In 2021, progressive metal act SOEN released their latest album, “Imperial,” one of our many favorite releases of the year, so fortunately for us, Raven Management managed to bring the progressive metal band back to Finland. After having their show postponed a few times, they finally settled for May 9th, 2022, at Tavastia. Locally renowned heavy metal act OCEANHOARSE already went on tour with the band earlier on, so it was a logical choice to bring them in to warm up the crowd.
Usually, I try to arrive at least 30 minutes before the start of the opening bands at Tavastia, since there sometimes can be a queue, but on this night I didn’t have any issues with queueing whatsoever a few minutes before the show. I was somehow worried that there wouldn’t be a lot of people coming to see heavy metal act OCEANHOARSE, but the turnout for their show was actually quite nice. Speaking of OCEANHOARSE… What can we say? We pretty much have been following these guys from the moment we saw their first live show, opening up for BEAST IN BLACK in Helsinki back in 2018. If you happen to stay up-to-date about the happenings in the Finnish metal scene, you probably have heard about the backing track drama of SANTA CRUZ, pointed out by Eddie Trunk. In case you were wondering if all bands use backing tracks, well… no! OCEANHOARSE don’t need it – they play 100% pure metal and have been doing so for many years now. While we haven’t had the opportunity during the pandemic to see this band play a live show, it was an absolute blessing to see their stage dynamics again. Singer Joonas Kosonen looked at least very excited about being back on stage, we surely missed bass player Jyri Helko‘s windmilling his long dreadlocks. As the band recently released their debut studio record, they naturally played a lot of songs off that album, as well as some older classics. Towards the end of the show, their trusted mascot, the Oceanhoarse itself, popped up on stage to rock out with them and thus, they successfully warmed up the audience.
Then it was time for SOEN to take over the stage and while they eventually started playing the first song of the night, “Monarch,” 10 minutes later than scheduled, the delay soon was forgiven by the fact that this band has the power to put you in a trance with their music. Whether it is the complex rhythms of legendary drummer Martín López or the warm vocals by Joel Ekelöf, there’s something for everyone in these songs to immerse themselves in. The minimal stage production and very few speeches in between made it an excellent opportunity for fans to just focus on the many wonderful SOEN tracks that were played that night; with a setlist of fifteen songs, I’m sure the audience left the venue satisfied. The band played a show that was heavily oriented towards the newer material, mainly from “Imperial” and “Lotus,” though a few songs from “Lykaia” and “Cognitive” were also included. This selection of songs worked quite well and overall, there was a nice flow in the setlist, going from very dynamic songs to more soothing, relaxing, and mellow tunes. My personal favorite moment was hearing “Antagonist” live for the first time, a song from the latest album that has been in my Spotify rotation for quite some time. It at least seemed that many fans agreed, as there were a lot of excited people jumping up and down or simply grabbing their phones to film a piece of the song. The band ended with the title track off their previous album, “Lotus,” a song that works truly well as a closer. While the venue wasn’t sold out, I’m pretty sure that it was very close to it!