Date: Saturday April 10th 2010
Place: Club Soda in Montreal
Tour name: Finnish Metal
Bands (in order of play): Swallow the Sun + Moonsorrow + Finntroll
(The tour was supposed to feature Survivor Zero as an opening act but they weren’t in Montreal).
The show started with Swallow the Sun—a band I’ve only recently discovered. Swallow the Sun plays a melodic doom/death metal genre that suits them quite well. The signer, Mikko Kotamäki, used his clean vocals as well as his growls during the whole show, complimenting each song. The sound was excellent, I haven’t seen many opening bands with as good a show and was stunned by the quality. I didn’t have any expectations going to this show, but Swallow the Sun really amazed me with the calibre of their live music.
They mainly played from their latest album, featuring songs such as ‘New Moon’ and ‘These Woods Breathe Evil’. They also included a few other songs from their previous records. During the performance, you could feel the crowd following the dark ambiance of their songs. The only downside of this band is they look like trees on stage. I wish they were more energetic and would move more, but still, it fits with their music being somewhat slow and dark. They finished the show with the song ‘Swallow’, which was executed impressively live. They gave us a surprise at the end, saying they’ll be back in September.
The second band playing was Moonsorrow, I really liked them live as well. I’ve listened to their albums once or twice, not enough to get hooked—but what better way to discover a band than going to see them live? I’m not used to seeing bands that play only five songs that last over an hour. Every band member played well, but I must say both guitarists Henri ‘Trollhorn'’ Urponpoika and Mitja Harvilahti stood out to me. They were able to keep us fixated even if the song lasted over 10 minutes. The crowd was really playing up the Viking mood and some had paint all over their faces and chest. I enjoyed the set list Moonsorrow played and I’d like to see them again someday. The only fault I could find with this band live is they don’t talk much between their songs, but I can live with it, since they don’t sing in English.
Useless Fact: When Moonsorrow came to play last year in Montreal one of their guitars was stolen, but recovered a few days later.
And now for the headliner, Finntroll! These guys are really energetic compared to the other two bands, especially the singer Mathias ‘Vreth’ Lillmåns, who reminds me of a troll with the way he moves on stage. If you’re wondering, they aren’t real trolls, merely humans with paint on their bodies. (But they really do act like trolls.)
Finntroll started out with a few slow-paced songs and then worked up to some more intense songs. The show was great, there was a nice dark folk ambiance. I'm disappointed to say that Finntroll didn’t impress me as much as the two other bands. Don’t get me wrong, they put on a good show, they just didn’t meet my expectations as the headliner band. There was a funny moment in one of their songs where someone backstage took a stuffed dragon and moved with it behind the flags, so we all saw a dragon ‘flying’ behind one of the guitarists. I never thought I’d see that anywhere but Barney and Friends, let alone a metal show.
Final thoughts: If you enjoy Finntroll you’ll really love this show. Finland puts out some really good bands, I was pretty impressed overall. I found Moonsorrow taking the cake for the best band, followed by Swallow the Sun and Finntroll. If you like this genre of music, it’s a must see. Alas, I did not get hooked to Finntroll from this performance.