Heart of Steel: Concert Reviews

Tuska Open Air Festival 2003

July 11-13, 2003 / Helsinki, Finland

Text and pictures by the
Finnish Metal-Rules.com team


Day Three - Sunday, July 13th

Lost Horizon

For the first time in Finland, and for very the first time in Tuska festival....the sensational Swedish Power Metal giants, Lost Horizon, arrived! It was good to get these guys on this year's bill as I had seen them two years ago at the Wacken festival where they made a good impression on me.

Even if the tent was half-crowded, due to their early slot that day (the first band to perform along with the Finnish Iron Maiden cover band called Mauron Maiden on the other stage at the same time), the ones who came to see them were obviously fans of the band! These fans kept on constantly yelling Lost Horizon´s name very loudly before their show. When the guys finally came to the stage, there was so much noise in the air that I hardly heard what the band´s singer Daniel Heiman (or "Ethereal Magnanimus whatever name you may prefer…) said right at the very beginning of their set when he, as I assume, introduced who they were and where they were coming from. But seeing the faces of the Lost Horizon dudes when they were hearing all that roaring in the tent, I´m positive the guys felt at least a bit flattered that they had so many fans here in Finland - and may I say that fanatical Lost Horizon fans were singing the songs with the band through the set as long it lasted. Some of the fanaticism became quite clear and evident when seeing some of the band´s fans amongst the crowd who were wearing exactly the same face and body paints like the guys in Lost Horizon! So talk about some sort of fanaticism here at Tuska festival…

The whole band was definitely in high spirits and a wonderful crowd was more than obviously an excellent spirit raiser for the band as they gave their best onstage. Overall it must be pointed out that the connection between ´the heroes of Lost Horizon´ and their audience was amazing, nearly a pure religious happening. It´s also easy the say that Lost Horizon has some of the most loyal and best fans in the whole world who seem to be into the band 100% even at the band´s gig. Their almost perfect gig here at Tuska festival didn´t make an exception; the guys played an amazing set and pleased even the most sworn in the metal wind and devoted Lost Horizon fans in the audience without a single doubt. Almost the whole album for the band´s debut Awakening the World was heard; and 5 songs from the band´s latest output titled A Flame to the Ground Beneath. As an encore they blessed Finnish fans with a familiar Crimson Glory cover that they used to play in their shows for quite some time.

All in all, a wonderful show from Lost Horizon again, leaving many precious things for their fans to be remembered for sure. Quite ironically, just like with Children of Bodom, this was also "Transcendental Protagonist´s" (aka Wojtek Lisicki) last gig with his mates in the Lost Horizon camp. Another loss for another great band... Finland´s Tuska festival has to be cursed?!

Set list:

· Transdimensional Revelation
· Pure
· The Song of Air
· Lost in the Depths of Me
· Cry of a Restless Soul
· Highlander (The One)
· Again Will the Fire Burn
· Heart of Storm
· Sworn in the Metal Wind
· World Through My Fateless Eyes
· Perfect Warrior
· Denial of Fate
· Welcome Back
· The Kingdom of My Will
· Red Sharks (a Crimson Glory cover)

Soulfly

Undoubtedly this was the biggest and most positive surprise here. There has been a lot of negative talking about Soulfly and their mallcore ("nu-metal") style, but it can be honestly said that this performance was one of the Max Cavalera's best performances yet (after Sepultura, of course!). The band's attitude on stage was great - it really worked outstandingly well! The band was good altogether, and special mention must go to the band´s drummer Roy Mayorga as he proved be one hell of a skin pounder behind his drum kit. Even his outlook was quite strange because he was wearing kind of the Finnish sporting clothes. Nonetheless, I have to admit that the gig belonged to Mr. Cavalera himself. Definitely this band is HIS band and he definitely owns it. Despite his slightly negative attitude against the "old days" (for example he now refuses to even sign any Sepultura stuff!!) he still played lots of stuff from his past band and the highlights were definitely old classics like "Arise", "Inner Self" and "Spit" among other classics. All in all, a very good performance from a relatively underrated band after all. I still couldn´t help thinking while watching Max´s powerful performance on the main stage of Tuska with a close eye that it would be great to see Sepultura back in its original line-up some day. Probably just wishful thinking, but this is yet again one of those unpredictable things that you kind of never what the future may bring to us…

