Photo by Samu Romo

A metal answer to our hearts – Bloodred Hourglass live at Vanha Ylioppilastalo, Helsinki 21.10.

Author John Wins - 27.10.2023

If you attend metal shows in Helsinki, it is very likely that you will always find fans wearing t-shirts with the acronym BRHG. This simple gesture exemplifies the popularity and appreciation for the melodic death metal band Bloodred Hourglass from Mikkeli. Releasing their sixth studio album “How’s the Heart?”, the cold night of the 20th of October was chosen to celebrate the band’s new moment in the capital of Finland.

Vanha Ylioppilastalo is not the best venue in terms of acoustics, but it is always stunning to witness the beauty of the place. The show was divided into three acts, with the first two bands being the opening acts.

Directly from Estonia, we had Horror Dance Squad, who perform a modern metalcore in the Blind Channel style, with two vocalists, but curiously without a bassist. The band seems to have potential, but they seemed a little lost on stage, often not knowing where to run or how to interact with each other, yet they were charismatic.

Balance Breach was in charge of continuing the night and it was already possible to see more fans arriving and many who were there for the BB + BRHG combo. Although the mix of the sound was a little muffled at first, the lights were nice. The big highlight was the guitarist Terho Korhonen’s solos, very well balanced and pleasant to hear. It is also important to note the reverence that the band pays to Bloodred, (both bands come from the same city), as the vocalist Aleksi Paasonen was keen to point out. A very promising band from Finland!

When the clock struck a bit after 21:45, five of the six members of Bloodred Hourglass entered the stage, (for some reason Joni Lahdenkauppi couldn’t play). The track “Of Course I Still Love You” was the welcome song and right away it is possible to hear the quality of vocalist Jarkko Koukonen.

In “In Lieu of Flowers”, also from the new record, the fans were already singing together, making the musicians smile. So far a very solid performance, like in the sequence “Fragile”, with a fabulous work of drummer Jarkko Hyvönen or the beautiful guitar solo for “Nightmares Are Dreams Too”.

The vast majority of fans in the venue were very young and during “Drag Me the Rain” a ‘rowing mosh pit’ caught the attention in the middle of the audience, being one of the funny highlights of the night. Red lights and a piano part continued the night with “Alysia”. There are backing tracks throughout much of the show, but nothing excessive.

The pandemonium during “Veritas” had another great drum work, making it one of the most aggressive songs of the night. Between some songs, Koukonen interacted with fans, always smiling and making sure everyone was having fun. This type of modern death metal is characterized by a ‘thick wall of sound’, which often leads bassist Jose Moilanen to shine, as in “Song of Forgotten” or the intro to “Tell Me About Yesterday Tomorrow”, when the audience illuminated the house with the lights of their phones.

Vocally speaking, Jarkko is incredible, but also kudos to Lauri Silvonen’s backing vocals. In “Devotion” we could see one more time how good they are as a band, very tight. The modernity of BRHG‘s melodic death metal appears strongly in “Waves of Black” and “Where the Sinners Crawl”, with the audience singing out loud and supporting the artists.

The finale, without an encore, takes place with the single from the most recent album, the self-titled track “How’s the Heart?”, which is one of the band’s best works. With everyone very grateful on stage, the quintet says goodbye in front of a large audience and with the certainty that they are on the right path. If you have the chance, go see these lads. They are very professional, passionate about their music and always deliver a great show, but more than that, they keep spreading the best kind of music we have here in Finland. From Mikkeli to the world.

You can listen to Bloodred Hourglass‘s new album “How’s the Heart?” here: