Status Minor is a great young melodic power metal band from Finland, with their debut album, Dialog (2009), getting a lot of positive reviews. With shows being few and far between, with many of these guys playing in other bands, we thought we should stop by Dante’s Highlight on April 10th, 2010, to check them out.
Dante’s Highlight has always been extremely problematic with sound. The house sound tech was, from what I had heard, giving the band a lot of grief that night, tweaking the settings after the sound-check and not letting the band’s sound crew do their job. Why the bee in my bonnet this time? Well, aside from being really sick of the bad sound in that place, on this night, there was no place to stand in the entire venue that sounded clear. If you were far enough back, your ears stopped bleeding but you could only hear the drums and bass. If you walked up to the front you’d hear the vocals and keyboard. There wasn’t a single place where the guitars could be heard, unless Sami Saarinen was the only one playing. This was a true shame because the music was really quite good, but it was impossible to enjoy.
That said, none of those issues were the fault of the band (unless you count not kicking the sound tech’s ass after the show). Status Minor is a pretty new band to me, so I don’t know any of the songs by name, but their material is really solid. They have a bit of a Symphony X vibe, but they lack the neoclassical cheesiness of those big symphonic power metal bands. They’ve got the good riffs and fun lyrics without being too much. As well, Markku Kuikka is a pretty good performer with a great power metal voice, and Jukka Karinen is one of the most active and passionate keyboardists I’ve seen. Kuikka had also been sick, so all things considered, he was doing a great job. Saarinen is a great guitarist as well, shredding away like nothing, and Rolf Pilve on drums is top notch.
Ultimately, I would have really enjoyed this show if the sound hadn’t been so abysmal. Really, every show I’ve seen at DH has had a similar effect on me – the music is just way too loud and horribly mixed. Maybe it’s time to hire someone new? Regardless, I hope to catch these guys again sometime, but I won’t return to see them at DH. I’d really like to see them where they can be appreciated properly, as they deserve it.