Saturday The 17th of July 2004
As far as Finnish Metal bands go, it was great to see that one of the best new Finnish Metal bands Machine Men, was booked to Tuska 2004. Despite of the guys? relatively young age, it needs to be said that there?s a true huge amount of talent in this band. Machine Men?s debut album titled SCARS & WOUNDS that was released through a small independent Finnish label Dynamic Arts Records last year, was highly appreciated amongst the Heavy Metal fans worldwide, people basically saying that Machine Men were the best new traditional Metal band from Finland since? (eh!), since Tarot ? and that?s been ages ago, ha! One of the strongest points that makes them to stand out from the masses, is undoubtedly the band?s vocalist Antony who sounds a lot of like Bruce Dickinson. And it can also be said that Machine Men?s music ain?t that far away removed from Bruce Dickinson?s solo band if you need any comparisons.
The band started playing as an opening act on the main stage and as it became very evident right away, the whole band was in a good strike for pulling off a killer show. The band played almost the entire SCARS & WOUNDS album, both sounding and looking confident and damn convincing on the stage, and seemingly enjoying themselves to play for the Tuska ?audience for the first time. Even if ?only? a few hundreds Metalheads had gathered to see them as the first act of Sunday, the band seemed to do their best onstage so that the ones that had dragged their asses to see them this early time of the day. When the band finally played Iron Maiden?s ?Powerslave? in the late half of their set, people pretty much went totally nuts. Every Metal fan is a Maiden ?fan, so what else you could possibly expect, he! As a honest conclusion based on Machine Men?s gig at Tuska 2004, I think it?s only fair to say it?s only a matter of time when they will do their breakthrough outside of the borders of Finland. That will remain to be seen?
Drive, this Finnish ?wanna-be-Fear Factory ?clone band? raged on a small Sue Stage by jumping around somewhat relentlessly like a bunch of Duracell bunnies having a 220-voltage electric shock straight in their tiny asses. Although the band has proved to be a somewhat decent live act, probably due to their early playing time at Tuska as well as a relatively lame reaction from the audience, these two minor things seemed to have an effect on these rockin? aggro-industrial ?metallers?? motivation to put 100 % effort into their performance. Well, I hope they at least had a bit of fun to perform for the Tuska -audience. At least I pretty much enjoyed the sunshine and a class of cold beer while they were sweating onstage, so?
When In Flames concluded the first day, another great melo- (Death) Metal combo from the very same town, Dark Tranquillity kicked the second day off as the first band outside of the Finnish territory. The band already visited successfully to Tuska as one of the main headliners back in 2000, playing in front of a quite lame audience and in general the whole band wasn?t at the best and sharp for some reason at all. But as an uplifting surprise, the whole band was in a dangerous strike when ?The Sun Fired Blanks? got out of speakers and the band was immediately yet sincerely greeted by the crowd. The vocalist Mikael Stanne was a damn active and movable person on the stage. The man couldn?t hold himself in one place, moving around constantly and relentlessly – waving his body in a strange movement, banging his head and definitely looking like he fully enjoyed doing it straight from his heart. Speaking generally, watching such an energetic and overall actively performing band was indeed joy for both the ears and eyes of a massive crowd who definitely enjoyed their melodic (Death) Metal stuff and most likely the Dark Tranquillity ?blokes enjoyed the atmosphere that was bestowed for them by a totally supportive audience as well.
The Sun Fired Blanks
The Treason Wall
White Noise/Black Silence
Punish My Heaven
Single Part of Two
Wonders at Your Feet
Outro: Ex Nihilo
In the wake of the success of what Finntroll have achieved with their eccentric and very unique Polka/Folkish Pagan Metal – especially here in Finland, many ?Finntroll ?babies? style-wise, have started rising up like mushroom after the rain everywhere in Finland. Luckily most of these bands from the abovementioned genre, have paved their sound with uniqueness of their own in order to create sort of a brand for their own world of distinctive yet original sound. Turisas, these relatively young, furry troglodytes have been capable of creating their own concept for Polka/Folk Heathen Metal ? and the band?s stage presence is truly eye-catching, containing a truckload of cool elements in their stage show like f.ex. wooden wall, different decorations made by furs, etc. – and of course a couple of dancing ?go-go? girls are an essential part of Turisas? show as well, being wrapped up in furs the same way as the band members do. The band combines cleverly a vast set of instruments together (inc. violin, accordion, etc.) in order to create this very unique approach to their sound and it all sounds a very successful and well-thought-out combination all in all. The band?s stage performance was one of the most unique and most original I have ever witnessed at the Tuska festival and believe many thought exactly the same way. They were definitely on of the highlights at Tuska 2004 in my opinion, so my sincere thanks go for them for an impressive and well-done gig. Brilliant.
