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Poets of the Fall – Carnival of Rust 2020

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Carnival of Rust, Last Alexander Theatre Sessions Setup
Source: Olli Tukiainen – Photo: Tiia Öhman

I’m afraid, this is the end! I bid you all a very fond farewell … goodbye!” (*) Whoosh! and just like that 2020 is coming to an end – Great! – but so are Poets of the Fall‘s Alexander Theatre Sessions… “We want more!” cheers the crowd.

The band’s parting gift is an incredible version of Carnival of Rust. It is the song, according to Spotify Wrap, that I listened to the most, this year. Go figure! It is the Poets song that is the most reacted to on YouTube and if memory serves, it is one of the songs that got me hooked on Poets of the Fall – if not THE song. Carnival of Rust is to Poets of the Fall, what The Final Countdown is to Europe, Nothing Else Matters to Metallica or Clair de Lune to Debussy: it is a freakin’ classic.

Connected in real time one last time

Carnival of Rust live premiere was, as usual, preceded by a lively chat from every corner of the world together with the band. I was there and of course as per usual, I posted some nonsensical hellos, but with four screens in front of me, what do you expect? I watched the video with one eye and listened with one ear, because I really didn’t want to miss this last one with you all. But in truth, I was also attending a meeting with my other eye and ear. Being in two places at once is no fun, I don’t recommend it 😉 Here & now is way better!

I don’t know about you, but this chat was really fast. The chats usually are, but today: light-speed or is it just me?! Poets of the Fall were chatty too and I simply could not keep up, but that was so much fun! Thank you Poets of the Fall for bringing us together despite the distance. You kept us sane during the trying times of 2020, even if it was not the purpose of the Alexander Theatre Sessions from the start.

Eerie Carnival of Rust

Empty theatre, empty stage and some windy sound blowing through it all. It was an eerie atmosphere not unlike the official video for Carnival of Rust. I liked that a lot, it was clever I thought. The crescendo by the end of the song, with the light effects, nothing was left to chance.

Olli‘s haunting melody, we all recognise after just a couple of notes, is emphasized by Elina on the cello and Jani on the upright bass. Then Jari‘s soft percussions set the anchor and guide us gently towards what is coming. It is a bit unsettling to realise that the many facets of music have such a detailed language when you care to listen. Although, only Poets of the Fall talks to me like that… must be the Poets of the Fall effect at work again.

Elina and Jani gave even more depth to the melody Olli is playing, and the three of them set the mood for the song. Truth be told, Triosis+ strings brought at once another kind of grandeur to Carnival of Rust that I did not expect.

Marko and Carnival of Rust

What is it with Marko that when he sings Carnival of Rust there is a shift in the air? It is strange that his voice could have such power over one. Yet, he does not look it; I mean Marko is a rather chilled guy and whatever he sings, he makes it look like a walk in the park. It is not just his voice though. As he sings with his chest voice and brings us along to wherever he is going, he then switches to his falsetto with such ease, it stuns me every time – even when I expect it. He hits the note to perfection and always sends the same chills down my spine.

I must admit that the way he takes his time to sing the last sentence of the first verse, then finishing almost in a whisper/sigh with “kill”… My blood swirled in my veins.

In all this turmoil, before red cape and foil come closing in for a kill

If that wasn’t enough, he sings my other favourite sentence in the way I’ve always felt it. It’s a bit creepy but so good. Guilty pleasure!

And more than ever, I hope to never fall, where enough is not the same it was before

The magic in Carnival of Rust is never ending. This time is no exception and Marko brings most of the variations he usually brings at gigs, loving him for that. There is one more thing I have noticed, that doesn’t happen so intensely with other songs… When Marko sings Carnival of Rust, I breathe with him and while I run out of breath… he does not. Have you ever experienced that? It is fascinating 😀

Feat. Triosis +

I have said this before, I love strings. Now, I get shivers when I listen to well-played violins/viola/cello ensemble, but after a few times it usually fades – a bit. This time: nix! The part that gets me every single time is the one at the end. You know of what I am speaking… just before Marko sings:

Don’t walk away…

Yes, that is right! Since I did not know what the technique was called, I actually asked Triosis+. The culprit behind the chills you all felt at that moment is a flageolet sound with glissando and tremolo. Believe you me I almost fell of my chair when their hands – or archers – glided on those strings. The intensity and drama they added right there with that sound were out of this world. Loved every second of it!

Upright bass on Carnival of Rust

I love the sound of Jani‘s instrument. The upright bass has a deep and earthy sound, grounding and reassuring. Do you know what I mean? Although, I have to concentrate to really listen to it on Carnival of Rust, it sounds rather strong yet subtle. The upright bass and the cello are two instruments which, played the way they are, bring me joy. I am weird like that… ethereal is the word I’d choose to explain how it makes me feel. Of course, it is the opposite of grounding… but hey, you cannot always control how you feel, right?!

Missing the smiles

Have you noticed how Jaska smiles at Triosis+ in the previous two videos? This time… not, or it was not caught on film. I speak loads about smiles, I am aware. The thing with Poets of the Fall is that when they smile, they light up the room. When Jaska smiles, it is funny to say it like this, but I can hear it in his playing… maybe it is just an optical/auditory illusion, who knows. Since he is the one who can make me cry while playing the guitar, it is indeed a nice change.

Carnival of Rust

I wish I could speak even longer about this masterpiece, but I do believe you’ve had enough. Let me read you in the comments, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this new Carnival of Rust.

I offer a standing ovation to all involved in the making of the Alexander Theatre Sessions. In front and behind the cameras… Poets of the Fall of course, Triosis+, Tiia Öhman, Miika Hakala, Mauri Hiltunen, Ville Riipa, Minna Parikka and the Alexander Theatre Sessions director, editor and mixer (?) Markus Kaarlonen (plus the ones I forgot to mention).

Don’t forget to order your copy of the CD at Backstage Rock Shop


To read more about the Alexander Theatre Sessions, follow this link

(*) Lord of the Rings – The Fellowship of the Ring, Bilbo’s speech.

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One Comment

  • Jonas Ekman

    Carnival of Rust, an iconic song indeed. Pleasant, versatile and passionate writing as usual…should be mandatory for any person interested in the band to read you as well 🙂


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