Arch Enemy

Sharlee and LuxiMeeting Angela Gossow, Mike Amott and Sharlee D´Angelo before Arch Enemy´s set at the backstage area was damn cool. Even cooler was to get a chance to interview both Mike and Sharlee; Sharlee first and Mike after that and got to find out Arch Enemy´s menu for tonight´s gig at Tuska festival in advance. But as for these relentless Swedish deathmongers´ gig…

If Behemoth was the most brutal and bad-ass band on Saturday, Arch Enemy could be credited with the same status for this hot Sunday at Tuska festival 2003. The band simply took their audience with their breath-taking & killer performance, using every inch of the stage for ´sporting´ purposes by moving, moshing, thrashing, bashing, etc. around almost constantly. Angela Gossow, the luminary growler, was actually a really positive spotlight of their whole show as she never got tired of pulling through her share as a part of the band´s show. She was moving on the stage from one side to another side, smiling occasionally to the hectic crowd and even playing air guitar during the instrumental sections while the rest of the band apparently tried to let all hell break loose both onstage and amongst the crowd. And they surely succeed in both things. Arch Enemy seemed to enjoy playing at Tuska festival and their audience was supporting them in an immensely great way. What a blast indeed!! They truly seemed to have good time as did the crowd.

As for their set, I have to admit that I was quite thrilled when the band reached that part in the set when they introduced a new song called "We Will Rise" off from the band´s new album titled Anthems of Rebellion. Uh-oh-hoh… that sounded like a ten ton hammer could have been pounding against the stage over and over and over again!! Holy shiiiittt… that song really left me bloody hungry!! Oh dear… it really did, and it´s no wonder that I felt an urgent need to check their new album out as soon as possible!!

Arch Enemy´s first ever gig in Finland, and particularly at Tuska festival in this unholy year of 2003, proved some facts straight why people keep on talking about this Swedish Death patrol all the time. They simply fuckin´ rule so much both on their albums as well as on-stage, no matter what everyone thinks of them. One of the better sets I have witnessed at Tuska festival during the past years for sure.

Set list:

· Enemy Within
· Burning Angel
· Bury Me an Angel
· We Will Rise
· The Immortal
· Diva Satanica
· Heart of Darkness
· Behind the Smile
· Dead Bury Their Dead
· Lament of a Mortal Soul
· Ravenous











Barathrum

Long live the King Alcohol or something…!? Wasn´t an infernal and grim-looking vocalist Demonos Sova, this incarnation of all evil and blasphemy, supposed to have ´a water-based sober´ era in some point of this year? Uh, well at least now this ´so-called dry and sober´ era seemed to be temporarily all lost from him. Mr. Sova appeared to be more or less drunk during Barathrum´s set, hassling and wandering around the stage, kind of like endangering himself constantly in every curve when the evident happened to him. He finally managed to fall off the stage straight into the photo pit just like I was expecting to happen from the first moments when he crawled on the stage and started his ´one-man show´. I have to say that I kinda felt sorry for him ´coz Barathrum had got this great opportunity to play at the Tuska festival for the very first time.

Due to all these tiny little incidents that the band´s ´unlucky´ Black Metal warrior managed to cause Barathrum´s crucial 35-40 minutes, the show was quite honestly, somewhat tragicomic and hilarious to follow. What even made his theatrical show even funnier, the Grand-goat Sova had some lascivious fairytales and fantasies about goats and whores to share with his ´unholier-than-troo´ audience. As for the band´s musical approach… it was pure ´Goat-War-Black Metal´ as all ´troo´ Black metal should be called nowadays. Oh dear, o´ dear…

