The heavy metal scene in any part of the world is wildly different from any other music scene. Here, the fans, like the artists, form part of a tight knit society that understands what common music fans don’t: Metal is not just loud noises. Metal is art, metal is life.
This past Saturday at Atlanta’s iconic venue The Masquerade, the metal scene was alive and vibrant with shows from European acts Omnium Gatherum, Leaves’ Eyes and main act Sonata Arctica. This was shaping up to be a fantastic night of brilliant guitar play, head banging, hair whipping and strong vocals.
Omnium Gatherum, a melodic death metal band hailing from Finland, had opening duty on this night. From the very start the energy on display was full throttle with top notch instrument play and vociferous front-man Jukka Pelkonen inviting the crowd to head bang to the rhythm. Gatherum is quite the show, not only is Pelkonen on point, but he’s aided by an all-star cast of musicians that are a side show within the show. Hair whipping guitarists Markus Vanhala and Jope Koto are mesmerizing with their onstage antics and guitar play, while talented drummer Tuomo Latvala does his due diligence to bring the entire act together. Gatherum goes above and beyond during their 30 minute presentation to warm the crowd for what’s to come.
Following Omnium Gatherum was second act Leaves’ Eyes. Formed by musicians of different European nationalities, Leaves’ Eyes is quite the stand-out band. Known for an interesting fusion of metal and symphonic vocals, Leaves’ has previously described their sound as Viking Metal. Picking up where Gatherum left off, Leaves’ wastes no time energizing those in attendance with the harmonic vocals of soprano leading-lady Elina Siirala, who is supported by co-vocalist and hype-man Alexander Krull. During their 45 minute rollercoaster presentation, the members of Leaves’ find organic ways to tie in elements of Opera, Metal, Viking symbolism and even a Marvel standout Deadpool impersonator, all while putting on display a ridiculously flawless musical extravaganza. The band exits the stage leaving main act Sonata Arctica with huge shoes to fill. Leaves’ Eyes is one show not to be missed.
The clock strikes 10:00PM when the moment everyone was awaiting arrives, main act Sonata Arctica reports onstage. The boys are welcomed under low blue strobe lighting and a glow-in-the-dark mic stand. The Finnish power-metalers quickly delve into a rendition of opening track “Closer to an Animal”, putting the crowd on notice for a thrilling closing act to an already lively show. Lead singer Tony Kakko is in complete control from the go with smooth deliveries of his vocals and a stage presence that commands the attention of all. Not to be left behind, band members Elias Viljanen and Pasi Kauppinen lend strong backing vocals and larger than life guitar play to the delight of their strong fan-base at hand.
Sonata display their brilliance on several tracks, but take their intensity to another level when performing show finale and fan-favorite “Don’t Say A Word”, prompting all in attendance to head bang, crowd surf and mosh with the best of them. While this was the last show of the U.S. leg of the tour, be sure to catch Sonata Arctica come 2017 in concert as they hit various European cities commencing in January and stretching all the way into April. They’re a can’t miss gig, you’ll thank us later
Article by Andres Alvarado