July 13th - 15th
Article and photos by Arto L and Marko S
The annual Tuska Metal festival was arranged for the fourth time in the
lovely beautiful Kaisaniemi Park in the downtown of Helsinki, Finland.
Approximately 9000 people visited during three days and even the gods of
the weather had blessed the three day metal inferno with quite mixed
weather conditions as it either rained or then the sun warmed the crowd of
the festival. But it seemed not to bother the audience at all.
The first day was opened by Finntroll on the main stage, which I
unfortunately was obliged to miss because of unexpected passport hassles
surprisingly came up at the entrance. After the passport mess was solved I
managed to get in kinda too late when the trolls were quitting the set.
But as a matter of fact I couldn’t figure out why the heck they had been
scheduled to open at 3.00 pm, when everybody was still crawling to the
festival area, even though they have become quite big here. The same thing
was last year. Dammit!!
After wondering the beautiful festival area for a while I ended up
checking out the first foreign band namely Amon Amarth from Sweden
on the small stage in the huge tent. The Swedish death metallers took the
audience with the bone crushing death metal approach rolling like a herd
of just unleashed crazy Vikings from cages fighting killing and crushing.
The vocalist’s amazing plump stomach and a huge bear caused extra
ordinary amusing in the crowd. The band delivered a great set of Viking
battle tunes especially from the latest superb “Crusher” album. The
band got the warm reception and the audience seemed to enjoy the set of
the only one death metal band of the whole festival.
Impaled Nazarene is getting to be a constant band on the bill of
the festival, but their reputation and success are based on a real cult
following which is extremely strong here in Finland, so their place to
play at the Tuska festival is more than justified. Impaled literally let
hell break on loose despite some technical problems, they maimed,
slaughtered and impaled the audience totally doing a real nuclear (black?)
metallic set by picking up tracks from every album and even the unexpected
cover track being “Ghostrider” after a several year break. To be
honest it doesn’t matter what they play and what the vocalist Luttinen
screams to the mic, but one thing is sure and can be issued “their set
is nothing but a real total spanking throughout the whole set” even
though the line up has undergone a few changes during one year. Impaled
Nazarene are insane and brutal as hell.
SSS: Silly Sadomasochist Sessions?!?
Before 69 Eyes hit the stage a heavily tattooed mega blond
arrived to give a quick lesson of sadomasochist sessions, dragging a guy
in chains and in harness behind like a humiliated animal. The chick showed
to be some sort of dominator, forcing the guy to lick her boots, wringing
the guy into the sadistic stances and of course whipping a couple of time
really hard that the pal screamed in pains. Hmm.. Interesting lesson even
though the performance was kinda soft and short. The same chick gave a few
other performances during the festivals.
The soft whipping performance was quite a suitable warm up for the
Finnish gothic metallers 69 Eyes as the band is fond of posing with the
latex/leather stuff and of course gothic girls… Anyway after punching
away for about 10 years 69 Eyes have started getting the well deserved
attention at least here in Finland and of course a few European countries.
But as for their gig at Tuska it was kinda worthless; The band just
arrived at the stage and did every god damn hit track what they have so
far for example “Wasting the dawn”, “Gothic Girl”, “Brandon Lee”.
Well vocalist Jyrki 69 is definitely not any live singer, instead his “Glen
Danzig-Pete Steele” voice works better on albums.
Elakelaiset...Well… All the German readers gotta be more aware
of this drunken combo. But for other readers a few words gotta be told of
them anyway. Elakelaiset is a rumouristic band playing humppa (don’t ask
what the hell it is in English) and they tie classic metal tunes to their
own humppa sound for example Van Halen’s “Jump” got a very wild and
funny handling. The band drank their own drinks between every track and
the audience was really crazy.
The last band of the first day was the most expected one from the point
of view of several traditional/power fans namely Stratovarius. The
band had announced in several media earlier that the Tuska Metal Fest will
be the last gig of theirs before getting to the 2 year hiatus. Frankly
they really deserve to have some break as having been kinda active and
more or less worked incessantly years after years since Episode came out.
For the gig they had set some extra pyrotechnical bombs on the stage.
Well when the first bomb went off at least one poor Metal-Rules.Com
reporter got a privilege to testify that explosion and definitely scared a
helluva lot and almost dropped the camera…Hell… The set mainly
consisted of the typical hit and classical and the most well known tunes
from the last four studio albums made by the current line up. Of course
Father Time, SOS, Hunting High And Low, Will The Sun Rise belonged to the
normal routine set of Stratovarius, but I for one expected to hear a
little bit different set from Stratovarius because of this was their last
gig however. Well they did an unexpected track called “Dreamspace”
from the same titled album, but that was only one tracks from other albums…In
fact they could have done some other welcomed unexpected songs for example
Distant Skies from “The Fourth Dimension” and some other ones as well.
After the gig the Stratovarius guys appeared to be more than relief,
especially their crazy Swedish keyboard player appeared to be more than
relaxed and relief cos he was like an everlasting tornado and hyperactive
person on the backstage doing all kinds of weird things for example he
tried to stick a phone to his ass….Errgh..
After waking up at…let’s see..2 p.m and missing out the Formula One
qualification, which really annoyed me, I picked up my clothes from the
floor and got dressed and then aimed at the festival area.
