Concerts Music

Norwegian Black Metallers Aura Noir, Khold & Dodheimsgard Added To Trondheim Metal Fest Line Up

Fans of Norwegian black metal rejoice, as scene legends Aura Noir, low-end heavy mob Khold and avant garde outfit Dodheimsgard have been announced to join the already stunning line up at this year’s Trondheim Metal Festival!

Formed in 1993 by Aggressor (Carl-Michael Eide) and Apollyon (Ole Jørgen Moe), Aura Noir released their debut EP Dreams Like Deserts in 1995. In 2004, they were the first band to be signed to Tyrant Syndicate Productions, a sub-label of Peaceville Records, run by Nocturno Culto and Fenriz. Their fifth studio album, Out to Die, was released through Peaceville in March 2012, with a new record is set for release this year featuring Blasphemer (Mayhem) on guitar.

Khold was formed in Oslo in 2000 by Sarke (drums) and Gard (vocals & guitar) after the split of their former band, Tulus. In late 2000, they signed with Moonfog Records, the former label of Satyricon frontman, Satyr. They toured internationally with a number of big extreme metal bands, including Behemoth. Following a brief hiatus, they returned in 2008 with the crushing Hundre År Gammal. The band released their latest record Til Endes in September 2014 through Peaceville Records.

While, Dødheimsgard (also known as DHG) formed in 1994. Initially a straight-up black metal band, they changed tact with 1999’s 666 International, which saw them change into an experimental and avant-garde/industrial band. The band released their fifth studio album, A Umbra Omega, on March 16, 2015.

Be you a fan of the fast, the dark or the dirge-ridden; TMF have got you covered.

TMF are also happy to announce their new sponsors; US based metal giants Metal Sucks and Scottish crafts company Asgard.

Thondheim Metal Fest

Asgard had this to say of the new partnership:
“It’s a great pleasure to be sponsoring the Trondheim Metal Festival. As a business, we draw a lot of our influences from Norway’s Viking culture. Trondheim has been an important city for a very long time, and it is fantastic to now see it on the European festival map. Their selection of bands always includes a number of our favourites, and we look forward to seeing some awesome gigs there in October.”

Further to this, TMF’s sixth outing will be held at the glamourous Scandic Lerkendal Congress Hotel, both the newest hotel in Trondheim, and also the biggest conference hotel in Norway. Complete with three stages; sporting a total capacity of 2200, a metal market area, Q&A’s, clinics, cinema, meet & greets, quizs, tattoo stands, restaurants, bars, snack shop, gym, sauna, lounge areas and exciting travel excursions around Trondheim. In short, TMF in 2015 is not to be missed.

At 75 meters, the hotel is also Norway’s third tallest building; with a skybar/conference room on the top floor, which has an exclusive panoramic view of the city. This will be used for a series of activities during the daytime, and will be turned into a skybar with metal karaoke once darkness falls.

Festival head honcho Eirik Teller had this to say:

“This festival has always evolved, with adding something new and fresh every year. And when our city of Trondheim got an even bigger conference hotel last summer, it was clear as day, we had to have the festival there! Being that it´s actually on-site with Lerkendal Stadium (home of footballers Rosenborg), it gave us some real advantages, both logistically and also to enhance the experience for the audience. And of course, now we can call it a “stadium festival”!

And with the newly addition of great bands like Aura Noir, Khold and Dødheimsgard, we´re really knocking on the Norwegian metal spirit, but we also have so many great bands, yet to be announced! So, all in all, this will definitly be the biggest year in the festival´s history, yet. And we´d like to invite you all to a truly unique festival experience, where the hotel is the venue and the venue is the hotel! Hellcome to Trondheim!”

The festival’s current line-up includes British black metallers Anaal Nathrakh, Finnish folk metallers Korpiklaani, Irish black metallers Primordial, British thrashers Evile, German thrashers Tankard, Greek black metal legends Rotting Christ, Norwegian metallers Circus Maximus, legendary Swedish rockers Crucified Barbara & German artist Mambo Kurt!

Previous headliners of the festival have included Behemoth, Devin Townsend Project, Gojira, At The Gates, Napalm Death, Electric Wizard and more.

Ticket prices for the event are as follows:

Two-day Festival Pass
1190,- NOK + Ticket fee

One-day Festival Pass

Hotel Only (festival ticket not included)
Single Room Incl. Breakfast (per day)
NOK 695, – + Ticket handler fee

Double Room Incl. Breakfast (per day)
NOK 795, – + Ticket handler fee

Advanced tickets can be purchased here:

Festivalhotel: Scandic Lerkendal | Phone: (+47) 21 61 51 00 | Mail: | Reference: “Trondheim Metal Fest”

Concerts Features Music

Never A Hero To Give Free Album On UK Tour

British Alt rockers Never A Hero have recently announced in conjunction with their upcoming UK tour that they’ll be giving away copies of their new album “UnEvolution” free to all ticket holders!


The band are set to embark on the following dates this February:


To claim your free record, people need to pre-order tickets from the band’s website –

The album will be available for general release on March 30th through the band’s website.

Never A Hero are an alt rock band based in the UK. The band formed in 2009 when members from 2 bands merged together to write new music diverting from their usual styles.

The band has seen a few line­up changes throughout the years with introduction of lead singer Phrixus, lead guitarist Kaji and the departure of DJ/backing vocalist Mr. White and lead guitarist/vocalist Toby C. In 2010, the band recorded their debut EP Socially Awkward at Outhouse Studios in Reading, which was re­released in May 2012 and is available for digital download from all major sites.

The band also received airplay and were played on TV for their debut single Form Heroes To Angels. In 2011, the band released their 2nd single and music video Trippin’ On Speed which they filmed in Lowestoft.

