Hammer Open Air – Finland
Hammer Open Air was arranged for the third time in a row. The location of the fest this year was held at a new location. The line-up of this year’s Hammer Open Air was utterly killer and offered everything from sludge stoner to extreme black/death metal. The whole festival is an authentic event, even though the is quite a limited capacity. Over a thousand extreme underground metal diggers had crawled to the fest.
Articles and pictures by Arto Lehtinen and Timo Hanhirova
THE FIRST DAY
Australian metal once again had a strong presentation at Hammer Open Air. Assaulter delivered true Australian old school thrash metal like their country fellows Destroyer 666, Vomitor, etc. The four piece truly relied on a straight forward black/thrash assault and sounded extremely strong. Despite the handful of people who had arrived to testify the Australians in action, that didn’t prevent them from kicking hard.
The Finnish grind-Gore act Cannibal Accident is known for the more S&M based live approach at the stage. When seeing them it could be said the band’s act at the stage and hilarious talks contained the entire sick sense of humor for sure. The two growlers were entirely covered by blood and some sick-minded psycho had been dragged to the stage in the wheelchair. The stuff was extremely grinding without mercy. The stage was pure chaos and mayhem when the schizos smashed each other.
Cryptborn contains members of another death metal band from Finland, Maveth, but this legion plays their death metal in more catchy Swedish way. Actually, I was expecting a bit more from these guys after listening the excellent MCD they made. Some mysterious ingredient of greatness was
absent I guess but Cryptborn was still OK and great things may be ahead.
Swallowed literally came out of nowhere a few years back when supporting Asphyx in Helsinki. The three piece had improved their stage manners and visuals by adding some T.G. Warrior war-masks on their faces, skeletons, and ripped clothes. Swallowed sounds extremely deadly heavy, truly influenced by several legends such as Autopsy, Trouble etc. Swallowed is definitely uncompromising heavy and brutal for sure.
Seeing Jess And The Ancient Ones can’t be avoided this summer. The Finnish occult rockers must have been booked to every metal festival arranged this summer. Maybe their success came too quickly along with the massive attention for these rockers. As for the stage performance, the singer definitely tried to be like the front ladies of Jex Thoth and The Devil’s Blood. Whereas musicians mostly stood in one spot, the third guitarist spun his hair up and down. Funny. However, the playing worked, but something is missing in the band. The whole occult rock thing has become a sort of trend weeping all over on the metal map, hopefully new occult rockers won’t come up. The thing is kinda spoiled and doomed by now.
The Icelandic metal cowboys Solstafir have been seen on Finnish soil more than a few times. Obviously the four piece gloomesters may have some kind of following over here, but the band is one of these ones dividing the audience into the two different camps. As dismal and cold-blow Icelandic wind, Solstafir performed one hour by doing a solid and strong set for sure.
The Swedish alcoholic beer metal maniacs, Gehennah, definitely enjoy a cult following amongst the drunken head bangers. The four piece Swedes delivered a good set of headbanging and neck-breaking stuff. The singer had consumed more than a few beers as the guy’s stage performance was pretty unstable. However, the band did a tight energetic gig with straightforward played stuff with a punkish attitude. Yes, the singer handled the performance without passing out.
The return of the mightiest doomdeath band of Finland was anticipated by many in the audience but Unholy had surprises up their sleeves. "What the hell?" was a common question when band entered stage wearing hats, three bowlers and a one top hat a to be more precise. The band has been always been an eccentric unit, and maybe this was just a big middle finger to a close-minded scene, but I must confess that their look was indeed ridiculous. In the end, it is the music that counts, and Unholy had plenty of godly material to play. They even played two unreleased demo-era songs amongst the hits from two first albums and one from Rapture. The band was a bit shy in general and vocalist Pasi Äijö had some really lame lines between songs but this still is Unholy, you have to appreciate it.
The first day was concluded by Destroyer 666. The four piece charged the pure bombastic performance from the beginning to the end. The frontman, KK Warslut ‘s dominating character on the stage symbolized pure aggression and hate. The insane and tight playing further proved Destroyer 666’s intense passion for playing metal. Destroyer 666 are a well trained war machine under the great lights. Killer gig from these former Australians.