Sauna Open Air Metal Festival 2006

July 26th, 2006
by Luxi Lahtinen

 

Friday 9th of June 2006

Radio City / Inferno Stage

   (at 5:30 PM)

Luxi: Having seen Norther at least 5-6 times live, one has noticed how tightly playing unit they have become over the years as far as the band´s live appearance goes. When they released their first album in 2002 (titled DREAMS OF ENDLESS WAR), many compared them to Children of Bodom. And for the right reasons, I think. Those days are long gone, however, as in 2006 Norther sounds pretty much their own uncompromising group which they clearly proved at the S.O.A.M. –festival this year, too – well, despite of a few, tiny references musically to their ´big brothers´, but that´s quite understandable, I guess.

Norther didn´t make any surprises on stage, but played like a well-oiled, trimmed metal machine that surely was as pleasing for the crowd to watch as it could possibly get. A well-chosen mixture of songs off each of their 4 studio albums and 1 mini-CD is what kept their fans in the audience busy for 50 minutes, and the guys of Norther overall seemed to enjoy Sauna´s warm and uniting festival spirit as much as all those people that had attended to see them, did.

Niko: I liked their set and the way they took the audience. They had only one problem: They still sound a little like C.O.B. – and that’s the problem especially with the old songs. I know it’s not easy for them when both bands are working in the same genre. As a young promising band I’d say they might hit big some day if they kept on thriving for their own sound in the future. Although the band started pretty early amongst first bands on Friday, it didn’t seem to have any affect on the band´s general state of alertness, slowing them down on the stage at all. It must be a hard task to try to warm up the audience which is suffering from hangover after having partied all night long. Norther, however, did succeed pretty well with their enormous task, wiping away hangovers (whatsoever!) by their technical yet melodic Death/Thrash assault that had taken over many partying people amongst the crowd this morning.

Not Gonna Get Us
Throwing My Life Away
Norther
Midnight Walker
Hellhole
Released
Omen
Evil Ladies
Fuck you
YDKS (You Don’t Know Paskaa)
Death Unlimited
The End of Our Lives

 

SAUNA STAGE

 (at 6:30 PM)

Niko: Luxi, I think I need a cold beer really badly this time… So… the beer tent seems to be in that direction, right over there! What did you say Luxi? I can’t hear you… What?!! Just on the other side of the area, but still quite near by us… Awww… F***KKK!!!!

Luxi: Hold on a moment right there my fellow brotha Nicodemus – don´t be so anxious! I´m not going to skip Diablo´s gig even if I´m thirsty the same way like you are. BUT right after Diablo´s show is over… (*licking his dry lips and feeling already tempted by Niko´s suggestion*)  ;o)

Diablo are enjoying huge popularity amongst the metal fans here in Finland at the moment, and whenever they play in a festival, they have always been booked to a main stage this year as one of the headliners, so that should tell something about their great popularity in Finland,. The band has reached as many albums as 4 full-length albums (each of them have gone to the Finnish Album Charts Top 40 –list which shows how popular metal is in Finland in general) in their career since they started in the late ´90s, so they surely have earned their place on the main stage. 

     

Diablo has grown into a very secure, confident and tight metal patrol in a live situation over the years, and their live performance on the main stage couldn´t probably have been any more professional than it was. The band´s vocalist and guitarist Rainer Nygård, who not only reminds me quite a bit of Metallica´s Hetfield by his whole habitus, but also how he moves and acts onstage, is Diablo´s true primus motor – full of steel-hard self-confidence, is also the one in the band where all the main focus is always directed to. He keeps all the strings tightly together in his grip when this foursome crawls onstage to punish their audience by an immense heavy, metallic onslaught. The band delivered a good mixture of songs from each of their 4 albums at Sauna Open Air Metal Festival; everything from their instant so-called ´hit songs´ “Read My Scars” to “Mimic47” to “Queen of Entity” to “The Preacher”, etc. were heard, so if you had just ever liked this band, there´s simply no chance you couldn´t somehow be pleased by them. Let me tell you this, too. If Diablo had been a weapon in the possession of the Finnish troops in the Winter War 1939-40 against the Soviet forces, we would have won the war easily. I wanna only use this as some sort of a descriptive reference how crushing and devastating live sound Diablo has – and that´s all.

 

Radio City / Inferno Stage

(at 7:30 PM)

Luxi: Our beloved Finntroll have had many setbacks during their existence of which we all remember the tragic loss of the second guitarist Somnium a.k.a. Teemu Raimoranta in 2003. Not that long time ago, the band fired their vocalist back then, Tapio Wilska for the reasons that have remained unknown for most of us. But there´s no point to start speculation what those real reasons were, so let´s just drop this matter before someone starts shit throwing against me.

