Saturday, on 15th of Aug
From Atlanta, Georgia comes a tech-death metal act Gnostic that features 3 current + one former member of the semi-legendary Atheist. Gnostic’s debut album, ENGINEERING THE RULE (on the French Season of Mist label), was just about to hit the stores around the world, so it was kind of a pity that, practically speaking, no one had heard the album when Gnostic entered the indoor stage as the 1st act of Jalometalli 2009, early in the Saturday afternoon.
What made the situation even more unfortunate for Gnostic, I think – many people were still on their way to the venue while the Gnostic guys were blasting out their tricky and modern tech-death metal on the stage, trying to impress at least that little fistful of people that had managed to get themselves back on their feet again, probably after some heavy alcohol-filled boozing sessions at the last night.
Gnostic, however, played with sort of "all-or-nothing" attitude onstage, churning out a mishmash of dozens of different, hard-hitting riffs and somewhat unorthodox rhythm changes that had been pulled together into their songs, and that surely left many of us just wondering – with our jaws half open and big questions marks hanging above our heads, whether all this stuff of theirs was even worth listening, or watching for. I mean, undoubtedly Gnostic is full of great musicians (gotta admit that Steve Flynn was phenomenal behind his drum set, plus this new guy – Jonathan Thompson, truly proved to be such a badass bass player, like following the exact footsteps that Tony Choy has left behind him for many years already). It surely would have helped a great deal to follow the band’s performance way better if most of us had already heard their album. Oh well, nevertheless Gnostic left a pretty good impression of their performance at Jalometalli festival in 2009 despite the fact they had got such an early slot for Saturday afternoon.
Torture Killer have gained a remarkable status on the Finnish death metal map with awesome releases and aggressive gigging. They proved so once again with another murderous live set and the audience thanked and arranged one hell of a maelstrom pit on the floor. Each song performed worked brutally and lethally well.
The Danish thrash metal veterans Artillery had its heyday back in the 80’s and enjoyed a more solid following in Central Europe. However Artillery have disbanded a few times and then returned back to the limelight. However the band’s latest album WHEN DEATH COMES presents a good headbanging thrash metal assault. But years have passed by tremendously fast for Artillery as for their live appearance. The current frontman Søren Adamsen turned out to be a real active frontman raging on the stage whereas the band’s primusmotors and hearts Morten and Michael Stützer were quite traditional being in the same spot during the whole 60 minutes. The Danish thrashers thrashed plenty of old cuts from the early albums as well as new ones from the last output.
The evil twins from Sweden hailed the Jalometalli crowd with a pure satanic assault on the stage. Nifelheim breathes evilness, showing no mercy. The Swedish evil four piece unleashed the pure sodomatic nihilistic sounding thrashing black metal assault. Nifelheim raged through plenty of songs within one hour such as “Infernal Flame Of Destruction”, “Storm of Satan’s Fire and concluded the set with the Damnation cover “Insulter Of Jesus Christ”. Both the twins are evil to the bone on the stage and are aware of how to whip the audience with the tight grip. The guys were later seen banging their heads during Paradox.
Paradox have had a long road from the mid 80’s till nowadays. The line-up has undergone several changes, temporarily split up and had wellknown problems with record labels. However the band’s frontman and the surviving original member Charly Steinhauer has kept Paradox alive and sailed through these raging years. The gig was kicked off by a song “Paradox” off the debut album and continued by old material like Heresy and of course the newer ones.
For some reason the audience didn’t find Paradox or then the band is literally unknown even for the old school metal worshippers, cos there wasn’t that much people watching the old school German melothrashers. Despite the lack of the big attendance, the four piece thrashed throughout the 60 minute slot and appeared to be pleased with the achieved feedback. As a matter of fact Paradox sounded quite boring, obviously the sound balance wasn’t in the expected sharpness or then the Germans weren’t in the sharpest strike.
