Sonata Arctica in Induction (brez Stratovarius) v Bukarešti (2023)!

foto: Igorac 2023
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Nastopajoči: Induction, Sonata Arctica
Datum: torek, 7. 11. 2023
Lokacija: Bukarešta / Quantum Pub / Romunija


English version:

Induction, Sonata Arctica, Quantic Pub, Bucharest, 7.11.2023

What could be better than taking advantage of a business trip to Bucharest to see two bands that were on your top 10 list twenty or more years ago? Stratovarius led by Tim Tolkki single-handedly kept the melodic metal scene alive in the 1990s, and in the early 2000s they were joined by Sonata Arctica with boss Tony Kakko, who only became a metalhead when he heard Stratovarius album Visions and wanted to create exactly that kind of music. The fact that this passion left him after only three and a half albums is another, sadder story.

Well, as I was informed one day before the event, Timo Kotipelto, the singer of Stratovarius, fell ill and on account of this, Sonata Arctica was supposed to play a whole headlining set instead of only a good hour. The news didn’t exactly make me happy, but why complain, right?

Looking at the venues for this tour, I was a bit worried about the status of power metal in Europe. Stratovarius played in these same venues twenty-five years ago, but this time, together with Sonata Arctica, they were unable to make the leap to bigger ones. Quantic pleasantly surprised me in this respect, as the capacity of the hall is around 1,000 visitors, and on both sides outside the hall there is a huge pub and restaurant. A true heaven for listening to power metal hymns.

The evening was opened by symphonic metallers Induction, definitely best known for the fact that Tim Hansen, the son of power metal legend Kai Hansen (Helloween, Gamma Ray), plays lead guitar. After the recorded intro, they immediately hit hard with Born From Fire and proceeded to play tracks from their two albums and one EP. The sound was clear, but very quiet, as befits the opening band. The band was in
good shape, but all the lights and eyes were very shallowlmindedly focused on the cute female guitarist, who was only performing with the band for the second time, because the original guitarist had to go back to work after two weeks of touring.

Making a living from Power metal is hard… The only constant in the band is Tim Hansen, the rest of the team has changed several times. Tim inherited his father’s hairstyle and sense of melody, but he has not yet completely mastered the structuring of solos, which remain at the basic neoclassical shredding level. Singer Craig Cairns should also be praised, he controlled his voice beautifully and served up all the power metal tricks imaginable. Apparently, Induction already has quite a following, as the club was at least half full during their performance.

Induction setlist:
1. Intro
2. Born From Fire
3. Fallen Angel
4. Scorched
5. Embers
6. I Am Alive
7. Drum Solo
8. Go to Hell
9. Queen of Light
10. Outro

Here I have to add my amazement by the fact that the opening band “affords” the intro, outro and drum solo in their limited time. I really don’t understand.

After about half an hour, the sign Sonata Arctica lit up in the background, the already full club roared with anticipation, when four Finns and one Swede walked onto the stage. The latter, Henrik, still does not give in and swears by his “keytar”, which really elevates the dynamics on stage. Tony and Tommy have long hair again, so the headbanging was more subdued. They started with the very atypical opening song Closer to an Animal from the penultimate album The Ninth Hour. The track is very mid-tempo with an indistinct chorus, so it somehow failed to get the audience moving. The very next piece, Black Sheep from the second album Silence, was a different animal altogether with a fast rhythm and a melodic chorus that every true power metal fan knows by heart. They continued with new single First In Line, which kept the energy high and Tony said that the new record will be full of fast power metal anthems. He’s promised this before, and he’s already upped the ante with similar songs in the past, but the albums after that didn’t follow through and continued the dissapointing pattern of all albums after Reckoning Night.

Unfortunately, I have to say that the boys did not make good use of the extra time they had at their disposal, playing only two extra pieces. To my disappointment, it was the oddball duo of The Last Amazing Grays and X Marks the Spot. The song which works much better live than on the album, is definitely the commercially sounding I Have a Right, which we sang uncompromisingly together
with Tony.

Before the encore, we got the emotional ballad Tallulah and probably Sonata’s most
famous piece, Full Moon. Run Away, Run Away, Run Away!!! The first song in the set was a welcome surprise as three Stratovarius members took the stage: guitarist Matias, drummer Rolf and keyboards legend, the one and only Jens Johansson. Craig from Induction replaced Timo on vocals, and Pasi from Sonata remained on bass. They served us with Hunting High and Low, and the place went completely berzerk.

