DIABLO w/ KYPCK – Tavastia, Helsinki, 18.02.2017 (English)

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If Diablo was a person, it could finally enter a liquor store and buy booze without a fake ID – the nowadays Tampere-based band turns 20 years old this year. One could have attended a sort of double anniversary party at Tavastia last Friday, since the warm-up act, KYPCK – the most Russian band in all of Finland – also turns 10. Having maintained a solid radio silence for the first half of the decade, Diablo released their latest record, Silvër Horizon, in the fall of 2015, receiving praise from fans and media alike, but despite the good reviews, for some reason I managed to bring myself to listen through the album only a few times. I still decided to attend the show that came through Tavastia on February 18th, 2017, as at last summer’s festivals, the new tracks worked live just as well as the older (one could almost say) classics.

 

Because of Saturday disco – Tavastia’s every-Saturday teenager-hell concept – the doors opened as early as 19:00. As I arrived at the venue 15 minutes later, there was a nice bunch of people smoking cigarettes outside, and the ticket queue spanned almost to the front door. A pleasant surprise presented itself at the bar, as Diablo’s own Corium Black stout was priced at 6€, instantly heightening Tavastia’s price-to-quality ratio considerably. The actual band space was still pretty empty, but once KYPCK began their set with “Ya Svoboden”, the opening track of their latest album, Zero, the hall filled up pretty quickly.

After the second track, “Stalingrad”, vocalist Erkki Seppänen did a quick catch-up of the band’s recent doings, receiving a hefty applause on the fact that KYPCK is already 10 years old. The set continued with “Progulka po Neve” and “2017”, nodding towards the 100 years ‘older’ song of the debut album, Cherno. As I was listening to Inema na Stene’s title track, I couldn’t help but wonder about how consistently strong the band’s songs have always been. KYPCK has toured Russia on several occasions and after “Russofob”, Seppänen announced that the band will embark on a Russian tour later in the spring. They’ve always returned so far, hopefully this time will be no different! If I compared the set, ending with “Alleya Stalina”, to the previous KYPCK show I’ve seen – also in Tavastia – very few things have changed, but why fix something that’s not broken? The little-less-than-hour-long show went by before I even noticed.

I’ve always liked KYPCK; the band’s concept is simply brilliant. If Seppänen didn’t do his speeches in Finnish, one would totally mistake him as Russian, that’s how fluent his pronunciation is. Sami Lopakka’s and Sami Kukkohovi’s impact in Sentenced (RIP) cannot be undermined, but personally I’ve always preferred KYPCK’s leaden doom metal over Sentenced’s angsty rock. The band’s visual appearance is also thought-through; why does a bass guitar even have four strings, if J.T. Ylä-Rautio does well with only one? Lopakka’s custom-built AK-47 guitar and A.K. Karihtala’s Tsar Bomba drum kit are always impressive to see live, and the cherry on top was the Soviet era pictures and videos projected on the band’s backdrop.

KYPCK’s set:
1. Ya Svoboden
2. Stalingrad
3. Progulka po Neve
4. 2017
5. Inema na Stene
6. Chernaya Dyra
7. Russofob
8. Alleya Stalina

 

At 20:30, Tavastia’s stage lit up again as the dark blue lights were turned on, and Diablo’s grin-inducing intro tape began playing. Expressing the visual appearance of their latest album, the members Rainer Nygård [vocals, guitar], Aadolf Virtanen [bass], Marko Utriainen [guitar], and Heikki Malmberg [drums] climbed on stage wearing identical worker shirts and began their set with the album’s opening track, “The Call”, and from Nygård’s first “Hiiop!” scream onwards, the audience was fully committed to the show. Things continued on with “Isolation” and “The Serpent Holder”, and considering the band’s outfits, things started to incline towards playing the album from start to finish. This eventually happened, as all ten of Silvër Horizon’s tracks were played back-to-back, with only the album’s ambient interludes in between. A pretty bold move to pull off at an anniversary show, I thought, but the concept turned out to be excellent – since Silvër Horizon is a concept album, the story was conveyed to its full extent, and at some point I suddenly became aware of the amount of kick-ass choruses; the chorus in “The Serpent Holder” is insane! After the album’s closer, “Voyage to Eternity”, the band suddenly left the stage, and a midtro tape, spoken in Finnish and Russian, announced a 10-minute intermission. Quite something at a venue of this size!

The second half of the show started out with a bang, as Diablo played Mimic47’s closing track, ”D.O.A” – I doubt that the song has been played too many times since the album’s release tour. After the song, the show had finally progressed to one of its most essential elements: Nygård’s shamelessly Finnish speeches. It turned out that there was a bunch of first-timers in the audience, so it seemed only appropriate to play “The Preacher”, since that’s what Diablo’s known for, at least according to Nygård. You can probably guess that he had to shout “PERKELE!” at all in the beginning. The set seemed to be full of more peculiar choices, since the band threw in their legendary ABBA cover of ”Dancing Queen” before playing ”Read My Scars.” I took a trip to the bar during “Resign From Life”, but I almost left my Visa to the card machine as I had to hurry back to the audience afterwards – the guys decided to play ”Crystal Mountain” by the legendary Death, and boy, did they do a fantastic job!

The fans of the old Diablo were spoiled with “Icon of Flesh” from the Renaissance album, after which the set seemed to near its end. The band concluded their set on a high note with “Icaros” and “Into the Sea” – I haven’t heard the latter since the Icaros album’s release tour in 2008. A truly great song! The band asked people to pose for a group photo, after which a good deal of people with some shit-eating grins started to make their way towards the coatroom. In that moment, the second half of the show seemed awfully short, but afterwards I realized that it was only one song shorter than all of Silvër Horizon.

 

Although I can’t say that I’ve ever listened to Diablo at home or attended many of their shows, I cannot deny their significance in the Finnish metal scene, and I know people who place the band as high as first place in their domestic ranking. Diablo manages to entertain thoroughly every time, and as a drumming enthusiast I cannot help but emphasize Heikki Malmberg’s role behind the kit. The man is undoubtedly one of the best drummers in Finland, and he’s clearly grasped something very essential on constructing a drum set; one simply cannot have too many chinas – I think I counted ten. The sounds were brilliant, not to mention the lights. I decided to attend the show on a whim, but afterwards I’ve found myself already waiting for the next shows. Thank you, Diablo!

Diablo’s set:
1. The Call
2. Isolation
3. The Serpent Holder
4. Into the Void
5. Illuminati
6. Prince of the Machine
7. Silver Horizon
8. Savage
9. Corium Black
10. Voyage to Eternity)
Intermission
11. D.O.A
12. The Preacher
13. Dancing Queen (ABBA cover)
14. Read My Scars
15. Resign From Life
16. Crystal Mountain (Death cover)
17. Icon of Flesh
18. Icaros
19. Into the Sea

Photos: Janne Puronen

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