The 69 Eyes

Oh boy, our capital´s own Gothic ´hot superstars´ dressed in black and a dismal denim and leather had its own place amongst the Tuska crowd according to all people who had gathered to see the band´s set. As a single off-side note, the sun was shining really hot at that moment and no one was safe at the main stage. But let´s see, giving up any inch of the dismal gothic outlook would be an unjustifiable mistake for any band carrying this type of a Gothic image, right? The band´s known front man and vocalist Jyrki had remembered to visit to his very own hairdresser to obtain a new look of hair style, reminiscent more or less of the sophisticated style of the Suede vocalist in the early 90's. Although the front of the security barrier was packed by hilarious looking under-aged chicks, claiming to be "Vampires from Oulu" and screamed like kids lost their minds when seeing their immortal idols, Jyrki with his low and relatively deep Steele/Astbury vocal type of approach tied with some immortal dismal melodies unfortunately didn't appeal to be either the most thrilling listening or watching experience by any means. The dismal night Gothic mongers went thru almost a mandatory set of songs by having the most known tunes picked up from the latest albums. Songs like f.ex. "Brandon Lee", "Gothic Girl", "The Chair", etc. were all there as a part of the band´s set list, so I guess they pretty much offered those songs to their fans they wanted to hear from them in the first place. Anyway, so see The 69 Eyes in a bright and hot sunshine at the main stage, dressed in some hot-looking Gothic costumes, made me think that the guys could be much more convincing in some sort of a club environment rather than being one of the headliners at an open air festival in the middle of the hottest day. Just an honest observation, that's all…

Tarot

When seeing Tarot live one thing surely always is guaranteed: You won´t be bored while watching them on-stage...never… Even if the band´s quality Heavy Metal does naturally most of the talking for them, Tarot´s vocalist/bassist Marco Hietala also happens to be a true stand-up comedian who can keep all the strings of a pure entertainment in his tight grip as long as the band´s show lasts. Believe me, this guy knows how to entertain their audience, absolutely. He´s always full of jokes and wants to share them with the audience, so that with the band´s awesome traditional Heavy Metal, is a killer combination that just doesn´t leave anyone cold amongst the crowd. Not at this time either ´coz these grand ol´ men of the Finnish Heavy Metal scene basically seem to be at home when they play live. I have seen like a dozen of Tarot´s shows in my life altogether. Each time when I have seen them, they make sure that everyone that has arrived to see them gets just that kind of a show from them that they have expected. You can see from everything that playing a gig surely isn´t anything odd or strange for these fellows. They love to play live; probably have been into playing live since the day one and two.

At the Tuska 2003 (well, or "Terska" as Marko wanted to ´nickname´ the festival by this particular Finnish word that refers directly to a man´s genital…) Tarot did an energetic and very entertaining show, playing a song from each of their 1st four albums, two songs from Stigmata album and the rest of the set was filled with the songs from their latest, brilliant Suffer Our Pleasures album. What a cool Tarot set all in all. If I had hoped, I would have liked to hear such songs as "Tears of Steel" and "Iron Stars" off from the band´s classic To Live Forever album that has always had a very special place in my heart. But due to the tight schedule, those two particular songs unfortunately could not be included into the band´s overall great set list.

As far as Marco´s much spoken and somewhat semi-legendary skills as a stand-up comedian are concerned, the massive crowd got a good proof from all that when it´s was a time for an encore. Before the introduction of the encore song Marco told to the audience to turn around and show their backs to them. Most of people were probably wondering what the hell was happening next, but did eventually what Marco had told them to do. Right after that, Marco took a microphone closer to his mouth and screamed from the very top of his lungs with a funnily twisted grin on his face: "This is "The Punishment"!!!

Tarot´s set was definitely one of the better shows I have ever witnessed at Tuska and I strongly believe many other people shared the same opinion with me. I hope they´ll be booked to the bill of Tuska some other year again. Absolutely a fantastic live band they are - no doubts.

Set list:

· I Rule
· Convulsions
· Descendants of Power
· Warhead
· Wings of Darkness
· Undead Son
· Angels of Pain
· Do You Wanna Live Forever
· Riders of the Last Day
· The Punishment (encore)





Finntroll

Finntroll, having lost both their original singer Katla due to a severe loss of his voice and tragically their guitarist Somnium within a relatively short time and still the band kept on, deserves a damn lot of respect which the attendance of a full packed tent proved. The band´s latest line-up addition, a guy named Wilska (also in a Power Metal band called Sethian - Luxi notes!) took the vocal duties over from Katla, fits to the Troll legions somewhat perfectly mainly because of his massive size and very much because of even his somewhat scary ´trollish´ look. I personally think he was the perfect candidate to fill Katla´s spot and am glad he was chosen as Finntroll´s new front man. The band performed songs from all their albums, both sounded and looked tight. It could honestly be said that it´s great they kept the band together in spite of all the negative setbacks they were forced to endure during these last months. Now when they have struggled their way to this point, it´s fair to say we have real survivors on the stage who have realized the importance of the band for their fans.