The Cage and Don’t Say a Word followed and the party was over.

What can I say, a correct and concrete performance by Sonata Arctica, but really nothing to write home about. Tony is in fine vocal form. Of course, this is not the Tony of twenty years ago, but what singer (with honorable exceptions) is? The tonality of the songs was successfully adapted to Tony’s slightly lower vocals, but quality backing vocals were really lacking, as only Henrik made some effort, while the others seemed to be tone deaf. The four-part choir which Induction successfully presented could really be an example for them. The other members of the band are of course top instrumentalists, so there are no complaints here. Only Elias seemed bored out of his mind.

The sound was very good, it shows that the club has good acoustics. It was a beautiful, energetic and melodic evening.

Sonata Arctica setlist:
1. Closer to an Animal
2. Black Sheep
3. First In Line
4. The Last Amazing Grays
5. Broken
6. X Marks the Spot
7. I Have a Right
8. Paid in Full
9. Replica
10. 8th Commandment
11. Tallulah
12. Full Moon
—dodatek—
13. Hunting High and Low
14. The Cage
15. Don’t Say a Word (with Vodka outro)

Finally, I have to mention a nice foursome of visitors, a dad with three kids between the ages of 8 and 15, who dominated the scene and went crazy for all the songs of both bands. You can see them in the photo gallery, the real Headbanger Family \m/


Slovenska verzija:

Kaj je lepšega, kot izkoristiti službeno pot v Bukarešto za ogled dveh bendov, ki sta bila pred dvajsetimi in več leti na tvojem top 10 seznamu? Stratovarius s Timom Tolkkijem na čelu so v devetdesetih letih prejšnjega stoletja lastnoročno držali pokonci sceno melodičnega metala, v zgodnjem nultem desetletju tega stoletja pa so se jim pridružili Sonata Arctica s šefom Tonyem Kakkom, ki je doživel preobrazbo v metalca šele, ko je slišal Stratovarius plato Visions in si zaželel ustvarjati točno tako muziko. To, da ga je ta strast zapustila že po treh in pol albumih, je druga, bolj žalostna zgodba.

No, kot so me obvestili dan pred dogodkom, je Timo Kotipelto, pevec Stratovarius, zbolel in naj bi na ta račun Sonata Arctica odigrala cel headlinerski set namesto dobre urice. Novica me ni ravno razveselila, ampak kaj bi jamrali, ne?

Ko sem gledal prizorišča te turneje, me je za status power metala v Evropi kar malce zaskrbelo. V teh istih prostorih so namreč Stratovarius igrali že pred petindvajsetimi leti, tokrat pa skupaj s Sonato Arctico niso zmogli preskoka v večja prizorišča. Quantic me je v tem pogledu pozitivno presenetil, saj je kapaciteta dvorane okrog 1.000 obiskovalcev, na obeh straneh zunaj dvorane pa se širi ogromna pivnica in restavracija. Prava nebesa za poslušanje power poskočnic.

Večer so odprli simfonični metalci Induction, definitivno najbolj poznani po tem, da solo kitaro špila Tim Hansen, sin power metal legende Kaia Hansena (Helloween, Gamma Ray). Po posnetem uvodu so takoj udarili na polno z Born From Fire in nadaljevali s preigravanjem komadov s svojih dveh plat in enega EP-ja. Zvok je bil jasen, vendar zelo tih, tako kot se za ogrevalce spodobi. Bend je bil v dobri formi, vse luči in oči so bile pa zelo pritlehno uprte v luštno kitaristko, za katero je bil to šele drug nastop z bendom, ker je moral original kitarist po dveh tednih turneje nazaj v službo. Trd je power metalski kruh …

Edina stalnica v bendu je Tim Hansen, ostala ekipa se je že večkrat zamenjala. Tim je po očetu podedoval frizuro in smisel za melodiko, ni pa še povsem osvojil strukturiranja solaž, ki pri Timu ostajajo na osnovnem neoklasičnem šrederskem nivoju. Pohvaliti je treba tudi pevca Craiga Cairnsa, ki je lepo kontroliral glas in postregel z vsemi power metalskimi triki, ki si jih je mogoče zamisliti. Očitno imajo Induction že kar veliko privržencev, saj je bil klub med njihovim nastopom poln vsaj do polovice.

