Hammer Open Air 2013 – Lieto Finland

September 14th, 2013
by Arto Lehtinen

DAY 2 – Saturday

(Pics and article by Timo Hanhirova)

Archgoat’s late cancellation opened saturday’s opening seed for “legendary” finnish black metal group Azazel. Band is infamous for it’s alcohol ridden performances but maybe this very early slot was to blame as band sounded more or less fine in Hammer. Songs. both oldies and newer stuff, are reasonably catchy and traditional black metal. Surely front man Lord Stanachia tried to do his best to intoxicate himself more and more by drinking beer during the whole gig and giving us some entertaining quotes. “Do you worship Lucifer? Good!” Nothing new under the black sun but Azazel was a fun start for the long evening.

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Black metal band Blood Red Fog’s gig was so static and boring experience that I welcomed the next band heartily. Germany’s very own Venenum is a great band but unfortunately in the live situtaion there’s not that much to see actually. Guys had some blood spatters on their faces but that’s all. Music itself is nicely morbid and even somethat original brand of death metal and I liked it.

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One of the oldest and for some of us, the greatest, death metal bands in Finland, the almighty Abhorrence, is back and Tuska Open Air already showcased that the almost-original bunch of guys is in a good shape already to present their recently reissued material to the new generation of metalheads. The most pleasing aspect is that the vocalist Jukka Kolehmainen growls and performs like a young stud after all these years in dormancy. You just gotta love their opener track Pestilential Mists, that is the song which is an epitome of the goodness of finnish traditional death metal. Pair that one with the greats like Caught in a Vortex, Pleasures of the Putrid Flesh and of course, the most known hitsong of them all, Vulgar Necrolatry, you have some realy solid setlist there. I dare to say that Abhorrence has now reclaimed it’s Vulgar Necrolatry and the band born on Abhorrence’s ashes, Amorphis, won’t need to touch that song anymore.

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Swedish traditional heavy metal is the game of RAM, but even the band is boasting the one of the coolest logos in industry, their music has left me wanting and Hammer was no different. They are a bit too basic for my taste buds, but fortunately they are way more manly and convinging on stage (and on their records) than their pretty boy country mates like Enforcer and In Solitude. Not a bad band by any means but not that interesting either, so next please!

Skyforger is quite an entertaining folk metal with that nice “slavic” touch but the band after that, the Bulldozer was more interesting tonight. The band is a bizarre mix of childish lyrics, italian attitude and quite compenent classic thrash. When you sing about porn stars, football and what else, there’s some nagging feeling that these should not be taken that seriously. But what the heck, Bulldozer is fun to watch when you just take it what it is, Bulldozer.

 

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Repulsion, oh, Repulsion, what a treat and the gem of this year’s Hammer Open Air. The band was just a fantastic slab of classic thrashy death/grind of the yester years. Good ol’ tracks from the Horrified album and demos were coupled with tasty cover from Slaughter, Death Dealer. They wisely didn’t play Venom cover tonight as the real deal was coming in the later stage. Scott Carlson was seemingly in good mood and so was the audience as this legendary band was at last in the Finnish soil.

There was a time when it was special to see Japan’s cult band Sigh live but now I admit straight that Mirai’s and Mikannibal’s stage antics are growing to be a bit tiresome for me. Oh so familiar angel wings, bible burning, blood over Mikannibal’s body and Mirai cirling on stage like an ADHD patient has been seen already. Surely Sigh does what Sigh likes to do, at least they aren’t trying to please anyone desperately but maybe they should evolve their show towards some totally new grounds. Luckily there was some interesting older material to hear, like Infidel Art’s Desolation and couple of cuts from Imaginary Sonicscape. It was also interesting to see Abigail/Barbatos man Yasuyki to handle bass duties as a stunt of usual bassist Satoshi.

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I don’t get the Hell at all. What’s all the fuzz with this band? Do people like it because the guys are as old school as ten commands? Their style of heavy metal is annoyingly dramatic and the vocalist is all over the place, and not entirely in a good way. But at least there was something to see when you compare it to the next band’s dullness. Secrets of the Moon had couple of good albums in the beginning of their career but then they just baceme plain boring, both on stage and on record. Mr Golden should start thinking quickly how to rejuvenate the band into it’s original glory or at least I’m out for good from this bandwagon.

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Venom was surely the undisputed headliner of the evening but Venom of 2013 is not the real Venom, it’s a tired tribute band to grab some easy cash from metalheads who insist on living in the past. Ok, they started on a good note by classic Black Metal but after that they played couple of new songs and they sucked. What a rehashed bulk so I left after few songs. When I checked setlist from the recent gigs I’m sure that I didn’t miss that much. Ok, they had nice pyrotechnics in Hammer.

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