My main interest was naturally directed towards Finntroll´s new vocalist named Vreth (a.k.a. Mattias Lillmåns by his real name) who looked at least a half of Wilska´s size; a very skinny-looking guy with a enviably long hair, so his whole stage habit did surprise me quite a bit as well as it surely did for many others of us who had never seen Finntroll playing live before with their newly hired front-troll. However, he did a good job onstage, having a fitting voice for Finntroll´s material, so he didn´t have to ashamed of his performance at the S.O.A.M. –festival at all. The band played songs from each of their albums (“Fiskarens Fiende”, “Det Iskilla Trollblod”, “Jaktens Tid”, “Trollhammaren”, “Rivfader”, etc.) – excluding on purpose the band´s acoustic album VISOR OM SLUTET. I´m sure within a time he only gets better both as a performer and singer in the band, so Finntroll can be proud of this another victory on their successful crusade to slaughter and eat all Christians, whatever on earth that may mean, ha!
  
Finntroll´s ´Humppa-Polka Metal´ is simply way too appealing and captivating to be ignored or resisted – and they were a real positive shot in the arm on the Friday evening what we all needed for. These mystique-looking trolls surely know how to entertain their audience, so thanks Finntroll for being… who you are, a bunch of Finnish trolls.

 

Niko: Ok. I’m going to be honest with this one. I met really an old friend of mine (gee, who – not surprisingly, happened to play in the same band Maple Cross with Niko in the ´90s – Luxi adds) before Finntroll was about to start. We have not met each other for a long time and we started to discuss about the good´n old times – and I assume you guys know what that means? We were on our way to see Finntroll all of the time, but suddenly my friend hooked up with the feeling that he needs some food badly to fill up his belly button (well, in Finland alcohol and food belongs together… somehow, please don´t ask how – thanks!), and look! There was a Hot Dog -carrier! At that very moment I knew there’s no force on this earth that could bring us near by the venue to see Finntroll. Sorry the Finntroll -lads, see ya another time!

    

 

SAUNA STAGE

 (at 8:30 PM)

Niko: Naa-naa-na-na-naaaaaaaa… … na-na-na-naaaahhh!!! AAAARRRGGH!!!! That was my impression about C.o.F.. Don’t get me wrong as I’ve never been a big fan of the band, and have to admit that after their set nothing’s changed. This happens because of Dani´s way to perform his vocals; it simply leaves me with a disgusting feeling – I just can’t stand it. I know that band has many fans and most of the crowd was extremely satisfied with their performance. As far as a huge crowd that gathered to see them, C.O.F. could consider themselves as one of the real winners of the S.O.A. 2006, I’m sure of that. But like I already stated previously, I obviously wasn´t the right person to judge how they were live. So maybe Luxi can state some points straight from ´Hell’s Heart´ what comes to set of the C.o.F. at the Sauna Open Air Metal Festival in 2006? I myself, I’m incapable of doing that.

Luxi: Sure, yeah… why not. Cradle of Filth? Well, what about them? Did they also shred on the stage just like almost every other band did? Well, I guess this only depends on every individual himself / herself / (itself?) on which side he/or she (/or it?) stands for concerning the Cradles; being either ´haters´ or fans of them. I personally just cannot stand Dani Filth´s voice at all. Every time he opens his mouth, I feel like something bigger would have hit my head – like 20-ton meteorite, causing me nothing, but a blistering headache for days. On the other hand though, I like the voice of Donald Duck – he´s great; always liked his voice, as a matter of speaking.

    

 
Cradle of Filth played at least (I guess?) “Medusa & Hemlock”, “Nocturnal Supremacy”, “From the Cradle to Enslave” and “Babylon AD” at that night. Hence I remember rather clearly to play with my eyes during their set, keeping them open by turns – concentrating on this exciting, recently invented ´eye game´ more than seeing ´gothic kids´ favorite heroes playing in front of my red nose, so I guess I was the winner eventually by blinking my eyes at least twice as many times as I managed to follow what songs these amusing, gothic-looking English baby-eaters did within 65-70 minutes.
   