Induction setlista:
1. Intro
2. Born From Fire
3. Fallen Angel
4. Scorched
5. Embers
6. I Am Alive
7. Drum Solo
8. Go to Hell
9. Queen of Light
10. Outro

Tukaj moram še dodati svoje čudenje in nerazumevanje dejstva, da si predskupina pri svojem omejenem času »privošči« intro, outro in bobnarski solo. Res mi ne gre v glavo.

Čez približno pol ure se je v ozadju zasvetil napis Sonata Arctica, po zdaj že polnem klubu je završalo, ko so na oder prikorakali štirje Finci in en Šved. Slednji, Henrik, se še vedno ne da in prisega na svoj »keytar« ki res povzdigne dinamiko na odru.  Tony in Tommy sta si spet pustila dolgo čupo, tako da je bilo headbenganje bolj ubrano. Začeli so z zelo netipično otvoritveno pesmijo Closer to an Animal s predzadnjega albuma The Ninth Hour. Zadeva je zelo srednjega tempa z neizrazitim refrenom, zato nekako ni uspela spraviti publike v gibanje. Že naslednji komad Black Sheep z drugega albuma Silence, je situacijo krepko popravil s hitrim ritmom in melodičnim refrenom, ki ga vsak pošten power metalec zna na pamet. Nadaljevali so z novim singlom First In Line, ki je držal energijo na nivoju in Tony je povedal, da bo nova plata polna hitrih power metalskih himen. To je obljubljal že kdaj prej, pa tudi podražil je že s kakšnim podobnim komadom, toda albumi potem temu niso sledili in so nadaljevali klavrn vzorec vseh albumov po Reckoning Night. 

Na žalost moram omeniti, da fantje niso kaj prida izkoristili dodatnega časa, ki so ga imeli na voljo, saj so odigrali le dva dodatna komada. Na moje razočaranje je to bil čudaški dvojec The Last Amazing Grays in X Marks the Spot.

Pesem, ki v živo deluje precej bolje kot na albumu, je definitivno komercialno obarvana I Have a Right, ki smo jo brezkompromisno odpeli skupaj s Tonyem. Pred dodatkom smo dočakali še čustveno balado Tallulah in verjetno najbolj znan Sonatin komad  Full Moon. Run Away, Run Away, Run Away!!!

Prva pesem v dodatku je bila dobrodošlo presenečenje, saj so na oder prišli trije člani Stratovarius: kitarist Matias, bobnar Rolf in klaviristična legenda, en in edini Jens Johansson. Na vokalu je Tima zamenjal Craig iz Induction, na basu pa je ostal Pasi iz Sonate. Postregli so nam s Hunting High and Low , ki je naletela na huronsko odobravanje publike. Sledila sta še The Cage in Don’t Say a Word in veselice je bilo konec.

Kaj naj rečem, korekten in konkreten nastop Sonate Arctice, vendar resnično brez presežka. Tony je v dobri vokalni formi. Seveda to ni Tony izpred dvajsetih let, ampak kateri pevec (s častnimi izjemami) pa je? Tonaliteto komadov so uspešno prilagodili Tonyevemu nekoliko nižjemu vokalu, resnično pa so manjkali kvalitetni spremljevalni vokali, saj se je nekaj trudil le Henrik, ostali pa so zgleda brez posluha. Štiriglasni zbor pri Induction bi jim res bil lahko za zgled. Ostali člani benda so seveda top instrumentalisti, tako da tukaj ni pripomb. Edino Elias se je zdel totalno zdolgočasen.

Zvok je bil zelo dober, kaže da ima klub dobro akustiko. Bil je en lep, energično-melodičen večer.

Sonata Arctica setlista:
1. Closer to an Animal
2. Black Sheep
3. First In Line
4. The Last Amazing Grays
5. Broken
6. X Marks the Spot
7. I Have a Right
8. Paid in Full
9. Replica
10. 8th Commandment
11. Tallulah
12. Full Moon
—dodatek—
13. Hunting High and Low
14. The Cage
15. Don’t Say a Word (with Vodka outro)

Za konec moram omeniti še simpatično četverico obiskovalcev, fotra s tremi mulčki nekje med 8 in 15 let, ki so obvladali sceno in noreli na vse komade obeh bendov. Pogledate si jih lahko v foto galeriji, prava Headbanger Family. \m/

Besedilo: Igorac
Fotografije: Igorac


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