The legendary Dutch death metal squad Asphyx re-activated a few years back and have been extremely busy by playing several festival dates. Asphyx’s first visit to Finland at Jalometalli was nothing but a long awaited process. The four piece came and conquered by unleashing the total nihilistic death metal maelstrom smashing the Finnish audience. Both Wannes Gubbels and Paul Baayens proved to be a lethal instrument artillery for Asphyx and above all both the guys appeared to be having the ultimate neckbreaking headbanging. Asphyx’s trademark is without any doubts the voice of Martin Van Drunen, whose brutal lungs ripping growling crowns the whole brutality of Asphyx. Asphyx sounded brutal, raw and uncompromising as death metal is supposed to sound, not like any emo screaming wanna death metal crap. Asphyx is a perfect band to present and show the raw sounding death metal with the most punishing attitude. Despite the running time had been limited to one hour, however several old classics were the part of the set and of course Death…The Brutal Way is nowadays a mandatory choice.
Whiplash, along with Voivod, is one the main reasons why I got my ass dragged to Jalometalli once again. I bought TICKET TO MAYHEM vinyl from the record store along with the Holy Terror’s TERROR AND SUBMISSION in 1987 and I remember that day well. This three piece dynamo left an unbelievable first impression and it’s still considered one of the hardest thrash metal bands in the whole world in my books. Whiplash was here to stay after 25 years of waiting and they finally were here in Jalometalli, Finland to play! Isn’t it amazing how long some things take to happen? So I marched towards the 2nd stage to experience one of the hardest thrash-attacks known to mankind.
“Last Man Alive” kicked off first from their debut album POWER AND PAIN. If I was worrying about the sound of the band (only guitar, bass and drums on stage), there certainly was no reason for that at all. The sound was unbelievable good and balanced… Ok. I checked the right corner next to the mixing table and there was a huge difference from what I heard from the middle of the hall. Well sometimes it’s even harder to play inside than outdoors thus some bands just belong in clubs and halls – Which is not the case with Whiplash, they would probably sound good anywhere, even playing in your backyard without any PA systems!
Suddenly I noticed that there were group of youngsters in the front of the stage and they already had a mosh-pit going on and the band hasn’t even finished the first song! This was again clear proof of how long awaited this band was in Finland. After the first song, we got spoiled by the “War Monger” again from POWER AND PAIN which was soon followed by “Spit on Your Grave”. The first song from the TICKET TO MAYHEM was “Spiral of Violence” which made the audience even wilder. I took a glance towards the beer-area which was right behind us and all the people were packed towards the fence which separated these two areas… I bet that there were lots of old farts like me who considered that the best possible state-of-mind to enjoy Whiplash-gig was to have few beers when listening to these long awaited thrash-masters. Actually there was one thing which kind of separates Whiplash from most of the bands nowadays; usually vocalists are handling speak duties between the songs. Not in Whiplash Tony Portaro and Joe Cangelosi both were such motor mouths and we had even a few comments from bassist Richi Day. Don’t get me wrong I thought it was cool! It made me feel like we were watching a band from 80s in a dusty club in NY. It certainly tuned us all in the right mood.
It’s always a hard task to get the audience to know new songs particularly as Whiplash haven’t released UNBORN AGAIN yet. So I think it was really a surprise to the crowd to hear “Feeding Frenzy” from the upcoming album which was in my opinion a really classical sounding Whiplash-song. While the gig continued it became obvious that Tony Portaro was one hell of a guitarist. Everything looked sooo easy while he shredded the shit out his worn out Gibson SG. Other side of stage Richi Day pounded his bass like never before and Joe Cangelosi worked like an animal behind the drum-kit. The whole band played as one tight unit throughout the gig which in my opinion was one of the best gigs I’ve seen for awhile and definitely one of the best performances at Jalometalli 2009.
I was hoping to hear at least a few songs from TICKET TO MAYHEM and my dreams came true when Whiplash launched my own personal favorite of all time “The Burning of Atlanta”. Before playing the song Tony Portaro asked the crowd to take part and shout the chorus of the song and that’s what they truly did! After a definite highlight we got to hear “Pittbulls in the Playground” from the soon-to-be-released UNBORN AGAIN which was soon followed by “Last Nail in the Coffin/Eternal Eyes”. I might be wrong but I think that after this band played only “Stage Dive” and left the stage. They returned back soon for an encore. What happened next was a surprise for me: Tony Portaro wanted to dedicate next particular song to the person who effortlessly helped them to play in Jalometalli and got them to play in Finland as well (right Luxi?!) and I have to say that this song hit the bulls’ eye. “Power Thrashing Death” blasted out and if there was somebody just standing and watching the gig this time everybody went nuts!! The last song of the gig was “Nailed to the Cross” which ended this nearly perfect gig. When leaving Tony Portaro thanked the crowd and I really believe they got a warm welcome in Finland after 25 years of waiting!
