Steelfest Open Air 2013 – Hyvinkaa Finland
What would the summer be without metal festivals? Nothing, absolutely nothing. Finland is the real promised land of metal with festivals arranged all around Finland from the north to the south, from the east to the west. Steelfest Open Air is basically a newcomer to the Finnish festival map as the fest made its debut for the public audience last year. The line-up for 2013 looked tremendous due to Mayhem, Destruction, Sodom, Vomitory and a number of Finnish acts as well for example The Crescent, Horna, etc. Steelfest Open Air offered the ultimate start and kick-off for a summer of metal mayhem.
Review and pics by Arto Lehtinen and Timo Hanhirova
For me, the comeback of Purtenance was one of the most eagerly awaited events in this year’s Steelfest and while the band had a bit shy stage presence, their brand of Finnish death metal sounded good and at times spectacular. Unfortunately, the new generation of metalheads were not that interested to hear those exhumed tunes and there were way too little people watching even though announcer Klaus Flaming did his best to summon some folk to see the “legend’s return”. In some way, Purtenance were ahead of their time in the beginning of 1990’s and that’s why their brutal and dark material sounds still fresh in 2013. The lineup contains of two original stalwarts, drummer Harri Saro and guitarist Juha Rannikko, and two new guys on vocals and on second guitar. I really hope that after few gigs the overall rustiness and shyness is gone for good and band lives up to it’s newly found potential.
Goatmoon was a late addition to festival lineup due URNs cancellation but the black metal band summoned nice amount of audience. It seems that Goatmoon is relatively popular among young black metal crowd in Finland. The band plays a very undergound brand of melodic but raw black metal. At least this band is quite unique in the Finnish scene right now. I’ve seen Goatmoon few times already so their gig was nothing special but the genuine flute was nice touch to their sound.
Finnish black metal triumphantly continued when long time black metal veterans Horna unleashed their blasphemic hymns on the main stage. Horna has gathered a true legion of the fans saluting them. The frontman’s controlled performance with the eerie glimpse created a more evil and grim element to the show. Horna as usual sounded grim and eerie, but also remained loyal to the basic elements of the black metal approach.
It was the probably the very last (and first) possibility to see death metal veterans of Vomitory on Finnish shores before their forthcoming disbandment. Maybe that was the reason that their gig lured in a delightful amount of audience. The gig showcased the whirlwind of competent death metal but maybe it was about time to call it quits. Even though the band started in early 90ies, they hit their prime way too late to be considered in the same context as bands like Entombed and Dismember and did never gain any real momentum in their career. On the other hand, there’s now an abundance of younger hungrier bands so I bet there will not be too many people crying in agony when Vomitory is gone. They are just too middle of the pack to make any lasting impressions.
The German Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult didn’t have to express any excuses when the front lady split the blood and kicked the set off with a merciless uncompromising assault. The three piece delivered ultimate raw and nihilistic black metal. The front lady’s dominating stage presence left the other members more in a more static role. Nocturn SlaughterCult unleashed in total, 45mins of pure raw and nihilistic black metal without showing any mercy.
Belphegor took to the second stage to unleash their hybrid death/black metal. The band seemed to have made some switches in the line-up as the long time vocalist Helmut was entirely focused on guitar and made space for the new singer, Barth, to take care of the growling. The current growler sounded like a standard growler without the strong German English accent as Helmut has. As a matter of fact, Helmut’s personal growling and out of mind speeches made Belphegor exceptionally strong, and frankly, funny to watch. However, the four piece sounded vital murderous and brutal, but a bit too standard due to the new singer’s standard growl. Well at least Helmut remembered to thank the audience with the strong strong German English “Kizz My Ass”.
Sodom’s Tom Angelripper recently turned 50, but getting a bit older hasn’t slowed the thrash icon’s anger and aggression at all, quite the contrary. The latest opus EPITOME OF TORTURE is an excellent piece of evidence of Angelripper’s passion towards brutal thrash. Sodom was on fire on the stage at Steelfest, the Germans offered the witching metal for about 90 minutes cranking each album by picking up the most memorable songs. The biggest surprise was without any doubt “Nuclear Winter”, when did they play that song before? I for one had been waiting for that particular song for 23 years!!!!!!! Angelripper and company didn’t slow an inch, just hammering the audience down with the all the classic tunes and a few newer cuts as well. The audience thanked and kept chanting Sodom and arranged a few real sadistic looking pits.