At the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012, the band performed on 2 tours of the UK and in the Spring of 2012, they started work on their debut album. The album was recorded at Monkey Puzzle House studios in Woolpit and was released in November 2012. The first single from the album Bleed Between The Lies, was Burning Skies, which was released on the 2nd July followed by Screams of Silence, released in December.

Concerts Music

Dragged Into Sunlight embarked on a European Tour!

Dragged Into Sunlight have left a permanent scar on the extreme metal community ever since they emerged with their debut, Hatred For Mankind. Countless live shows (including prestigious festival slots at Maryland Deathfest, Incubate, Damnation and their recent Japanese tour) have further cemented their place as one of the most visceral and cathartic live bands in extreme music. Their latest album, the eerie masterpiece Widowmaker, revealed a darkly beautiful side to their songwriting, creating much anticipation for their upcoming new full length, which is rumoured to arrive next year.

This November, Dragged Into Sunlight shall embark on a European tour, preceeded by two shows in the UK. Here are the final tour dates which can now be made public:


8th – The Dome w/ Hooded Menace, London, UK
9th – The Exchange, Bristol, UK
11th – Decadence, Ghent, BE
12th – Le Klub, Paris, FR
13th – Les Pavillons Sauvages, Toulouse, FR
14th – Mogambo, San Sebastian, ES
16th – The Blacksheep, Montpellier, FR
17th – Freakout Club, Bologna, IT
18th – Sidro Club, Rimini, IT
19th – Le Romandie, Laussanne, CH
20th – Lo Fi Club, Milan, IT
21st – Blue Hell, Budapest, HU
22nd – Kokpit Club, Prague, CZ
23rd – Exzess, Frankfurt, DE
24th – Ciemna Strona Miasta, Wroclaw, PL
25th – Cassiopeia, Berlin, DE
26th – KB18, Copenhagen, DK
27th – Bambi Gallore, Hamburg, DE
28th – dB’s, Utrecht, NL
29th – Romein, Leeuwarden, NL

For tickets go to

Concerts Music

Qui Announce European Tour

Alt Rock Duo Heading Out For Lengthy EU Run Of Dates

US mentalists Qui have announced a lengthy run of dates in support of their latest record “Life. Water. Living”. The duo are set to hit the following cities:

27.09 Vsetin @ Vesmir – (CZ)
28.09 Kosice @ Tabacka – (SV)
29.09 Budapest @ tbc – (HU)
29.09 Oradea @ Cafe Moszkva
30.09 Szeged @ Live Music Club
01.10 Vienna @ Rhiz (+Arktis/Air)
02.10 Prachatice @ Pub Za Radnici
03.10 Ceske Budejovice @ Ostinato – (CZ)
04.10 Prague @ 007 Klub (+Hammerhead +Vaz) – (CZ)
05.10 Halle @ Hühnermanhattan
06.10 Hamburg @ Hafenklang – (DE)
08.10 Den Haag @ Haags Pop Centrum
09.10 Brussels @ m4 (+Zs) – (BE)
10.10 Paris @ Nouveau Casino (+Off!) – (FR)
11.10 Gerardmer @ Le Grattoir
16.10 Geneva @ L’Usine (+Vaz)
18.10 Valeggio sul Mincio / Verona @ Villa Zamboni
19.10 Loreto / Ancona @ Circolo Reasonanz – (IT)
20.10 Bologna @ Freakout
21.10 Osio sopra / Bergamo @ Joe Koala – (IT)
22.10 Torino @ Blah Blah Club
23.10 Milano @ Bloom (+Sebadoh)
24.10 Cagliari @ Bohemien
25.10 Sardegna @ tbc – (IT)
26.10 Pisa @ Borderline Club – (IT)
27.10 Cremona @ Il Fico – (IT)
28.10 Brescia @ Lio Bar – (IT)
29.10 Zoppe di S.Vendemiano / Conegliano @ Bar Barbone
30.10 Crnomelj @ MKK
31.10 Velenje @ Klub eMCe plac


After a 5-year absence, Qui is once again back to the original duo formed in 2000 by drummer/vocalist Paul Christensen and guitarist/vocalist Matt Cronk. Life, Water, Living… features inventive song structures and warped pop sensibilities reminiscent of early Sparks and Frank Zappa with Queen-style harmonies… or something like if Badfinger were the Melvins. Throughout, it’s an album that subtly commands attention as it shifts from a soft whisper to a chuckle to a scream.

Concerts Music

Sigur Rós in Helsinki. Concert review 2013

After a long tour, Sigur Rós made their last appearance before some well deserved Christmas holidays at Harwall Areena in Helsinki.

I have not had the chance before to see them live, a couple of times circumstances worked against me when I was about to assist to their shows some years ago at Positivus Festival in Latvia and more recently this summer at Ilosaarirock in Joensuu. But finally the chance came in a cold freezing winter night that did not affect the good spirits of the citizens of Helsinki, who even when the asphalt outside the venue was literally a plank of ice in some areas and quite dangerous, slid their way down happily with a mastery that only the Nordic people are able to achieve to maintain gravity towards the entrance of Hartwall Areena, that looked less packed than usual with almost half of the seats not available. Certainly it was too much to expect that the Icelandic band would sell out such a big venue, but the assistance was still pretty acceptable, and it is nice to see that Fullsteam Records are able to bring their bands not only to small bars of mid-size clubs, but also to the big events and concert places around Finland.

Sigur Ros

I said previously that I had never seen Sigur Rós live, and certainly at the beginning of the show, there was a moment where I wonder if I would be able to see them at all, but no other reason than a big blanket covering around the whole stage while colorful lights were projected on it and the band kept on playing inside. I liked the idea… for the first couple of songs… Problem is that the band did not appear until probably the fourth song, which in a way created a nice tension among the audience, but on the other hand I found it a bit too much. In any case, finally the high pitched voice of Jonsi could be heard while he was standing on the stage and the show reached for some moments an almost spiritual level, visually stunning fulfilled with a beautiful eclectic music played with a wide array of instruments that transport you to a happier place.

