TUSKA OPEN AIR FESTIVAL
REVIEW AND PICS BY MARKO SYRJÄLÄ AND ARTO LEHTINEN
Sad but true, Tuska will not be held in the heart of Helsinki in the upcoming years. The park of Kaisaniemi will be a construction zone as the whole area will be improved to be better and more enjoyable. However, it is going to be interesting to see how the new area will work for metal bands. At least the upcoming area has proven itself to be a good festival area as there have been a couple of festivals and gigs arranged there so far. This is a farewell to the Kaisaniemi park and the current Tuska formation.
Enjoy the review and above all enjoy our pics.
It was quite surprising that the Bay Area thrashers Testament kicked the first off as the first act. It didn’t matter as plenty of thrash maniacs had arrived on time to witness Chuck and company. The band itself was definitely proved that “the first strike is deadly” as they did a set consisting of material off their classic albums and of course from the latest THE FORMATION OF DAMNATION. The band struggled with some technical problems once in a while. The sounds were not balanced. But the audience didn’t care as they were taken up in wild pits and a massive wall of death commanded by Mr Billy. Testament ruled on stage for sure.
Over The Wall
More Than Meets The Eye
The New Order
Practice What You Preach
The Persecuted Won’t Forget
Into The Pit
Riding The Snake
3 Days In Darkness
The Formation Of Damnation
Finnish long-line rockers Tarot have finally attained some of the some appreciation they truly deserve. The band has been around starting from the mid 80’s and they have released eight full length studio albums. Tarot’s latest opus GRAVITY OF LIGHT has even seen some radio airplay and it’s slowly becoming their best selling album to date. Tarot opened up with three new album tracks; ”Sleep in the Dark”, ”I Walk Forever” and ”Satan Is Dead”. Well, although the setting was very good, there was still something here which prevented this show from being too inspiring. Tarot has always sounded brilliant on album but they have had slight problems with repeating that live. Technically there are no problems. Marco Hietala’s voice is huge and it sounds like a perfect mix of classic Ronnie James Dio, Rob Halford and Bruce Dickinson. Marco’s brother, Zachary, is definitely one of the most classy guitar players of Finland and there’s nothing wrong with Pecu, Janne, or bands latest addition, Tommi, but overall this show was a little toneless. It certainly didn’t help that band decided play material from their latest two albums only (maybe there was one ”oldie” there). It’s always a brave (or foolhardy?) thing to choose a set list like this. It shows how much band really believes in its newer material, but in festival circumstances this kind of solution hardly ever works.
Peter Tägtgren had a busy weekend at Tuska by doing a double gig with both Pain and then Hypocrisy. Last time Pain visited Tuska, the main stage was an obvious choice for the Swedish techno-metallers. It would be interesting to know why Pain had been placed in the tent stage although the area and the tent was totally packed. Peter Tägtgren’s Pain offered the Tuska crowd plenty of known Pain songs having been on rotation on several music channels. Even though songs are composed based on a techno approach, however "End Of The Line" etc sound quite metallic!
Satyricon only did two shows this year, the first one at the FME event and the second at Tuska. Even Satyr himself wondered how on earth that this is possible. Whatever the reason, Satyricon has become such a big name on the metal map and always does killer shows for example at Jalometalli a few years back. The set started with the wellknown riffs as “War Pings” by Black Sabbath opened the gig as an intro. In general the whole set mostly consisted of newer material. As for the older material, only “Mother North” concluding the gig. Satyr’s stage performance looked kind of hilarious due to his eccentric steps and moves. But does that matter after all…as the band did a tight and vicious set!
The death metal veterans from Florida have constantly visited Finland. Therefore, it was about time that the legends were seen at Tuska. The band had undergone a minor change in the line-up as long time bassist Frank Watkins had been dismissed from the group and had been replaced by bass legend Steve Digiorgio. Tardy sounded as brutal and rotten as in the early days. The stage was indeed one sea of hair when the four guys banged their heads like a windmill. The audience was insane and acted like a bunch of animals in the pit.
DEVIND TOWNSEND – Ziltoid The Omniscient
Devin Townsend is known as the frontman for Strapping Yound Lad. SYL seems in a never-ending holding pattern as Townsend focuses on other projects. One of them is Ziltoid. The brilliant idea to carry out the whole Zilnoid saga at Tuska was suggested by the Tuska organization. Of course, that increased interest towards Townsend’s Ziltoid from abroad as well. The gig started with a Ziltoid animation on the screen with an eccentric looking figure jumping around and doing all kinds of things and welcomed the Tuska audience to the Ziltoid world. Of course this kind of spectacle divides the audience into two different camps: some truly appreciated the concept and some just didn’t get it. The whole show was enjoyable. Devin himself enjoyed playing out the Ziltoid spectacle in the front of a fanatical audience. It is obvious he was pleased with how everything turned after rehearsing several months for the Tuska gig. When “Planet Smasher” roared out of the monitors, Testament frontman Chuck Billy came to lend his deep voice to the song and the character. He was also wearing some kind of cape and sceptre (too bad we didn’t manage to get a picture of Chuck in this role!). An eccentric gig, but memorable for sure.