GALLERY: 18.2.2023 Sapata, Orbiter, & Mansion @ Lepakkomies, Helsinki

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What better way to spend your Saturday than going to a doom gig? MANSION have been making splashes in the scene ever since they came out with their first releases – now a decade ago – and after a well-acclaimed debut (“First Death of the Lutheran,” 2018) were now ready to come back with the aptly named “Second Death,” for which February 18th, 2023, was the release gig.

With someone even flying in from Norway only for this purpose, Lepakkomies quickly filled-in with a proper crowd, although it never really felt too packed, perhaps also because the genre brings in a far more quiet kind of fanbase. Also having two records on their shoulders, Tampere-based SAPATA opened the night with their groovy heavy/doom and an enjoyable performance, from the vocals of singer Saara Šamane, to the melodies created by the rest of the band, which seemed to have something quite nice going on, rooted in old school doomy tunes with their personal twist.

Local ensemble ORBITER was next, with their more stoner-oriented imprint (while not to be confused with the Norwegian band of the same name), and began the show with a cloud of smoke in the background, while their vocalist – at least initially – was covered in a dark cloak. The atmosphere was, of course, quite different, but the audience still carefully followed the show with a certain interest, with the frontwoman often thanking them in between. There was also room for a little preview of their upcoming debut full-length, before passing the baton to the main act.

For those who are not familiar with MANSION, the whole concept of the band revolves around the religious theme of the Kartanoist cult (a small yet quite extreme Christian cult which took root in Finland shortly after the country’s independence). The idea is quite fascinating, really, and has been brilliantly executed in the lyrics and music composed by the Turku-based band. The show started with Mother Alma (leader and preacher) patiently waiting in front of the stage among the audience, while her fellow bandmates introduced the audience to their masterfully crafted gloomy doom heavy/rock tunes, with focus of course on the “Second Death” of the Lutheran. The singer, often holding on to her sacred book, was on fire (not in the literal sense, of course), dispensing judgment left, right, and center on all the sinners and faithful flock of devotees witnessing the show. The rest of the band carefully laid the atmosphere for her preaching.

It’s hard not to be taken by the haunting sounds and grave tone of these songs of doom, or at the very least feel some intrigue towards a band that has made a name for themselves with a very niche subject, combined with some excellent quality music. MANSION did not disappoint; if anything, they always gave the impression that it was well-worth coming to their show, and the same can be said of this night. We look forward to the next ritual!

SAPATA

ORBITER

MANSION