Although Jonsi seem to prefer singing to communicating with the audience, he did not forget to make a small break to invite to the front to one member of the choir so the rest of the band could sing her happy birthday.

A bit more of 2 hours of something that cannot be defined by less than a beautiful musical experience with nothing to envy to the amazing beauty of their homeland Iceland (watch the documentary Heima if you want to experience a perfect combination of both) . I was just sad after the show that the setlist did not include Starálfur, my all time favorite tune from the band.

Sigur Rós Setlist at Harwall Areena. 30th November 2013

Í Gær
Með Blóðnasir



Articles Concerts Interviews Misc Music

Breaking the Surface Tour: Bringing talent together!

Bringing the Surface tour is an interesting project that was surfing by bus for 10 days around the Nordic countries until arriving in Helsinki, the Finnish capital.

On head of this is Danish composer and musician Jonas Andreasen together with Finnish singer Sini Koskelainen and a bunch of talented musicians that belong to their “Near Life Experience” project that headed on this adventure from Aarhus in Denmark through Norway, Sweden and Finland, interacting with other local bands, gathering musical ideas, and offering an exciting show full of music, visual effects and dance, brought by the Finnish dancer Nadja Alve.

Near Life Experience

We met the crew just before their final performance at Gloria Cultural Centre in the heart of Helsinki. After 10 days on the road, they were tired and dreaming of a hot shower, plus it was not the easy end when part of the band got sick with food poisoning. However, they were full of illusion to perform in a city that Andreas recognized loves, having lived and studied in Helsinki. Before the local band Elifentree would warm up the atmosphere with some amazing skills by his drummer, it was time to sit with Andreas and drummer Frej Lesner so they could tell us more about how the tour went:

Thanks for your time! Can you tell us a bit more, Andreas, how the project to go on the road for these 10 days came up and how you met Sini (Koskelainen)?

Jonas: I was studying in Aarhus and Sini came there, we heard each other play, and I had a chance to play with her quarter. We just liked each other’s stuff and energy. I wanted to write music with a bigger group but I had difficulties to find a singer, so when I met Sini, it was a super good connection. That is how it goes started, and then we wrote music together and I arranged everything. We put the band together and we did a project together that was a big success in Aarhus. That is how the band got started. Now she is living in Helsinki and I am living in Berlin and all the musicians are in Aarhus. We received the support of a cultural organization there and we are glad to get any help, because it is difficult to tour with a relatively unknown band.

Did you know the other musicians beforehand?

Jonas: They come from all over Denmark, except of the trombone player who is Swedish. Very talented musicians that I was lucky to be able to handpick. Here is Frej, the drummer, one of the first I asked to join the band. So far we had been playing only in Denmark, so this is a big step for us.

You were in other countries sharing the stage with other bands. How was the experience to meet other musicians?

Frej: It was great, I heard some bands with some great musicians. Also this band in its own, it is great to play with this band, they are all great musicians. There is no hiding when you have to play, you have to take control of the music. And we also get to know new places to play. It is very difficult when you are sitting in Aarhus to know for example where to play in Helsinki. So it is great to expand the network.

Near Life Experience

So how is to be on the road traveling by bus for 10 days? What other activities did you do… did you get much sleep time?

Jonas: We would mostly sleep when the bus was driving, but actually not so much sleep. Everyone has been sick also. But well, this is also part of it, it is something you have to do. But it has been so great musically, we have got so much, a good response from all the audience. When we arrive in a new town, we hang around the city, and then a lot of hours in the venue doing the soundcheck, getting something to eat, doing the show… and then on the road again.

They always say that Finland is different than the other Scandinavian countries. Now that you got the experience to tour around all of them, what is your feeling?

Frej: Well, just the language itself is different. It is kind of a mixture of Russian and Nordic culture, somehow.
Jonas: I have been living in Aarhus and Stockholm and Helsinki. I really love Finland so much, feel close to the Finns and to Helsinki. It has less of the Scandinavian “stiffness” that we have in Denmark and Sweden.

What people can expect from the show tonight? What are the backbone ideas behind the show?

Jonas: I would tell them to open their hearts and ears and eyes. It is a mixture, we try to have a big visual side of what we do musically. That is the idea behind the dancing of Nadja. We have some music that some people say that is hard to listen to, a mix of jazz and modern language with a lot of improvisation. Giving some visual expression really help people to get the music and get into it. A lot of people say that it was great and they had never heard anything like that.

Near Life Experience

So do musicians get a lot of freedom to improvise?

Frej: Well, for me as a drummer, I feel that everything I play is something I have invented myself, but of course always on the frame of what Jonas want.

Jonas: I write a lot, but I write for certain people I know very well. So I know or at least I try to write what people need to play. There are places where people do a lot of free style, but of course I need to bring some overview. To know the direction and why something is happening right now.

What are your future plans after you finish this tour?

Jonas: We have the EP with 3 songs and we are releasing a full album, already recorded, this fall. So many things going on!

For coming back, will you go back by bus or flying?

Both: Flying! Enough bus for a while!

Concerts Music

Summer Sound Festival. Helsinki 2013. Photos

FREE! Magazine was at the 3rd edition of Summer Sound festival in Helsinki, and brings you now a few exclusive photos so you can have an idea of the atmosphere there during 3 days of a storm of great electronic music at the huge Convention Center in Pasila, near the city centre of the Finnish capital.

The feeling inside the festival could be resumed like this: young audience ranging between 18 and 23 years old, minimal lenght in the clothes worn, young people eager to dance, party and show off as much flesh as can be politically correct, long queues to order drinks but otherwise, had to praise that the organization of the event in general was superb, with an outdoors tent and then the main indoor arena, teenagers going crazy to collect empty cans to get 1 extra euro per can in return and overall, a lot of music all day long with some of the best Finnish and international DJs and with DJ Tiesto, probably the most famous DJ in the world for the last decade, putting the cherry on top of the cake closing the festival at Sunday night. This is undoubtedly the closest one can feel in Finland to be partying Ibiza style!

