Sometimes, you come across a band that is something special, and as soon as I heard Vorna’s debut offering Ajastaika for the first time, I knew this wouldn’t be a band I’d be forgetting in a hurry. Which is why, a year and a half after hearing them for the first time, I found myself taking a trip to Finland for the first time ever to witness their live performance first-hand.
Openers Among The Prey (6/10) weren’t bad; whilst they were a little generic in terms of death metal, they did it well and they served as a great way to get everything started. There wasn’t a lot of movement about the stage, with members tending to stay put in one place, but their drummer Atte did put on a show, waving and throwing his sticks about yet never sounding like there was a beat out of place, and he did so with a great big grin on his face. It was an enjoyable set but it felt like they just could have done a little more.
Up next was My Grimace (7/10) and to say they opened with a substantial wall of noise was somewhat of an understatement! They had a lot of power behind their sound and it was a lot of fun to watch, and it didn’t take long before a small crowd of people actually started to gather round the stage to enjoy them! It was a good performance, certainly helped by a cover of Norther’s Frozen Angel, and it really showed what the band was made of.
Thyrien (8/10) was when things really gained some momentum. Although the crowd perhaps wasn’t as enthusiastic as they were towards My Grimace, it was an absolutely blistering set from the outfit, who had an awesome stage look with all the members having black striped paint on their faces and bodies, and some of them had fur incorporated into their outfits – which looked totally badass.
It was a lot of fun to witness, especially when they played My Victory, My Defeat, as that is a personal favourite of mine, and they consistently churned out tune after tune which was an absolute joy to witness. You could see that the members were really putting their all into their performance and when a band is like that, you can’t help but enjoy them. And I even got offered a drink from bassist Jere’s drinking horn – so I can’t complain about that!
When Vorna (10/10) came onto the stage, the atmosphere was absolutely magical right from the get-go. Starting with frontman Vesa lighting incense sticks that were stuck in stumps, it also gave the show a really nice smell, which was certainly a new experience for me as I am all too used to sweaty, stinking underground shows reeking of all sorts!
They got things underway with Hiiden taival, before progressing to an early highlight, Ukkonen. Ukkonen is a song that is mind blowing on CD, but live it somehow packed even more of a punch. There was a chunkier, heavier sound to it, and you couldn’t help but bang your head along to it. Magical doesn’t come close to describing it and it made me appreciate it all the more as a result.
Vorna also played two new songs and the first of the two, entitled Varjo, was something special. It sounded so epic and huge, like they had somehow built on what had made their debut offering Ajastaika so incredible, and had added to it. It really gave a good feeling about what the next album could be like and it was exciting to think about what’s in store for the future with this band.
With a band like Vorna, you can tell they put a lot into their live shows to make them something to remember and even some of the bands instruments were decorated, with the drums looking like logs and the keys were on a stand with a root design. The performance itself was great and there was a good amount of movement, making things a lot more visual. Another highlight was the inclusion of Kaivatun Uni in the latter half of the set, a song that translates well live due to the depth of its sound; a truly momentous track.
The set ended with Thyrien joining Vorna onstage to perform a traditional Christmas carol, Sylvia’s Song, and the band handed out words for everyone to sing along with them. Of course, by this point I was completely lost (but my friend and photographer Sanna kindly explained what was going on!) so I ended up watching with some amusement as everyone around me passionately bellowed the words along! It was a great feeling.
The show was amazing. Of course it was. Vorna is an incredible band that truly deserves to be huge. Great music, great people and great presence – what more could you want?! (But maybe I’ll have to learn some Finnish for next time so I know what’s happening onstage!)
Vorna & ThyrienIlokivi Onstage, Jyväskylä - 12th December 2012
Photographer: Sanna Kallio