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IMG 6840Jäähalli, Helsinki, Finland
13th December 2019
Beast In Black - “From Hell With Love” Tour - Support: Lordi

Helsinki on a Friday 13th, a nearly sold-out Jäähalli and long lines at the entrance. Nearly one year ago I saw BEAST IN BLACK live for the first time in Helsinki. By then, they were the support for NIGHTWISH and they really shook Hartwall Arena. In March and November 2019 they sold out Backstage in Munich during their headliner tour and I was lucky to make it to their biggest headliner-show so far.

Be warned! If there is a show in one of the ice-halls in Helsinki, always bring a hoodie! It’s really cold inside and you might need it. BEAST IN BLACK had announced that they had printed a limited edition of shirts specially for this event and when I made it to the merch-desk some sizes already were sold out.


Lordi

LORDI is a Finnish band formed in 1992 as a solo project by Mr Lordi and was formed as a band in 1996, and their style can be described as Hard Rock / Heavy Metal. The band is famous for their monster costumes created by vocalist Mr Lordi and won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2006. The line-up of the band changed many times leaving only Mr Lordi and guitar player Amen as founding members. LORDI will release their new album ‘Killection’ in early 2020. https://www.lordi.fi / https://www.facebook.com/LordiOfficial

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Music & Performance
When LORDI came on stage, the ice-hall was hardly half-full, most of the ranks were empty, the pit not even half-full, it seemed that LORDI is not selling as hot in Finland as it used to be some years ago. The stage decoration was a nice spooky ruin and of course LORDI had brought their scariest costumes for this special night. The beginning of the show was rather slow and somehow stiff and I was really glad I had brought my hoodie to the media-pit. The crowd was obviously waiting for BEAST IN BLACK. LORDI played a good set with some nice special effects, unfortunately those took place when the media-time was over. Song by song by song people started warming up and more people, who had been standing outside eating or drinking beer came in and the pit and the seats filled up slowly.

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LORDI were a good headliner, it was a good start for their new bass-player Hiisi, but I’m sure that there could have been better options would have attracted more fans to join the fun earlier.

Setlist
01. Would You Love a Monsterman
02. Hug You Hardcore
03. I Dug a Hole in the Yard for You (Live debut)
04. Naked in My Cellar
05. Blood Red Sandman
06. It Snows In Hell
07. Shake the Baby Silent (Live Debut)
08. The Riff
09. Who’s Your Daddy
10. Devil is a Looser
11. Hard Rock Hallelujah

Rating
Music: 8
Performance: 8
Light: 7
Sound: 9
Total: 8 / 10

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Beast in Black

‘Berserker’, BEAST IN BLACK’s debut album, was released in November 2017. Right after the departure from his former band BATTLE BEAST, BEAST IN BLACK’s founder Anton Kabanen recruited new companions in the way of high-pitched vocalist Yannis Papadopoulos (WARDRUM), bassist Mate Molnar (WISDOM), guitarist Kasperi Heikkinen (U.D.O.) and last but not least drummer Atte Palokangas (THUNDERSTONE), who officially replaced Sami Hänninen in early 2018. BEAST IN BLACK released their chart topping record, ‘From Hell With Love’, on February 8, 2019 and started their first European headline tour. Several shows outside Finland were sold out. Now it was time for the crew to get the stage ready for BEAST IN BLACK, the decoration and background were the same as in March and everything seemed to be ready, when I realized that the guitar tech obviously had a problem with one of the guitars. It seemed to take him ages and the crowd a little annoyed until finally the lights went out and the band came on stage. https://beastinblack.com / https://www.facebook.com/beastinblackofficial

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Music & Performance
There was a longer break for LORDI’s castle had to be removed to show an amazing brand-new stage set. ‘The Beast’ lay under Atte’s drum kit that was on a platform; he must have had a superb view on what was going on in the pit and the audience had the chance to see him, no matter if seated or standing in the pit. It’s always a pleasure to see him drumming for he really uses all the stuff that is standing around him and sometimes he even hits his head with the sticks. Atte always shows this “love my job attitude” and is all smiles and happiness. The whole stage-set reminded me of IRON MAIDEN a bit, but with a playful BEAST IN BLACK touch. When I took a glimpse at the downstairs microphones, I was surprised for they were not decorated with fake human skulls but with fake animal skulls. Later I would notice that the usual skulls were in use for the microphones upstairs.