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Concerts Music

Iron Maiden at Helsinki Olympic Stadium 2013

In what will be remembered by probably all Finnish Maiden fans as a great evening of metal, Iron Maiden visited the capital of Finland again to offer a show full of power. In around 2 hours, they played a not very long but impressive setlist collecting most of their greatest hits for delight of their many followers.


But the evening started several hours before that with the opportunity to see 3 great opening bands, something unusual nowadays unless you go to a summer festival. The Swedish Ghost, with that charismatic singer dressed like a pope from hell and a band that seem to be dressed as big bugs, started to set the mood of the audience at a stadium that was filling step by step until reaching around 28.000 spectators when Maiden stepped on stage. I enjoyed Ghost, but certainly maybe 18:00 in the evening with the sun shining is not the most suitable environment for them playing live. All in all, a pleasant band that mixes it up great music with a good theatrical performance onstage.

After them, Swedish Sabaton and local Amorphis took the stage. Sabaton has a strong reputation in Finland and certainly people seem to enjoy their lyrics and warrior attitude on stage. With Amorphis performance, honestly I cannot comment much because as most of the audience, I was dedicated to take advantage to have the final drinks in the drinking area before Maiden’s show would begging. A little slap to the organization in the question related to portable toilets. People had to wait half an hour to be able to use them. When almost 30.000 are gathered in a stadium, these things should be a bit better planned, because obviously most of them are going to be concentrated on the drinking area…

Bruce Dickinson

A few minutes after 21:00 the British legendary metal band Iron Maiden irrupted on the stage starting with Moonchild, and what followed was a total battery of metal classics, with the audience getting ecstatic for some moments and losing the voice screaming the lyrics of arch-famous hits such as Afraid to Shoot Strangers, The Number of the Beast or Run to the Hills. Vocalist Bruce Dickinson as charismatic and with such a great voice as always dominating the stage from the top and running around, but it is true that the age starts not to have mercy on him, the band looks old, the physical aspect has deteriorated in the last years, and obviously they cannot hide they are already in their mid fifties. In any case, this did not affect at all the professionalism shown on stage. Fans got exactly what they expected, with Bruce changing outfits dressed as a British soldier or as a strange gothic vampirish character… Eddie visiting the stage as a dead pirate… Fireworks, the decoration at the back of stage changing and showing different album art covers for every song… And when the encore starts with such a powerful song as Aces High, you cannot really get it much better than that in any metal concert around the world! Solid performance once again of Maiden, one of the most beloved metal fans in Finland. And they show why, always pleasing the fans.

Iron Maiden

Setlist. Iron Maiden. 20/07/2013 Helsinki Olympic Stadium

Can I Play with Madness
The Prisoner
2 Minutes to Midnight
Afraid to Shoot Strangers
The Trooper
The Number of the Beast
Phantom of the Opera
Run to the Hills
Wasted Years
Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
The Clairvoyant
Fear of the Dark
Iron Maiden
Churchill’s Speech
Aces High
The Evil That Men Do
Running Free

Concerts Features Music

10 things that rocked (and 10 things that could rock harder) at Rock the Beach festival

Rock the Beach

A new strong festival is added to the great array of summer events to enjoy in Finland: Rock the Beach!

After the good experience with Rihanna playing at Helsinki´s “Hietsu” beach, Scott Lavender, the promoter of the event, admitted to FREE! Magazine that actually this year the idea had evolved based on the choice by Rammstein, the German band loving the location to play open air, and they hope that the festival can continue in following years.

We were there to enjoy it to the max, and these are the things we liked the most and also a few things that could make this even more awesome in future editions!

Rock the Beach

1. It rocked… the resting area with hammocks close to the food area. Great to relax and eat something in the middle of the shows.

1. It could have rocked harder if… there would not be damn seagulls everywhere trying to rob of your food.

Rock the Beach

2. It rocked… to have Queens of the Stone Age in Helsinki!

2. It could have rocked harder if… they would have played more than just 1 hour.

Rock the Beach

3. It rocked… the whole Rammstein show! The Germans showed once more that they are one of the most amazing bands to see live, with a show full of power, pyrotecnica and good music!

3. It could have rocked harder if… there would not be so strong daylight to appreciate to the fullest all the fireworks and pyrotecnica around their show. Also the stage was a bit too high and far from the audience.

Rock the Beach

4. It rocked… the dirty jokes from Canadian Danko Jones. Great music and great connection with the audience!

4. It could have rocked harder if… Jared Leto would not be such an asshole. Honestly, maybe the teenagers wet their pants with the singer of 30 Seconds to Mars, but as an artist… the concert was weak, after a few songs we felt like going for a few beers instead of wasting our time there.

Rock the Beach

5. It rocked… that the beer was not especially expensive, 6.5e per can, and that you did not have to worry to get 1e back for giving the can back.

5. It could have rocked harder if… the drinking areas would have a direct view to the main stages… or they would allow to pass your own drinks, as it happens in Pori Jazz… but well, we know that this is asking too much in Finland…

Rock the Beach

6. It rocked… the location! Hietsu beach is just a few hundred metres away from the heart of Helsinki and the sunsets there on summer while listening to your favorite bands are something to be seen!