Gandalf hit the tent stage after a small roadie operation.
Having seen them as an opening slot for The Haunted a month and half
earlier I didn’t expect that much from them. Luckily I didn’t as
Gandalf was an entire new born band on the tent stage of the Tuska
festival. The band appeared to be in damn good strength and the vocalist
raged like a maniac throughout the set. They did an equal set from both
the studio albums.
Timo Rautiainen and Trio Niskalaukaus
Timo Rautiainen and Trio Niskalaukaus…First question. Have you
heard of this band ever before?!? Well expect Finns and a couple of
Germans…Guess not….Their stuff is really heavy shit indeed, but sung
in Finnish unfortunately. The lyrics deal with the negative side of human
life and a man’s cynical world. They have become huge here in Finland
within a few years. That could be seen a huge crowd in front of the stage
singing their songs by heart.
Headplate was kinda faceless attitude jump metal band from
Gothenburg, Sweden. The stuff could be compared to the current typical
jump stuff flourishing in the US at the moment. So there was evident it
didn’t make any sense and interest to spend any single minute to witness
Amorphis is known for having the reputation of being more the
kinda relaxed band on the stage cos the guys rather stand in your own
place and go through the set without any dramatic surprises and rely more
on the musical power approach and the charisma of the front man vocalist
Pasi Koskinen. They didn’t make any unexpected surprises as for the
stage performance, just came in onstage and did a set through without
bigger hassles. Oh yeah, gotta point out that guitarist Tomi Koivusaari
had obtained a new hair look. Actually he looked some some FBI agent with
the short hair and huge sun glasses…
If Stratovarius was the most expected band for several power freaks on
Friday so was the Italian Rhapsody on Saturday. I had been told and
have heard of a lot of negative criticisms about their gigs it was
basically interesting to catch the Italian power metallers in action for
the first time. The gig set off with the utter great intro off from their
last studio album and the whole set was a real triumph of majestic power
metal stuff. For some bizarre reason they skipped the debut album entirely
and the set was naturally based on the material from “Symphony of the
Enchanted Lands” and “Dawn of Victory”. The set list consisted of
for example tunes: Eternal Glory, Lux Triumphans, Holy Thunderforce, The
Last Winged Unicorn, Emerald Sword. Even though having heard bad comments
on the earlier gigs of Rhapsody, I found their set very dynamic and
Once again the morning went damn long. After managing to get up from
the bed I literally rushed to the festival area.
When getting there right on time I managed to witness the one only
Finnish crust grind core combo Rotten Sound. The band fronted by a
singer covered by red paint delivered a brutal set of nihilistic brutal
grind core stuff with pretty good sound quality despite technical problems
with the guitar occurred. Even they did a few cover tunes by Reek of
Putrefaction of Carcass and Dead Shall Rise by Terrorizer. Rotten Sound
would deserve more attention and gigs here and they definitely ruled!!!
45 DEGREE WOMAN
45 Degree Woman was once again a project combo consisting of
guys from other bands from the local rock scene of Helsinki. The music is
mainly based on industrial oriented approach. To say it honestly, it was a
poor man’s version of Nine Inch Nails.
The main stage for Katatonia wasn’t a right place to play in
the shiny water as their stuff suites much better to a dismal club
atmosphere. The vocalist was a little bit lost in the early stage of the
set, but improved toward the end. The band mainly focused on doing tracks
off from their latest “Last deal gone wrong” album, but the set was
concluded with a track from their growling death/doom days called “Murder”.
Daniel LionsEye and The Rollers
Daniel LionsEye and The Rollers is supposed to be some sort of
project therapy group consisting of the members of HIM. Presumably this
project could be and obviously should be considered some stupid amusing
joke, but when seeing three guys of Him dressed up to some weird clothes
and a few other dudes (one of them had some strange latex clothes on) on
the stage I didn’t find any jokes to tell about anymore. Actually I didn’t
know whatever to laugh or cry. The material of this whatever joke group
has definitely nothing to do with the Him stuff instead this has more
groove stoner elements tied up kinda fusion approach. It was and sounded
damn awful anyway.. After watching a few songs I figured enough is enough
and had to get out of the tent as soon as possible…
In Flames concluded the whole festival with a real bombastic
energetic gig indeed. To be honest I didn’t know what to expect from In
Flames and the surprise was huge as they literally crushed all the
opposition bands on the stage. The guys were so vital and dynamic and even
the vocalist was like a hyperactive indeed jumping all around the stage
like a Duracell bunny, trying to encourage the crowd to go on at full wild
blast. The set featured a shitload of tracks off from Colony and of course
Clayman. Of course I forgot to keep my notes of all the tracks as watching
their aggressive outburst set with a real intensive rage. The best band of
the whole fest for sure.
All in all the measures of the festival succeeded damn well. The new
place being the Kaisaniemi Park was an excellent and above all the
idealistic place to arrange a metal festival without bothering and picking
on other people with the music and drunk metalheads. But one thing bugged
me as the general atmosphere which was kinda lame. People rather stayed
keeping their hands in pockets while watching bands. Instead I would have
expected people to start slamming at least during the In Flames set, but
no. I really hope the festival will remain in the same way as it has been
by now since '98 and will invest more on foreign bands in the future.
"Swedish metal Vikings" ...guess who? :-)