The Jalometalli Open Air Metal festival has gained its status as well as place on the Finnish festival map. Although there are plenty of metal oriented festivals arranged all around in Finland, the Jalometalli festival has found its own style and approach in the metal festival offering in Finland. It doesn’t rely on the current hot names on the market like Volbeat and so on, instead the festival offers a more interesting line-up mostly consisting of old school thrash metal and of course death and black metal by having bands which have either never or rarely visited Finland. Especially several 80s thrash metal legends such as Whiplash, Agent Steel have never been seen on the soil of Finland. Now it is about time. Therefore the Metal-Rules.com team made a real assault at Jalometalli by witnessing plenty of killer bands and seeing the general atmosphere and here is the result.
Article by Niko Karppinen, Arto Lehtinen, Luxi Lahtinen
Pics by Arto Lehtinen
Friday, 14th of August
This death-thrash combo’s always been such an entertaining band on stage, as their tight set in Jalometalli again clearly proved. I personally think that band suffered a bit because of their early schedule. It’s a well known fact that there’s not much of a crowd around in the festivals if you’re among first 3 bands which are going to start the day. Deathchain didn’t let this get them down and played a good set anyway. Vocalist K.J. Khaos commanded the mosh-pit in the front of the stage and there truly was a pit going on almost through the entire gig – that’s something ‘bout strong presence when performing live! Whereas the whole band looked REALLY credible on stage and I have to say that Deathchain didn’t come to play in Jalometalli just to stand around and play – Hell no! The band played Bathory’s “Sacrifice” at the end of the gig. I think it was really cool move from Deathchain – interesting choice definitely.
The Finnish long time power/trad metallers Burning Point celebrated their 10th anniversary. Therefore their gig at Jalometalli was shot for the upcoming DVD release. The band has remained loyal to the traditional metal roots through these years and proved the traditional metal still lives and breathes well.
Because of the anniversary year, several former members had been asked to take part in the anniversary gig on the stage. Even though the band has undergone several line-up changes during these years, however the good sounding metal with the obvious hard rock grip worked more than fine. Actually Burning Point was the one and only true sounding metal band on the roster.
Solstafir out of Iceland made its debut visit to Finland. Even though the band presents a slightly different approach compared to the other bands on the roster, however their more psychedelic based metal was accepted more than well by the audience. Even though the band struggled with unexpected difficulties and some technical issues, however they pulled off a solid gig. Their stuff is definitely pretty eccentric and a little bit experimental for some. There was no reason to expect a real wild live performance by the Icelandic guys, instead they mostly handled the whole gig with a relaxed attitude and encouraged the audience to sing along. Unfortunately this kind of experimental stuff doesn’t work in the sunshine, instead a gloomy dismal club atmosphere could be a more rightful place for them.
Another band following more the old school power metal approach was the German powerplant four piece StormWarrior. The band is known for doing plenty of gigs alongside the Gamma Ray vocalist/axeman Kai Hansen. At the Jalometalli fest the power metal messengers relied on the metallic power of their own. The combo nailed song by song tightly and sounded pretty much like the old Helloween/Gamma Ray on steroids. By the way how many were aware that the original The Brats bassist is in Stormwarrior ?
Hail Of Bullets
Martin Van Drunen’s first appearance happened on the first day when Hail Of Bullets hit the stage to grind and crush the Jalometalli audience. HOB have gained the well deserved attention amongst the death metal freaks as the area was totally packed. Three baldheaded guys were standing in tight formation like soldiers before entering the hellstorm. The playing started like grinding the bones of each one nearby the stage. The audience went absolutely berserk when most of songs picked up from the excellent OF FROST AND WAR roared out of the monitors. Martin Van Drunen’s voice is definitely unique and rawish dry.
The long time German metal veterans Rage got to the stage and kicked the set off with the title song “Carved in Stone”. Even though the three piece appeared to be in good form on the stage, however the guitarist wizard Victor Smolski battled with nasty sound problems in the beginning. After sorting out the technical difficulties, he could focus on the guitar playing and showing his skills. Unfortunately the sounds in the indoor area weren’t balanced and were occasionally distorted. That didn’t bother the audience fanatically banging their heads and singing lyrics by heart such “Higher Than Sky”. All in all 11 songs belonged to Rage’s setlist and of course the mandatory “Don’t Fear The Winter” which has been a part of Rage’s set since the 80’s. Honestly it was a pleasure to witness plenty of people watching Rage cos when the three piece visited Finland back in 2006 by doing a few shows, only a handful of people showed up to the gig.
