Venue: Folken (Stavanger, NORWAY)
Despite the fact that Mortiis had to cancel his “Grudge Unlimited” show last-minute because of an unexpected throat infection, fellow Norwegians Susperia were able to put on a good extended support set for the 120 or so metalheads and other rocking scum who had made their way to Folken for the night. I was more than a little disappointed to miss out on Mortiis’ live rendition of his latest record, especially after doing a very interesting interview with the man himself some few hours earlier. With a bag full of thrashing riffs and blast beats, however, Susperia were at times an impressive replacement outfit, putting on a better performance than I had come to expect from my somewhat limited familiarity with their studio output. While there were moments that left me yawning, songs like “Chemistry” and “Home Sweet Hell” were great examples of thrashy, melodic metal put on by a band conscious of their live image, and no doubt lifted by the enthusiastic if small crowd of dedicated fans in the audience.
I always found shouting and hailing a band to be a ridiculous endeavour, but in the case of Susperia the atmosphere felt good, positive, even if the air fans pointed at the band to create a “hair-in-wind” effect were cheesy as hell. The band made sure to move around a lot, switching positions, making eye-contact and making sure to engage the crowds in the pit as well as the under-age kids in the upstairs gallery, and put on a generally enjoyable show even for the sizable non-metal crowd. It’s always fun to spot middle-aged businessmen tapping their feet and bobbing their heads to this sort of relatively extreme music.
And yes, some of the songs were a little drawn out and the vocals were for the most part very 1980s and not nearly brutal enough to suit the thrashy mood of Susperia’s music, but the group were still obviously skilled musicians as well as talented entertainers – an invaluable combination in a genre littered with bands endowed with only either of the two. The self-ironic closing cover of a-ha’s “The Sun Always Shines on TV” was obviously a gem, and I know it put a smile on more than one black-clad metaller’s face for the night.