6. It could have rocked harder if… the concerts would not ended so early, at 23:15, and people would have stayed later. For most of people, the event was a way of kicking out the night and then continuing in some bar. Being also organized on wednesday, friday and saturday due to Greenday being able to perform only on wednesday, it did not have the most friendly schedule for working people…

Rock the Beach

7. It rocked… Rival Sons, a band I had never heard before and surprised me in a gladly way.

7. It could have rocked harder if… the organization could bring some big headliner who does not play usually in Finland. For example, Aerosmith…

Rock the Beach

8. It rocked… Greenday inviting to a teenage girl to the stage and giving her an electric guitar as a gift!

8. It could have rocked harder if… I would have been the lucky one! Unfortunately, I never learnt how to play guitar yet :)

Rock the Beach

9. It rocked… the great number of people with beautiful tattoos over their skins inside the festival!

9. It could have rocked harder if… they would have a tattoo parlour inside the festival for those who want to remember this event forever with a new tattoo.

Rock the Beach

10. It rocked… to cover the festival as a journalist! Why to deny it, to be accredited for probably the festiva of the year in Finland rocks big time!

10. It could have rocked harder if… Rammstein would have given interviews. Unfortunately they came here just for playing more than for talking. But as far as they keep on giving those amazing live shows, they can keep that way.

Rock the Beach

Concerts Features Interviews Music

Interview with Johannes, singer of Swedish metal band Avatar

Text and Photos: Antonio Diaz

What does a Spaniard do at the backstage of Nosturi in Helsinki surrounded by Swedish metal heads while Finland plays against Sweden in the ice hockey world championship? Talking relaxed to Johannes, singer of the Swedish band Avatar. There will be time later to see how Finland loses (damn, not again!!!) against its nemesis Sweden, but meanwhile we are sitting on the sofa with a friendly easy going Johannes offering a cold beer to fight the humid warm that wraps the Finnish capital and chatting with FREE! Magazine about their trips, music, lyrics and expectations for the concert that will take place a few hours later in the same venue. Johannes is pretty familiar with Helsinki, since actually he dates an Italian lady who lives there and visits often.

Yes, I have been in Helsinki now countless times. I visit at least once a month, so I am starting to find my way around. I know the bars, well the bars because I always end up in the same one, in Base Bar. It has the feeling of a beer hall that I really love.

So are you familiar of the traditional “ferry culture”, those famous boat trips between Finland and Sweden where all kind of crazy things happen?

Oh, I fly usually, but yeah I know them. We have been on tour on those ferries. Beautiful experience! Hehehe. It is something special, like for example sharing a stage singing karaoke with Finnish truckers!


Before coming here, you were touring in USA. How was the American experience?

It was really really cool! The thing is that although we are close to start recording the next album, we are still touring with Black Waltz album and it was the first one that got released in USA, so we did not really expect much but we did really well over there, having the opportunity to do our first real tour there. We were blown away and we had the opportunity to blow people away too.

In Europe, especially in North Europe where the drinks at the bars and venues are so expensive, people go directly to see the headliners, but maybe in USA people are more open to arrive earlier and see the opening bands too, right? It must feel much better to play for packed venues…

Exactly! We play for full venues and that was really special. After that, I try to make a point to arrive earlier to the shows I want to see as spectator! Hehehe. Even the coverage with the radio stations is so different what they have there going on radio wise. I guess here the biggest coverage for metal music is printed media and webzines and there is radio and then webzines. We get played… not at all at the radio stations in Europe. But in USA, being a big country with a common language, they can reach all the few metal heads here and here and there and there, so in the end adds a lot of people. I think that is the reason… and maybe that they do not like reading so much… hehehe.

“Sharing my energy onstage with the audience is something bigger than punching someone!”

Actually I met some months ago for another interview in this same venue with the guitarist another band you toured in USA, Cristiano of Lacuna Coil, and he commented me how the economical crisis around the world makes more and more difficult for them to promote their music and keep afloat. Have you got a similar feeling of the crisis affecting your band?

The thing is that we have been around for 10 years, releasing albums for 7, but still when this crisis started in 2008, 2 years after our first album came out, and at that time Napster was “old”, you know. So we are a bit part of a different generation when we do not know any other way than the current situation here now. I guess is different for older people when they were playing already in the 90s and then they saw this transition, like “what happened to the world?”, but for us this world we are operating right now is pretty much the same one that has always been.

Have the social networks been a good tool to reach your audiences?

Definitely! And we have been learning about that. Actually I am more personally an “anti social networks” person. I was not so dragged into it, to begin with, but then you realize that the people are there and there is where they are looking for us, they are looking for us in Facebook and places like that. So it is pretty cool we can do our little competitions about answering questions and have this direct contact. So that is very cool, as far as you avoid all the shit around it.


Your latest released album, Black Waltz, took a bit longer to be released than the previous ones. Any special reason for it?

Uhm, I guess so… Let´s count… The first album must be January 2006 and then one and a half year… and then 2 years. So yeah. We took a bit of time to focus on other things we wanted to take care of before releasing the album, the videos, the photos… Due to preparations, it needed a bit of delay. We tried to figure out how to get deals to release it everywhere and that takes time. And you cannot do that before the album is finished, because you want to send the record company the pictures, the videos, the songs, all the cool material. That made it take a little bit longer, but I have no regrets about it. That for example led to the US release that we talked about before, so it was good for us.

So you mentioned before that you are already working in the next album?

Yes, we have been working on it for a while and again, it is a bit too early for me to be too specific about it, but I think we got really cool stuff and now is about making all fit in the same box. I have hopes to have it released it this year, but expectations are always hard. Whatever we do, we want to do it 200%, so we still need some decisions to be made along the way. As I said, too early to be more specific, but for sure I can say that as soon as we are back at home, we will be working our asses off on it!

I have noticed that Avatar also loves paying special attention to the visual aspect and quality of the videos. For example I think it was actually very challenging to sing the lyrics backwards in “Torn Apart”, right?

