Metal Solstice witnessed Vorna in action on their recent tour, celebrating the autumn release of full-length Sateet palata saavat on Lifeforce Records. Their Helsinki stop at On The Rocks fell on the same night as Turbonegro’s performance in town, but they still nearly sold out the venue, an intimate stage for the band alongside Kaunis Kuolematon and Voidfallen.
This particular evening introduced melodic death metallers Voidfallen to Helsinki, as part of a broader Finnish tour that exposed them to numerous cities. In early December, they announced a booking agreement with Heavy Metal Heart Agency that has already proven fruitful; they’ll join Omnium Gatherum, Mors Principium Est, and Torchia live in February 2020.
In a November interview, lead vocalist Tommi Kangaskortet and guitarist Henri Vuorenmaa discussed their focus on the production value of their recordings, music video, and now their live shows. Kangaskortet said, “Our goal is to do everything as well as we just can, or have resources to do if we outsource it like with the video. Music is the most important thing but there is much more to it, than just music, if you want it to be a comprehensive experience.”
The group, also including Lauri Myllylä (bass), Mika Lumijärvi (drums), and Aleksi Tossavainen (guitars), arrived ominously on stage, clad in masks and ready to make a first impression. They delivered a quick but polished set, allowing the music from their debut EP The Sinners, The Plague, and the Voidfallen to shine. They punctuated the set with “Voidfallen”, Briefly discuss the show, masked and mysterious but delivered a quality first impression and punctuated the set with “Voidfallen”, whose opening riff especially left the audience with something memorable.
Kangaskortet and company were happy with the reception in each city, but said that the new band still has plenty of work to do in the coming year. The frontman said, “We have accomplished what was to be expected, and the feedback has indeed been good, but it is worth it for people to come to our shows frequently because they will receive something extra each time they attend.”
Hamina, Finland’s Kaunis Kuolematon played second, with perhaps one of the most unexpected performances we saw in 2019. If we could have replayed this atmospheric death/doom set a few times, we would have; lead singer Olli Suvanto’s harsh growls resonated throughout the room in songs such as the recently-released “Yön tunteina”.
Guitarist/vocalist Mikko Heikkilä’s clean vocal solo in “Paha ihminen”, one of the band’s recent singles, was also a high point as the room quieted to a whisper, hanging on his every word. The set was deeply emotive, and though Kaunis Kuolematon currently only performs in Finnish, one didn’t need to understand the lyrics to become transfixed on the material.
The band’s last full-length was 2017’s Vapaus, but fear not- Suvanto, Heikkilä, Ville Mussalo (guitars), Jarno Uski (bass), and Miika Hostikka (drums) are in the process of recording a new album at the time of this post. They’ll perform in Tampere at the TalviHelvetti pre-party on January 9, and will open for Brymir at House of Rock in Kouvola in February.
Kaunis Kuolematon and Vorna met in the first weeks of 2019, performing adjacent sets at Helsinki’s Metal Crane Festival in the now-defunct Nosturi, as well as Jyväskylä’s JKL Metal Festival. Their similar melancholy moods dovetailed nicely in this show’s setting as well.
Vorna’s turn came to perform for the packed room, finally relieving the audience’s built-up anticipation after a successful run around Finland. Sateet palata saavat has been received particularly well by critics and Vorna’s loyal fans; they’ve even surprised themselves.
In an interview with Metal Solstice, singer Vesa Salovaara said, “It has been a minor shock for me how well people have received the new album and every show has exceeded my exceptations. One show was already sold-out. It’s simply amazing that the audiences are singing along the lyrics of an album that has been out only for a short time.”
The set focused heavily on new material, and “Virvatulet”, a favorite from the latest album, was also a triumph live. It made the most of each band member’s talent, from Niilo Könönen’s opening bass tone to Mikael Vanninen’s unrelenting drumming. Guitarists Arttu Järvisalo and Henri Lammintausta, as well as keyboard player Saku Myyryläinen, also had moments to flourish.
In the evergreen debate as to whether live keyboards are necessary, Salovaara defended Myyryläinen’s honor at length, saying, “Well, I personally think that a major part of what makes live shows attractive is that all you sense is being created in the present moment, and thus, is always unique and a bit different experience every time. I believe there are mainly practical reasons behind the phenomenon of having keyboards coming from backing tracks.
“However, I’m proud that we do have Saku on stage with us and believe it’s also more interesting for the audience if they can actually see someone playing the parts they’re hearing- which, by the way, is the reason Saku has tilted the keys toward the audience. Lastly, if we think about songwriting, Saku brings something unique to the table no one of us could be able to replicate. I rest my case!”
With “Yksin” as the only song in the set from Vorna’s prior catalog, the question arose, are there any Vorna songs that haven’t been heard by a live audience? Salovaara said, “We actually talked about this recently with the guys and agreed that we’ve played every single released song in our discography live at least once. One year ago we were celebrating our 10-year journey and even decided to play our first song ever live.
“Of course there are some songs we’ve basically dropped from the set for good and some we play very rarely; we might be fed up with them, don’t think they’d fit our current set or are good enough, and some songs, such as “Vaipunut” from our second album, we want to save for special occasions.”
“Aalloista” and “Kauas” rounded out the set; in a previous conversation, Salovaara mentioned that this is the personal song to him from Sateet palata saavat. Its choral vocal touches and layers of instrumentation designate it as a clear winner to conclude both the album and Vorna’s live set.
Salovaara said, “Some people have been deeply touched, others sing, laugh and have fun from start to finish. Everything is allowed, come as you are and feel as you feel. We ourselves try to be and live the music and the moment as genuinely as we can.”
See Vorna again in 2020:
- January 10 at TalviHelvetti (Tampere, Finland)
- January 11 at Seinäjoki Metal Festival (Seinäjoki, Finland)
- June 17 at Nummirock Metal Festival 2020 (Nummijärvi, Finland)
- July 10 at Metallivuori 2020 (Eura, Finland)