TUSKA OPEN AIR METAL FESTIVAL 2004
The 16th -18th of June
The Kaisaniemi Park, Helsinki
All text and pictures by Metal-Rules.com team Finland
Once again it was that time in the year when thousands of metalheads of all ages wandered in order to conquer the central park of Helsinki, Kaisaniemi Park. The annually arranged and prestigious Tuska Open Air Metal festival was held in the mid of July when the gods of the weather had blessed the whole metallic maelstrom with a warm and sunny weekend. The Kaisaniemi Park has turned out to be a perfect place to carry out such a brilliant festival event as Tuska festival has proved to be since it has been arranged there. However, arranging this kind of a popular Metal festival sets also some limitations in general as far as the size of the festival area is concerned because for the last three years the whole festival has been completely sold out and a bunch of ?last action heroes? who have left their decisions to buy their own valuable tickets to the festival in a very last minute, haven?t probably managed to purchase them for themselves any longer due to a limited amount of tickets for each day. The majority of the tickets were sold out quickly in the advance sales already. Therefore, as it?s been up in the air a few times already, the festival organization has unveiled their plans to expand the area for the upcoming events of Tuska which would only be very reasonable due to a huge success of this particular festival.
The bill of the Tuska event 2004 without any doubts had a plenty of domestic big names, above all Nightwish being one of the main headliners of the festival. Nightwish pulled a large amount of people to the festival area on the second day, only showing how a popular band they have become over the years. One of the coolest and most appreciated names at Tuska festival 2004, was definitely the mighty Dio that mostly pulled older audience to their gig to sing-along songs as ?Holy Diver?, ?Rainbow in the Dark? ?We Rock? and such immortal Dio classics on Sunday, in the very last day of the festival.
The Tuska Open Air ain?t limited to one certain Metal genre or style, giving an excellent presentation of various types of Metal styles that are out there nowadays, covering basically everything from Gothic Metal to Doom Metal to Death Metal to Speed ? and Thrash Metal and so on ? kind of offering something for everyone for sure.
As it has become sort of a tradition by now, the Finnish Metal-Rules.com?s team had arrived to the Tuska Open Air festival again to taste and to feel the spirit of Heavy Metal in the heart of Helsinki ? and during the 3 long days along with both friends and even enemies, we tried to our best to cover some of the most important and worth mentioning (it needs to be stressed, from our point of view!) live performances at Tuska festival this year.
Friday The 16th of July 2004
The Swedish Grindcore mongers kicked the festival off by unleashing a hell of a brutal delivery of an ass whipping set. The band?s uncompromising and merciless grinding onslaught lasted approx. 45 min under a burning, red-hot Finnish sun. Putting Nasum to play on the main stage as an opening outfit of the whole festival wasn?t the most brilliant idea as Nasum?s Grindcore assault would have worked a better and more effective way out either in a club or small concert tent environment under killer lights and with a closer skin-to-skin ?feeling; adding even a vision of a wilder and crazier crowd banging their heads in front of them. But as Nasum was booked to perform on the main stage as the opening act of Friday, it was pity to see that only a handful amount of people had had enough interest to come in to see them unlike those thousands of people who were still on their way to the festival. Of course this might be just plain wishful thinking, but I think would be cool if they were booked to play to Tuska festival some day again, but for a better scheduled time on the bill next time.
Holy shit, another unknown French band booked to Tuska? Before continuing analyzing their gig, it might be a little bit fair to shed some light on this relatively unknown French band?s invasion to Tuska this year. As a side comment, Burgul Torkhain ? another technical Death Metal outfit from France as well, happened to do a damn impressive yet overwhelmingly well-received set last year at Tuska festival already. A couple of guys from the Tuska -organization make a trip to France every year to check out one particularly popular local Metal band content in order to welcome a winner to play at Tuska festival each year. As I have been told, there are a plenty of previously unknown – for many people outside of France, Metal bands presumably kind of desperately trying to win this particular contest and get a chance to perform in front of the Tuska audience. Now that?s a nice co-operation between the Tuska ?organization and this French organization that?s behind this band contest, I think. D.S.K., being a really unknown combo for the most of the Tuska crowd (apart from some tiny articles that had been printed about them in a couple of music magazines), won the contest this year and got this opportunity to come to play at Tuska festival 2004. Their performance at Tuska convinced many because of their surprisingly energetic and aggressive set. The band?s growler funnily looked like he could play in some Hardcore band, and for some eccentric reason, he was using two microphones through the band?s gig ? I just have no clue why he did so? As for the musical approach of them, D.S.K.?s stuff could be more or less simply described as a hyrbid mix of some Hardcore elements mixed with Thrash and doses of grinding Metal together. As a matter of fact their stuff sort of reminded musically me of a similar type of stuff what HateBreed does on their albums. All in all it was refreshing to witness such an energetic band on the stage, jumping around the stage and raging like little young boys in their early puberty, trying to encourage the Finnish crowd to join their raging madness who, as it seemed to me, had dropped their jaws into the pit. It?s good to notice that along with such new bands as Burgul Torkhain and D.S.K., the French Metal scene is becoming more and more interesting year by year. I?m already a bit curious to find out which sort of a French Metal group will be booked for the next Tuska 2005 by the organization of the festival?