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Then the lights went dark and a loud cheering came from the audience, when Atte sat behind his drums, the BEAST that was lying on stage blinked at us with its red eyes and BEAST IN BLACK opened the show with ‘Cry Out For A Hero’. Standing in the media pit I could clearly see the faces of every band-member and although it was their largest headliner gig so far, you couldn’t see and trace of nervousness on their faces, it was sheer maze and joy. BEAST IN BLACK were permanently on tour for over one year now but there was no sign of tiredness, the band was hot and ready to give us a night to remember from the first tune. ‘Unlimited Sin’ followed suit and the chorus of this song is really intriguing so I had to pull myself together and concentrate on shooting photos, for this song offers some nice posing options for the guitar players.

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Looking at the 4,000 people standing behind the barrier I saw big smiles and dedication to the band and this is the best base for a perfect night out. No matter if you stand in the crowd or in the media pit, Kasperi on guitar entertains you with great poses and nice grimaces, that’s what I call dedication to the crowd! Yannis’ vocals were crystal clear and the overall sound was better than in every venue I saw them play so far. After the first two songs Yannis addressed the crowd and you could see and hear that he was really moved by the fact that 4,000 people came to see BEAST IN BLACK tonight. Then the show went on with ‘BEAST IN BLACK’ and now there was a novelty: pyros! In the media pit or the front rows pyros can be tricky, but the pyro-techs had done a solid job, no one was grilled but the performance was perfectly underlined by the fireworks.

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BEAST IN BLACK had been really very, very generous with the media and so we were allowed to take pictures of five songs (the standard is three) and so we saw Yannis addressing the crowd “Helsinki Kiitos Paljon!” and asking them to raise their hands in the air could enjoy ‘Eternal Fire’ and great underlining with fog and the beasts eyes in sync with the main stage lights. Kasperi and Anton were standing upstairs and so everyone could not only hear Anton’s solo but see him as well. Bass players sometimes have a job that doesn’t get them the audience’s attention (not LEMMY of course…) but Mate on bass often poses with Kasperi on guitar and they are always celebrated by the crowd. ‘Blood of a Lion’ saw the venue on fire again and the audience’s chorus was really, really loud, time to leave the media-pit and make it to the pit as fast as possible. I missed ‘Go to Hell’ but was back in time for ‘True Believer’.

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The band frequently addressed the crowd and always got a loud cheering or applause in return. I don’t know how many times they rehearsed the whole show, but everything was absolutely perfect. No technical problems, no missed entries and the overall feeling that the band really enjoyed playing tonight. Yannis reminded us of the fact, that BEAST IN BLACK had released their first album ‘Berserker’ only two years ago and that the band is really grateful for the support of the fans. ‘Oceandeep’ saw its premiere on Finnish ground in a sea of lighters and cell phone flashlights and the applause for this killer-performance was the loudest so far and after ‘Die By the Blade’, there was a big surprise for the band. Several representatives of the music-business came on stage and had brought the first golden record for BEAST IN BLACK for their debut album ‘Berserker’.

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It was obvious, that the band had had no clue that this would happen tonight and there could not have been a better occasion to honour them with the golden record than during a gig with 4,000 dedicated fans in their home-country. Kasperi played a short fanfare and a photo of the band with their golden records and the crowd followed suit. Yannis informed us, that they only knew, that someone wanted to give a speech tonight, but not that this would happen, he you could hear that he was really deeply moved and looking at the faces of the band-members you could see, that this was the truth, for everyone seemed to be deeply moved by this. The next title could not have been chosen better ‘No surrender’, Yannis showing Kasperi the two-horns-up before starting the vocals and halfway through the song, everyone but Atte who gave us the beat stood close together as one for the fans and while Anton played a killer-solo, Mate and Kasperi posed together before standing next to Anton raising their hands in the air and the crowd immediately had their hands in the air as well.

