Thrash Attack! Helsinki: A Nosturi Night to Remember

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Six bands bombarded the Nosturi stage on Saturday with Electrik Products’ “Thrash Attack!” The event, which took place on International Women’s Day, drew a diverse crowd in many ways; but the entire evening carried the youthful energy of the Finnish thrash metal scene.

Opener Malicious Death got an early start at 19:30, and in camouflage shorts and t-shirts, the Helsinki-based group appeared as though they’d just left the skate park. They played with intensity to a relatively thin crowd.

Russian band Tiran followed next, who featured songs in non-standard time signatures, and an overly animated lead guitarist whose excitement level to be on the Nosturi stage was seemingly unparalleled.

Pahan Ikoni leaned forward into the audience and kicked off their set alongside an audience who volunteered fist pumps along to their new single “Henki Hengestä” and more.

“This single is new for us in 2019, and we’ve heard an even more positive response than the last few we’ve put out,” guitarist Janne Vähäaho said.

The Helsinki-based five-piece group performs only in Finnish and promises “speed and sweat” during their live shows, staying true to their original vision for the band.

Bassist Petri Sara said, “A lot of our lyrics have a double meaning, which wouldn’t translate to English. It was something we decided when we started writing around 10 years ago.”

Lead vocalist Jan Juvonen said, “Besides the language coming naturally to us, it’s easier for us to convey emotion in Finnish. And, ‘perkele’ sounds more brutal than ‘devil’- like ‘Aww, you little devil!’”

The band consider their signature to be twin lead guitars in Vähäaho and Carlos Laisaari, and each had a turn soloing during their half-hour set. Despite the thrash-inspired chaos on stage around him, drummer Anton Nisonen calmly delivered a standout performance.

The fourth band of the evening, Re-Armed, arrived on stage in nearly-matching outfits. They flung water and beach balls into the crowd, which would have suited a larger audience, but they garnered an active mosh pit and turned the fans into athletes with songs such as “Lullaby of Obedience” and “Built to Last”.

Next up was The Hirvi, translated from Finnish as “The Moose”, who filled the room with the sounds of old-school Finnish thrash. The band rose to popularity in the late 1980’s, at which point they lay dormant until re-forming in 2017. They delivered a performance rife with songs from their 2018 album “Old School Killspree”, which resonated with the more nostalgic members of the crowd.

Lead singer Juha Virtanen shedded his Superdry shirt and light-up glasses halfway through the set, and continued to play for the crowd, who trickled from the bar into the venue in anticipation of Lost Society.

The audience was animated even before Jyväskylä-based Lost Society arrived, as The Prodigy’s “Smack My Bitch Up” blasting beats through Nosturi’s sound system in memory of the recently-passed Keith Flint.

The headliners then assumed the stage, and they wasted no time provoking the crowd further, with lead vocalist and guitarist Samy Elbanna immediately vowing to “tear this motherfucking place down.”

Clad in all black and fresh off a U.K. tour, with the drummer Ossi Paananen in the shadows on stage, Lost Society brought a home-team power to some of their older material. They powered through songs such as  “Trash All Over You” and “Overdosed Brain” at blistering speeds.

Elbanna, alongside guitarist Arttu Lesonen and bassist Mirko Lehtinen, continued to command the room in a way that not even some seasoned performers can achieve. The frenzy reached a peak when they cajoled the audience into a “wall of death”, lining up along opposite walls then charging at each other as the band’s intensity grew on stage. During “Rage Me Up”, Elbanna rocked his vocal mic right off of its stand.

When they reached the point at which any mere mortals would have been exhausted, the band pulled out a spot-on cover of Rage Against the Machine’s “Guerrilla Radio”, putting their own Lost Society spin on a classic, replete with Tom Morello-esque guitars.

They packed the audience’s bags with the heavy “I Am the Antidote”, then sent them straight to hell with “No Absolution”. A rousing chorus of “Riot” rounded out the evening.

Where can you see them next?

Pahan Ikoni:

  • 29 March at Jack The Rooster (Tampere) with Scar Symmetry, more.
  • 30 March at On The Rocks (Helsinki) with Scar Symmetry, more.

Re-Armed: 10-13 April, throughout Spain with Debauchery

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