The band´s ´shock value´ in a live situation is not much more frightening or funnier really than feeling a neighbour´s recently-bought, lovely pup trying to make ruthlessly love with my right leg. In fact, in some pervert way I could imagine I might somehow enjoy the latter alternative a bit more for some weird reasons (huh?). Oh well, nevermind… Maybe my fellow partner-in-crime has something better yet wiser in the sleeves of his leather jackets to comment about C.o.F.´s performance at the precious Sauna –festival? The spit-covered ball has been thrown back to you again anyway… ;o)

 

Night club / aftershow at Pakkahuone

(at 11:00 PM)

Niko: It’s the time, my dear brothers and sisters, to witness Finland’s own Rotten Sound! Grinding beast with sickening sound! Whooaaah…!!! The band boosted with a raw and energetic set which was nothing but pure murder straight from the start. I was interested in seeing how well their new drummer Sami Latva fitted in the line-up; he replaced Kai Hahto in the beginning of 2006. Mr. Latva showed that I was mourning just by myself, he was incredible! Rotten Sound was, like always, a highly entertaining grind-monster with a killing attitude. Every time I’m seeing this band live I’m amazed by their intensity, other bands could learn from this one – you can feel the skin-close intensity level of the band when these guys are playing – getting shivers running down your spine and feeling your blood is running hot in your veins… You sure know the feeling.

I was kind of happy that Rotten Sound played at a club of this size as it did justice to their sound policy which was well-balanced and clear – and you could easily hear all the instruments when they were blasting on the stage. Needless to say they drove the crowd crazy.

Luxi: When the chainsaw maniac patrol Rotten Sound enter on stage, one can be prepared to become beaten up by the band´s merciless tsunami–high grinding metallic havoc the way only a handful of today´s extreme bands are capable of offering it in such a brutal and all-mangling way these days. Rotten Sound´s live intensity level just cannot be measured by any known method expect going to their gig and feeling it yourself how they throw you against the back wall of a concert place once they have started their own uncompromising massacre onstage.

Well, let´s land back to reality a bit more again for a short while. As everyone should be aware of by now, the band lost their long-time skinpounder Kai Hahto in February 2006, so a big question mark was who would have been good and talented enough to replace one of the most talented and appreciated drummers in Rotten Sound in the whole fuckin´ universe? Sami Latva from another Finnish grindy deathtroopers Deathbound was chosen to be the man for that job – and as far as ´handjob´ on both Rotten Sound´s live line-up and the recently released 8-track CONSUME TO CONTAMINATE E.P. are concerned, Rotten Sound made a choice worth pot of gold. Sami fits in the line-up as a perfect replacement; so convincing yet frighteningly good picture he did give about himself to the fanatic crowd while tormenting and terrorizing his drum arsenal during the band´s bombing raid´ish 40-something-minutes ruthlessly grinding noise assault. But where was all the ´blood´ they tend to cover themselves, and looking like your local village´s favorite butchers in action? Fuckin´ wussies… No, not at all. Rotten Sound came, saw, killed and left the stage victoriously. What a killer, breath-taking show they did indeed. Me liked…!!

  

 

Night club / aftershow at Klubi

(at 00:06 AM)

Luxi: After punishing us by a severe megaton-breath of Rotten Sound, it was time to head our ways to see Swallow the Sun who have been gaining some ground for themselves with their two extremely well-doing albums, THE MORNING NEVER CAME (2003) and GHOSTS OF LOSS (2005). Expected to enter some calmer soundscapes as far as these deathly doomsters music is concerned, but how wrong I was. Even if Swallow the Sun plays on a totally different playground musically compared to Rotten Sound (thank dog – er… God or whatever Satan, I meant!), the band´s morbid intensity is based on their very depressive yet crushingly heavy sound, and the band was able to deliver the exact same elements live, added with a surprising amount of headbanging which ain´t that typical for a Doom Metal band these days, I guess. In fact, I found Swallow the Sun´s live appearance somewhat killer; especially every time when all the 6 members of the band started an eye-catching headbanging exactly at the same second. Who says a Doom Metal band is tedious and boring to watch live? At least not me from now on… 

 

Niko: Another band which was surprisingly great with their live appearance show! I listened to their latest album pretty carefully before the festival and have to say I was eager to see how the band could manage to perform with their new songs when playing live. Ok lads – Swallow the Sun kicked off with the first track from the GHOSTS OF LOSS album, “Giant”, which was a brilliant song. It was a perfect start for the eerie atmosphere which prevailed through the entire set. S.t.S.´s sound got something to do with good ol´ Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride, but there’s certainly more aggressive vibes in their sound. In my opinion, S.t.S´s performance was more balanced at the club environment than it could have been at an outdoor festival like S.O.A. just like Rotten Sound proved earlier. Their sound is different and demands more from the audience as well as from the circumstances where S.t.S.´s gig is going to be held.

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