It has been a while since Death took over Helsinki at the end of October 2016 but the memories of this Metalihelvetti festival are still as dark, intense, brutal and metal as they should be after such a weekend. The event had been moved from Turku to Nosturi in Helsinki as the situation of Gong, the Turku venue, was uncertain in spring 2016. This made travelling, if you can call a 10-minute tram ride that, to the festival all the more convenient.
Friday kicked off with Gorephilia from whom I just managed to hear parts of the last song which sounded slow and good. There weren’t that many people yet, but when Lie In Ruins took to the stage next, the atmosphere was good nonetheless. The band drove the audience into weekend mood with their sound blasting off stage - from nodding your head to the slow intense parts, to the pulsating rhythm to head banging and arms in the air during the tight sound brick wall parts. A casual announcement of the next song being Venomous Tounges turned into getting your teeth kicked in right from the start of said song. Just what I needed to get into the spirit of death.
Lie In Ruins (Photo by Marco Manzi)
More people arrived slowly in time for Pyre from Russia, who delivered straight death metal that went directly to the core of things. New songs were greeted with shouts, and the band didn’t allow the crowd to catch their breath once. A good death metal gig like that is just something of the best, to be swept away by the grueling slow parts that explode into riff chaos. The drinks were flowing and being spilled, as the already very sticky floor attested to, and by the last song Under the Death Reign it seems that the audience had finally crossed Styx and welcomed Kuolema for the weekend.
Pyre (Photo by Marco Manzi)
Mörbid Vomit and parts of the audience started the set with head banging, and if you didn’t want to go that far it was still impossible to keep your head from moving at least a little bit to those riffs walls that were being broken up by more melodic guitar parts. The crowd really seemed to enjoy the performance and cheered along with the show, getting the festival atmosphere going.
Mörbid Vomit (Photo by Marco Manzi)
Last Finnish act of the night were legendary Torture Killer and not surprisingly, Nosturi got more packed. A power package with glorious death metal vocals steam rolled the crowd – this band never disappoints. Torture Killer is a beast, and the audience was only too happy to be ripped into shreds by them. Pessi Haltsonen’s vocals are really something, they seem to channel all kinds of demons down in Hades, lending a vessel to their voices which makes you feel the voice is coming from the (demon) inside of yourself while also roaring over you from the stage.
Torture Killer (Photo by Marco Manzi)
The headliners of the night were Angelcorpse who were playing their first ever show in Finland, something many had awaited for a long time. Though it seemed not as many as had wanted to see Torture Killer - the crowd thinned out quite a bit but those that remained started headbanging as songs like Phalleluja rained down on them. It wasn’t my thing though, so it was time to head home to get some rest before the second day.
Angelcorpse (Photo by Marco Manzi)
Saturday started with Sadistik Forest. Again, there weren’t that many people yet, but the band sounded good and seemed to enjoy playing a lot. Their energy was infectious which was just what I needed to wake up to the evening and to avoid getting hit by one of the T-Shirts the band was throwing off stage as give aways to the crowd. Their set was relentless, and exactly the thing to get the second evening going.
Sadistik Forest (Photo by Marco Manzi)
With Krypts the night took on a darker vibe, synchronized headbanging bathed in frosty blue and green lights. They created an underworldly atmosphere and took intensity to a whole other level. The restricted power of the dark sound slowly pressuring forward took on a hypnotic quality that no one could seem to escape. One of the festival’s highlights.
Krypts (Photo by Marco Manzi)
With Wombbath from Sweden the style changed quite abruptly. One of the hairiest bands of the festival so far, the mood changed from somber intensity to drunk talk and beers being thrown out over the audience. The band was enthusiastic, but it didn’t really translate into the gig for me. Parts of the audience were still enjoying it though, but others chose to go for a beer in their hand, not on their heads at the downstairs bar. I kept thinking that this could be so good live, but it somehow just wasn’t.
Wombbath (Photo by Marco Manzi)
Sotajumala were next and as usual, the Finns loved their local heroes. The show was energetic and Mynni was in full death metal mode, almost deep throating the mic at times. The audience immersed themselves into the performance completely, and moshing ensued to songs like Kuolemanmarssi, 815 and Sinä Et Ole Yhtään Mitään. Death and Satan! This was also one of the last Sotajumala shows as they announced the end of the band on New Year’s Eve 2016. There will be one final show with Torture Killer and Deathchain on Saturday, May 13 at Lutakko in Jyväskylä but seems tickets have already gone.
Sotajumala (Photo by Marco Manzi)
I wasn’t prepared for what happened next when Defeated Sanity from Germany took the stage. The band was already greeted by a cheering audience, and they just nailed it from the first second on. I didn’t know I had missed brutal death metal and pig squeals that much. Of course, it was only natural that the first moshpit of the weekend got started to this. The band whipped the audience from fast to slow and back. Singer Josh Welshman is a beast! In all this beautiful death metal mayhem, there was a couple standing in front of me, and I kept thinking to myself that there is nothing more romantic than two people in love with each other and metal, standing there, arms around each other, a moshpit roaring around them, listening to a guy on stage that sounded like a pig being slaughtered singing about death, torture, and mutilation. The gig ended to a chorus of “We want more” shouts.
Defeated Sanity (Photo by Marco Manzi)
The Swedes from Centinex were the band to end these two death metal days. Again, some people had left already which was too bad as despite some technical issues the band delivered a charismatic performance. They didn’t reinvent the metal wheel but the energy was good and Centinex played a death metal gig that was a suitable ending to a great festival.
Centinex (Photo by Marco Manzi)
Check out the full photo gallery by Marco Manzi here.