Leaves Eyes opens for Sabaton at Sony PlayStation Theater in New York City

Leaves Eyes Live in NYC 4/21/17.  Photo Mike Porciello

By Michael Porciello

Straight from work, and still in semi – professional attire on a casual Friday, (April 21st) I stepped out of the train at Penn Station and headed up Broadway to the PlayStation Theater to see three incredible bands whose style you really don’t see much of with native bands in the USA. Passing many a trinket vendor, I couldn’t help but notice how vastly this city has changed since I was little. Maybe it was my built in NY attitude that simply told them “no sale” before they even approached me to buy a foam Statue of Liberty crown. Not 15 minutes later, there it was, the cavernous, basement concert venue; one of a few that do not use Ticketmaster, thus affording a later ending time. This was a much needed break up of monotony.

Battle Beast live @ Play Station Theater Photo Mike Porciello


Taking the stage at 8 pm sharp was Finland’s Battle Beast. Led by Noora Louhima,  Battle Beast blazed through a 40 minute set starting off with “Straight to the Heart”. Nearing the end of their set, Battle Beast had the crowd in a singalong for “Bastard Son of Odin”. Their style, a good throwback to 80’s power metal, was received quite well from the polite crowd who showed up early. This kind of music may have very little market value here in the USA, but overseas, in countries where English is not the native language, it is resurrected, and perfected. I look forward to hearing more form Battle Beast upcoming.

Leaves Eyes live. Photo Mike Porciello


Leaves Eyes is a band who has been on my radar for a long time now. You don’t really see much viking metal, or really just that sharp of a focus and perfection of craft here in America, with our ever changing musical landscapes. Led by Elina Siirala and Alexander Krull, the band took that place over for the 45 minutes that they were on that stage. Elina’s operatic vocals, coupled with Alexander’s death – like growls, Leaves Eyes left me speechless. Opening with “Halvdan The Black”, Leaves eyes literally brings you back in time to the battlefront with each song. From the bloody epic of “Swords In Rock” to “Edge of Steel” you can taste victory each time. Leaves Eyes is a very diverse sounding band. One second operatic, one second brutal. Imagine them acoustic. They have that certain element to their sound that I believe would translate well, complete with full orchestra, and back lit in fire.

Leaves Eyes let it fly in the Big Apple. Photo Mike Porciello


Continuing the ever changing battlefront dimensions, the band brought more of the opera meets death, or “Beauty and The Beast” with songs such as “Swords In Rock”, and “Edge of Steel”; each it’s own epic. The highlight of the evening was the brand new “Fires In The North” , which again, the beautiful Elina Siirala handled with style and finesse. Along with Alexander Krull’s fist pumps to get the crowd riled up, many, including myself just stood there in awe, as that chorus was sung. “Fires In The North” sounded twice as good live as the studio recording.  As they left the stage, Alexander Krull (who also fronts death metal band Atrocity) in full knight regalia promised that Leaves Eyes would be back. That’s a show I won’t miss.

Sabaton live in New York City 4/21/17. Photo Mike Porciello


At roughly 10 pm, with nearly a packed house, Sabaton took the stage, amidst a cannon and “7.62 Artillery” ammo cases. That’s when things turned into a madhouse. For the 90 odd minutes, Sweden’s favorite war machine tore the house up. Every song they make is like listening to a history professor’s lecture set to music. To experience it live in concert adds that extra element. From “Carolus Rex” to “Swedish Pagans’, they pulled out all the stops. Contrary to belief, this is not Sabaton’s last tour. The Last Tour (a great marketing strategy) is the name of their most recent tour to promote their latest album, “The Last Stand.”

Leaves Eyes Rocked NYC. Photo Mike Porciello

So for roughly 3 and 1/2 hours I was fully entertained by many a battlefront. From the raw power of vikings, to nuclear devastation, these three bands brought out their A Game. Sabaton, with a huge fan base here, may just be getting the respect they finally deserve. I would love to see Sabaton paired with Manowar. THAT would be a hell of a show!  Battle Beast, we’ll undoubtedly be hearing more from. Leaves Eyes, with a lineup change that stunned many a follower, still have that certain 1, 2 punch. We’ll be hearing from them again too once things settle down. As a wiseman once said, “Pray for peace in times of war”.

