Exactly a year to the day that I travelled to Jyväskylä, Finland to see Vorna live for the first time, I found myself in Helsinki to see the band again – and to say this show was incredible doesn’t even come close to describing how good the show was as a whole. Something that really helps to make a gig great is when it features a strong lineup, and with two top quality bands in the form of Frosttide and Grimner completing the lineup, the night was always destined to be good before any of the three bands played a note!
Opening proceedings was Swedish folk metallers Grimner, a band that is always a pleasure to see live. Grimner is such a visually engaging band that has clearly put a lot of work into their stage outfits and coupled with a good amount of movement onstage and some damn catchy songs, it makes for such a fun show! From their engaging opener of Blotet, to the insanely catchy Bastu (which had practically the whole room dancing as soon as Grimner informed the Finnish crowd that the name translated to ‘sauna’) and the ever-memorable closer Forna Dagar, the show was wild and engaging from start to finish.
The highlight of the show, however, was the inclusion of a brand new song from the six-piece, a track entitled Midgård Brinner. Somehow even more energetic than their older material, which is surely no mean feat, and the main melodic idea was just so damn catchy that it’s still rattling about my brain two days after last hearing it – which is testament to some utterly great songwriting.
Up next was Frosttide, who picked up right where Grimner left off with another fantastic show. After suffering from a few technical difficulties with their intro track cutting out a couple of times as they came onstage, they didn’t let it affect their performance and instead went straight into their opening track of Blood Oath with a tremendous amount of power and ferocity from all five members – it really is a fantastic choice for a set-opener as it packs such a punch.
With this performance, Frosttide focused more on their first album Awakening, and it was great to see them play an old school set. Last time I saw them, they focused mainly on their excellent new album Blood Oath, so being able to witness such a different set was a treat, with high points including the title track Awakening and Ruins Of Defeat before they closed with a cover of One Night In Bangkok, which was a fantastic rendition – the high-pitched vocals in particular were nothing short of a work of art!
Bringing the night to its conclusion was Vorna and it was yet another breathtaking and emotive performance from the sixpiece. After the incense sticks on either side of the stage were lit and both band members and audience members alike drank in the ambience before the set got underway with one of their new songs, Itsetön, which was a perfect opening song for the set. There’s so much to take in, so it makes for a massive entrance, with the two different styles of vocals and the intricate keyboard lines being two of the best elements.
As the show was also serving as one of the launch shows for Vorna’s brand new album Ei valo minua seuraa, the set mainly focused on their newer material and although as a whole the new album didn’t leave a humongous impression on me, seeing the songs live was a whole different story, with Harmaudesta being a particularly good example of this. The raw emotiveness of the track really sent shivers down my spine and the passion behind the band’s performance was moving, to say the least. It felt more meaningful, somehow, and it felt like such a treat to hear it performed live – it sounded absolutely perfect and it was a pleasure to witness. Seeing the new songs live is really something else.
Another set highlight was the inclusion of Ikuiseen iltaan, a song that always packs a real punch live. The opening guitar line, backed up by the drums, really leaves an impression on you due to how striking it is and the sheer urgency and momentum behind the song is something to behold – it’s an unforgettable and timeless track.
The show came to a close with an encore of their track Muisto, and it brought the performance to an incredibly satisfying close. This was a night that showed that Vorna is a band on top of their live game, as they delivered in every single way – and there is no doubt in my mind that this band will take 2016 by storm!