Saturday, September 1, 2012

Korpiklaani/Moonsorrow/Tyr Concert Impressions (UPDATED)

I was excited when I heard Korpiklaani was doing a North American tour for Manala. They're a band that just likes what they do and has a good time. I went with my girlfriend who doesn't listen to metal and my friend who is getting in to metal. They both enjoyed it.

Metsatoll. Seen here in front of things saying 'Tyr'

The first band up was Metsatoll. It was a bit confusing because they had all the Tyr banners up. For the first bit I was wondering when Tyr got a new vocalist.. and a bagpipe player. The music itself wasn't bad. The sound quality was horrible though. I couldn't even hear the guitar for the majority of their set. The bagpipes and flutes that were being played also barely made it through the noise of the drums. The Opera House is mostly at fault here, they really should have calibrated the sound more with the soundcheck before the show. Despite that, the band got really into it and the bagpipe player even got to sing his own song. Man he had a deep voice. Also their bassist consistently had the biggest smile on his face. It's good to see a band having a good time (which seemed to be a theme for the night).

Tyr, performing in front of the same set.
Their bassist is huge.
Next up was Tyr. The rhythm guitarist looked so out of place with all his tattoos and punk haircut. There were also quite a few punks in the audience, it was pretty weird. They all seemed to come in a big group with their leather jackets and weird haircuts. Anyway, it was during Tyr that the crowd really started getting into the show. Which is great because it was only the second band! Everyone was sort of still for Metsatoll, but that's expected for the first band. For Tyr though, the whole crowd erupted into a mosh pit, even for the slower songs. To be honest, I'm not the biggest Tyr fan. I've only heard one of their albums and some songs from the newer one. It was fun though singing along to By the Sword in My Hand and Hold the Heathen Hammer High. The sound quality was slightly better for this band, but it was still hard to make out some of the notes for the songs I wasn't familiar with.

Moonsorrow's set, seen here from the balcony.
Before Moonsorrow came on, we decided to take a break from the floor and head up to the small balcony that was there. I don't normally do this, I don't think I've ever even been to the balcony in all the times I've been to the Opera House, but I was glad we did. It was at this point that I could see just how packed this place was. Now Opera House isn't the biggest venue ever. It can hold a few hundred people comfortably in my opinion. This was definitely not the venue that this show should have been held at. The floor was literally full, there was no more room for anyone to enter. The back area with the bar was also pretty packed. It was crazy.
You can see here just how packed the floor was.
Moonsorrow was literally a wall of sound. I would best compare it to when I saw Enslaved in concert. It's impossible to actually make out any specific sound. The vocals are completely lost except for a few parts. It's more of an experience than a song, you 'feel' the atmosphere without really hearing the music. Moonsorrow turned out to be the token heavy band. There always seems to be one band on the tour that's so much heavier than all the others. They weren't really as fun or smiley as the other bands and I couldn't really get in to them as much. As time went on though, I started to make out more notes of their songs and was able to enjoy it a bit more. Don't get me wrong though, I was headbanging the whole time. I do have to give them this: all of Moonsorrow's songs had a very different feel. Each song sounded unique.

Korpiklaani. You can also see the awesome bouncer in this photo.
Last up was of course Korpiklaani. The floor was still completely full but we were able to squeeze our way in and got a good spot one or two rows back from the front. The set up for the band took quite a while because they just had to have four displays instead of two like all the other bands (technically Metsatoll had none). When they finally came out, the crowd went wild. I was thrown every which way and was instantly covered in sweat. I sweat from places I didn't even know I could sweat from. Honestly, I've been to a few concerts and I've rocked out pretty hard, but I've never been this much covered in sweat. Throughout the set, people were doing every kind of dance they knew. The mosh pit went from moshing to everyone linking arms and kicking their legs in the air while one guy did a Russian dance in the middle. Around the corners of the crowd people were linking arms and dancing around in circles. It was fun.

