TUSKA 2008

September 12th, 2008
by Arto Lehtinen


TUSKA 2008 – SATURDAY

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KALMAH

The Northenmost metallers have come a long way during their active years. Their first appearance at Tuska had them scheduled to be the opening band of the second day. Pretty ungrateful job for any band however. However hundreds of people had arrived on time to witness the northernmost metallers in action. The vocalist/guitarist Pekka Kokko told weird eccentric speeches and odd symbolic fairytales between songs. As far as the set is concerned, songs such as “Heroes to Us”, “Wings of Blackening”, "They Will Return", etc. got played during the 45 minute set. Despite the early playing time Kalmah survived as a winner after all. Kalmah would be more than an idealistic addition to the upcoming Tuska events.

 

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SOTAJUMALA

Ah… Sotajumala. I have always considered this Finnish death metal squad to be one of the most potential forces for keeping the flag high for Finnish death metal. The band performs a very American-styled death metal (ála Cannibal, Hate Eternal, Deicide, etc. – you know, those bands with more of a technical approach musically) – sung in Finnish, and they also sound and look damn entertaining live, too.

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Sotajumala´s 45-minutes set was plain meat and potatoes, so to speak. The band´s downright heavy, razor-sharp and intense death metal seemed to appeal many at Tuska, at least according to the amount of death metal fans that had gathered to see them. When one sees hundreds of raised fists and devil´s marks in the air in a live show, it´s a sign of something positive taking place onstage. Sotajumala was taken very well by the somewhat fanatic crowd – and why not, because they indeed crushed. Their performance understandably featured songs off of their latest album, TELOITUS ("Execution" in English if you were wondering the translation of the word…). One song after another, the guys of Sotajumala revealed with their strong, pumped-up death metal biceps that they haven´t purposefully trained in vain. I for one, would give my vote of acceptance to this powerful force of Finnish death metal any time, whenever – or wherever, they start lashing us by their murderously blistering death metal assaults. They proved once again by their virgin-tight performance at Tuska 2008 to belong to the top pile of Finnish death metal – and I bet they will be there for quite some time. Sotajumala do rip indeed – on the land, in the sea and air.

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BEHEMOTH

Behemoth. The guys look like they could have some ´unfinished business´ with you. This marked the second time that these Polish extreme death/black metallers invaded the Tuska festival (their first was in 2003). The band has traveled a long way from a rather obscure black metal band to a technical death metal band that hasn´t completely forgotten their black metal roots either (not image-wise though).

Behemoth was the 2nd act to conquer the main stage – and when the guys appeared onstage, thousands of fans were already awaiting to see their anti-christian heroes. Nergal with his painted warriors of armageddon, seem to be on the top of their success at the moment. Being such a hard-working band like Behemoth is, they truly deserve all their success for all these past years. Behemoth revealed its sharp devil´s horns with some of the most known Behemoth songs to the audience that surely made the Tuska crowd pleased. "Demigod", "Slaves Shall Serve", "Chant for Eschaton 2000", "Prometherion", "Decade of Therion", "Christgrinding Avenue" and "As Above So Below" took care of the fans´ immediate needs – and it was delightful to witness that both the band and the crowd seemed to enjoy each other´s companionship. One of the funniest episodes during Behemoth´s set happened when Nergal started to introduce one of their songs, titled "Antichristian Phenomenon", to the Tuska audience. Nergal had taken a Bible with him to perform an ´antichristian act´ for the crowd (I guess it should be mentioned that some of the Behemoth fans also had Bibles reserved for this particular song in question – feel free to guess why?), and in no time this ´holy book´ was ripped apart by Nergal´s hateful and irreverent hands. Hopefully there were some deeply religious christians amongst the crowd to witness this episode, just to prove them they had come to the wrong place if they were looking for confession, salvation, or whatever, as pathetic as those two acts of kissing God´s butt.

Behemoth didn´t let us down, but did a fine and strong live show just like 5 years ago at the same festival. In fact, 4 songs in Behemoth´s Tuska set had remained the same compared to their previous visit to Tuska festival, which only tells something about the band´s tendency to stick with ´the classics´ that many other bands do as well. If there was something to complain about in Behemoth´s set, it’s a cover of the Turbonecro song "I Got Erection" and drum solo were somewhat unnecessary, knowing how much killer material Behemoth atually could put to their live performance. Nonetheless, these Polish champions of antichristian black/death metal played a very convincing gig. Their slot at the main stage was well deserved.      

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NOXA

A band from Indonesia seems both weird and exotic on the roster of the Tuska 2008. Well the Indonesian guys have visited Tuska in the past years and have managed to create great contacts with the organization to get them convinced to book Noxa. It was a well done job after all as Noxa got onstage to unleash their grindcore/crust hard core mix. Despite their limited English skills, the four piece’s short and brutal sounding tracks seemed to be appreciated by the Finnish fans. The frontman appeared to be such a relentless tornado raging on the stage. Noxa has influences from the brutal crust hardcore genre as lyrics mostly dealt with societial aspects. The band sounded amusing in some points, but it has to be remembered that they are from a little bit different environment and culture. Seeing these kinds of exotic bands at Tuska is a nice addition. Hopefully these exotic bands will be seen more at Tuska.

