Ugh Metal fell in to the rabbit hole and made it within The Ninth Hour to Brick By Brick on Dec.3 and experienced the magic of Sonata Arctica. Though the familiar concrete floor of the Brick wasn’t covered in snow nor had any fuzzy rabbits or psychedelic stoner worms, there was plenty of overwhelming wonder within the venue to see the renowned Finnish power metal band.
But before we began our never-ending story, local Christian hard rockers, AndEver, fueled the wide-eyed mood in this metal tea party with “Illuminate.” Before you say anything, if the “C” word mentioned in the first sentence scares you, relax! Regardless of what your personal beliefs are, these guys will NOT make you go through a prayer circle but rather the circle pit.
PLUS, Lindsay Hail’s powerful anguish could rattle the most stone-cold individual especially when she belted out “Dark End Heart.” AndEver may only currently have one album (Pathways) under their belts but there’s no stopping these guys from snowballing, especially with their soulful and passionate performance and the fearless intimacy Hail unleashed on the crowd.
After AndEver made us believe, the local Vikings known as Helsott settled on to the stage. Something worth mentioning, the Klowntastic drunkard has had the privilege of witnessing Helsott’s conquest three times this year, I, however, popped my Helsott cherry that night… My goodness, why did I wait so long to see these dudes in action?
The quartet welcomed December the right way with the epically festive “The Tavern’s Tale,” and had us drunkenly stumbling in to the battlefield with “Vandals Divide.” These So-Cal norsemen were unstoppable in their short set and brought a tremendous energy.
Beneath the fierce exterior, however, frontman Eric Dow fearlessly got personal and shared with the audience the health issues his infant daughter had been battling since her birth three weeks prior to the show. Like a true professional artist, Dow switched back to performer mode and passionately dedicated their rendition of “Unconscious Power” by local 60’s legends Iron Butterfly to his daughter.
Before Helsott continued to lift the spirits or resurrect the pit and the hair windmills, Dow had the crowd shout back “Helsott!” at his command. After chanting the band’s name three times, instead of invoking a Beetlejuice in Viking attire, it conjured a heartfelt message from the vocalist where he proclaimed “You are Helsott!” while he scanned the eager and glistening faces of their fans. After this brutal demonstration of gratitude the quintet began playing “Helsott” and ended the set with “Astralive.” Skol to you, fellas!
We went from indulging in Viking pagan magick, to Finnish melodic death metal from Omnium Gatherum. This sextet was full of surprises and was not what one would expect at all and I don’t mean that in a bad way. With a name like theirs, I expected a super power metal and uber melodic sound but these guys add an edge in to the mix… and a super fun vocalist that certainly knows how to engage a crowd.
Omnium Gatherum appropriately started with “The Pit” and reeled you in like a group of wicked sirens with their slow building and serene melodies like “The Unknowing” which was only fueled with enchantment by Markus Vanhala’s playful and wide eyed riffs.
The Finnish melodic death metallers took us on several unknown journeys and dare I say to new “Frontiers” to name a few, lest we forget the spirited and cheerful frontman, Jukka Pelkonen, grinning and growling at the incredible reception. Alas, their time to depart came by too fast and closed the show with “New World Shadows.”
Because the December magick had to be kept alive and well, we switched back to our Viking armor and rose our drinking horns to welcome the new frontwoman of Leaves’ Eyes, Elina Siirala. Leaves’ Eyes prepared us for battle with “Halvdan the Black,” nursed our battle scars with “My Destiny” and made us get stupidly drunk with “Swords In Rock.”
Siirala showcased her soprano chops adding a stronger and dramatic element which was enhanced with Alexander Krull’s thick backing vocals. Though Liv Kristine’s distinguished silky voice is now gone from Leaves’ Eyes, Siirala’s reinvention of the band is an exciting journey for members and fans alike.
Krull dawned a body armor and sword in hand and riled the crowd with the infectious battle song “Edge of Steel” before Siirala made us feel the desperate melancholy of “Take the Devil In Me.” Through the tears and emotional confusion, everyone managed to pull through and marched forth towards the end with “Fires In The North” and “Blazing Waters.”
We couldn’t depart to Valhalla just yet! We had a date with one more adventure where the sun don’t really shine, and for once I’m not talking about your neighborhood smut shop. In this night where the Finnish dominated, it was time for Sonata Arctica.
These guys not only shined because of Tony Kakko’s fancy light up mic stand or his Cheshire cat grin, no, these guys brought their A-game creating an unforgettable show for both devoted fans and those that are still fairly new their material.
Sonata Arctica initiated our quest by reminding us of our roots with “Closer To An Animal” and the uplifting anthem “Life” off of their latest album The Ninth Hour to name a few. These Finnish power metallers blasted us back to the past with the ballad “Tallulah,” “Fullmoon,” and ended the night with “Don’t Say A Word” and sneaked in a shot of their famous closer of their “Vodka Song.” “Vodka! We need some vodka,” ’cause we had to cope with the reality that our adventure had reached its end. Cheers to you, Sonata Arctica!