Tuska Open Air 2007 – Helsinki, Finland

August 13th, 2007
by Arto Lehtinen

SUNDAY 1.7.2007

Mercenary

The Danish metal scene has been making a tremendous breakthrough on the metal map. The second Danish act, Mercenary, started the last day on the smaller tent stage. But unfortunately the Finnish audience haven?t discovered this great Danish metal band yet, as there were a handful of but enthusiastic Finnish metal heads following the six piece combo. The set had been created to cover songs from the last two albums THE HOURS THAT REMAIN and 11 DREAMS. Vocalist Mikkael Sandager shared the vocal duties with the bassist Rene Pedersen. Both of them were the most relentless ones on the stage whereas guitarists were more or less calmed down.

However the band appears to be rather unknown up here in Finland it is kind of obvious Finns will find Mercenary an extremely great band sooner or later. At least the band appeared to be pleased with the response received from the crowd. (Arto)

 

 

 

Sturm und Drang

Looking for new sensational metal acts? Then look no further as Finland?s Sturm und Drang might just be one of those so-called ?new, ground-breaking sensational acts?. I mean, if you are looking for some sort of child prodigies who can play like adults 30-40 years older than them, and in a true fashion of ?80s Hard Rock/Heavy Metal. Sturm und Drang do just that – believe it or not. The band has been doing all kinds of heavy promotion for their debut full-length album (LEARNING TO ROCK) all around the European countries lately – just trying to prove to everyone that they’re not learning to rock any more, they show everyone HOW to rock. Heh, such sweet and brave words for sure, but these very young lads still hit the nails surprisingly well on the right spots of a coffin.

What honestly amazes me in these guys, is how well they can play together – and how catchy Hard Rock/metal songs they can make like true, veteran champions. It?s still pretty hard for me to believe and understand it?s actually these 5 teenagers that are behind their music what they do. Oh well, this world is so strange in many other ways as well, so let?s just swallow this tiny rock-hard fact, Sturm und Drang might have potentially a very good chance to hit it big some day if just a big enough amount of professional people pushed them a bit towards the right direction. We?ll, however, see what will happen for them within the next crucial 2-3 years.

The band?s performance already proved quite a lot about their potential to become worthy and fine entertainers. They seemed a bit reserved and somehow even shy while playing their songs off LEARNING TO ROCK, but despite that many enjoyed the band?s performance and sung along with them. The 1st two rows were naturally packed with a bunch of young teenager girls, but I guess that?s just somehow very understandable, isn?t it? There were also many parents with their little kids amongst the audience, following curiously Sturm und Drang?s gig – and showing their undivided spurring towards these young hereos which was very cool from them, of course. It was probably no surprise when Sturm und Drang played Priest?s “Breaking the Law” and especially Maiden?s “Fear of the Dark”, even some of the most mean-looking and die-hard metalheads joined the choir, together with the true fans of these youngsters. I admit, Sturm und Drang do sound an entertaining live band, but they still need some more live experience before they can make the masses convinced that here?s a band to keep your eyes out for in the future. Ugh, thus I?ve spoken, I guess… (Luxi)

  

Blind Guardian

The German Tolkien fairytalers was without any doubt one of the most eagerly anticipated bands at Tuska. Judging from the amount of Blind Guardian shirts in the festival area it was quite obvious they could have been one of potential headliners. But for some reason or another Germans have been placed to play in the middle of the day.

 

The set was started with ?This Will Never End? and continued by a number of so called BG classic tunes.  As for the newer material, it was quite limited as for example ?Fly? presented the newest stuff. But obviously Blind Guardian had built some kind of ?best of? setlists for the festival audience.

It seems like both the guitarists duet Andre Olbrich and Marcus Siepen and Hansi Kursch are the primusmotors of BG nowadays whereas the rest of the guys remained more on the background in the static roles. It is hard to say if it is good or not that Sir Kursch has quit the bass playing, but on the other hand he is more able to have control over the audience and for example make them sing some BG tunes. Even though the visual side of Blind Guardian is boring, however these bards seem to be quite popular in Finland at the moment. (Arto) 

This Will Never End
Born in a Mourning Hall
Nightfall
Fly
I’m Alive
Punishment Divine
Traveler in Time
And Then There Was Silence
Imaginations from the Other Side
The Bard’s Song (in the Forest)
Mirror Mirror

 

Finntroll

The true pioneers of the Finnish troll/polka/forest metal Finntroll strikes back. Hold on, why they are on the tent stage. Another band who deserved to be on the main stage as their success is incredible. The whole tent was like full blown chaos as people tried to reach closer and closer to see even a glimpse of the Trolls. Moving backward and forward turned out to be rather impossible.

The current singer has gained new and much-needed experience from the stage performances since the last year?s Wacken show.  The singer encouranged the audience to cause the raging pit and appeared to have adopted a grim glare in his eyes. In general the whole band was in vicious strike mood all the time. All the mandatory Troll songs got played – ?Jaktens Tid?, ?Trollhammaren?. But following Finntroll from a solid distance was quite hopeless, cos the whole area was so damn full. This may be a wishful thinking, but hopefully the Trolls will be on the main stage next time. (Arto)

 

 

Moonspell

Moonspell has always had a strong bond with Finland due to the common friends and having recorded albums up here. Frankly Moonspell?s visit to Tuska was only a matter of time, as the Portuguese should have played a long time ago. The whole band had probably visited the local beauty specialist?s make-up store as each member had the black spots painted around their eyes. The start was rather surprisingly aggressive and dynamic. Fernando Ribeiro is a real charismatic frontman whose dark tone sounds extremely capturing and magical even in the sunshine of Tuska. The Portuguese  kicked the set off with ?In Memoriam? continued by more or less classic Moonspell tunes ?Wolfshade?, ?Vampiria?,?Opium?. Moonspell definitely surprised several people with their tight and energic performance which was in a dangerous strike during the whole 60 minute set.  A real positive surprise indeed. (Arto)

In Memoriam
Memento Mori
Opium
Wolfshade
Vampiria
Finisterra
Blood Tells
Abysmo
Nocturna
Everything Invaded
Awake
Raven Claws
Alma Mater
Full Moon Madness
Mephisto

 

 

Vader

The Polish Death Metal?s true panzer divison Vader, played probably the most impressive and breath-taking set out of all bands at Tuska this year unholy year 2007 – at least if I?m allowed to be the only judge to say this. I already knew what kind of set could be expected from Vader in advance as I had seen seen live some years ago, and was pretty much blown away by them back then already.

