The arrival of Finntroll and Sodom proved that it would be one of those interesting nights at B.B. King Blues Club once again. The two bands would be the only groups performing and while Finntroll preceded Sodom, this was clearly a co-headlining show without any question with a seemingly larger audience presence than that if Sodom had played on their own. From Germany, Sodom brings one of those classic Thrash sounds and it has rarely changed much over the course of their history. Finntroll is a different story altogether as the band mixes Black and Pagan Metal styling with Finnish Polka or Humppa. The end result delivers a far different taste of music. Sea of Tranquility's Ken Pierce and Pete Pardo were primarily there for Finntroll and many reports had come in saying that the line up should have been switched with more audience showing support for this Finnish export.
Read on for some details on the evening's fun!
Finntroll: Late in 2005 I had received a copy of "Nattfodd" for review and I was instantly blown away by some of the most different sounding Metal I had heard in a long time. Over the past couple of years its seems as though Metal bands have been raising the bar by introducing symphonic elements, choruses and even sampling the flavors from their native lands. Finntroll does their part by mixing Finnish polka riffs with mosh-worthy and fist throwing power. Hitting the stage a couple of minutes early the band performed like the thunders themselves. Lead singer Tapio Wilska is a giant of a man who growls his way through their best material. The audience was insane from the start and a lot were singing along in some sense. I say in some sense because the band is not singing in English but Swedish and with the exception of choruses I admit that I was having a lot of problems myself. As a new fan I only had "Nattfodd" as my frame of reference so jumped to attention when a track from the CD was played. I think this was the case in a lot of the other audience members as well and I was particularly impressed with the reception that the group got because not only is there music available in limited capacity here but this would be the first time that they ever adventured to the United States. Taking pictures of them was also a lot of fun as it seemed like a good number of Metal supporters were grabbing the best shots for their own publications. It was the most fun that I had at a show of this type in some time and after I shot my pics and began to enjoy many drinks and Finnish Metal, I paused the indulgence to do some dancing with photographer Nell (you see this was her very favorite band). They performed the clear "hit" from the album in "Trollhammeren" as well as "Nattfodd" and since those were my favorites from the CD I enjoyed seeing the impact that they had on the full venue. I had no other show of theirs to compare this one against and since Folk Metal is only recently getting popular over here I simply have to label their sound live as "energetic" and "alive". There is very little downtime in their songs and the heaviness gets kicked up just a little bit more when the band is onstage. They also perform in some manner of corpse-paint and sport kilts. I got to spend some time with the band backstage after this which is a rare occasion and their personal satisfaction with a job well done in New York was fun to hear them talk about. They are good dudes and I wish them well. As I got to speak to Tapio, Samuli, Routa, Tundra, Samu and Henri I asked if in doing these shows that they perhaps felt the spirit of the fallen member Somnium to which one of them replied "well someone is always taking our cigarettes so there is something going on around us". Should Finntroll return to the States in some fashion I recommend you kick back some beers and gather some friends for a good time, choose the order of which you do first when the time comes.
Sodom: According to some research this 80's Metal band has not been back to the US since a gig in 1997. I admit that I did not know a lot about them and this led me to not be as focused on them tonight. Originally I thought they would be the first band up but that night realized that I was mistaken as I walked in to find Finntroll coming on. The music of Sodom has pretty much stuck to the course making them one of the bands that had not let time or industry changes affect them at all. For a band that has been performing since the 80's there seemed to be a lot of younger members of the audience all stirring in the pit and that was interesting to see a group so far from the typical Metal they follow be given such support. Members "Onkel" Tom Angelripper (bass) and Bernemann (guitar) and Bobby Schottkowski (drums) all delivered a solid set of the powerful brand of Thrash that their long time fans and those new ones I saw have expected them to. They were more no nonsense than Finntroll was but while they were the headliner I felt their sound was a bit muddy. The set was an interesting mix from the 20 plus year Metal career and brought "In The Sign Of Evil" EP right up through 2001's "M16". Not being too familiar with them left me finding their sound to be best described as a mix of old school Black Metal, Punk and Speed. While the band is not as popular as fellow countrymen Destruction and Kreator they are good at what they set out to do which keeps the fans coming to shows and buying albums. A new CD and DVD are set for release in 2006 on SPV Records. If this brand of Metal Mayhem is your speed then be sure to check them out. After 20 some years gone by it is safe to assume that Sodom is in this for the long haul.
Finntroll is not a name that you hear too often when speaking of International metal bands, but you wouldn't know it this night at BB Kings when a nearly packed house of screaming fans came to witness the arrival of these Finnish metal upstarts. As if the band's fans have been starving for them to reach these shores, Finntroll took to the stage like conquering heroes, with their adoring legions singing, dancing, and moshing along to every song in their set. Playing a mix of black metal with symphonic and Finnish folk & poka elements, Finntroll's music is different to say the least, but highly enjoyable. It was obvious to everyone in attendance that the band was having a blast onstage (although not to our knowledge there was some tension within the band, as lead singer Tapio Wilska was ousted shortly afterwards) and soaking in all the rabid attention. Sodom on the other hand, played a serviceable set of solid 80's styled German thrash, heavy on speedy riffs and manic rhythms, but lacking in the dynamics that their stage partners Finntroll showed. While the intensity level of the audience slowed down a bit after Finntroll left the stage, these Teutonic terrors managed to work them up again, as the mosh pit once again started to bubble and boil, as the band slayed through numerous tunes from their lengthy back catalog.
It was a fun night all around, and for a change it was nice not to have to sit through 4 or 6 bands, instead we got treated to two solid sets from two enjoyable metal acts.
Finntroll Set List:
8. Kaktens Tid
11. Fiskaren's Fiend
12. Det Skalla Trollblod
Sodom Set List:
1. Among the Weirdcong
2. Vice of Killing
3. Agent Orange
4. Napalm in the Morning
5. Outbreak of Evil
7. Eat Me!
9. Witching Metal
10. Remember the Fallen
11. Surfin'Bird/The Saw is the Law
13. Nothing to Regret
14. Ace of Spades
Official Web site: www.Finntroll.net
Official Web site: www.Sodom.com