him play. Vreth has a beastly voice and more power than anyone can comprehend considering how thin he is. Skrymer (guitar), Routa (guitar), and Tundra (bass) make ample use of the stage and all interact with one another, though admittedly, most of the occasions when we looked at Virta (keyboards), he was just playing it cool. As one of the female types in the crowd, as well as a veteran of FINNTROLL live shows, it was pretty entertaining to see the girls near the side ledge taken completely unaware by the enormity of the mosh pits, scrambling awkwardly to safety every few songs. For future reference, ladies… when FINNTROLL is sold out, you’d better prepare for a fucking big pit!
As the end of the set approached, the classics began to come out: “Solsagan” and “Trollhammaren” feel like live staples, and it was particularly fun to hear “Trollhammaren” again, as they had taken a break from playing it live some years ago. They continued towards the end with the fantastic “Jaktens Tid” and ended their set with the nonsensical party that is “Under Bergets Rot.” They too took their photo with the crowd before leaving the stage to an outro track.
I’ve been known to say that FINNTROLL doesn’t do bad gigs, and even after a long break seeing them live, this remains true. One of the best things about going to a FINNTROLL show is that you can do anything you want. Mosh? Easily. Conga line? Grab a couple people. Dance? Hell yeah. Enjoy the groove? Sure! Row pit? I’ve never seen one but I’d be surprised if that wouldn’t be easy enough to start. The only thing that’s not possible is to have a bad time. From the crowd chants to the batshit crazy moshpits, it’s a party from start to finish.
And one throw-out to the headliner of the night, RYTMIHÄIRIÖ! While we didn’t stick around, my partner did, and mentioned that the band was truly lit up and on fire, at full energy. They too had some pretty fantastic mosh pits! The whole nice was sweaty and full of life, and it seemed as though everyone was leaving the venue commenting on how sore they expected their necks to be the following day.
3. Skövlarens död
6. Ett norrskensdåd
11. Korpens saga
14. Jaktens tid
15. Under bergets rot
Written by Bear Wiseman
Photos by Janne Puronen