Afterwards I heard that band considered this gig in Jalometalli to be one of the best they did in 2009. Not bad at all and I bet there are lots of people here in Finland who would be more than happy to witness another Whiplash gig again (including myself). The band performed a really great gig and I have to say that Whiplash was one of best shots in Jalometalli 2009! So thank you Whiplash for finally showing up in Finland and let’s hope that we don’t have to wait next 25 years to see Whiplash again on our shores!
Speaking of things ‘I-wanna-witness-this-and-that-band-at-least-once-in-a-lifetime’, when it was announced early in the spring that the Floridians Atheist was coming to play a show at Jalometalli festival in Oulu, Finland, my instant thought was that this is the metal festival of all metal festivals for me this year, most definitely. It was previously announced already that the Canadian metal legends VoiVod would be one of the 2 headlining acts for Jalometalli festival in 2009, plus seeing also such names as Asphyx, Artillery, Death Angel, Hail of Bullets, Whiplash, Nifelheim, Electric Wizard and so on – on the same festival bill, the dates 14th and 15th of August were pretty much hacked into the calendar of mine.
Atheist has always been one of those bands for me personally that I have wanted to witness live, but never got a real chance for that – until this year, of course. It didn´t help my situation much about witnessing them live when Atheist broke up in 1994 (in mid December they played 3 shows in Scandinavia, supporting Candlemass, but unfortunately only in Sweden and Norway). The band´s 2 first albums, PIECE OF TIME and UNQUESTIONABLE PRESENCE, have held strong positions on my all-time favorite metal albums list, so seeing them finally live here in Finland, was really kind of a wet day-dream for me indeed.
When Atheist came to the stage at 9:00PM, the venue was delightfully pretty much packed. Starting off their set with “Unquestionable Presence”, the song set fire on the crown immediately. People were warmly and enthusiastically welcoming Atheist to Oulu, and you could tell the Atheist guys couldn’t help noticing it, too. The next two songs, “On the Slay” and “Mineral”, basically threw more gasoline onto a campfire, as the crowd seemed to go berserk even more. The Atheist camp did also notice this, according some wide smiles that were spread around their determined yet happy looking faces. Kelly Shaefer took the role as a captain of the ship, controlling people´s reaction in the audience basically the way he wanted – and “his crew” kind of like took all the commands from him with open arms, so to speak. Kelly proved to be a real entertainer, and his voice worked out really well despite him having a sore throat a couple of days before when coming to do the Jalometalli festival. Also the other members of Atheist did their own share really well. Especially I had to take my hat off for this 24-year-old ´rookie´ Jonathan Thompson (also playing bass in Gnostic) who proved to be quite a virtuoso with his 6-stringer riff gun. Watched his performance in the early afternoon with Gnostic already, and was honestly impressed how professional a guitarist he truly is. No doubts, he will definitely have a bright future ahead of him in the music markets. Steve Flynn couldn´t be completely ignored either. His drum work surely collected some pairs of eyes, including mine, too.
The further the show went on – the happier and more satisfied I became when finally getting this extraordinary opportunity to see my all-time favorite metal heroes performing their songs on the stage. Atheist threw a nice cavalcade of some of their true hit songs like “Unholy War”, “Mother Man”, “And the Psychic Saw” and “Piece of Time” in the air, kind of finally fulfilling – not only mine, but many others´ years of waiting in a very rewarding way. It can be said that the Finnish people really loved Atheist, but on the other hand, I honestly think the feeling was mutual between the members of Atheist and the crowd. A fantastic show from such a fantastic band… Thank you Atheist again for making it to Jalometalli, and also making it a worthy event from your own part.