Oh, yeah yeah! I would have needed two more months of practice, I guess! I was also looking for messages from Satan there, but sorry, nothing came out. Only I think I say something in a weird kind of German that is like “the trolls will stop right here”, but yeah, apart from that, no hidden messages. I have to disappoint you. But yeah, it was very tricky and funny to do! The theme was a bit of “Fight Club”, angry young men beating each other up out of pure frustration, and then came this fact that we are a bit of “circus” band in many ways and pro wrestling is totally like a circus thing to me, the extravagant showmanship fits perfectly. It was a fun way to portray this theme about frustration.


How is it for you guys when you are on tour? Do you also get those moments of frustration when you need some aggressive activity to relieve the feelings, or just booze kills the pain?

Well, beer keeps me happy, and well, maybe sounds like old cliché, but makes sense when you get onstage and you get the chance to scream and do something positive with that energy you have on you, especially when you get to share it with the audience, so you make a common experience out of it. That is something bigger than punching someone! It takes you and the audience to a better level.

Other theme that gets repeated in your music is the decadence. It seems that people find appealing the change between 2 eras, lights and shadows…

Yeah, it is a rich background to paint. It brings you automatically to some parts of your life where your actions have been maybe more decadent than other parts of your life, and that is all part of it. The transition between eras… that is when something is happening. I guess is a bit of a journey, every human being has some kind of experience of going up and down, this journey up and down, and I think those times are the most interesting to describe. And in that sense is because we like the circus theme. It has some mystery to it, the mystery of the circus.


I heard you feel very welcome in the previous American tour we just talked about by the other bands. In general in your musical career, what is your favorite band to tour with?

I have never had any real bad experience with other bands, the only dramatic one was our first tour because we were kids and we did not know how to behave, what to do or what not to do. So we gave Impaled Nazarene a hard time, I think, because we were kids that someone should have slapped us! And that was our fault, not theirs. Other than that, when you get to know how to work and be together, a circus company travelling, it is always good. We got the chance for example with a band we admire a lot, Halloween, so we could see them live 8 nights in a row and I got the chance to sit with Michael Weikath and ask him everything. That was super cool and they were super friendly. With other bands like In Flames is easy because we share a common background coming from the same city, we were swimming in the same swimming hall and walking the same streets. Now it is very cool to be with Engel because we know each other for a bunch of years, they were our rehearsing neighbors, and although before we played sometimes in the same shows, this is the first time we can do something together “for real”, putting our names in the same poster.

So what will be the next projects for the summer, I suppose pretty much dedicated to the incoming new album…?

Yes, we have 1 more show in August, but this summer will be pretty much devoted to writing and recording and creating a new great chapter for Avatar!

Concerts Music

Helloween + Gamma Ray in Bucharest. Concert Review

Written by Elena Paraschiv

Power metal back in line! Helloween started their world tour “Hellish Rock tour Part II”, together with Gamma Ray, at the end of February. The band first hit the stage in Barcelona, and after Italy, Greece and Eastern Europe, the pumpkins are heading to Scandinavia. First stop : Helsinki, on March 29, at The Circus. In Finland, Helloween will rock the Finnish audience three nights in a row. After Helsinki, it`s Tampere turn to be energized to the maximum on March 30 at Pakkahuone, and Oulu on March 31 at Club Teatria.

Helloween in Bucharest

Helloween was formed in 1984, by members of bands Iron Fist, Gentry and Powerfool. Since its creation, the band has experienced various line-ups. Among members who have taken part in this project, include Michael Kiske and also Kai Hansen, now the lead guitarist, and vocalist of power metal band Gamma Ray. Helloween released their fourteenth studio album, “Straight Out Of Hell”, on January 18, 2013. The album produced by Charlie Bauerfeind, who works with the band since 2000, is a masterpiece that lasts just over an hour. “Straight Out Of Hell” is a return in force of one of the most popular power metal bands, proving to even the most pessimistic of their fans that Helloween is back in business! A comeback to the real Helloween sound. The album picked position No.4 in Finnish Albums Chart.

Seeing on the same stage Gamma Ray and Helloween in Bucharest, those two emblems of the genre was delightful. The night was opened by Shadowside from Brazil. It was not a very good start. 30 minutes of pure torment. The lead-singer was trying too hard to reach those high notes and to sing the melodic parts. What was supposed to be a power metal start was nothing but an attempt with no success.

Next, Gamma Ray. Even though Hansen had some problems with his voice, the show was flawless. The public reaction was one to match with the show, as they played throughout the setlist along with the Germans from Gamma Ray.

Helloween in Bucharest


Anywhere in the Galaxy
Men, Martians and Machines
The Spirit
Gamma Ray (cover Birth Control)
Master of Confusion
Empire of the Undead
Future World (cover Helloween)
To the Metal
Send Me a Sign

And finally, the long awaited band takes the stage in force in the praise of the public. Helloween show started with two tracks from their new album “Straight Out Of Hell”, “Wanna Be Good” and “Nabataea”, (the best song of the material). So, the band threw the first power metal pill of a really dazzling night. Helloween`s show, had two moments that are fully enjoyed by those present. First was Daniel Löble`s drum solo: spectacular, incredibly, unbelievably good, and the second was the song “Hold Me In Your Arms”. This moment escapes from the power metal sphere with acoustic guitar and a more soft interpretation of Andi. Definitely, one of the best Helloween`s ballad-type song. But the show returns immediately to the power metal vibe, electrifying the public.

Helloween in Bucharest

The full set, the lights, the sound…all entwined with the perfect voice of Andi Deris, the magnificent drumming of Daniel Löble, the perfect bass of Markus Grosskopf, the majestic Gibson of Michael Weikath and the beautiful “Youth Gone Wild” of Sascha Gerstner, made the night a classy power metal show.

So, if you haven`t buy the ticket to see those two great bands…it`s time to hurry up, because this show is one of those shows that stays in your memory forever.


