RUSSIA MEETS CRIMSON TWINS

It was 7 in the morning of January 12, 2002 when Moscow opened its cold embrace to a gang of Finnish lads of To/Die/For. Demonstrating miraculous feats in the battle against the tiredness of the night trip from St. Petersburg and the natural consequences of the earlier consumed alcohol, the guys pulled themselves together and kicked off on a city tour. The squad was one person short of its full strength, since our main-man drummer Tonmi could not make it anywhere and blatantly preferred to stay in the arms of Morpheus. Well, you can't have it all, and the four remaining group members (Jape, Roope, Joonas, and Make) and the three-strong tech crew (Ari, Tero, and Santtu) went to the city check-out. Traditional to the point of being banal first was most naturally the Red Square

 

To/Die/For at the Red Square, Moscow

 

The strong believers that they are ;), To/Die/For could not have possibly missed our main worship site - Jesus the Savior Cathedral. (And even if they tried to escape the visit we never really let them). A humongous thanks here is due to the cathedral security guards (yes, we've got guarded cathedrals in Russia) who were pretty friendly and did not really bother the bunch about the ton of metal accessories on their clothes and did not mind the endless ringing of the metal detector as we passed through its narrow gate. After a very brief search we were finally let inside. The site of the group caused a stir among the old ladies in the church, who eyed the black-garmented long-haired lads with fear and worry, crossing themselves as if the end of days was upon them. Roope returned the courtesy by waving a somewhat inverted cross-sign right at the Christmas Icon, after which approached us with a very nouvel proposal to 'hit some sleazy bar!' The idea, appealing as it might have seemed to someone, was not really appreciated ad we continued the trip promising we'll get a beer or something afterwards.

 

To/Die/For at the Jesus the Savior Cathedral, Moscow

 

Due to the time-bound set upon us by the merciless soundcheck, we had to chose between the Gorky Park and the Victory Park, and well, since everyone in the band was into military and WWII we headed straight to the tanks, cannons, machine guns, and other irrelevant heavy metal

 


To/Die/For at the Poklonnaya Gora hill (WW2 museum)

 

After spending almost an hour wandering about the museum, everyone started feeling that Roope's suggestion about the "sleazy bar" was not such a bad idea after all. Certainly "hitting" it with full force in the proper sense of the word was not an option, but getting some sandwiches and beers definitely was. And so it shall be done, we took the guys down to the local cafe. On our way down we encountered a small souvenir shop which the gang haunted with great enthusiasm, but the 'souvenirs' that To/Die/For chose for themselves put in awe even the most experienced shop assistants and they've been around. The traditional "matrioshkas" and "balalaikas" were cast away in disdain in favor of the Chinese-made plastic handguns and one Kalashnikov AK-45 and plastic-ball salvos for those. The newly obtained weapons were tested in action during the coffee break No, of course, there was nothing in the vein of 'Everybody be cool this is a robbery!", but the guys did whale at each other's asses with all the plastic fire-power they had at hand. Jape's souvenir of choice was no less strange for he picked himself a Sandi toy-doll (a Chinese monicker of Barbie), which he said with all earnestness was for his daughter, although the rest of the bothers in arms doubted the fact saying something about the old pervert buying the poor thing for himself. Well, whatever, being the nice and polite people that we are, we pretended we did believe the daughter claim and turned away to snigger ;) Anyways the strange thing Jape is holding on the photo above is that very Sandi-doll.

 


(l-r) Joonas (guitar) - Make (bass) - Jape (vocals)

 


Ari Suomi - sound (Ari was also the sound guy for the last year's Nightwish gigs in Moscow)


Tero - stage guy

 


Roope Latvala - a guitar wizard and a session guitarist for To/Die/For

 


Roope and his new AK-45 toy

 


(l-r) Make, Jape, Roope

 


Joonas & Santtu (drum-tech)

 

After the well-deserved lunch in the cafe, the boys had to hit the road and get back for the dull and boring soundcheck. This procedure took us a good two hours, but not in vein and for the sound at the gig was perfect.

