Throughout the years, Ulver and the mastermind behind the band, Garm, have broken the boundaries in music and proven that ‘black metal’ and ‘metal’ labels can easily become too limiting.
How’s the live experience of the band’s music then? On my way to the Circus I was more than curious to see the ever-changing legends of Ulver onstage…
Dance on the Graves: A Celebration of & a Tribute to Sentenced – The Circus, Helsinki – January 10, 2015
When Crimson came out fifteen years ago, I was a clueless pre-teen living in the backwoods of Lehmijärvi, only starting to take my first dips into the vast dark pool of heavy metal music. Being at an impressionable age, heavy consumption of the album – along with the cover-seasoned reissue of Frozen and the Greatest Kills compilation – served as my gateway into Sentenced’s funereal world. The last two albums that followed didn’t hinder my enthusiasm either, and further explorations into the band’s earlier works kept them in regular rotation even during times when I could hardly be bothered with much else than black and death metal.
Traveling out of town for a gig – let alone a festival – didn’t feel like a simple task for a minor small-towner, so when the Northernmost Killers lowered their coffin into the frozen ground with the extensive Funeral Tour in 2005, I somehow managed to let it pass me by. Talk about (guilt and) regret! Seeing the Sentenced cover band Forever One at Nummirock ’07 and ’09 was about as good a substitute as I could imagine, as those Southern Ostrobothnians nailed the sound of the originals in a stunning fashion. It’s too bad that they apparently called it quits as well a few years later, but I guess that makes my two encounters with them seem all the more special in retrospect, and merely milking a tribute band concept for years on end would seem somewhat cheap from a group of skilled musicians anyway.
So, with close to a decade having passed since Sentenced’s last appearance on stage, I warmly welcomed another opportunity to hear their everdying tunes live at the release party of Matti Riekki’s (mostly known as the editor-in-chief of Inferno Magazine) brand new biographical book Täältä pohjoiseen: Sentencedin tarina, as the event date was announced in late 2014. Despite the first given details being quite vague, I knew it wasn’t going to be a reunion, with my trust in the integrity and honesty of Sentenced being too firm to think that they would betray themselves and their followers by digging up the corpse after having already given it the most proper burial. As more specs surfaced, it was revealed that some of the band members would be climbing onto the stage, but only for an interview, followed by a lengthy tribute spectacle from a specifically assembled line-up of rising talents from the Finnish metal underground. Now this was starting to sound like a night I couldn’t afford to miss. Continue reading