After the last notes at Helsingin Jäähalli (or Helsinki Ice Hall Arena) on November 13th, I had no doubts that Stam1na made history playing one of the most important gigs of its career, but also a special event for the Finnish fans since the beginning of pandemic.
It wasn’t a simple concert in a big place, but a celebration of the 10th anniversary of “Viimeinen Atlantis” originally released in 2010, but due to the chaotic situation we find ourselves in, it was delayed a few times, taking place in late 2021. All this waiting just made the fans eager for great live music and gosh, Stam1na knows how to perform.
When the doors opened at 7 pm local time, a huge line of people wearing Stam1na shirts and hoodies entered. Most of them couldn’t hold or hide their smiles. Lots of hugs and pictures took place between friends and family, just to make sure it was really happening. For most of them, it was the first show since the beginning of 2020. The welcome sign was a big screen with an actor as the protagonist of the Atlantis story, wearing the classic white shirt with a red tie. He was looking out over the crowd and eventually making some moves in the video. That kind of interaction was a clear sign of things we would see more during the live celebration and we were right!
As soon as “S.O.S.“started with the band with their back to us, the same actor from the video came to speak his first lines, presenting the interactive show with the full album in its entirety. The sound in the room was very good and it took a few minutes for the first mosh pit to start on the main stage. “Piste jolta ei ollut paluuta” and “Pakkolasku” had more interaction with fake money thrown into the crowd and stunning on-screen images matching the lyrics.
At that point, Hyrde was singing his lungs out with countless smiles. An ocean of sympathetic fans was there for them. “Jäteputkiaivot” had the first unannounced guest, Antti Jussila from FM2000, came out of nowhere singing the same lines he recorded on the original album, and as soon as he appeared, disappeared with the same energy. The band wasn’t alone in doing all of this. They had three backing vocals, a string quartet and at least a few thousand fans singing alone.
“Maalla, merellä, ilmassa” and “Viestintuoja” were songs to hear Hyrde’s cleaner vocals, while Pexi and Kaikka brought a lot of heavy layers to the songs with really good vocals as well. But when the chorus of “Rikkipää” was echoing in the hall, well, I’d say half the people felt the heat coming from the pyrotechnics. Amazing effects for such a flaming song.
Seeing cello and violins at a metal concert in Finland is nothing new, so after “Tsunami” it wasn’t a big surprise when the band introduced Perttu from Apocalyptica, who in addition to keyboardist Emil introduced more chaos into “Eloonjäänyt“, also joining the band with more headbanging. Hell yeah! The main character, accompanied by his partner, made an interesting trip for the fans in a real boat, bringing the end of the first act of the show and the closing of the celebration to “Viimeinen Atlantis” playing its homonymous song. A beautiful tribute to an important album. The musicians gathered and thanked the fans as a short break began. It’s time to recharge some batteries, as the second part will be full of hits and if you were in the mosh-pit, those hits could be very real.
The second part of the show left the room free for some of Stam1na‘s biggest hits and also a good chance to play some of the newest songs from their latest album “Novus Ordo Mundi”, released this year. When their funny intro was played announcing the return of our metal guys, the crowd was still hungry for more, and luckily these guys are unstoppable when the distortions are still on.
“Vapaa Maa” has a beautiful and melodic solo by Pekka that matches Hyrde’s voice. A great start to show off some good skills after an intense first act. The heavy foot was stepped on once more with “Memento Mori“, especially with Mikko Kotamäki from Swallow The Sun sharing some growls with us. From the reaction of the fans, this was a track that worked very well live. “Viisi Laukausta Päähän” has a nice mood with some interesting drums, but “Enkelinmurskain” already has an important place in the audience and the sequel to “Gaian Lapsi” with Sonja Nurmela just proves how good her previous album “Taival” is, which got some good awards after its release.
Another pandemonium came with “Betelgeuse“, testing the waters with another song from the new album followed by “Metropolio“. Some lyrics are difficult to translate, but Stam1na has some of the most interesting lyrics in the Finnish scene, despite some comedy in the videos and promotional photos, these guys are very concerned about society, climate change and the inner issues of the mind. Hyrde isn’t only the main writer, but a true book writer as well.
The next three songs were a delight to every diehard fan standing on the ice on that not-so-cold night. More than 15 years later, “Kadonneet kolme sanaa” from the first album still sounds aggressive, modern and quite fresh, fitting like a glove into the setlist no matter what year they’re playing. “Panzerfaust” brought in the last guest of the night, Mr. Jarkko Martikainen of classic rock band YUP played this hit from the 6th album “SLK”. A Stam1na concert without “Lääke” isn’t normal, so when Teppo turned his face into an even more intense zen mode (which means he’ll be devilish faster), it was time for Kaikka to join him in the spotlight. After this classic masterpiece from “Raja”, our five boys had an encore to end a magical night.
Nothing like saying goodbye to a song that hits over 200bpm, so “Sirkkeli” was another moment to preach to everyone about the new album and have a final statement to witness how good it feels to be alive at the same time as Stam1na is. I don’t think fans, staff, venue staff, press and band will forget that night so easily. When the whole band and a few more guests gathered to say goodbye, they were all smiles and I walked out of there with a big one too.
Finland is still a metal country, but some of the biggest bands we’ve ever had aren’t around anymore. HIM and Children of Bodom left an orphan legion with the demise of both, and while Nightwish is still huge, seeing them here isn’t easy, but Stam1na has filled this spot in the land of a thousand lakes with a perfect maestry. We can connect with their lyrics, sing along, always expect new material, see them live often and also be proud to know they are getting some attention abroad. Most fans bought another shirt from the store and they were already wearing one! It may be a silly comment, but it means a lot to the scene (unfortunately I was late to buy one). They’ve just announced the first leg of their upcoming tour, so please do your metal heart a favor, strech your neck, save money for merchandise and go see this Lemi quintet. One of the most impressive and heaviest bands currently playing on this planet.
You can watch our video report about the show below: