The last festival day began with a cold weather and rain again. At 13.30 Suburban Tribe hit the Main Stage with just a few people inside the festival and things didn’t change that much at 14.15 when Doom Unit was playing in the Park Stage. It was pretty much a slow and somehow tedius start of day. Things changed a bit when Grave Digger got on the Main Stage. After a bit over 25 years of existence, the Germans finally came to play in Finland and although there still weren’t many people in the audience, frontman Chris Botendahl would get everybody to sing, clap or headband to ”Excalibur”, ”Valhalla”, ”The Dark of the Sun”, ”Rebellion (The Clans Are Marching” and their anthem ”Heavy Metal Breakdown”.
Back in the Park Stage, Peer Günt was able to attract a lot of fans to their gig, which wasn’t at all memorable, but nevertheless enjoyable. At 16.30 in the Main Stage, Stam1na would be making their usual appearance in SOA. I have yet to understand how this band plays almost every year (I think the exception was last year) in this festival. They are talented guys, but it’s still gets a bit boring seeing them so many times, there’s nothing special anymore. Later on, Poisonblack was playing in the Park Stage, promoting their latest album ”Of Rust and Bones”. During 60 min. set, the Finns played some of their known songs and couple of the new ones, getting a warm response from the fans. The day was coming to an end and there was still a low number of audience, maybe around 6.000, and Amorphis was on the Main Stage. Just like Stam1na, Amorphis has been playing very often in SOA, or then in other festivals around here, also becoming something predictable. The gig was similar to the one they played last here in SOA, when they were promoting ”Skyforger”.
The last band in the Park Stage was the ”all star cover band” Hail!. Most people know by now that the band consist of Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens (ex-Judas Priest) on vocals, Andreas Kisser (Sepultura) on guitars, Paul Bostaph (Testament) on drums and coming at the last minute to replace the late Paul Gray (Slipknot), James LoMenzo (ex-Megadeth) on bass. Say what you will about ”how silly is this whole all star cover band thing”, but you can’t deny that these guys are extremely talented and they were without a doubt the best band of the day. Starting on full speed and power with ”Ace of Spades”, ”Refuse/Resist”, ”Symphony of Destruction” and ”Painkiller”, it was impossible to stand still. ‘Ripper’ dedicated ”Stand Up and Shout” to Dio and ”(Sic)” to Paul Gray, a song that they have kept on the set because it was one of Paul’s choice. Then came some special guests on stage for ”Cold Gin”: Mark Osegueda and guitarist Rob Cavestany (Death Angel). Most fans remember that Death Angel actually recorded ”Cold Gin” on their ”Frolic Through the Park” album. It was a fun moment, then the band (without the guests) continued on more classics: ”Breaking the Law” and ”Number of the Best”. For ”Neon Knights”, Marco Hietala (Tarot, Nightwish) came to sing, while ‘Ripper’ was ”helping” Paul Bostaph on the drums. To finish up, they played ”Territory”, ”Paranoid” and ”Whiplash” getting a really warm feedback from the audience.
It was 8.30pm and Sonata Arctica would close this year’s festival. Unfortunately, like Stam1na and Amorphis, the band has been so many times here and it was overall a forgettable gig. Frontman Tony Kakko’s voice sounded weak sometimes, it was like he was struggling with some higher notes. Among the set, some fan favorites like ”Paid in Full”, ”FullMoon”, ”Last Drop Falls” and others. SOA ended with a certain disappointing feeling for many audience members, there were just a few memorable gigs from a total of 22 bands. Now we just have to wait and see what will come next year.