Wanna Be God
Eagle Fly Free
Straight Out of Hell
Where the Sinners Go
Waiting for the Thunder
Steel Tormentor
Drum Solo
I”m Alive
Live Now!
Hold Me in Your Arms
If I Could Fly
Hell Was Made in Heaven
Encore 1:
Are You Metal?
Dr. Stein
Encore 2:
Halloween / How Many Tears / Heavy Metal (Is the Law)
I Want Out (cu Gamma Ray)

Concerts Music

Concert Review: The Killers in Helsinki. 26/02/2013

Text: Antonio Diaz
Photos: Torey Mundowsky

From the fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada, came the American rock band The Killers to put some sunshine into the cloudy Finnish winter. As its charismatic vocalist Brandown Flowers asserted at the beginning of the show “It had been too long Helsinki” and the people of the capital were really eager to see them live.

The Killers in Helsinki

It was not actually that my impression when I was walking the few meters that separate Pasila Train Station from Hartwall Areena, the venue where the concert was about to take place a few minutes later. Just a bunch of fans were pacing fast towards there, so I imagined that the venue was going to be half empty, being a tuesday evening. Far from reality, it must have been actually my fault for arriving a bit late and missing the opening band Louis XIV, because actually Harwall Areena was almost fully packed with fans, many of them female, eager to move their feet. And they have a good change right from the start to shake the body, with the band starting strong with Mr. Brightside, continuing with some other infamous themes you must have listened to countless times in the radio stations or at the nightclubs like Human or Somebody Told Me.

It is undoubtedly Flowers the one who carries on with the charismatic part of the band. With his neat appearance in leather jacket and perfect haircut, he has this look of healthy young American boy with a touch of mischief in his gestures that get both the approval of the mothers and the screams from the young girls. Alternating fast pace songs with some other slow intimate moments with dimmed lights and Flowers on the piano, the band produced a solid show, if not to be remembered as outstanding, at least totally satisfactory to have a couple of hours of a good time listening to light heartening music and some touching moments like when Branson dared to sing a cover of “Forever Young” infamous song.

The Killers in Helsinki

Of course, after the first part of the show, it was compulsory for the band to come back to the stage for an encore of 3 songs and put the cherry on top of the cake with Battleborn and Flowers jumping to shake the hands of most people in the front row. Good show and good impression for being the first time I saw The Killers onstage, a band that transmit the feeling to know what they want.

If I would have to complain about something, I would say more about the organization in Hartwall Areena. First, because if you have the fetish to try to catch a setlist or a guitar pick from the roadies right after the show, security in Hartwall Areena is inmediately pushing you 20 seconds after the show ends to the exit. Secondly, because actually for exiting the venue, you have to walk all around the sports hall and takes 20 minutes, some organizer should have the bright idea to open a few more doors once the show is over to make the exiting of people easier… Luckily when it is winter in Finland, it is not so bad to be under shelter for a few more minutes before the cold outside bites your skin…





















Concerts Music

Concert Review: Europe + Mustasch at The Circus, Helsinki. 21.12.2012

Just before Christmas Helsinki got ready for a doses of great hard rock coming from the neighbouring country Sweden.

As headliners, a living legend: Europe! I still remember being just 6 years old and seeing Europe performing The Final Countdown on the national Spanish TV. It was maybe at that time the most popular foreign song heard and sang in Spain during that year… For many children of my generation, the first approach to see and listen to guys with long hair, electric guitars and leather jackets.

I would have never suspected to see them finally for first time in my life 26 years later in Finland, but life always has surprises awaiting for you. The venue was The Circus, and this was also the first time for me to see a concert there. On the positive side, I must say that it is spacious and with great acoustic, and its location in the heart of the city in Kamppi square makes it really easy to reach. On the less good side, the lines to wait at the entrance for giving or taking back your jackets from the wardrobe are pretty chaotic, and ordering a drink can take ages…


But before Europe, for warming up the environment, we had another great Swedish band that enjoys great popularity in Finlan: Mustasch. Also first time for me to see them live, and I must confess that their popularity is well deserved. Ralf Gyllenhammar and his boys gave a high voltage performance, making the crowd go wild with some of their anthems like Double Nature, Down in Black or 6:36 while the vocalist sprayed the first rows with beer, sharing great chemistry with the audience while trying to say some dirty words in Finnish or inviting some girls around for “funny times” at the backstage. They acted and sounted raw, wild and powerful, like a hard rock band with attitude should act on stage. Even when I was dreaming of seeing Europe live, I must say that at the end of the night, my feelings were that Mustasch had stolen the show.

And it is not that Europe´s concert was bad. Joey Tempest, John Norum and the rest of the band gave quite a decent show, and I certainly got goosebumps listening to some classics that will endure in the history of rock music forever such as Carrie, Rock the Night or of course The Final Countdown that ended the night. But still I noticed that same than for me, for many in the crowd they did not know some of the new songs and also the acoustic part of the concert left the people cold, so in general it was a concert with more up and downs than the previous of Mustasch, where every song was lava from a raging vulcano.

All in all, you cannot ask for much better than this before Christmas. Legends still keeping the flame alive plus one of the strongest current Swedish bands gathering more and more fans in Finland. Santa Claus did not give me a guitar pick as a present, but who the fuck cares when you walk to the bus stop still humming “The Final Countdown” inside your head…


Europe. Setlist at The Circus 2012

Riches to Rags
Not Supposed to Sing the Blues
Scream of Anger
No Stone Unturned
Demon Head
Acoustic set
The World Keep on Turning
(Fleetwood Mac cover) (John Norum on vocals)
Drink and a Smile
Open Your Heart
Love Is Not the Enemy
Girl From Lebanon
Sign of the Times
The Beast
Rock the Night
Last Look at Eden
The Final Countdown

Mustasch. Setlist at The Circus 2012

Heresy Blasphemy
Down In Black
It’s Never Too Late
Deep In The Woods
Bring Me Everyone
Damn Its Dark
Speed Metal
Double Nature
I Hunt Alone

Photos: Antonio Dìaz

Concerts Music

Concert review: Reckless Love & Santa Cruz at Nosturi. 08.09.2012

Helsinki suffered a night of good old glam rock with the presence for first time of the band from Kuopio, Reckless Love, at Nosturi, one of the most famous concert venues in the Finnish capital excepting Tavastia club.

