An imperial concert: Soen + Oceanhoarse live at Tavastia, Helsinki 09.05

Author John Wins - 11.5.2022

The legendary Tavastia was packed with fans to see the Swedish prog band Soen, but that Monday night wasn’t only about our neighbors. Oceanhoarse is part of this Nordic leg of the tour, playing in their own hometown, warming up the crowd.

The Helsinkian band is promoting their first full-length “Dead Reckoning”, which was released last year. Featuring well-known guitarist Ben Varon (ex-Amoral), the band was all about energy and intensity as they hit the stage at 19:30, while the Finnish sun was still outside.

Oceanhoarse | Still by John Wins

Songs like “Dear Row Center” and “Waves” are good examples of the mix between the modern and classic metal the band has been doing in the last 5 years since its founding.

The groove section is good with bassist Jyri Helko (very energetic in his performance) and drummer Oskari Niemi while Ben keeps his rhythm between melodic solos or immersive lines, like the instrumental song “Submersed”. Joonas Kosonen sings and interacts with everyone he sees, very charismatic and honest in his singing. A nice act for the night!

Oceanhoarse | Still by John Wins

The setlist was full of songs from the first EP, live album, aforementioned debut and even a cover for “Them Bones” by Alice In Chains. Chaoszine had a chat with Ben and Jyri in the backstage, where the duo mentioned the tour with Soen and how the new songs are going:

“We’re just recording a new one, and the vibe is like that we wanna destroy the first one, but I think that’s healthy.”Ben Varon (Oceanhoarse)

Soen | Still by John Wins

If you check out some of the “Best Albums of 2021” lists, there’s a good chance you’ll find Soen’s “Imperial” on them, and not just because their fifth album is a masterpiece, but because the band can bring to the stage the same feelings and emotions that they recorded in the studio.

Seeing and being in such a crowded Tavastia not only feels good, but it brings an epiphany in realizing the relief of having some sort of normality back, also witnessing how great a band can be playing live.

The Swedish group’s layers float between founder Martin Lopez’s drums and singer Joel Ekelöf’s unique voice. “Monarch”, “Rival” and “Deceiver” are the first tracks to show some heavy nuances before the introspective “Lunacy” shines through the venue’s lights.

Soen | Still by John Wins

The flow on set is like this, some prog/dark and the calm before the storm with beautiful ballads like “Illusion” from the last album. Perhaps most interesting on stage is watching multitasking Lars Åhlund, who goes from guitar to keyboards and backing vocals with enormous quality, even playing a little percussion for a moment.

The bass lines are very elaborate throughout the band’s back catalogue, and now Ukrainian bassist Zlatoyar makes them sound even better with his skills. The detailed solos and chords have a light and careful Cody Lee Ford touch, as in “Lucidity” from the Lykaia album.

But as has already been said, Joel has a singular role in the show, making these changes through his clothes, starting with a leather jacket and hat to ending with a suit, showing the roller coaster of styles his voice can achieve, from something powerful to a sweet tone.

Definitely an unforgettable night for the guys and especially for all the fans who filled Tavastia with their hearts and eyes on a spring Monday.

Soen | Still by John Wins

The talented drummer Martin, very solid and immersed in his performance, was kind enough to share a few words with his bandmate Joel before the show, telling him a little about the current tour and how good it is to be back on the road:

“It’s been horrible not to be able to play during the pandemic and all that, but better now. It just feels like yesterday.”Joel Ekelöf (Soen)

From the energy of Oceanhoarse to the poetry of Soen we had a great night, making us feel special through their music. Tack and kiitos, guys!

You can watch our video report about the show below: