The Finnish summer is a full of all kinds of festivals. Metal music has massive support amongst the Finnish festival audience. It is no surprise that a new festival is established when another vanishes. Steelfest is basically a new metal festival on the map even though the fest has been around for a while now. The organization of Steelfest used to run the fest as a private event for close friends and invited them to enjoy the metal madness. Until now Steelfest was expanded and doors were opened to the larger public. The location for the festival was tremendous when taking a glance at the location in general and above all the festival area. There were two stages where all the bands terrorized and unleashed hell on earth. The moving between these stages was easy and smooth. Of course, some smaller issues could be pointed out, but all in all the festival faced ultimate great success in every aspect.
The two-day festival offered much from the extreme black to the suicidal doom metal. When arriving to the festival area there wasn’t many people witnessing the opening bands. Of course, timing for these first bands wasn’t ideal, but they managed to have a great opportunity of doing a gig. For example, Ominous’ debut gig happened at Steelfest. The five piece’s blackish-death metal was more traditional punching, even though one could notice slight stiffness in their performance. Then the ultimate black metal invasion was next on the line when Valoton unleashed their black metal outburst. The guys with the eccentric masks did a nihilistic set consisting of material from the debut album BEASTIFICATE. The unmasked female singer was kind of odd to add to the line-up. The black metal invasion was followed by the local band Azaghal. The four piece relied on the traditional black metal norms and methods.
The reunited thrash patrol A.R.G from the north gave a lesson of the bestial old school thrash metal. The old hymns of Ancient Rotten Graveguards still sounded as raw as over twenty years ago. The band is getting tighter and more brutal at each gig, the rusty and worthless hassles caused by a 20 year hiatus was gone. Deathchain’s deathrash march conquered the main stage next. The compromising style of DeathChain was a pure hit in your face without any mercy.
Impaled Nazarene lost the long time guitarist and nowadays relies on the one guitar force. Obviously some songs do need the second guitar to strengthen the sounds, but what the heck. The angry nuclear metallers cannoned the hate and bitterness during one hour. Luttinen’s face expressions reflected the pure inner hate and rage which is what Impaled Nazarene stands for.
It is needless to say, but the Swedish death metal veterans Entombed literally blew the whole place away. The legendary Stockholm death metallers have made a entire improvement in the posture. The audience went totally beserk resulting massive pits and crowd surfing. The five piece played a pure old school “best of” gig. The set included several Entombed classic tunes such as Stranger Aeons, Left Hand Path, Out Of Hand etc. LG Petrov’s essence was reminiscent of some bum whose nose was running all the time. Entombed have made a perfect and huge improvement on gigs. The band no longer sounds some b-class band, instead pure tight and brutal metal band playing the excellent death metal.
The local doomesters Saattue kicked the second day off. The depressive doom with the native language under the bright sun was quite a strange combination. Even though just a handful of people had arrived on time to witness Saattue, but that didn’t prevent Saattue from spreading depression, anxiety and darkness. The young thrashers Forced Kill hit the main stage and appeared to be a real thrashing and blasting hyper fast group. The heavily Bay Area influenced thrash metal sounded vital and even a bit of nostalgia.
Then the real black metal invasion hit next, even though Corpssessed and Sotajumala were both exceptional ones on the crusade of black metal. Another local band Sawhill Sacrifice was kind of hilarious black metal outfit. The frontman was entirely covered in blood and had messy eyeglasses that reminded of why Black Metal cian be time-to-time a real humoristic circus. Corpsessed relied on the brutal US death metal approach. The singer obviously managed to smash the mic to his head bleeding the rest of gig. Then the black metal invasion continued when Cavus opened the gates of hell. The visual side had to be given up due to the size of the stage and the festival area. Sacrilegous Impelement carried on the hellish tormenting black metal on the main stage. If Cavus had to skip all the essential visual things, instead SI had succeeded in bringing the wooden inverted cross. As for those black metal bands, they were brutal to bone for sure and looked mean and grim. Then Enochian Crescent continued the black mass ritual. EC did quite a routine gig without bigger gimmicks. Well before concluding the set the vocalist of EC burnt a stigma to his chest. Evil or not, nor shocking. Sotajumala’s brutal death mauling appealed to the audience as usual. And then Taake before the headliners.
The controversial Norwegian black metal struggled with the technical problems in the beginning, making the band sound like some b-division band. At least the vocalist appeared to be extreme possessed about and kept waving the Norwegian flag. When technical problems had been solved, things started rolling to have more suitable sound quality. Taake is still one of those few bands standing for the not commercialized black metal, just pure primitive approach.
Finally long waited the return of The Crown. The return of The Crown was just a matter of time. The reunited deaththrashers were definitely on fire thru the whole show. The set was basically the best off like Entombed had the night before. It contained all the essential the known Crown hymns. As for the audience, the mandatory pit started out as kids were smashing each other.
To sum up the whole festival; The whole organization had done a marvellous job when arranging the Steelfest for the larger audience for the first time. The area worked more than well for the capacity of over 1000 people. Obviously the Steelfest guys expected to have a bit more visitors. Shall the festival be arranged in the next year ? Hopefully as all the grounds and arrangements brought the positive vibe.