Finntroll

support Hatesphere + Profane Omen
author MST date 19/09/14 venue Voxhall, Århus, DEN

Without a doubt one of the most influential albums in modern folk metal, Finntroll's iconic "Nattfödd" celebrates its 10-year anniversary this year. Acknowledging the importance of said album, the Finnish folk metal group decided to tour Europe this year in honour of "Nattfödd", playing the album in its entirety. The show at Voxhall would be the very first of the tour which featured the Danish thrashers in Hatesphere and Finland's alternative groove metallers Profane Omen as supporting acts, making the line-up quite the mixture of genres. Partying is very much the name of the game for all of these bands, and with that in mind let's see how it all went down.

All photos by Christian Søes

Profane Omen

First up were Profane Omen, a Finnish band dabbling in a mixture of alternative, thrash and groove metal. The group recently released their fourth album, yet it didn't seem like I was the only one who had no prior knowledge of the band on this night. On stage however, the quartet immediately went all in as if there were hundreds of excited fans in front of them. There was headbanging and energy all around, and especially vocalist Jules Näveri made sure to do everything possible to get the crowd going, both during and between vocal lines. Näveri changed back and forth between the type of clean vocals you'd expect in alternative metal, some decent semi-screams and occasionally some absolutely terrible growled vocals. It all fit quite well together, yet it didn't take long before the band's music started to sound really uninspired. The band's songs are simple as befits the genre(s), but sadly also very ineffective in getting a party started in the crowd despite the band's efforts. Those efforts were great however, and the band never gave up on the stubborn Danish audience. Credit is given for an energetic performance, but the music simply wasn't there to back it up.

Hatesphere

From a band whose existence I wasn't aware of to a band I had seen countless times, it was time for the 'locals' in Hatesphere. I say 'locals' because the band was originally formed in Århus under the name Necrosis over 20 years ago - nowadays the majority of the band resides in Copenhagen, as the sole remaining original member is lead guitarist Peter 'Pepe' Lyse Hansen. Hatesphere have had numerous line-up changes, yet the band have always persisted. Still going strong from the release of 2013's "Murderlust", Hatesphere ascended the stage confidently in front of an eager crowd. Playing a varied setlist with songs from each of the band's eight records, Pepe and co. plowed through the set extremely well coordinated, so much so that it looked a bit like a routine gig at times. Vocalist Esben 'Esse' Hansen commanded the stage, yet his demeanor was too standard at times as well even with his excellent crowd control both during and between songs. There was little movement apart from Pepe's enthusiastic performance on the left hand side of the stage, but luckily the audience made sure there was always plenty of energy in the room. All in all, Hatesphere are what they are - a quality band that do little to surprise anyone, be they fans or critics. They are an experienced group, and you can always count on a quality performance from them. This time it was a bit too much of an actual performance though in the sense that it looked too rehearsed, too much of a routine. It was decent, but they're usually better than this.

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Finntroll

Finntroll

Finntroll are a band I will probably never tire of. They visited this very venue almost precisely a year ago to great success. Back then, the Finns were promoting their last full length album, "Blodsvept", one of many quality records released under their name. Finntroll have never really disappointed, yet I do tend to look back to their first three records when I listen to them these days. So, a tour celebrating "Nattfödd", their third and probably best album to date, by playing the album in its entirety? Don't mind if I do!

Opening with "Människopesten", Finntroll immediately started an enormous party in the crowd. There was moshing, dancing and singing along throughout most of the night, and nothing seemed to be able to stop it. Despite the tour being about the "Nattfödd" album, the band were clad in the outfits from the "Blodsvept" tour with especially vocalist Vreth's military jacket and custom-made microphone adding a steampunk vibe to the band's image. Vreth was exactly where he needed to be at all times, dancing around between vocal lines before returning to scream into the faces of those in the front row. You could tell that this was the first gig of the tour from the unbroken enthusiasm oozing from the entire band - Finntroll aren't generally an incredibly energetic band, but they're sufficiently vigourous so as to incite excitement in any interested person witnessing the ordeal.

After "Grottans Barn" had finished the "Nattfödd" album, we were treated to material from most of the band's remaining discography. As Vreth pointed out, this year also marks the 15th anniversary of the band's first album "Midnattens Widunder", and thus it was appropriate to air the fantastic "Svartberg", among other classics. Plenty of newer songs later, the trolls ended the night with "Under Bergets Rot" from 2010's "Nifelvind". "Nattfödd" may arguably be the band's best record to date and this celebration was definitely a success, but any Finntroll show will prove that the band have released enormous amounts of quality material in the last 15 years - all worthy of celebrating. The band's performance doesn't change much over the years, but that is of no matter; there's no stopping the Finntroll.

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