SWALLOW THE SUN w/ INSOMNIUM – Tavastia, Helsinki, 20.11.2009

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Swallow the Sun has been on the rise of late, building up some fame outside of their native Finland with each album. With the very recent release of New Moon on November 4th of this year, it seemed only right that Musicalypse be there to check out the show – especially since they had Insomnium as their warm-up act!

 

StS are a new band for me. Some friends back in Canada who are big into doom metal are into them and passed on their music to me. I’ve been meaning to check them out for a while now, but my last opportunity to see them was as an opener for some other band I didn’t know and didn’t quite seem worth it. As such, this was a great chance to try them out, especially paired with Insomnium, whom I’ve already seen twice this fall.

Insomnium @ Finlandia-klubi, 23.10.2009
Insomnium @ Finlandia-klubi, 23.10.2009

I was unfortunately a bit late on arrival, with Insomnium’s set having already begun when I made it to Tavastia. One nice thing about this venue, however, is that it’s never too tough to walk right up to the front of the stage. These guys are quickly becoming one of my favorite melodic death metal bands. Unfortunately, unlike during their own tour for Across the Dark (of which this show may have still been a part), Jules Naveri was not singing the clean vocals. Instead, one of the guitarists was singing his parts. I can’t say that he was doing a particularly good job of it either – he sounded like he lacked confidence. In spite of this, Insomnium still performed expertly and it was a delight to see them for the third time this year!

The ladies in the front row left after Insomnium’s set, for whatever reason, leaving me in the front row for StS. I didn’t really know what to expect from this show because I’ve never quite been sold on doom metal and had no idea what a doom metal show would be like on stage. I was pleasantly surprised.

2009-11-20-swallow-the-sun-sts-tavastia-5For starters, I had expected a really boring show. I had expected the whole thing to be rather dreary. I was shocked to see that not only was the band really into the music, but they were also active on stage. In front of me was Juha Raivio (guitar) and Aleksi Munter (keyboards), and they were both doing their utmost to impress me personally – Raivio has a lot of style and Munter looks a bit like he is angrily destroying his keyboard at all times. Singer Mikko Kotamäki mostly just passionately clutched his mic and growled his powerful growl – what a great voice. Kai Hahto (Wintersun) is currently on drum duty with these guys and there’s no question that he knows his way around the kit.

The music itself wasn’t bad either. They playing was really clean and concise. The sound was great for the most part, though the vocals were a bit too quiet. Aleah Stanbridge, a talented local vocalist, also made a guest appearance on “Lights on the Lake (Horror pt. III)”, which was haunting to say the least. Again though, her vocals were turned down a bit too much and it was tough to hear her. The song itself was 50% nice and 50% thrashy, so while I enjoyed Stanbridge’s contribution, I was a bit on the fence about it as a whole.

2009-11-20-swallow-the-sun-sts-tavastia-9The overall set was quite good – they didn’t play anything too long/dull, and played a few of the songs that I am familiar with, such as “Don’t Fall Asleep.” However, most of the material was, naturally, off the new album, which I have yet to listen to. Overall, I did enjoy the show and would probably go again, though I think it would help to familiarize myself with their music a bit more first.

Setlist:
1. These Woods Breathe Evil
2. Falling World
3. Out of this Gloomy Light
4. Plague of Butterflies (shortened version)
5. Lights on the Lake (Horror pt. III) ft. Aleah Stanbridge
6. Don’t Fall Asleep (Horror pt. II)
7. Servant of Sorrow
8. New Moon

Encore:
9. The Giant
10. Swallow (Horror pt. I)

Photos: Amy Wiseman

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