Date City Venue Country
Tour: King of Kings World Tour
04/25/17 Montreal QC Club Soda CA
04/26/17 Quebec, QC Impérial de Québec CA
04/27/17 Toronto, ON The Opera House CA
04/28/17 Cleveland OH Agora Ballroom US
04/29/17 Westland MI Token Lounge US
04/30/17 Louisville, KY Diamond Pub and Billiards US
05/01/17 Chicago, IL Concord Music Hall US
05/02/17 Minneapolis, MN The Cabooze US
05/03/17 Winnipeg, MB Park theatre CA
05/05/17 Edmonton, AB Union Hall CA
05/06/17 Calgary, AB The Palace formerly Flames Central CA
05/07/17 Vancouver, British Columbia Vogue Theatre CA
Venue phone: +1 604-688-1975. BUY TICKETS
05/08/17 Seattle WA El Corazon US
05/09/17 Portland OR Hawthorne Theatre US
05/10/17 San Francisco, CA Regency Ballroom US
05/11/17 Anaheim CA The Grove US
05/12/17 Tempe, AZ The Marquee US
05/14/17 Englewood CO Gothic Theater US
05/16/17 Dallas TX Trees US
05/17/17 San Antonio TX Alamo Music Hall US
05/18/17 Houston TX Scout Bar US
05/20/17 Tampa, FL Orpheum US
05/21/17 Charlotte, NC The Underground US
05/22/17 Silver Spring MD The Fillmore US
08/24/17 – 08/26/17 Halleby Baltic open Air 2017 DE

Stash Gallery

To commemorate the upcoming release of Devil’s Five feature film, here is a Gallery from Stash, which was the first of five segments to go before the camera back in the summer of 2014.

Part of Stash was shot deep in the woods of Califon, New Jersey. In the far distance Stash Writer Tim Clark is venturing into the real world his character “Faith Daniels” would be traveling through later at dusk. Photo Connor Hassler
G. Paul Salvetti (left) and his family allowed the production to shoot Stash on their considerable acreage of wooded land. G. Paul Salvetti, Director Terry R. Wickham (center), Production Designer Michelle Rickert hidden behind Writer Timothy David Clark (in black shirt and hat on right) hold a conference before shooting begins on Saturday 7/12/14.
Stash had an incredibly hard-working crew. Here left to right: Best Boy Kyle Weaver (blue), Gaffer/AD/Associate Producer Michael Fels (white) helps Best Boy/Key Grip Ian Clarkson (red) carry the equipment needed to light up the woods at night.
Steadicam Operator Devon Catucci prepares for a whole night of shooting. Director Terry R. Wickham was told by the first DP he hired for Stash that he would never get Steadicam for Stash because the budget couldn’t afford it. Wickham proved that DP wrong after he fired him. The truth is Devon Catucci accepted the gig less than 24 hours before the shoot, when Wickham had to scramble after the original Steadicam Operator took another gig the day before shooting begun. 7/12/14 Califon, NJ.
Wickham selected young filmmaker Zachary Atlas to document the making of Stash. Look for the behind-the-scenes chronicle to be part of the Devil’s Five release.
Director of Photography Edwin M. Figueroa was a huge part of Stash. Not only was he responsible for the look of Stash, but a year later The Devil’s Five segment, which he also shot for Wickham. Figueroa is one of the three partners that make up the feature film Devil’s Five and directed his own episode called “Choke.”
Production Designer Michelle Rickert (middle right) prepares “Faith’s” (Almog Pail) Stash bag for the movie. Behind them in the woods of Califon, NJ left to right: Associate Producer G. Paul Salvetti, Costume Designer Lindsey Vandevier, Make-Up Artist Sarah R. Cruz and 2nd AC Tiffany Provido.
DP Edwin M. Figueroa sets up a stand for Devon Catucci to rest his Steadicam rig between shots.
Director Terry R. Wickham goes over the first Stash scene with his leading lady Almog Pail on 7/12/14.  DP Edwin Figueroa and 2nd AC Tiffany Provido stand in the distance.  Editor Robert Figueira stands in pink shirt in foreground. 
Near left Production Designer Michelle Rickert (blue top) talks to Costume Designer Lindsey Vandevier (middle in grey), while Make-Up Artist Sarah Cruz listens. In the distance far left Director Terry Wickham talks to his star Almog Pail. Editor Robert FIgueira (middle in pink) observes as well as Gaffer/AD Michael Fels (white) on far right.
Director Terry R. Wickham directs one of the shots that are part of the first item “Faith” (Almog Pail) must find. DP Edwin Figueroa and Steadicam Operator Devon Catucci prepare accordingly in Califon, NJ.
Steadicam Operator Devon Catucci and DP Edwin Figueroa get down and dirty to capture the look of Stash.
Director Terry R. Wickham can almost always be seen with the script for the movie he’s making in hand within his blue protective binder. Here Almog Pail listens to the direction of the next shot as the sun goes down and things are about to get very dark in the woods.
Never one who afraid to get dirty, Production Designer Michelle Rickert wades into the swamp to set up a critter effect she ingeniously created and will hand operate for the shot.
Director or Photography Edwin M. Figueroa really put to use his considerable skills and experience to create the gorgeous look of Stash. Taking full advantage of what the woods offered the production.
As night falls, Steadicam Operator Devon Catucci stands ready for the next shot in Stash.
Filmmaker Terry Wickham helps direct the placement of the critter Production Designer Michelle Rickert will operate during Stash.
The production had to truck-in/hand carry in a considerable amount of movie making equipment (lights, c-stands, mumbo-combos, etc) to light of the environment for the first night of shooting on Stash.