Sonata Arctica from the northern part of Finland, who have been considered as some sort of a fave band of all Finnish bank ladies (oh well?), was once again booked to the Tuska Open Air festival after a year break. The northernmost Power Metallers have got a strong – and above all a solid fan base for their side during these past 2-3 years or so, and judging by a large amount of people that had gathered together to see them live at Tuska festival this year, it became even more evident how big they have become amongst the Power Metal fans these days. Even if I must say I have never considered them as that good live situation, I think they pulled through their own set at the festival with a professional routine in spite of minor sound problems that occurred during the band?s performance occasionally. Especially they did a medley of such evergreen tunes like ?I Want Out? by Helloween and ?Still Loving You? by the Scorps which I have always thought as such an ?awful crybaby ballad?, it?s fair to say those two songs were basically kind of an unexpected and cool surprise to color a bit the Sonata ?guys? live performance when the band?s so-called ?mandatory Sonata tunes? were already widely known amongst the die-hard Sonata Arctica -fans. Nothing that ?new or strange? to be reported from their direction, I?m afraid.
?General? Luttinen with his loyal Nuclear Metal commandos caused quite an inferno on the SUE stage by doing a real mind blowing set with a well-chosen selection of songs that basically covered the band?s whole back catalogue of albums up to their latest album titled ALL THAT YOU FEAR. The whole tent became one sort of a boiling battlefield when several Impaled classics pierced ears and heads with immense hyper-speed attacks, leaving many gasping for air both in pain and pleasure. The band?s each show always tends to reach a maximal extremity and ImpNaz?s gig at Tuska festival didn?t do any exception to this rule. Especially both band?s bassist as well as vocalist?s vulgar and restless stage acting provoked the crowd even more to join in the ultimate ?Goat party? with them, the ImpNaz -way. In spite of the band?s brutal and blasting sonic slaughtering assault that obviously is meant to torment a very nihilistically pleasing way each and everyone in their crowd, the Impaled Nazarene guys have big hearts. By that I mean during the band?s vicious stage show Mika Luttinen announced that the band had t-shirts with a new ImpNaz design for sale and all the money out of them goes directly – and even without any deductions, to the benefit of the Finnish World War II veterans who fought for the freedom of Finland. So tell me more about noble-minded hearts and a good will.
Kohta Ei Naura Jeesuskaan
Armageddon Death Squad
The Endless War
The Lost Art of Goat Sacrificing
The Horny and the Horned
The Maggot Crusher
Absence of War
Let?s Fucking Die
Condemned to Hell
Nyrkilla Tapattava Huoro
?Battle Metal? or Viking Metal? or ?Pagan Heathen Metal? or ?Trolls-Loves-Elves Metal? was the name of the game when Ensiferum hit the Hell-sinki stage. Ensiferum had recently undergone some unexpected changes in the line-up as the band?s guitarist and singer Jari M?enp?? left the band almost right after they had finished the recordings for the band?s excellent 2nd full-length album, IRON. Luckily soon Norther?s frontman Jari Lindroos had been recuited to fill up Jari?s war boots, and according to their live performance that they pulled through at Tuska festival, they wouldn?t have found any better replacements for taking over the band?s ex-frontman position. However, it was kinda funny to pay attention to the Jari Lindroos as he obviously hadn?t learnt his ?home lessons? well enough as he was constantly taking rapid glances at the lyric papers that were lying all around the stage as long as Ensiferum?s show lasted. In spite of that minor flaw it didn?t affect his playing at all and he managed to convince not only me, but many others in the crowd as well. Moreover the whole band with rather amusing looking war paintings on their faces, battled through their set brilliantly and proved to be in a damn great live shape. No doubts, they surely know how to entertain their audience, basically leaving them begging for more?
