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z intro P2290307Hämeenlinnan Kirkko, Hämeenlinna, Finland
2nd December 2021

The train took me from Helsinki to Hämeenlinna to a winter wonderland and after a 10 minutes’ walk, I arrived at Hämeenlinnan Kirkko that was beautifully illuminated outside. People had gathered outside the church and were ready to present their tickets and the corona-pass if necessary. Inside you were free to choose a seat and everybody was wearing a mask, so the overall feeling was really safe. There was a small mix-up, because somehow my name didn’t show up on the list with the approved media for tonight, but staff solved the problem within a few moments, when I presented my documents. I found a good seat in one of the front rows and at 8 pm sharp the lights went out; blue light illuminated the stage when the musicians took their seats.

Music & Performance
The band had announced that they had made a special setlist and rearranged the songs and instrumental pieces for the tour, that took place in the very unique setting of churches all over Finland, so I was quite curious, what they would come up with. The first tunes of ‘Deathzone’ became audible and drummer Mikko Sirén came walking down the aisle, beating a single drum, while the cellists played the intro. The instrumental piece led over into ‘Sacra’ and gave the church a beautiful sentimental and festive atmosphere, a truly beautiful arrangement of the two songs from the bands 2005 and 2007’s releases. After a very well-deserved applause, Eikka addressed the audience, then ‘Kaamos’ from the bands album ‘Cult’ that was released in 2000 was performed, followed by ‘Call My Name’ from their latest release ‘Cell-O’.


Next was ‘Ruska’ from the band’s album ‘Apocalyptica’ (2005), the song had a strong focus on the cellos, while drummer Mirko was responsible for synthies effects in the background, the cellos gave the song more and more intensity and emotion, that fitted the dark season perfectly. The next song was ‘On the Rooftop with Quasimodo’ a song from 2010’s release ‘7th Symphony’ that comes with a strong groove and many drum elements for APOCALYPTICA’s standards. Drummer Mikko Sirén who had brought his full standard drumkit plus electronic drums found exactly the right amount of intensity either supporting the drums or filling bridge and intermission parts. Then Perttu performed a small doodle, that let over into ‘Bittersweet’ that was released back in 2005 with Ville Valo and Lauri Ylönen on vocals. Tonight’s instrumental version was beautifully arranged and totally made forget you, that the song once had been released with vocals.


‘Rise’ was next, followed by a combination of ‘In Memoriam’ and ‘Stroke’. When Perttu undid his braid during a short break was sure, that now some “Cello Metal” would be performed and that it would become a blast. Another arrangement of a song from 2007’s release ‘Worlds Collide’ followed suit, ‘Peace’ came in a version that had very intense drums, but I was glad that they did not dominate the Cello tunes. Then a doodle of drums and electronic effects made me think, that this kind of sound effects would not have been allowed in a German church and somehow it made me happy, that things in Finland are different, for as such it was perfectly performed and led over into Cello solo parts. ‘Scream for the Silent’ from the band’s latest album was followed by ‘Cohkka’ an instrumental piece that was released in 2003 on the album ‘Reflections’ and melted with ‘Cortége’ from the same release. A wonderful combination that once more made me think, that the band really had tried to put pieces from all decades on their setlist and give them an arrangement that fits the setting of a church.


One of the many highlights was ‘Worlds Collide’, the arrangement perfectly fitted the location and the performance was really moving. ‘Dead Man’s Eyes’ was the last song on the regular setlist for tonight, and once more there were standing ovations, when the last tune had faded. APOCALYPTICA left the stage and the audience applauded for several minutes, until they came back for the encore. It’s hard to say, who was more delighted, the audience - or - APOCALYPTICA who were on their first live tour after a break that took over 1,5 years. The first piece of the encore was a combination of ‘Coma’ and ‘Farewell’, the latter performed with so much intensity, that I almost drove me to tears. The good thing about ‘Farewell’ is, that it is so beautifully arranged, that it gets a more positive and encouraging attitude stroke my stroke and when the drums kick in, gathers a wonderful intensity, so it takes you through a wide assortment of emotions. The audience rewarded this effort with a very big applause and I hope, we’ll hear this arrangement again, in the future.


Perttu got up and ruffled Eikka’s hair, a familiar gesture, that always leads to laughter in the audience. Then he took his seat again and it was time for a song, that is an all-time classic among Metallica fans as well as among APOCALYPTICA fans. When the first tunes of ‘Nothing Else Matters’ were in the air, you could see the light in people’s eyes. I must admit that my focus was on Perttu, for he has the toughest job with the lead melody, but without Eikka’s brilliant picking during the intro and the bridge parts of the song, the song would lack plenty of its intensity. Almost halfway through the song, the melody changed to ‘Conquest of Paradise’ with Eikka and Paavo on main instrumental duties and the positive and energizing attitude of the song was perfect for the closing of a wonderful song, that came with a beautiful mixed outro. Once more standing ovations and a loud applause was the reward for a flawless and intense live performance.


I’d also like to mention, that the band thanked their whole crew and merchandisers for making the tour possible, a wonderful gesture, that is only seen from very few bands nowadays. APOCALYPTICA are still a very down-to-earth band, who are always ready to talk their fans after the show. They came out soon after the show, took selfies and signed records, something I always appreciate. A word on the lights: The church in Hämeenlinna has a rather minimalistic interior, with the focus on the altar and a golden framed painting. The original lights are rather practical than atmospheric, but APOCALYPTICA’s light wizard made it a wonderful place, the lights giving each song a wonderful atmosphere and the golden framed portrait almost vanished behind the curtain of light, directing the attention to the musicians.


The show was definitely worth the trip to Finland, the unique setting in the church and the perfectly new arranged pieces made it an experience, that will be on my mind for a long time and I hope, they might do this again in the future. APOCALYPTICA postponed their European tour to 2023, but there will be a few tour dates in Finland in February 2022 and a show at Helsingin Jäähalli on February 25th 2022 with special guests, before APOCALYPTICA embark on a tour covering many cities in the United States. Please follow their social media for updates. If you want to see a recorded version of the church tour, you can participate in this crowdfunding project:

01. Deathzone - Sacra
02. Kaamos
03. Call My Name
04. Ruska
05. On the Rooftop with Quasimodo
06. Bittersweet
07. Rise
08. In Memoriam - Stroke
09. Peace
10. Virsi 555 / 382
11. Scream for the Silent
12. Cohkka / Cortege
13. Worlds Collide
14. Dead Man’s Eyes
15. Coma - Farewell
16. Nothing Else Matters / Conquest of Paradise

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

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All Pictures by Munich Vampire

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