The Wind of Orion arrives - Reverend Kriss Hades Live Report

People are lazy, especially those living in the Finnish capital where they usually get served all sorts of concerts and events on a silver platter within the range of a few kilometers. But since PRKL Club closed earlier this year there is a gaping hole where Helsinki’s extreme metal club night heart used to (blast) beat. But at the far borders of the city, already officially located in the suburb of Vantaa, Bar Jemma started an attempt of relieving us from the most acute pain with occasional metal nights.

So far, my Helsinkian spoiledness had kept me from travelling out to this far away place (I mean come on, two busses and 40 minutes….) but when Finnish metal institution Immu opened the gates for the wind of Orion to arrive on Friday, September 30 , I had to get my lazy ass to Vantaa. The stars and the black moon aligned - a full fledged metal club night was on offer: Finnish Black Metallers Perdition Winds and Kuilu, Satanic Torment from Lahti (so, technically also from Finland), Edasi offered up a psychedelic Estonian Black/Noise mix, an ode by Death Mantra, and of course the main course: Reverend Kriss Hades from Australia, his only performance in Finland, following the exhibition at Mörkaste Småland in Sweden a week before.

The road was long and, the biggest challenge was getting off at the right stop in the unknown lands of the Helsinki outskirts but I managed and got to Bar Jemma in time to catch the last few tunes of Perdition Winds. Immediately, there was a feeling of returning home even though I had never been to that bar before. The familiar faces and atmosphere were like a black, metallic embrace, reminding me of the evenings that Helsinki is missing at the moment. If that means going to Vantaa in future, so be it - support your local gig organizers!

Perdition Winds were also a welcome, familiar sound even if it was just for a few brief moments. And then there of course was the important task of getting the first beer of this Friday night. It was great to see that quite a few people had also made it to Vantaa for this evening. The bar was quite nice, lots of opportunities to sit down, catch up with friends, drink your beer on one side, the stage to the other, a bit awkwardly framed by a pool table and the light from the toilet corner. But the overall light setting of the night was 'off', the stage kept mostly in the dark.

Kuilu (Photo by Marco Manzi)

This let Kuilu’s chalk white faces shine through the fog even more eerily, as I discovered once I got up to watch them, having been lured in after the first song. Their music was raw, enticing but with an underlying groove, the appearance kept simple. Plain black clothes and white faces was the image that presented itself when the fog lifted occasionally throughout their set. At the beginning most people appeared to still be in the mood for hanging out and chatting with friends, but it seemed I wasn’t the only one that was lured towards the stage after Kuilu had played a few songs. Definitely a band I will check out again should the opportunity arise.

Kuilu (Photo by Marco Manzi)

Next up was Death Mantra, described on the gig flyer as ‘Ritualistic minimalism and nihilism as an ode to a dying world’. Well, that’s promising a mouth full, and I was curious to attend this ode, and so were most of the people present. One black clad figure was on stage, its back turned to the audience, crouching, hovering before the musical altar. From there a hypnotizing, pulsating wave emerged, otherworldly voices arising from the circle drawn. From the bloody guts up to the stars.

Death Mantra (Photo by Marco Manzi)

The amount of members per band slowly grew again with the Estonian duo Edasi whose music was quite special which is to be expected from a psychedelic black noise duo. I can see it work very well, but I just was not in the right mood for this on that evening. I remember them as interesting and special, challenging and as something that made me listen up and concentrate, wondering what exactly I am hearing and where this is going to go. I was reminded of contemporary classical music at times, of rivulets flowing, separating, uniting, running over stones, carrying branches, leaves and even some otherworldly creatures along with them, passing through darker mountains and groves only to reemerge sparkling in the sun again. Definitely no easy listening for a Friday evening gig.

Edasi (Photo by Marco Manzi)

For the next band, Immu aka Imperator changed from his organizer role to the drum stool. Satanic Torment changed the mood from Edasi’s planetary experiments to raw guttural black metal within seconds and people let themselves be guided towards weekend mood, helped along by the one or other beer.

Satanic Torment (Photos by Marco Manzi)

Then it was time for the awaited Reverend, the crowd had gathered to be swept away by the winds of Orion. A silhouette in cape and hood with a monster guitar emerged only barely visible in the blackness of the stage night.

Reverend Kriss Hades (Photo by Marco Manzi)

The harsh soundscape swept over Bar Jemma, one layer being pulled away just to reveal another multi-headed musical hydra beneath. Layers upon layers also with the Reverend, who revealed only more blackness under hood and cape.

Reverend Kriss Hades (Photo by Marco Manzi)

Deconstruction, destruction and reconstruction of not only music but also guitars. The sounds of the monster guitar being smashed by an ax delivering the marching rhythm towards the abyss, darkness penetrated only by even darker sound. The Reverend presenting the guitar carcass above his head, an offering to the gods.

Reverend Kriss Hades (Photo by Marco Manzi)

La guitare est morte, vive la guitar. What is this, doesn’t matter, just experience. The thuds continue, a metronome of destruction. From ax to hammer to machete. From cape to hood, spike top hat to finally a face revealed.

Reverend Kriss Hades (Photo by Marco Manzi)

Reverend Kriss Hades (Photo by Marco Manzi)

Check out the full photo gallery by Marco Manzi here.

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