Agent Steel – Masters Of Metal – has become one sort of immortal classic slogan at the Agent Steel show. The LA space speed metallers unleashed the unstoppable force for the next hour. The gig was nothing but tremendous classic US speed metal played with the tight grip. The set consisted of both old and newer material such as “Rager”, “Ten Fist Nations” “Bleedz For Gods”. The guitar double work was brilliant timing as Juan Garcia and Bernie Versailles tight playing was outstanding. Bruce Hall definitely handles the older material more than perfectly, fitting as the frontman to taking care of the old classic Agent Steel material. Even though the band has undergone more than a few line-up changes, but on the stage the LA five piece sounded tight and controlled.
Kuusrock 1988, Oulu – Finland:
Mark Osegueda’s standing in the front of mad-gone crowd and his message to the fans was really disappointing: It was time to play the very last song of the gig which started off too late because of technical difficulties. Death Angel wanted to compensate and promised to return back to Oulu soon.
Kuusisaari Paviljonki 1990, Oulu – Finland:
Actually 1½ years later band’s touring in Finland with Forbidden. Death Angel again played in Oulu and performed over 2 hour show including 3 encores. Set mostly contained songs from the just released ACT III album and by the way Forbidden drummer at the time was some unknown guy called Paul Bostaph… Again band promised to return back someday.
Jalometalli 2009, Oulu-Finland:
Now 19 years later boys are back in town…I just want you to know how special the relationship between Death Angel and this relatively small 137 000 inhabitants town in northern Finland, Oulu has. Band and its fans has they own history together and here we are again to write another chapter in the worn-old books of tales. Death Angel was undeniably one of the most interesting bands in this year’s Jalometalli. I was urgently waiting to see what kind of set the band would perform though I witnessed both gigs band did in Oulu years ago. If the crowd was eager to see the band I believe that Death Angel was somewhat keen to play in Oulu again. This time it felt like it came from the deepest depths of heart when Mark Osegueda said how wonderful audience was and he kept instantly saying this throughout the gig.
If years had passed and guys been got older it was hard to believe when watching Death Angel to play…This band was instantly in motion every second they were on stage. Especially Mark Osegueda, Rob Cavestany and bassist Sammy Diosdado weren’t really interested just to stay still while playing they wanted to provide best possible performance to the audience. They truly did.
Set list contained songs both from old-era of Death Angel as well as from the new albums of the band. Most of the crowd was naturally preaching after the songs from THE ULTRA-VIOLENCE and from ACT III albums – we got to hear old and new stuff from Death Angel which, I think, worked out really well. From the mighty debut album we heard at least “Voracious Souls” and band did a short jamming session when they played together parts from the “Ultra-Violence” just before “Guilty of Innocence”. But we got to hear definitely the best cut from the first album in the end of the gig when it was time to play the last song “Kill as One” was pleasant surprise for me and it looked like the whole audience just went crazy when this knee-injuring-thrashing-hit started to churn. Not to forget to mention the massive light-show Death Angel had with them. During their last song lights were so bright that we needed to use sunglasses at night!!!
Few cuts also performed from the FROLIC THROUGH THE PARK album like “3rd Floor” and before mentioned “Guilty of Innocence”. What comes to ACT III album it felt like the band really wanted to please their fans because set list contained the following songs “Unseemingly Endless Time”, “Stop”, “Falling Asleep” and of course “Veil of Deception” sung by Rob Cavestany. Death Angel also wanted perform new stuff as well which I could mention “Dethroned”, “Total War” and “Lord of Hate” for example.
When thinking through the whole festival afterwards Death Angel was one the success stories in this year’s Jalometalli. The crowd was really intensively living every single moment throughout the gig and needless to say that the mosh-pits was even wider spread than in any other gig in this festival. I think that the band succeeded indeed to give to the audience what they wanted with their tight set. I bet there were many people including myself, who had witnessed Death Angel’s previous shows in Oulu and wanted to see their heroes again on stage no matter what.
And guess what? Death Angel promised to return back in Oulu AGAIN!!! So thank you Death Angel for your visit in the White Town of North – ‘Till we meet again!
Continue to the next page for an interview with the promoter of Jalometalli Festival: