Date : 28.12.2012

Bands : Face of God (FI), The Skreppers (FI), HIM (FI)

Location : Helsinki (FI)

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Helldone has been the most anticipated event for HIM fans. Considering that HIM hasn’t played live for over 1 year made the fans worried a bit but after the announcement of the 4 shows in dates 28.12-31.12.2012, the excitement was over-the-top. Getting the tickets was not so easy either; as soon as the tickets were on sale, the whole Helldone Festival was sold out in about 10 minutes. At one point, the tiketti website crashed so from those things, I could see that Helldone was going to be really special.

I could only attend the Helldone show on the first day and it was also good that I did because firstly, the show was too expensive for me (60 E for one day?!) and secondly, my schedule in Helsinki was too busy.

The opening act for Helldone was the Finnish rock trio Face of God. To be honest, I didn’t know about the band before but before coming to Finland, I was asked to interview them so I knew I had to be there!  Face of God may not be so known; they have only released one EP called Fire and they are about to release a double album in 2013 but from their performance, I could see that they are a band full of energy!

Face of God started their performance with the song Price of Glory. Even though most of the people in the crowd were HIM fans, I could see that people were singing along and dancing to the opening act. They also played Elephant, which is a song used as a soundtrack for a movie. Apart from those songs, the band also played two new songs which are yet to be named. I especially loved the energy within the vocalist Leo Stillmann as well as his interaction with the crowd. Another thing I really liked was their sound; normally with Finnish rock bands, the sound is more or less the same but this was not the case in this band. Face of God proved that they have a different and a unique sound and that they are different from other Finnish bands.

With their performance, Face of God definitely proved that they are a promising and successful band. Hopefully, Helldone show will open more doors for the trio!

Rating : 10/10

Setlist :

Price Of Glory
Elephant
Dance
Born To Lose
Chase Yeasterday
“Him”-working title
“New song”
Paranormal Whorebomb
Black In The Night

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 All copyrights for Face of God photos go to Emil Pääkkönen

After Face of God’s performance, the second act was The Skreppers, which is the band of HIM’s friend/producer Hiili Hiilesmaa. Instead of seeing The Skreppers though, I decided to check out the Semifinal Club which was just next to Tavastia, in which Jyrki 69 from The 69 Eyes was DJing. Surely, the club was kind of empty because everybody was in Tavastia waiting for HIM’s or The Skreppers’ show. Nevertheless, I was glad I was in Semifinal Club because Jyrki was beyond cool as a DJ and the songs fit perfectly to his style, which I love. Jyrki was beyond humble and he even took photos with fans or signed postcards for them. As The 69 Eyes fans know, the band has released their wine recently and I was really happy to taste the band’s wine in the club. It was the perfect moment for me; The 69 Eyes wine, hanging out with my friends and listening to the awesome music that Jyrki was playing.

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After hanging out in the Semifinal Club for a while, it was time to get prepared for HIM so I headed to Tavastia right away. The venue was so packed that it was insane. From the excitement of the crowd, I could see that everybody had been waiting for that moment.

After a bit of a delay, the Finnish love metallers welcomed the crowd and they started the set with Ke cover Strange World, which is also featured on the band’s latest greatest hits album. It was so great to see one of my favorite bands live after more than 1 year. I also liked the song they picked as the first song; although it was a cover song, it was heavy enough and it kept the crowd going for sure.

HIM continued the performance with Right Here In My Arms and Rip Out The Wings of A Butterfly. The first songs showed the setlist was going to be quite colorful and it was the case ; the band played songs from their old albums like Razorblade Romance and Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights. What disappointed me a bit was that they only played The Kiss of Dawn from their epic album Venus Doom; I expected them to play at least Sleepwalking Past Hope. Moreover, the band played only Heartkiller from their latest debut album Screamworks : Love in Theory and Practice. I think this was a right decision; in this way, the band played more of their classic songs. In the setlist, there were a lot of surprise songs that made me really excited ; those songs were Gone With The Sin, It’s All Tears and Sweet Pandomenium. These songs were the highlights for me, it was so good to hear them after a long time. HIM finished the set with a really surprising song , When Love and Death Embrace,  and left the stage. This song really surprised me; it’s not my favorite HIM song but it surely is a classic for sure.

Generally, I can say that the first half of the performance was really good. The crowd was quite cheerful and everyone was singing along to the songs. However, I can’t say the same for the second half of the performance. There were a lot of things that really disappointed me. One of these things was the fact that the vocalist Ville Valo forgot lyrics in some songs like The Sacrament. Surely, I understand that the band has not been active for quite a long time. However, this should not mean that the band – and especially the vocalist and the most important person in the band- should give a disappointing performance. Secondly, the fact that Ville Valo just kept talking and talking between the songs made me a bit irritated. In the beginning, it was kind of cute to be honest, I always like vocalists who add a bit of a joy to the performances (this whole ‘talking’ thing reminded me of Tobias Sammet from Edguy; he also talked a lot in the band’s performance in Metalfest 2012. But that was different.) but in the second half, this became even worse; it was quite obvious that Ville was not satisfied with the whole performance although I am not sure whether this was because of the band or the crowd.. or both. I do remember and I heard that he said something like “are we shit or are you?”, “let’s pretend that we are having a good time”  and he called the crowd “pretentious motherfuckers” . After hearing these things from him, I wasn’t sure what to think. I know for a fact that he was too nervous before the show so maybe the things he said were the reflections of his nervousness. However, this is not an unknown band we are talking about here; this is fucking HIM! I remember seeing them on March 2010 in Dortmund and they were on fire and when I think about Helldone 2012, there are huge differences. It’s such a shame because I went to Helldone with a lot of expectations and what I have seen kind of disappointed me.

In contrary to Ville Valo’s nervousness, the other guys were on fire. All in all, we should not forget that HIM is not all about Ville Valo. However, despite all the great guitar solos and melodies, I was not so satisfied with the whole performance – especially the second half of the performance.

All in all, I can’t say that this was a great performance. Ville Valo lacked that spark and joy – not to mention that he had been drinking and smoking during the performance- (As most fans know, Ville quit smoking and drinking a few years ago so him drinking and smoking raised many questions). People who go to concerts will know that bands need to have that spark and powerful vibe to get the performance going and Ville did not have any of that. I don’t know whether this lack of spark was because of his nervousness or unwillingness to perform but this was not what I had expected from HIM. As I mentioned, the other guys were really successful though. As a matter of fact, a few positive things from the concert were the vibe of the other guys and the great setlist.

It would be great to see HIM live again when/if they go on tour after the release of their upcoming album Tears on Tape. I think the band will be a bit more better and powerful. Helldone 2012 can be considered as the rebirth of the band after a long time of silence. Hopefully, the band will be stronger than ever in 2013!

 

All the copyrights for HIM photos go to Kardelen Ipek. Please send me an e-mail before using the pictures.

Rating: 6/10

Setlist :

  • Strange World (Ké cover)
  • Right Here in My Arms
  • Rip Out the Wings of a Butterfly
  • Heartkiller
  • The Kiss of Dawn
  • Your Sweet 666
  • I Will Be the End of You
  • Gone With the Sin
  • Sweet Pandemonium
  • Wicked Game (Chris Isaak cover)
  • The Sacrament
  • Pretending
  • The Funeral of Hearts
  • It’s All Tears (Drown in This Love)
  • Soul on Fire
  • Poison Girl
  • Buried Alive By Love
  • Rebel Yell (Billy Idol Cover)

         Encore:

  • Join Me in Death
  • When Love and Death Embrace
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