Reckless Love

It was the first time for the band from Kuopio to be present at Nosturi and they were nervous about it as they recognized later during the show. But for warming up, nothing better than the local band Santa Cruz, featuring their debut album Anthem for the Young and Restless. With a very direct classic hard rock style and a fun attitude on stage, they left the audience more than pleased during their 45 minutes performance. Maybe they still carry a bit of an “amateurish” attitude on stage, but you cannot deny either that they are still very young and these kind of gigs are a perfect proof for them to gain more experience for future bigger goals.

A few minutes later appeared on stage the main band of the night: Reckless Love. Having harvested very positive answers from critics and the crowd with their latest release “Animal Attraction”, the band led by charismatic singer Olli “Twisted” Herman made the crowd have a very good time. A lot of young sexy rock chicks among the spectators, but also mother with their daughters and even small children, all enjoying the same and raising their arms with hits like “On the Radio”, “Animal attraction”, “Beautiful Bomb” or “Badass”.

Santa Cruz

It is no secret that many of the tunes of the band are aimed with deference to the female audience that see in Reckless Love a sort of replacement for Negative and their another Finnish sex symbol Jonne Aaron; the figure of their lead singer with long blonde hair, a body of a young Apollo and androgynous facial features turns a sector of the crowd crazy wherever he goes. Olli knows perfectly how to take advantage of this, with studied poses or giving the gift of removing his t-shirt until 3 times during the concert, throwing in one of those occasions his t-shirt of MTV to the mass below him.

Even though, the band also showed enough humble attitudes to thank repeatedly their fans for their support, the hours that some of them spent waiting to be in first row and the opportunity to play in one of the most charismatic Finnish venue, a compulsory place that every band that counts in Finnish music scene has to test. Reckless Love passed with a very high mark during their introduction to Nosturi, and maybe this is just a warming up for bigger ventures waiting for them in the next years.

Photos: Antonio Diaz

Santa Cruz
Reckless Love
Reckless Love
Reckless Love
Reckless Love
Reckless Love

Concerts Features Music

Roskilde: Scandinavian Festival in Hot Summer

Written by Elena Paraschiv

Summer is already here and festivals of every kind are rising like mushrooms after the rain. Once the first ray of the summer sun hits the ground, everyone taste the flavor of…holiday. And how to get the maximum in the best way possible for your holiday? Visiting as many festivals as you can, having tons of fun and enjoy your favourite bands performing live. And if you choose to go to a festival that takes place in Scandinavia or in one of the Baltic countries is even better, because there you can find one of the largest annual festivals in Europe.

Roskilde Festival is a festival that takes place soyh of Roskilde in Denmark. Created in 1971 by two high-school students, Morgens Sandfær and Jesper Switzer Møller and promoter Carl Fischer, represents Denmark`s first real music-oriented festival. It was originally for hippies, but nowadays this festival covers the Scandinavian youth and not only.

Is a festival that brings together people of different ages, different cultures o see playing live on stage the best musicians of the world. Until the mid `90s, Roskilde used to attract mostly Scandinavians, but in recent years this festival witnessed an increasing number of large Germans, Australians and British ready for fun.


During the years, at the festival bands and artists like The Kinks, Jeff Beck, Dr.Hook, U2, Robert Palmer, Metallica, Neil Young, Guns N` Roses, Nirvana, Radiohead, Black Sabbath, RHCP, David Bowie, Slayer and many, many other great musicians wrote the history of Roskilde Festival, performing in front of thousands of people. The festival covers a wide range of musical styles, from electronic to Norwegian black metal, so that everyone can have the chance to see their favourite artists performing live.

Roskilde Festival, 2011 edition, took place between June 30 and July 3, with warm-up and camping from June 26, presenting 180 acts from all over the world, including headliners such as Arctic Monkeys, Iron Maiden, Mastodon, Kings of Leon, The Strokes and PJ Harvey. It was a 4 days celebration of youth, colorful, with many good artists, all sprinkled with plenty of alcohol.

This year’s edition of the festival is no exception to the rule. Roskilde Festival 2012, will present 200 acts performing on 8 stages ( Apollo, Pavilion, Pavilion Junior, Cosmopol, Odeon, Orange, Gloria and Arena) during 4 days of continous party. Headliners like “The Boss” Bruce Springsteen, The Cure, Bon Iver, The Roots, Jack White, Mew and Björk will heat the atmosphere , transforming the festival in an enormous party. The warm-up opens on June 30, and the day before the festival itself begin, a treasure hunt will be organized. It will test competitors creativity, dexterity and why not their dorkyness.

Roskilde Festival has many attractions besides good music and camping life. For the development and support of culture, the organizers have arranged different types of areas such as orange zone, urban zone, graffiti zone (where some of the world`s greatest graffiti artists will spread their paint in an artistic manner on the walls in the area), and may others. If you love to play games, at the festival you will have the opportunity to play Volley, Beachminton, PingPong, Boardgames, social gaming, Street Sports and others. The highlights of this year are Green Foosball (will take place in the Odeon Area), a 3 days football tournament only for girls ( men are allowed to cheer and to hydrate the girls after every football match), Crossbox, Bingo(old-school style in Game City) and the craziest game ever called The Big Game, where competitors can win tickets for next year’s festival. And because people have to eat too, they will have a wide range of delicious foods, snacks and drinks that will delight their taste buds : from Denmark to India and from Italy to China.

So, if you want an unforgettable experience that you will remember with pleasure throughout your life, take the train, plane, car or ferry and go to Roskilde! The party is going to start this Saturday!

Roskilde 2012