Korpiklaani / Moonsorrow - Belfast, Limelight 2 - 23rd April 2016 Print E-mail
Written by Mark Ashby   
Friday, 06 May 2016 03:20

Tour header


“We are Moonsorrow and we’re going to play you songs” is just as good an introduction to a band and a set as you can ask for. And that’s exactly how - after having set the scene with suitably atmospheric music, amber lighting and smoke for the hour between the doors opening and them taking the stage - these six Helsinki hellions make themselves known (as if we don’t know who they are already) as they kick off this double headliner of the finest Finnish folk metal this side of Lake Ladoga.


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Moonsorrow’s dense, throbbing rhythms underpin layers of majestic melodies overtopped by black metal tinges, especially in Ville Sorvali’s vocal delivery. With their 95-minute set featuring just eight songs, the material is long and complex, but possess a hypnotic groove which ensures the almost undivided attention of nearly everyone in the room. Their huge, multi-layered vocal harmonies blend with similar guitar miens and evoke the spirits of the glorious combatants about whom they propound - and who also stand before them.


Moonsorrow 2


It’s a set the warmth of which belies the coldness of the environment, both geographically and mystically, from which it emanates, but also is delivered with a moroseness which is strangely entrancing. Mysteriously, however, the band are just about halfway through their set when the still growing crowd calls for “one more song”… perhaps many do not realize that this is actually a co-headline show, with both bands given (more or less) equal stage time… and deservedly so, as Moonsorrow are more than an appetizer but a fulfilling main course in their own right.


Korpiklaani 1


Despite the high energy intention of the band, things do not get off to a good start, at least sonically, for Korpiklaani: the sound is dominated by Rounakari’s fiddle and Matson’s bass drum, with vocalist Jonne really struggling to be heard and both guitars totally lost in the mix as Sami’s accordion takes strident predominance. The mix, however, evens out after the third or fourth song, leaving the only problem being that we can’t understand a feckin’ word Jonne is singing… but that doesn’t distract from the impact of this rowdy and rambunctious folk metal party.


Korpiklaani 2


Korpiklaani’s sound is characterized by melodies that soar like snow eagles and huge hooks that get your feet tapping and necks nodding almost involuntarily - and see the Dark Queen recapturing her youth by Riverdancing her way to the bar - coupled with dense, rumbling rhythms which would pulverize an ice cap at 400 kilometres and prove that they can be as heavy as any extreme metal band. It’s a set rammed with fist-punching anthems which create a totally electric atmosphere, and there are a lot of people who need no second invitation to join the Finns for a shot of ‘Vodka’ as they round off their magnificently enjoyable set with enough time for us to enjoy a few more beers in the bar next door, grab a dirty kebab and get up to various other (unpublishable) shenanigans with the soundtrack to the evening still ringing loudly in our ears.


Photographs by The Dark Queen © 2016


To visit the Moonsorrow store on Amazon - CLICK HERE


To visit the Korpiklaani store on Amazon - CLICK HERE