 


Doing the sound for TDF is killing me

Ari at work

This trademark pose will be driving the female audience crazy in only about two hours

But this being the soundcheck we're just hanging out

 


Mike tests

 


Guitar checks

 


Make - Lost in thought

 

The sound-check was followed by the press conference during which the numerous representatives of the local metal press besieged the musicians with their questions. By that time the commonly-accepted leader of the band and the producer of their latest record drummer Tonmi Lillmann was fully awake already and happily accepted the questioning challenge, informing everyone present on what it could be worth to die for, why he had recently left Sinergy, what were the future plans, and much-much more.


Tonmi Lillmann (center) - the speaker and the charm of the band

To/Die/For at the press conference (l-r) Joonas, Roope, Jape, Make, Tonmi

 


Last preparations

If you don't like love metal - you're not my friend

 

Surprisingly the show started on time and after a brief support performance by Forgive-Me-Not the headliners To/Die/For appeared in the stage-light.

 

Death is not what it seems
It's just a new beginning
For a lifetime of pain
Until we die again...

 

Already several minutes into the show it became pretty obvious that it's impossible to avoid parallels between Jape and his countryman Ville Valo - same stage behavior, same gracious moves, unbelievable dances with the mike stand and the luscious voice, that drives all the female audience crazy. It should be mentioned however, that Jape's voice live sounds much more impressive than that of His Infernal Majesty, the audience was going apeshit and the singer was ready to give it to them in full.

 

When I close my eyes
I see you appear
I'm drawn to you, my dear
I dream of you
No chains can bind me...

 

The rest of the bunch did not fall behind, the guitarists ran about the stage producing some serious metal sound, nothing you would have expected from the band when you here the record, and Tonmi pounded the hell out of the drum-kit. The 60-something minutes set-list accumulated practically all of the band's hits - Crimson Twins, Vale of Tears, Mary Ann, Hollow Heart. The hall roared, and when 'In the Heat of the Night' blasted from the speakers they crowd reacted so violently that even the sampled voice of Sandra could not spoil the fun. The only drawback was the catastrophic lack of time, for the band had to catch their train back to Helsinki, and for this reason did only one encore, although the audience continued chanting To/Die/For for a good half-hour.

 

 

 

 

 

Memories of you
Haunt me every day
A never healing wound
And nothing left to say
I die a little every day, I die a little anyway
For the memories, for hell inside of me

 

When the gig was finally over, the musicians splashed the remaining aggression at the innocent setlist that was literally riddled with plastic bullets.


Target set

He scores! - the tiny dot right next to Roope's finger is the bullet-hole

Roope - an expert marksman

 

More rejoicing ensued with the arrival of a huge bra as a gift to the band from one of the fans. Since the proud proprietress of the bust that would fit into the said bra never showed up, everyone tried to find at least some application for this wonderful (in all senses of the word) thing. The crazy inventor contest was won by Santtu who figured this beast of the Russian lingerie industry would suit him as a cool bandana.


Santtu

Jape

Tonmi

Tero

 

But hell, everything has an end, except for the sausage that has two. And the time came for the messiahs of love metal to head back home: to the blue mirror of the Bodom lake, to the endless mind-piercing winds, to the silent and grim patrons in the neighbourhood bar, with whom one might be drinking for a dozen years and never know what their names were, and to the expensive local-made vodka with a weird name Koskenkorva. This gloomy perspective seemed so unwelcome that the boys decided to postpone the moment of the ruthless reality check by refilling their bodily storage of alcohol to last them for at least a week ahead. The drink of choice for the purpose fitted it perfectly for it was named 'Russian Size'. Let's hope that the size fitted the slightly melancholic but kind Finnish soul and we'll see To/Die/For here again some day

 


Roope

 


(1-r) Roope, Joonas, Tonmi

 


Vodka - The Russian Size

 


Anybody move and the bunny gets it! - Hey man, I ain't letting you have it. You shoot me, and the thing will break apart!

MetalKings.com would like to express their sincerest gratitude to GOST music and Adam Belyaev for the accreditation provided.

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