So, when it was Vader?s turn to hit the stage at Tuska 2007, it was like a speeded-up rollercoaster ride full of the most massively heavy and brutally churned out riffs, intense headbanging, bucketfuls of sweat and all these things that prepare the way for an indelible gig experience. Vader was seriously in outstanding shape live, giving surely their best performance for the audience that could possibly be pumped out from them. 

Right after the intro (“Between Day and Night”) all hell seemed to break loose when these 4 Polish masters of a highly testosterone-filled Death Metal started sowing death and destruction all around them – making the most devoted fans of theirs gasp for air in between the songs. Vader?s set was wisely built around the songs from most of their albums although the main emphasis was put on the band?s most successfully received albums like IMPRESSIONS IN BLOOD, THE ART OF WAR E.P. and DE PROFOUNDIS. I wouldn?t mind if they had also tried to include 1-2 songs from their highly acclaimed debut album, THE ULTIMATE INCANTATION, into the set. Funnily “Raining Blood” as the final encore from ?that-one-band?, was that particular song from the Vader guys that really squeezed the last bit of steam out of the wild crowd. Even my own neck was hurting after that song, so maybe that?s enough to prove to all of you what kind of reactions “Raining Blood” managed to cause amongst us, the fans of both Vader and Slayer naturally, too. 

In all honesty, Vader?s managed to make most of us convinced why they are still considered as the most leading group in the worldwide Polish Death Metal assault. The band?s live performance just reeks of all those needed quality elements that every Death Metal should have in a live situation: An energetic and professional live show that would give a fair return for everyone?s money. That?s what Vader can do at least, unlike many other today?s bands from the same genre. One personal question should still be asked from the band?s other guitarist Maurycy Stefanowicz: “Where does your robot-ish movement originate from actually”? A wonderful show from these Polish Death Metal veterans nonetheless. Please come back soon! (Luxi)

Intro /Between Day and Night
Silent Empire
Back to the Blind
Sothis
Helleluyah!!! (God is Dead)
Warlords
This is the War
Lead Us!!!
Wings
Epitaph
Raining Blood


 

Stratovarius

Booking the long time power metal veterans to headline the last day was a little bit unexpected for sure. It was expected to see some bigger, foreign, classic name headlining the last day on Sunday, for example like Accept, Dio, Dickinson were the real classic metal names headlining the last day in previous years. But on the other hand Stratovarius haven?t been to Tuska since 2002 when they headlined one of the three days. Besides the band has faced plenty of dramatic u-turns in their long careers for various reasons, therefore seeing Stratovarius on the stage in the headliner spot was a welcome choice after all.

 

The Tuska gig was however one of kind as Stratovarius won?t do any other gigs in Finland during this year. The Finnish power metal pioneers kicked the set off with ?Hunting High And Low?. In general the whole set had been built to cover mainly and just mainly songs off the most popular and sold albums. For obvious reasons the last three studio albums were pretty much ignored apart from ?EagleHeart?.

The current and of course new bass player Lauri Porra fits better than believed as he definitely turned out be to quite the guy on the move onstage. The band?s soul and creator Timo Tolkki rather remained on the left side of the stage focusing on taking care of the guitar playing. The vocalist Kotipelto was the most active as expected from the lead singer. Communicating with the crowd about all kinds of senseless things is always important to keep the audience awake.

After all Stratovarius delivered non surprising set, but on the other hand they proved to be a killer and tight sounding live band when parts in the band are in the right places. (Arto)
             

   

Hunting High and Low
Speed of Light
A Million Lightyears Away
Against the Wind
Paradise
Phoenix
Will My Soul Ever Rest in Peace
Twilight Symphony
Visions
Eagleheart
Hold on to Your Dream
Black Diamond


Repeating the same phrases start sounding quite dull in the long run when trying to sum up the metallic inferno of Tuska weekend. But Tuska IS the metal mecca of the Finnish metal heads. Of course it is rather normal that someone complains that there is too much extreme stuff and not enough ancient spandex hair bands. Whereas someone would rather have more extreme or sludge or power or trad metal etc. Damn the offering in the metal genre is so wide therefore it may turn to be quite impossible to cover each genre. As for Tuska, well the whole weekend was totally packed with thousands of metalheads in the central park of Helsinki. The audience definitely enjoyed the atmosphere and bands which were there.

As for placing bands to tent or main stages, well some bands for example Turisas would have deserved to be on the main stage. The band?s success and rare appearances on the domestic soil definitely increased the interest amongst the festival crowd for sure. Then for example Vader and Legion Of The Damned fitted to the tent atmosphere better. That kind of nilistic extreme metal works better in the intensive atmosphere. But booking Stratovarius was a last minute act of desperation cos presumably some big names backed up.

However, we are pretty much convinced the Tuska organization will blow the people away with the upcoming events of Tuska Open Air Festival. It is already sure the next Tuska Open Air Metal Festival will be sold out for sure. Until then, see you?

The official TUSKA site: http://www.tuska-festival.fi

 


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