I’ve been a huge fan of the band since I heard “Iron Gang” for the first time on the radio as a teenager and after that my world just wasn’t same anymore. Voivod left massive influences throughout my whole life, then after “ANGEL RAT” I suddenly lost my connection with the band almost for a decade. But it’s easy to fall in love and catch the long lost feeling back again; that happened to me with Voivod. It’s really hard to try to describe how remarkable Voivod was way back in the ’80 ties: In the NOTHINGFACE-tour 1989-1990 supporting acts for Voivod were Soundgarden and Faith No More. A fact which gives some perspective how close Voivod was to hitting it big. The sound of the band was something you’ve never heard before; totally insane riffs, sci-fi themes on lyrics and on album covers, tribal rhythms, manic vocals above all this chaos…and incredible songs. As you may guess, my expectations were sky high when it came to Voivod’s first gig in Finland at Jalometalli. Especially when thinking that the band was about to perform in its best possible line-up after death of Denis "Piggy" D’Amour (died in 2005, may he rest in peace).
Voivod was naturally chosen to be the last band on the main stage on Friday. The Jalometalli festival is held in my hometown of Oulu and at that time of year night is rather dark which gave us excellent opportunity to enjoy a somewhat spectacular light-show during the gig. Before the gig I was expecting a set list which should be pretty close to the one the band had been playing in Europe earlier this year. I wasn’t really wrong with that because the opening song for the gig was “Voivod” from WAR AND PAIN. The crowd was somewhat pleased to hear the opening track. It looked like the band itself was really excited to play at Jalometalli too. Snake was limping along the stage and his appearance wasn’t really “metal”; but hey it’s perhaps a bit too narrow minded to think Voivod only as a metal band, it’s certainly something more than just that…It was great to see Blacky play in Voivod again. I really understand that people would like to see Jason Newstedt playing but not me. . This line up is closest to the original one we got to know since WAR AND PAIN. Next we got to hear goodies from the mighty NOTHINGFACE album; the track was a little predictable “The Unknown Knows” which worked out extremely well.
The band sounded balanced and surprisingly clear. There really was only one guitar, bass and drums on stage with some vocals added. This might be a good chance for me to say a few words about Dan Mongrain who replaced Piggy as guitarist. When I personally heard the news concerning the replacement I was thinking that this guy has too big boots to fill and I think I wasn’t the only one. I was wrong (like Social Distortion stated in their brilliant WHITE LIGHT, WHITE HEAT, WHITE TRASH album), believe me, this guy’s fucking awesome! It was thrilling to watch him play especially when you know that Piggy’s riffs just aren’t the easiest you could find. Dan Mongrain performed everything the way it was meant to be. From his face you can easily find that everything comes from the heart too. Amazing guy!
“Ravenous Medicine” and “Tribal Convictions” exploded and the whole crowd went crazy. These two songs were quickly followed by “Overreaction” and the reaction was immense. Through that you could sense how long awaited Voivod’s presence has been in Finland. The band played a few songs in a row from ANGEL RAT and from their latest INIFINI and this was the weakest point of the gig. It’s always bittersweet to introduce new material to the crowd, usually people don’t know new songs as well which you can sense from the crowd too. But if this was the lowest point…We got spoiled by “Nothingface” and “Brain Scan” straight after. As an encore band played gigantic “Nuclear War” from their first album and….of course we got to hear the always so beautiful “Astronomy Domine” which just makes you think is there any better way to end a gig. No, there’s not. It’s perfect AND the only way to end Voivod gig properly.
All in all we got an almost perfect gig from Voivod. I might have chosen different songs for the gig; we heard only two tracks from DIMENSION HATRÖSS for example. But there was really not much left to complain about. It would have been great to hear “Iron Gang” which is my personal favorite and we didn’t hear songs from RRRÖÖÖAAARRR at all, which was a slight disappointment. The band seemed to be happy to finally get to Finland to play, Snake took a few photos of the crowd and the atmosphere between the band and the audience was great. Later on I heard that Snake had stated at the end of the gig that they’ll be back in Finland in the near future. So be it, Voivod was really worth for waiting 27 years to be here and I sincerely think that when the next time comes I will be there with the rest of the crowd having my own trip back to the 80s commanded by Voivod! Thank you Snake and Co. welcome back to Finland!