TUSKA OPEN AIR FESTIVAL 2013
REVIEW AND PHOTOS BY ARTO LEHTINEN AND MARKO SYRJALA
TUSKA AFTERPARTY FEAT. MARKY RAMONE’S BLITZKRIEG REVIEW BY CHRISTER USENIUS
The Tuska Open Air Festival is definitely a real metal festival institution amongst all other metal festivals in Europe. This current area, Suvilahti, almost located in the heart of Helsinki, only a few kilometers away from the downtown, is the new home for Tuska for the second time. Suvilahti is more like an industrial environment with burning and hot asphalt underfoot. Tuska faced a serious battle to pull the audience as another festival named Rock The Beach was arranged on the same weekend in the Helsinki area. The line-up of that festival mostly pulled the normal radio friendly audience whereas the die-hard metal freaks arrived at the Tuska Open Air Festival. Tuska however managed to pull about 25.000 visitors during the weekend. That was pretty good as the line-up did look good, not that tempting to pull a mainstream audience.
Nightwish and Testament, and of course the legendary Danish King Diamond were headliners, but of course a few cult metal bands like Bolt Thrower, Lama, had to be witnessed. The festival was an nice success although the event wasn’t sold out. Metal-Rules.com was present to check out a lot of bands and enjoy the metal in different forms.
Tuska Open Air 2013: FRIDAY
The whole festival was kicked off by Tesseract replacing Driller Escape Plan. Tesseract’s odd difficult and complex progressive approach with the modern day emo-metal/rock elements sounded far from interesting. Being an opening act for the day and festival was more or less unjustified place for a band like Tesseract as they shouldn’t be at Tuska at all!
The Pleasure of the putrid flesh could be smelt when the long time ago defunct and even kind of rotted Abhorrence rose from the grave to the daylight after being in the rotting schema for about 23 years. The vocalist Jukka Kolehmainen’s voice is still as deadly brutal as in 1990 even the amount of the water was needed to his throat. Abhorrence with the old school death metal still sounded refreshing and brutal, not having lost any inch or being rusty. This definitely took back in time to the early 90’s.
Wintersun enjoys massive success all around. The band gigs quite rarely in Finland, therefore seeing the band on the stage is always one huge. Wintersun’s song long and epic whereas the playing time is approximately one hour, there won’t be that much space for several songs. However Wintersun pulled the great show in front of thousands of Wintersun fans. The vocalist Mäenpää sounded awesome and drummer Haahto is the man needed behind the drum kit. But under the burning hot sun might not be the most idealistic timing for Wintersun though
Dreamtale should have made it big years ago, but due to several line up changes and being on a long hiatus, the biggest success remained un-achieved. However, Dreamtale with the Kypck singer, Erkki Seppanen, fronting sounds truly powerful and melodic. Dreamtale being on the stage showed the capacity of playing the highly appreciated power metal with impressive touch. Dreamtale should be out there playing for the bigger audience.
The progressive approach continued when Ihsahn got on the stage. Ihsahn’s difficult and not so easy progressive musical approach was kind of impossibility to adopt amongst the crowd. Playing this sort of approach at an open festival under the daylight doesn’t create the justified vibe for the band and the audience to enjoy the full. Of course Ihsahn was the main focus leaving the Leprous guy to gather the dust and the air. Well presumably Emperor will make a return to Tuska next year…wink wink!
Torture Killer literally crushed on the Club Stage. The whole five-piece with Pessi Haltsonen torturing the throat with the merciless grip was in the total explosive . The whole band sounded extremely brutal and lethal on the stage. Above all the whole performance and appearance on the stage had been well rehearsed as Torture Killer looked and sounded like a deadly warmachine rolling over the audience, killing maiming and mauling to death.
The long time death metal artillery Bolt Thrower is one of the most wanted bands to be booked by European festivals. Instead the band has made a wise move by doing a few selected shows each year. However Bolt Thrower will appear at one open door festival , namely at Tuska. The British death metallers visited Finland back in 2006 for the first time ever, playing in a packed club. The return had desperately been waited amongst the fans. The five piece unleashed the bone crushing set with the total crushing sounds. The set was massive including all the known and merciless Bolt Thrower tunes from several BT albums. Karl Willet’s relentless performance and ripping vocals and above all the crushing sounds proved Bolt Thrower are still one hell of a live band leaving all these young bands to gather the dust. It is truly understandable the band has given up the making of new albums as meeting up the high quality what the classic song present is truly difficult. However seeing Bolt Thrower on the Finnish soil was a real pleasure for several death metal freaks.
Anti-Tank (Dead Armour)
Realm of Chaos
Battle for Britain
The IVth Crusade
When Glory Beckons
World Eater / Cenotaph
No Guts, No Glory
Where Next to Conquer
When Cannons Fade
In Battle There Is No Law
If we are asked, King Diamond was without a doubt the most interesting and the most anticipated performer of the entire festival. Luckily, we were not alone with that opinion because before the main stage was fully packed in advance before the show. As most of people know, King Diamond has personally gone through many extremely difficult health issues during the past years and, indeed, it’s a true miracle that the man was now performing on Tuska –festival stage in 2013. In fact, King Diamond performed last year in Swedenrock festival and it was one of his first performances in more than six years. No one really knew what to expect then, but all fears proved to be useless. Unbelievable great vocals by King, tight band, great set list and above all, the stunning looking stage made followed the whole show as unparalleled spectacle which would be difficult to surpass. But going back to upcoming Tuska –show… There are no new album to promote and there are no changes in the band line-up so the main difference to last summer’s experience is going to be the fact that King Diamond will now be performing in full daylight which may not be the very best option at this point … Before the show started, the entire stage was covered with thick curtains which got dropped when the band opened up with FATAL PORTRAIT classic “The Candle”. The stage looked mainly the same as it did last year in Sweden. Massive metal gates covered the front of the stage almost completely and photography was initially just as difficult as last summer. “Welcome Home” and “At the Graves” followed and by this point the audience sang along with King to the fullest.
Despite the full daylight, the show proceeded in the same way as last year. Many familiar characters, like “Grandma” and “Voodoo woman”, from King Diamond’s albums were present and there was some theatrical effects used every then and now. King himself was quite an eye-popping shape. His vocals were crystal clear and strong, and he was full of energy all through the show. The bands role is clearly to stay a bit on the background but everyone still had their moment in the limelight. Andy LaRocque got the biggest applause which is no wonder. The man has been involved with the band from the beginning, and fans will appreciate him a lot. A special mention must be given to long-term bassist Hal Patino. His stage presence and appearance just fits the band like a fist in the eye. The set list contained just the right amount of old and newer material. King’s biggest hits such as “Sleepless Night” and “Family Ghost” of course they were well received but the same can be said when the band played a few Mercyful Fate classics. The list also had some rarely heard gems such as “Dreams” from SPIDERS LULLABYE and “Shapes of Black” from the latest studio release GIMME YOUR SOUL… PLEASE. Although there were a few comments in the audience saying “Why they didn’t play this or that” those two certainly met the needs of even the most demanding listeners. In fact, the set list was not changed at all since last year, with the exception of “Halloween” which was now dropped off. All in all, despite the daylight and a few appellants in the audience, this was another awesome gig from King Diamond. The band did not let circumstances interfere and everything worked perfectly. The rumor says that King Diamond has recently made three album deal with Metal Blade. That will mean that there will be more King Diamond tours in the future. In the meantime, cheers and LONG LIVE THE KING!!!
At the Graves
Up from the Grave
Let It Be Done
Shapes of Black
Come to the Sabbath
Eye of the Witch
The Family Ghost