Six young looking pretty boys (!), hailing from a near-by border of Russia, continued a tradition for a strong Finnish Power Metal invasion. Or more closely, Twilighting actually can?t exactly be put under the Power Metal banner because of the band?s brave attempts to turn their musical approach toward more a traditional Hard Rock direction at least a little bit. Despite the band?s short existence, the band has already released their relatively successful album (DELIRIUM VEIL) on Spinefarm Records in 2003 and overall have proved to be a bunch of skilful and talented members with their instruments to create catchy and melodic Power Metal tunes, having that tiny Hard Rock edge in their sound, too. Being a support act for Helloween on their Japanese tour, was undoubtedly to strengthen the band?s stage performance to provide them more live experience and by seeing through the pink sun classes, their live performance at Tuska only proved just that loud and clear. The audience without any doubts enjoyed seeing them playing as much as the musicians of the band seemed to enjoy having some good time during their strong set at Tuska 2004. The band played a nice set by doing a whole bunch of songs from their highly acclaimed debut album such as ?Return to Innocence?, ?Under Somber Skies?, ?Seventh Dawn? and especially ?Gone To The Wall? honestly sounded damn good to my ears. Twilightning also covered Guns ?N? Roses? ?You Could Be Mine?, so I guess it?s just fair to say they aren?t your most ordinary Power Metal combo the way many obviously like to think of them mistakenly. Their set nicely proved that each and every guy in the line-up felt very comfortable playing live, resulting in a lot of positive reactions by courtesy of the Tuska crowd. Really splendid job guys!
The Gothenburg melo-(Death) Metal assault continued when the third big name Soilwork that has also connected to that specific sound one way or the other, stepped out on the main stage. If In Flames have increased their success drastically during the last few years, so have Soilwork done that same trick as well. Soilwork have gained a bunch of new fans here in Finland as the band played on the Finnish soil quite a few times previously. Soilwork, just like many other Swedish Metal bands from this particular mould as well, are basically known for being such an aggressive and wild outfit on the stage, especially the bassist Flink did his best on the stage, kind of not saving his energy a bit when pushing himself for a wild movement on the stage constantly during the whole band?s performance. The dude definitely took points home undoubtedly for being the most entertaining member in the whole band even though the vocalist Bjorn didn?t just stand on the stage either like his feet would have been nailed firmly straight into the stage. It was definitely cool to follow these Swedes? stage perfomance as the guys produced respectable much of an intensive and passionate noise during their kinda well-chosen set indeed. With such a strong gig they pulled through, I bet Soilwork managed to gain even more fans from the Tuska crowd for sure. I guess it also should be mentioned that Soilwork had once again undergone some line-up changes. The drummer?s slot had been filled up by the drummer from a French Death/Thrash Metal combo called Scarve who did an excellent job behind the batteries and in general turned out to be a humble and nice person.
Figure Number Five
As We Speak
Like The Average Stalker
Ligth the Torch
Follow the Hollow
During the last few years Sinergy, fronted by Kimberly Goss, alongside with Alexi Laiho and Roope Latvala recruited from Children Of Bodom, haven?t been that much active band as for doing gigs go. Sinergy have, more or less, spent quite a silent period whereas Children Of Bodom have been an over-worked band in the gigging department lately. Well, let?s start from the good things first. It is obvious only a very few can have any match to the awesome twin guitar attack produced by Alexi ?Wild Child? Laiho and Roope Latvala, as many people rightfully rate them highly in the whole realm of Metal as some of the most talented and impressive guitarists. Watching the interaction double guitar work of this amazingly skilled pair on stage was simply lots of fun from sort of a perfectionist?s point of view. Barely any wrong note was hit in their playing and the sound was pristine, and their leads were dead-on as always. But on the other hand, the singer Kimberly Goss sounded a little bit tired and her stage presence was more or less absent. There was a couple of new faces in the Sinergy line-up that I didn?t recognize myself at all, and these new guys did their own share pretty well as a wholeness Sinergy sounded rather good indeed. The band played a nice set by covering songs from each album from their entire career and performed a strong and energetic show as real professionals always tend to do. Overall I think Sinergy did just an average performance. Not good, not bad, but a decent gig after all.
There was a Tuska poll last year where was inquired about the festival visitors? wishes to see certain bands at Tuska in 2004, surprisingly a lot of voters had named one certain old school Thrash Metal band as one of their wishes. The Tuska organization definitely did an unexpected move by booking the reunited Bay Area thrashers Death Angel to the 2004 Tuska bill. It was only natural that most of the old school Speed merchants and Thrash bangers who had seen and experienced this specific Thrash Metal extravaganza in the 80?s already, were very thrilled and excited about having a new opportunity to witness their old heroes back on the responsive Metal soil of Finland after 14 years. The front row of the stage was more or less packed by kids who were born at the time when the Thrash classic Ultra-Violence came out in 1987, who obviously didn?t have that much clue or idea about Death Angel who they were or about their career up to this very day or even their achievements as far as Death Angel?s whole career overall is concerned. It definitely looked kind of weird how those young kids stared at the band in action with wide eyes opens, having dropped their jaws to the ground, metaphorically speaking at least. As for Death Angel set, the reunited Bay Area thrashers unleashed an intensive 60-minutes set with a full of energetic stage moving, offering their brand of lesson of Thrash Metal in the 80?s spirit, filled up the set with some groovier and rockin? stuff as well. Death Angel did an equal set by covering material off from each album, by starting off with the opening track ?Thrown to the Wolves? from the band?s very welcomed comeback album, THE ART OF DYING, which was soon followed by a plenty of classic Death Angel tunes from ?Voracious Souls? to ?Seemingly Endless Time? to ?Bored? to ?Thrashers? and just a helluva more?