Just having a good time.
For the actual music itself... it was great. They played every song I would have hoped they'd play and then played some more. Tequila, Beer Beer, Vodka, Happy Little Boozer, Wooden Pints, they played almost all their drinking songs. They played Rauta, Ievan Polkka, Tuonelan Tuvilla and Ruumiinmultaa from Manala. Plus the new violist, Tuomas Rounakari even had a violin solo. Not too many bands seem to do solos like that so it was pretty awesome. I'm not too sure if Korpiklaani just turned down the volume or if I was already deaf by the time they came on, but the sound quality was much better than the previous bands. I could make out every instrument, including the violin and accordion. Jonne (the frontman) broke his finger earlier on the tour so he wasn't able to play guitar. It didn't seem to affect the sound though, one guitar proved to be just as good as two. It just meant that he got to take a break off stage whenever an instrumental song or section was being played.

Tuomas during his violin solo.
The band just had fun on the stage, it was quite a sight to see. From Jonne making Kalle (the guitarist) sing one of their songs to Juho (the accordionist) actually showing some emotion and headbanging a bit, everyone seemed to be having a good time on stage. There was plenty of dancing and prancing about. Tuomas even did a little dance throwing his legs up in the air during a couple sections where he wasn't playing. And the band never missed a beat, all the songs sounded great.

Overall, this was a pretty darn good concert. It wasn't the best I've ever been to, but it was far from the worst. Most of the bands had a good time on stage and so did the crowd. If I could change something, it would be moving the show to a bigger venue, fixing the sound issues of the first few bands, and replacing Moonsorrow with a more folky band (not saying they're not good, just that they didn't really fit in with the rest of the bands). Korpiklaani definitely put on the best show and I would see them again if they came back. I'm still sore from the concert.

-Zombie Viking

P.S. Thank you Jonny for taking pictures. I used some of them.


  1. Man, I hate when venues are responsible for ruining the gig with their poor audio settings, Finntroll from Heidenfest 2011 in Warsaw was totally ruined in this way (teoretically the main band from the whole festival and people just started walking out of the venue), I tried to stand in front of the band but that was not possible, so I walked out, said goodbye to TrollfesT bandmembers and went to the hotel. But the most ruined show was some American Power Metal band, Halcyon Way or sth like that, it was SO LOUD (even the non-played gig-intro was too loud) that when drums kicked in we went from in front of the stage to the bar, and about 40% of people did the same. I have no idea how the band reacted from 40% audience walking away.

    Oh, and from your gig the first band didn't really do its job, right? They were responsible for warming up the crowd, not the second band. Skalmold was a great opener for Heidenfest 2011, very unknown band but great live, they did a great job preparing the audience for Trollfest and Arkona's shows.

    And about Moonsorrow, it is normal that some bands doesn't fit, just look at Heidenfest 2011

    Skalmold- Death Folk Metal
    Trollfest- Extreme Folk Black Metal
    Arkona - Pagan Metal
    Alestorm- Folk Power Metal
    Turisas- Symfonic Folk Metal
    Finntroll- Folk Black Metal

    so yeah, you can say that Alestorm was too light for the set or Trollfest too heavy but nobody was complaining. In your case Moonsorrow is still a folk metal band so it should fit just fine (folk rock band wouldn't fit, right? Or imagine some pop band on stage after Tyr xD)


    1. Oh and I forgot! Trollfest has just released a new album Brumblebassen- it is the most fun album I heard since Tenacious D- The Pick of Destiny + some really extreme songs. Try to grab the digipack version if you can, they added a lot of bonuses there (you can download translation of lyrics, 2 wallpapers, 2 songs- new Skogfest version and Metalcamp song, music video and long video montages from making of the album and Heidenfest 2011 tour (I am included in the montage, 3 very short moments but now I'm immortal xD )). Seriously, I reviewed their previous albums with Villanden having the best score (8+/10) but this new shit is totally 9+/10, if not eleven xD

    2. Man, I don't think I've ever been to a concert as band as 40% of people walking away from the stage lol. In regards to Metsatoll, the crowd wasn't really too into it, but I think they did their job warming everyone up. They started off with a few pretty slow songs and started playing faster ones. By the end of their set, they left a pretty good impression and I was ready for the second band.

      That's true that Moonsorrow is still a folk metal band, it could have definitely been worse. One time I saw Eluveitie along with Belphegor, and the crowd just hated Belphegor. I love Alestorm though (seen them twice) so I wouldn't mind even if they didn't fit :)

      I'll check out the TrollfesT album, it sounds pretty awesome!