Tuska 2014 – SATURDAY
The Young thrashers Lost Society carry the torch with pride and passion in a world where most thrashers are getting old and play a bit on their nostalgia. Lost Society’s restless and wild performance was a total outburst of the young age of the guys, the nonstop headbanging and raging on the stage. Lost Society are out of control in every way. They encouraged people to cause a ballistic reaction on the ground, causing tremendous clouds of ashes covering the total area. Lost Society proved to be in a dangerous strike and thrashing shape.
The legendary Finnish thrash metal band Stone has finished its career for, who knows, how many times, but here they were again. The bands last studio album EMOTIONAL PLAYGROUND was released in 1991 but it does not seem to have bothered the generous audience. On the contrary, they had come to enjoy the nostalgia and that’s what they got. The band opened with a pair of classic debut album tracks. “Get Stoned” and “Real Delusion”. Both just kicked ass big time, and as expected, a mosh pit formed in the audience right from the start. Next it was time to calm down a bit when the band headed into “Back to the Stone Age” which presents the bands more progressive side. The set list was basically the same what the band has been playing for years. It’s strongly built upon Stone’s debut album, which was now present with 7 tracks, and there are some selected tracks from the rest of the albums. I was going to say that there were no surprises but actually there was one. “Brain Damage”, again from the debut album, was now played for the very first time since the 80’s, at least that’s what vocalist Janne Joutsenniemi told us on stage. I do not remember hearing that song live before, even though I have seen plenty of these Stone gigs during the years, so he was probably right there. Well there’s not much to say here because Stone was once again brilliant. The bands playing is nothing short of crushingly efficient, their performance is energetic and there are no weak songs in their catalog. Stone is the best metal band coming from Finland, ever, period. (And Janne’s bass is the ugliest ever). See you on next year again!
The Swedish thrashers Altair as well visited Jalometalli by making a debut show here. At that time the Swedes were a bit lost on the big stage. Instead for the Tuska slot, the Swedish thrashers had improved a lot. The five-piece whipped loud and hard on the smaller stage even though the second guitarist was struggling. It was obvious the small stage created a lethal thrashing metallic onslaught and gave the suitable atmosphere. The 30 minute set of the pure aggression was the blast from the beginning to the end.
Metal Church is one of those classic 80’s metal bands who have never made it to Finland during their “heydays”. The band’s history in brief goes something like this. The band was formed in 1980 by guitarist Kurt Vanderhoof and they released the classic self-titled debut in 1984 which was followed by THE DARK in 1986. Both are today recognized as classic metal albums, and they have inspired thousands of metal bands around the world, including Metallica and much more. Since the 80’s the band has gone through numerous line-up changes. At one point they did tour and record without any original members in the band but nonetheless they have always survived although they’ve have had several “hiatus” years during the voyage. Today, Metal Church consists of Vanderhoof, long time vocalist Ronny Munroe, bassist Steve Munroe, drummer Jeff Plate, and guitarist Rick van Zant. The band released its 10’Th studio album titled GENERATION NOTHING in 2013 and now they finally are here. Metal Church opened the show with THE DARK classics “Ton of Bricks” and “Start the Fire” which was really smart because that album is probably the best known album by the band in Finland. The sound was really powerful and vocalist Munroe surprised me positively because those tracks, originally sung by David Wayne (R.I.P.) are not the easiest ones to handle. As expected, the newer album tracks seemed to be totally unknown for the audience. It’s a pity because especially “A Light in the Dark” sounded really good but… what can you do. Buy and listen those fuckin’ albums people! “Fake Healer” was a great song in the set list. It’s from the period when Vanderhood wasn’t in the band. BLESSING IN DISGUISE is a brilliant album and was now present with “Fake Healer” and another gem “Badlands”. The band closed their set with three songs from the METAL CHURCH album. And yes those truly are great songs… “Gods of Wrath”, “Beyond the Black” and finally “Metal Church” what more a Metal Church fan could ask?
The show was over and it’s time to do some analysis… There’s no doubt that the band sounded great. Munroe is a great vocalist and he handled stuff from the bands different periods close to perfect. Vanderhoof was just himself. Truly an expressionless but stylish guy with great playing skills. Drummer Jeff Plate also needs a special mention here. The man did a brilliant job behind his kit and he surely got some extra kick when he noticed a few guys in the front row wearing Savatage shirts screaming his name. Altogether this was a great heavy metal concert with no extra gimmicks. A strong band with strong material but there’s one thing I need to complain about…and that’s the fact that the band only had time to play 9 songs! That’s wrong for the band and for the fans! We need to get this band soon back to Finland and for a full show, right?