The vocalist Mark Osegueda turned out to be a real charismatic stage performancer f.ex. by climbing up and down the construction of the stage and running all around like a little, hot flame could have been burning the back of his leather pants constantly, trying to shatter the audience a bit more to wake them up from sort of a coma they oddly seemed to be in during Death Angel performance. As a nice and polite person Mark thanked the Finnish audience for the constant support toward the band when the band visited Finland in the late 80?s a few times and of course expressed his sincere thanks to the Estonian Metalheads as well as a bunch of them had found their way to the Tuska -festival this year, too.
If Mark Osegueda was in this extreme wild mood all the time while Death Angel tried to set fire in the audience, the very same words can be directed to the guitarist Rob Cavestany and bassist Dennis Pepa who were jumping and raging all around the stage like small tornados, whereas the current guitarist Ted Aguilar replacing the former guitarist Gus Pepa, stayed a bit calmer, focusing basically on his own playing on the right side of the stage.
Death Angel did everyhting, trying to resurrect the half-dead audience from a minor paralyzed state in order to bring at least a decent amount of action into the pit. It was kinda shame to admit it as a long-time fan of the band that the crowd was absolutely lame. Only sort of an embarrassing small pit was born in the half-way through the band?s live performace, but basically the crowd walked around the festival area happily drunk, nearly ignoring Death Angel performing on the main stage or just wondering what the hell Death Angel is all about. The band?s 60-minute ass kicking set was prestigiously concluded with the classic ?Kill as One? from the band classic THE ULTRA VIOLENCE album which left me in a state of a sincere awe and happiness as it surely did for many other old school Thrash Metal maniacs who have been following Death Angel since the very beginning. As it was pretty much expected in advance, seeing Death Angel in Tuska 2004 was absolutely one of the highlights without any doubts. I hope it won?t take another 14 years from them to come back to Finland next time.
To have Nightwish booked as the headlining act to seal the wonderfully gone and spent Saturday at Tuska 2004, just couldn?t possibly have changed the day any better as Nightwish, now when they had got their excellent new album out titled ONCE, have become such a band over the past, few years that not only have many great albums on their roster, but also a damn amazing show to support wonderfully their music as well, with lots of pyro-tech, bombs, etc. ? like a real show more than anything else. Besides Lordi, Nightwish is definitely the most entertaining and eye-capturing (and not less for the absolutely luminary front lady Tarja Turunen) Finnish Metal onstage, offering basically a non-stop both ear ? and eye-tickling show full of strong, emotionally moving elements that pretty much nail you to watch the show as long as it?s meant to last. If it was mainly Tarja Turunen who shamelessly managed to kind of ?steal? the whole show in the past due to her absolutely wonderful and dominating stage presence, and even if she still does that, I think the main focus has, however, changed more equally toward the whole band due to Nightwish?s huge stage show that they have nowadays within these past couple of years or so; thanks to the aforementioned pyros, bombs, etc. that they indeed use way too much in their show in my opinion if there?s something to complain about.
From the first moments when the band came on the stage, it was so crystal-clear that to have Nightwish to end the Saturday night at Tuska, it would turn out to be a perfect, let?s just say, ?temporary farewell? from Nightwish thank to the whole crowd of Tuska 2004 for getting this great opportunity to play in front of them, showing all their appreciation to them how much their fans actually have meant to Nightwish. Watching Nightwish doing such songs as ?Dark Chest of Wonders?, ?She’s My Sin?, ?Planet Hell?, ?Phantom of The Opera?, ?Sleeping Sun?, ?Nemo?, ?Ever Dream?, ?Wishmaster?, ?Over the Hills and Far Away?, ?Wish I Had an Angel?, etc. only strengthened my idea and thoughts about them how massive the band?s entertainment level truly is these days ? almost like without any competition.
The band played with a strong conviction and routine touch like professionals always tend to do, achieving a huge amount of positive yet loud response from the massive crowd constantly, so there was something ?extraordinary special? in the air when the band corresponded with their fans and just vice versa. One of the most memorable highlights of the show was when Tarja stepped aside for a while for a little break, Marko took the stage under the brightest limelights and Megadeth?s ?Symphony of Destruction? got such a treatment that even Mr. Mustaine would have watched them in awe, probably wondering why nobody had told him before how the song should really be sung and played. Nightwish?s own version from that particular Megadeth song really rocked. It really did?
If you ever got an opportunity to see Nightwish doing a concert near by you, go see them even if you wouldn?t be a Metal fan at all. You would hardly regret that decision afterwards ? just believe me.