[Live report] Arcturus

Woland + Vulture Industries + Arcturus – Nosturi, Helsinki

  07/02/2015

Helsinki’s Woland was the first band to enter the stage that evening. Devastating riffs and a relentless rhythm section were on the menu, but the guitarist also offered a few delicate soli impregnated with melancholy. Vocals sounded a lot like Deathstars at first, a feeling emphasized by the look of the quartet, but after a few songs W’s own touch started to prevail. It’s no easy job to warm up the audience of Nosturi, but served by an excellent acoustic and a polished light show, Woland delivered an astonishing performance, chopped by very few addresses to the audience, to the benefit of an unaltered atmosphere. A solid opening meal.

The biggest surprise came in the form of a quintet wearing white shirts and black braces. Norway’s Vulture Industries set Nosturi into fire with their dark Avant-garde metal. If the whole band was involved in the vocal parts, it’s the singer that caught all the attention: overacting every single move, he didn’t give any respite to the audience, inviting it to participate in the show. The way he chanted his words, like a metalized Charlie Winston singing his Hobo, was mesmerizing. When Woland’s show was all about the music, Vulture Industries’ was all about communion between an audience on the edge of hysteria and a frontman who’ll come to sing forehead against forehead with fans. And how one could not smile when the man formed a human caterpillar to wander through the venue, to the bar area and back to the pit. This burlesque comedy was brilliantly supported by talented musicians, giving the impression of a theatrical play powered by either powerful melodic lines or deconstructed blasts, with no false note. Real rock stars.

After such a revelation, it would be hard for Arcturus to make the audience forget these clowns from Bergen. Disguised, they arrived on stage with assets of their own, the first of them being this music so characteristic, so different from any other one. “Evacuation Code Deciphered”, from their last album Sideshow Symphonies released already ten years ago, received the honor to open the show. Vortex’s voice stood high in the mix and, freed from his bassist’s duty in Borknagar, he could plainly focus on these vocal lines that embody Arcturus’ genius. On the other hand, one can ponder the use of bringing a keyboard and a violin on stage, when they are so badly integrated: inaudible at some point, painfully audible a minute later, the violin was especially disturbing.

The stage presence of the band was impressive, but Vortex’s behavior was surprising: from a music that relies so much on the atmosphere, such a trivial and superficial acting seemed out of place. Of course the singing was exemplary, but I expected more solemnity. This element made it hard to really get into the show, combined with the blast from Vulture Industries that for sure lingered in the audience. From this point of view, Woland made a much better job.

Still, it seemed the show had flown too fast when Vortex announced there would be no encore this evening. A grandiose “Shipwrecked Frontier Pioneer” closed this startling show, which highlight may have well been the presentation of a few songs from the upcoming album of the band.

Finally, although Arcturus’ performance was far from mundane, the sensation of this evening remained Vulture Industries. This crazy band is definitely one to remember for the future.

Picture: Vulture Industries © Abrisad photographer – under Creative Commons License: Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic

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