Beastmilk got massive hype during the time when the band’s debut album saw the light of day. The four piece occult rockers pulled in a massive crowd. The interesting factor to pay attention to is the frontman’s way to communicate in English. Obviously the veil of the mystique and occult themes and based phrases wouldn’t work in our basic mother language as they definitely need an English metaphor. However, Beastmilk’s hypnotical and mesmerizing sound was capturing and spellbounding for sure. Beastmilk will hit the road with InSolitude and catch their occult rock mesmerizers.
The German beer thrashers have visited Finland quite often. Last year was Tankard’s debut and this was just their second visit to Jalometalli Festival. Tankard hit the stage like a zombie attack and unleashed a pure beer chemical invasion. Gerre ran all around the stage and seemed to be having extreme fun. The Finnish alcohol law got shit from Tankard for obvious reasons. Even though Tankard sports with the beer image, but the band itself on the stage is as enjoyable as the cold German beer at metal gigs. As for the set containing songs picked up from several albums. During A Girl Called Cerveza Gerre picked up the pr lady representing Nuclear Blast etc, carrying her all around the stage – and that was hilarious indeed. Tankard still has a sense of humor left and are passionate about their thrash.
Well, whoever claims listening to metal can’t seriously say they have never heard about Anthrax. At least after they were a part of the BIG 4 thing, a massive tour a few years ago which included four of the biggest names of thrash metal. People might have different opinions about which bands actually are the big four of thrash metal but Anthrax definitely is one of those. The band has a long history originally forming in New York in 1981. During the 80’s they put out such a classic albums as SPREADING THE DISEASE, PERSISTENCE OF TIME, and especially, AMONG THE LIVING which truly is one of the best albums ever released in its genre. As is typical, the band has gone though many personnel changes during the years. Band members have gone and come back but currently the band includes four out of five of its “classic” era line up. Guitarist Scott “NOT” Ian, bassist Frank Bello, vocalist Joey Belladonna and drummer Frankie Benante are left from that certain line-up and the band is completed by new guitarist Jon Donais who joined the bands ranks in last year. But there are no days in Anthrax world without surprises. Benante was forced to go into hand/shoulder operation earlier this year and he was forced to sit out from the current European tour. He was now temporary replaced by Jon Dette (Iced Earth, Slayer, Testament) who’s been doing similar replacements for Charlie, and many others, during the past as well. At first I was a bit worried how this would work as Benante has always been the driving force behind the band. But all prejudices were soon removed when the band opened up with “Among the Living”.
Right from the beginning, the band sounded just phenomenal. In fact you hardly even recognized who was playing behind the kit, or then it wasn’t just a matter because the band grooved and kicked ass. “Caught in a Mosh”, “Got the Time”, “Indians”… the list goes on. Classic after classic, a band playing in ecstasy, what more you can you ask? I’m so glad that Belladonna is back in the band. He truly is the one and only front man of Anthrax and he’s just irreplaceable. It’s not only because his vocals, but his stage charisma and over all performing is just what Anthrax is about. Period. Frankie Bello is another important character on stage. Although years go by, it doesn’t seem to stop Frankie from being hyper energetic. Once and for all, he’s a brilliant performer. And there’s the one and only Scott Ian. The man behind the whole Anthrax thing. His beard might be gray now but we were still able to see him doing his famous “NOT” walk through the songs. Lots of energy and attitude, that’s Scott as it’s always been. Jon Donais is a new guy in the game. He’s a bit younger than the rest of the guys and he was clearly willing to give room for his older colleagues but there was nothing wrong with his playing. And last but not least there’s Jon Dette. The man who’s been filling in almost everybody you can imagine, starting from Dave Lombardo. Yeah, there’s a guy who’s 100% professional and tonight he did a perfect job with Anthrax. It was like he’s always been behind the kit and I’m sure that most of the audience did not even notice the difference.
Anthrax was brilliant, they were loud and energetic, and they proved that they’re definitely one of the best, if not the best, metal band in the world. The band is about to finish a new album. Hopefully the band will then finally return Finland to play a full show of their own because it’s been 8 years already. See you then and thank you!!