However, the biggest surprise for the audience was when the former ´head troll´ Katla crawled to the stage, causing a sea of tremendous applause as he was wildly cheered by hundreds of the band´s devoted fans. The band was naturally very impressed by all these up-lifting responses and it was absolutely cool to witness such a cool and warm reaction from the crowd toward Katla. Whether he is or he is not Finntroll´s ´ex-vocalist´, he has never been forgotten by the true fans of Finntroll. I guess the spirit of Somnium was more or less with them that night too. What else could be said than a very nice and cool set from a great Finnish metal band that have decided to keep their unique ´troll tradition´ alive and kicking amongst the hearts of many thousands of metal fans all around the world. So let´s have some troll horns up for them, the first and only Finntroll!! It was a real pleasure to see them playing at Tuska 2003 after seeing them live like a year ago last time.







Ministry

Long-time industrial metal pioneers Ministry concluded the Tuska 2003 Metal inferno with a massive new world order sonic assault. Even though most of the band´s albums that have been released after their most popular "Psalm 69" album, have unfortunately been more or less interesting in terms of musical direction and the quality of material, Ministry has, however, most often managed to sound utterly vicious and murderous in a live situation. Unfortunately outdoor festivals aren´t the most idealistic place to carry out a Ministry show whereas a smoke-filled small club atmosphere on the other hand, could be a perfect environment for their terrorizing sonic treatment where you can imagine some sort of a chicken net covering the front of the stage just like in one of their home videos.

"Animosity" kicked Ministy's set off and was continued by newer material "Like Piss" and "Unsung". These uncrowned pioneers of the Industrial Metal surprisingly mainly focused on doing an appreciated bunch of tracks off from their worldwide highly successful "Psalm 69" album. We got to hear from that album f.ex. "Just One Fix", "New World Order" and then even some older Ministry songs from them like from the "The Mind Is a Terrible Thing To Taste" album they gave us "Thieves" and "So What". Old Ministry fans surely were pleased, I think. However, the audience also got an opportunity to witness a little episode during their show when some wacko managed to climb up on the stage, causing a momentary havoc until he was gripped by the security guys and finally got ´beaten up´ by the Ministry guitarist. What a stupid jerk… I mean "the climber", of course!

Ministry got a nice response at Tuska 2003 festival. I think Ministry quite didn't reach the same level of success amongst the massive crowd like Bruce Dickinson did last year as a headlining act. Too many mediocre and below average standard albums after "Psalm 69", maybe?





In a shameless conclusion we need to confess yet again by summing up all our thoughts together. The Tuska 2003 festival was absolutely a true success for everyone; for the bands, for the massive amount of people that dragged their asses to Tuska this year. Especially the organizers of the festival surely had wide grins on their faces afterwards as they surely knew in their minds that the whole festival was a pleasant surprise for them in many ways as well!

The whole weekend was completely sold out at the Kaisaniemi Park which should definitely assure the existence of the Tuska Open Air Metal festival for the coming years. Therefore I don´t have to set the Thames on fire by claiming that it is pretty much obvious that even bigger as well as more (hopefully!) ´underground´ names will be seen in the upcoming Tuska festivals. As it was stated last year in many times already, the Kaisaniemi Park is without doubts an excellent and ideal place to carry out a metal event and very easy to find due to its location (near by the Helsinki railway station). So, ´til we will see at Tuska festival next year again, keep on listening metal folks, be happy, get drunk, and take care of yourselves. And yes, ´metal rules…´ too, even if you already knew that, right!?!

 

Some of the Finnish Metal-Rules.com Team


Luxi and Angela of Arch Enemy


Marko and Angela of Arch Enemy


Marko and Edguy


Left: Tobias of Edguy possibly enjoying a brew? / Right: Angela of Arch Enemy gives the "horns up"