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FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM

The long time British gothic mongers rarely show up to any kind of festival and in general do gigs. Getting Fields Of The Nephilim was definitely a coup from the organization of the Tuska festival. The festival had another long time goth-gloomsters Sisters Of Mercy a few years back as the headliner of the festival on the second day, but to be honest it was a major mindfuck. But Fields Of The Nephilim definitely presented a more well taken approach and a more mystique veil over the band’s image. The 60 minute set was started out by “Shroud” and followed by “Straight to the Light”. The set as well contained the material from Mccoy’s Nefilim era such as “Penetration”. Mccoy is known for being quite a dismal person, not willing to communicate with the audience at all. However, he thanked the audience at the end of the set. True gothic obscurity indeed. If Mccoy was that dismal, as well other FOTN hired guns mostly remained in the same spot during the whole set.  Fields Of The Nephilim is definitely a more indoor band as these kinds of outdoor festivals don’t have the required atmosphere for the music of FOTN. 

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Shroud

Straight to the Light

Penetration

Shine

Dawnrazor

Xiberia

Moonchild

Trees Come Down

Zoon pt. 3 (Wake World)

Mourning Sun

 

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DREAM EVIL

I remember when Dream Evil first came into the picture a couple of years ago. Their triumphant debut album DRAGON SLAYER was one of the best albums released in 2002. It even did really well here in our  Metal-Rules "album of the year" poll. I also remember when the band did a great show in Swedenrock festival later on the same year. Many things have changed since those days. Although Dream Evil’s next two releases, EVILIZED and BOOK OF HEAVY METAL, both were acceptable albums, the band for some reason or another started to lose key members. The first one to leave was guitarist Gus G, who then decided to concentrate his other band Firewind, and sometime later drummer Snowy Shaw (ex -Mercyful Fate, King Diamond, Notre Dame etc…) jumped off the boat. The band replaced them with Pat Power and Daniel Varghamne and in 2006 they released their latest album UNITED.

Dream Evil kicked off their Tuska Festival set with the title track from UNITED followed by another newbie "Blind Evil". The sound was really good from the start and band managed to mass together such agreeable number of people in the pavilion. DRAGON SLAYER track "In Flames You Burn" sounded great and so did another debut album song "The Chosen Ones". Those two tracks were definitely the highlights of the show. They did their best on stage and but their performance was somewhat average. First of all, the songs from UNITED don’t compare to older material. Secondly, although these guys must be credited for not giving up after all these problems, the fact is that Dream Evil is not the same band that they used to be in the past. Although they still have cheesy lyrics, their sound is now different and the new members simply don’t have the charisma of their predecessors. Still, it can be said that they were a worthy addition to this year’s TUSKA line up.

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United

Blind Evil

In Flames You Burn

Children of the Night

Fire! Battle! in Metal!

Heavy Metal in the Night

The Chosen Ones

The Book of Heavy Metal

 

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KREATOR

German Trash metal pioneers Kreator have visited Finland diligently and if I’m counting right this was going to be their third performance within three years here. I’ve seen Kreator eight times before and I’ve never been disappointed…..but how was the ninth time then? “Violent Revolution” kicked off the set within an instant of their appearance on stage. Right from the beginning, the band was mightily intense and thoroughly in your face. Vocalist/guitarist Mille Petrozza has a lot of pure anger and hate inside him and he literally shows that on the stage. He seemed to have extreme aggressions against certain groups like politics and racists and he make it clear for everybody. Kreator have one hell of a back catalogue, so choosing a set list is not too easy but tonight they did a good job. Of course they played all the classics from their early days like “Betrayer” and ”Pleasure to Kill” but they also did some less frequently played material like “Europe After the Rain” from RENEWAL! Their latest two albums, VIOLENT REVOLUTION and ENEMY OF GOD, were also strongly present. All in all, the set list was close to perfect because it evenly included material from their entire career (excluding more experimental albums like ENDORAMA and OUTCAST). It was also great to notice how much the bands Finnish guitarist Sami Yli-Sirniö has improved his acting on live situation. Seven years in Kreator with Mille and company have changed Sami from being just a shy hang around into an arrogant and aggressive performer. Kreator was surely one of the best, most energetic and aggressive bands in Tuska but in spite of that and other positive things it must be said that there was one negative thing in here. The band has been on tour supporting ENEMY OF GOD since its release in 2005 and they have basically been playing the same set list since then. At least for me it felt that I’ve already seen this show many times already? The good news is that band is entering studio this fall and will start working their next release!  

 

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PRIMORDIAL

The Irish pagan/celtic/folk outfit Primordial have gained more and more popularity and success which was evident with a totally packed tent about to burst it’s seams. It wasn’t surprising to witness the packed tent by hundreds of pagan metal freaks. Primordial’s singer, Naihmass Nemtheanga, is a real dominating, charismatic frontman living up to the music with a big heart for sure. His way of interpreting the Primordial songs was astonishing. The other members mostly remained in the background, but handled their duties more than perfectly. The band definitely spellbound the Finnish audience with a strong and convincing performance and delivered a great deal of songs such as “Heathen Tribes”,  "Gallows Hymn" and a helluva lot more. It is obvious the Irish celtic tribesmen will be seen on Finnish soil sooner or later as seeing and feeling Primordial is an utter captivating experience. 