Now it was about time to open the gates of the secrets of the black arts when the Swedish disciples of Satan unleashed quite an flaming hell on the Hell-sinki stage. The whole tent was totally packed when the Swedish Black Metallers, after a six year break by the way, triumphantly came and conquered the Finnish Metal audience who screamingly welcomed the ineffable kings of darkness with some furious headbanging, upside-down crosses, shiny pentagrams and above all kind of insane-looking fans of the band who were raging in the frontline like true, vicious beasts of Satan indeed. The relatively murky-looking pentad had entirely armed themselves for delivering a total armageddonish mayhem for the devoted crowd, all the mandatory Black Metal?s most used clich?s being part of their show just the way they have always belonged to a typical Dark Funeral show (you know, lots of blood around their faces and chests, war paints on their faces and shit like that. Hardly any surprising to anyone any longer…). As it?s the known fact already, no smoke without fire. Gimme some fire breathing next! A rather grotesque-looking vocalist of Dark Funeral Emperor Magus Caligula did some really cool-looking fire breathing during the band?s mayhemic and savage gig and finished his eye-catching one-man show by throwing a flaming torch to the bosom of the backstage crew. Dark Funeral did their best to spread a pure chaotic riot all around amongst their fanatical audience throughout their 60-minute set. The band basically covered all of their most known and essential Satanic verses right from their early releases up to the band?s latest effort DIABOLIS INTERIUM. Dark Funeral had a lot of a real unrelenting and evil fire-power in their performance. The intensity level of the band?s live performance is just? impossible to measure! I must say that most of the bands from the Black Metal genre appear to be more or less entertaining on the stage ? for very different reasons I should add, and Dark Funeral is one of the best from this bunch, knowing how to please their fans in a live situation as well. The tent looked like a devastated battlefield after the arrival of this Swedish Satan?s empire. The temperature had arisen to nearly +40 celsius and everyone who happened to be there to watch Dark Funeral performing – especially after Dark Funeral had collected their own bones from the stage, leaving room for the next band, noticed themselves how this suffocating heat was mercilessly drying out several boiled and half-dead people who eventually managed to creep out of the tent to gasp for some fresh air after the band?s well-gone and very well-received show.
In Flames, being one of these ?new? wave of Gothenburg melodic Death Metal names, started sort of a mass invasion of the Gothenburg bands at the Tuska festival along with such front line names from the Gothenburg scene as Soilwork and Dark Tranquillity had all been booked to the festival this year, not forgetting a whole bunch of other Swedish Metal mongers from Dismember to already mentioned Dark Funeral. Even though In Flames already made a visit to the Tuska festival a couple of years ago, as one of the headlining acts, these Swedish pioneers of the Gothenburg sound have managed to increase their firmly growing success an incredible lot to another level since their last Tuska visit. In Flames has achieved plenty of all kinds of trophies and have done massive tours around the globe. They have supported huge names and have even been the main headlining act on their own tours. Although the band has expanded their fanbase a lot over the years, the band has also gained some negative criticism mainly due to changing way too drastically from record to record. Despite of this, In Flames at least have a plenty of new fans on the fertile soil of Finland, who had arrived to Tuska to see them playing there this year and were willing to testify how great their heroes are in a live situation. In Flames is known for being such an energetic and damn active on the stage, and especially the band?s vocalist Anders Friden has sort of a reputation to be like a hyperactive Duracell ?bunny when entertaining the In Flames fans. He was jumping all around on the stage, kind of trying to encourage the crowd to go wild with him the same way the whole band did during their performance and it needs to be said that he succeeded in his mission relatively well even. The Tuska -crowd went totally apeshit when some of the band?s older material got aired and it seemed to go down perfectly to the fanatical audience. Naturally a bunch of songs were played from the last two In Flames albums, REROUTE TO REMAIN and SOUNDTRACK TO YOUR ESCAPE as well as expected.
As it has become sort of a tradition to them, the whole band had once again dressed in one certain color clothes to give an impression of their unity as a strong band. I cannot help spitting it out, but Friden?s tie in his costume was quite hilarious looking as a matter of speaking. Oh well, long live a personal dressing then, I guess.
If the band had a massive homefield advantage at the Swedenrock this year where In Flames overall sounded tighter, better prepared and succeeded in playing a really awesome gig, for some odd reason the band didn?t manage to bring the same magical intensity to their gig at the Tuska festival, although I?m not saying their gig wasn?t bad by any means all at. Seeing In Flames is always definitely worth of every penny as they just never let down. It cannot be denied, but In Flames live strength is simply amazing.
Embody the Invisible
Touch of Red
Like You Better Dead
In Search for I
Only for the Weak
The Quiet Place
My Sweet Shadow