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BEAST IN BLACK had been highly motivated from the beginning of the show but from now on they were on a roll. Yannis told us some details of the Japanese music-business and that they had to make extra-bonus songs for Japan in the past, he explained that they wanted to have a really special song for Helsinki tonight and they had played this song only at the rehearsals. Then he gave us a hint ‘Rocky IV’ and a very loud cheering followed suit and that Anton and he liked the song a lot. BEAST IN BLACK played an amazing live-version of ‘No Easy Way Out’ and once more you could see Anton and Kasperi playing from the upstairs platforms. The whole venue had the hands in the air and was singing the chorus with Yannis. ‘Sweet True Lies’ saw the venue on fire again and nobody could stop BEAST IN BLACK or the audience from now on.

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I was curious what the band had planned for ‘Crazy Mad Insane’, sometimes they come with a straightjacket or the glasses that show the song title. In Munich the crew had sent a monster on stage that distributed drumsticks to the fans but this time BEAST IN BLACK really stunned me. You might now that the Joulupukki (Santa Claus) lives in Finland and somehow BEAST IN BLACK had brought him from the Korvatunturi to Helsinki with his elves. The whole venue sang a Finnish X-mas song and Santa and his elves threw gifts for the fans and after that joined the band when they continued ‘Crazy Mad Insane’. It was a perfect surprise for the audience. It’s common that fans give gifts to the band, but that the band talks Santa into giving gifts to the audience is really unique and this gesture was highly appreciated by the Helsinki crowd.

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The band left the stage under a big applause and immediately choruses demanding the encore started. ‘From Hell With Love’ came along with heavy pyros and fireworks. ‘Blind and Frozen’ saw a sea of raised fists and the crowd was nearly louder than the band and tonight Yannis hit every note, even the highest ones. During the final of the song, Mate, Kasperi and Anton stood together shredding like mad and the crowd in the pit was jumping and raising their hands, the whole pit was one big party. ‘The End of the World’ was really apocalyptic with all the fire and pyro and it’s always a special feeling if thousands of people have their hands in the air during the intro. The final was a big confetti-shower with pyro effects and the pyro techs had done a perfect job, separating confetti and pyro with wind machines.

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BEAST IN BLACK came back on stage and they threw drumsticks and picks for the fans. Atte had a special gift for the fans in the back rows, he used signed drumheads and a cymbal as Frisbees and threw them through the hall, this is really a great way to give those who cannot stand in the front a chance to get a unique keepsake of the show and I wish more bands would follow Atte’s example. BEAST IN BLACK are not only a very good band but also perfect entertainers coming to interacting with the crowd. One of the best examples was, that Yannis was giving a speech and Kasperi interrupted him with fanfares or short guitar sequences so Yannis explained to us “Look, that’s what happens if you don’t give them a microphone” and the whole venue burst into laughter.

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Friday 13th in 2019 seemed to have been good days for the Finnish Bands. THE 69 EYES released their album ‘West End’ Friday 13th of September 2019 and it entered the charts immediately and Metal Hammer put it on No. 5 of the Top Ten in the category “Dark-, Gothic-, Symphonic- and Industrial Metal Albums 2019”. BEAST IN BLACK chose Friday 13th December 2019 for their biggest headliner show so far, were awarded with a golden record that night and in my books, it was the perfect show for everyone and I’m really grateful I could be part of this amazing demonstration of what BEAST IN BLACK are capable of. There are great things to come in 2020 for BEAST IN BLACK, they will play Wacken 2020 definitely an accolade in the music-business and I hope they will be coming back on tour in Germany again.

Setlist
01. Cry out for a Hero
02. Unlimited Sin
03. Beast In Black
04. Eternal Fire
05. Blood of a Lion
06. Go to Hell
07. True Believer
08. Heart of Steel
09. Born Again
10. The Fifth Angel
11. Repentless
12. Oceandeep
13. Die by the Blade
14. No Surrender
15. Zodd the Immortal
16. No Easy Way Out
17. Sweet True Lies
18. Crazy, Mad, Insane
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19. From Hell with Love
20. Blind and Frozen
21. End of the World

Rating
Music: 10
Performance: 10
Light: 10
Sound: 10
Total: 10/ 10

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All pictures by Munich Vampire
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