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Empire Falls

Gallows Hymn

Sons of the Morrigan

As Rome Burns

The Coffin Ships

Gods to the Godless

Heathen Tribe

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MORBID ANGEL

Morbid Angel returned back to the Finnish shores for the second time (their first show being at Nummirock festival in 2005) – this time with Dave Vincent who was out of the band for some years until he made his return to the ranks in 2004 to replace Steve Tucker (who – obviously ´just temporarily´, joined the band to replace David in 1997).

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Vincent’s return back to Morbid Angel, to be honest with all of you, was nothing but a welcomed move from Morbid Angel. Nothing against Steve Tucker, but when he was in the band, it always felt like something was missing from them….like a big puzzle that never got completed. That missing part was always David Vincent, of course! The man cannot simply cannot be replaced, as his and Morbid Angel´s performance proved it so well at Tuska. Also, it needs to be mentioned that Thor Anders ´Destructhor´ Myhren (Zyklon, Myrkskog) had earned his slot in the Morbid Angel live line-up, so it´s left to be seen how far his enlistment will last in Morbid Angel?

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Morbid Angel were rightfully chosen as the main headliner act of the Tuska festival 2008 for Saturday. Starting their set off with "Rapture" which also somehow seemed to be sort of a calculated move from the Morbid Angel camp to get the Tuska audience to their side right away, really got the massive and screaming crowd pumped up, and gone totally beserk. "Pain Divine" and "Maze of Torment" coming up next, brought the festival atmosphere to a whole new level, and at that point even it was relatively easy to talk about the best band performance at Tuska festival in 2008. All that strong charisma that David Vincent – and naturally the whole band emanate, is simply beyond our human senses. Morbid Angel´s performance reached sort of a hypnotic level among the fans; people were singing along the songs the best they could, and interacting with Dave like he was the best friend, even as far as from the days of their childhood already. Anyway, both David and the crowd communicated to each other in a great way. At that same day, Saturday, we had Helsinki (gay) Pride happening here in Helsinki. Strange enough, but David had heard about it, so he took advantage of the word ´pride´, and twisted the day as ´metal pride of the day´. Talk about some genuine sense of humor Mr. Vincent has… ;o)

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"Sword to the Black" brought more darkness and evilness into this huge metal mess, led by David Vincent – the highlord of all fevers and plagues himself, which got soon followed by a new Morbid Angel song, titled "Nevermore", which the band had already played at some festivals – and damn it sounded promising. It sounded like there was something old – something new Morbid Angel melted together in it. And talking about the aforemetioned disease matters, "Lord of All Fevers and Plague" was undeniably one of the most wanted numbers in the set list of Morbid Angel at that night. You only had to take a short glance toward the fanatic Morbid Angel audience to realize that David wasn´t singing the chorus part of the song alone…

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Right after the night had already reached its climax, such classic Morbid Angel songs as "Immortal Rites", "Fall from Grace", "Evil Spells" and "Chapel of Ghouls" brought eargasms to each of us. 12,000 people were bleeding for the devil – metaphorically speaking at least, and all the speculations – both good and bad, whether David´s return back to Morbid Angel hasn´t meant a thing to the band, can be forgotten completely. Morbid Angel needs David Vincent as much as David needs Morbid Angel still to prove the best fucking´ death metal band around nowadays as far as playing live in concerned. Trey, as well as Pete were also determined for giving thier best shots for the show so that everyone could leave the venue satisfied, totally knocked off by Morbid Angel´s crushing and amazing performance. Especially Trey proved yet again what kind of guitar virtuoso he truly is. It was very entertaining to watch his playing, and I´m sure that 95% of the crowd was spellbounded by his performance. No complaints about Thor Anders´ performance with these 3 legends either; he did a fine job, and presumably he has already approved by the band for the recording lineup of the band as well. However, time will tell…   

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And speaking about some skin-peeling encores, when you get something like "Dawn of the Angry", "Where the Slime Live", "God of Emptiness" and "World of Shit (the Promised Land)", how could you possibly not be satisfied? No, you simply can´t. For many – like for yours truly, Morbid Angel made the whole event worthwhile. I saw Morbid Angel in Fagersta, Sweden in 1991 for the very first time, during the band´s "European Sickness Tour" – and even if one cannot possibly compare that particular gig of theirs to Morbid Angel in 2008 anno bastardi, the band can still deliver, in a fucking beautiful and convincing way as a matter of speaking. Morbid Angel were the uncrowded kings of Tuska festival in 2008 – hands down!   

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Rapture

Pain Divine

Maze of Torment

Sworn to the Black

Nevermore

Lord of All, Fevers And Plagues

Fall from Grace

Immortal Rites

Evil Spells

Ghapel of Ghouls

Dawn of the Angry

Where the Slime Live

God of Emptiness

World of Shit (The Promised Land)

 

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