TUSKA OPEN AIR 2006
Central Park Kaisaniemi
Pics and article by the Finnish Metal-Rules.com team respectively
(Luxi “The Keeper of Moshpit” Lahtinen, Arto “The mighty servant of metallic death” Lehtinen & Marko “KISS my ass” Syrjälä)
Once again thousands and thousands of metal fans arrived to conquer the capital of Finland, Helsinki. This was of course for the annual and prestigious Tuska Open Air Festival. The festival is arranged in the heart of the town, namely the central park Kaisaniemi. Nearly 33,000 freaks of all ages, possessed by metal, gathered to enjoy the metallic feast to the central park. Unlike the previous events of Tuska having been totally sold-out, instead a few days of the event this year weren’t sold out for some strange reason. Obviously the line-up didn’t manage to convince everyone to check out for example Sisters Of Mercy, Opeth, Celtic Frost.
Frankly, from our point of view, the bill for 2006 didn’t definitely offer any groundshaking names. Celtic Frost and Venom stand for the more nostalgic trip back to the 80’s in the eyes of several old school thrash metal maniacs, but in the positive way. Picking up Sisters Of Mercy to conclude the first opening day went beyond the sense of humour of several people. To be honest, none of these bands would have been the right ones to be a headliner for each day. But all in all the bill was based on covering a variety of different metal genres ranging from hyper-blasting metal to a more melancholic Finnish mainstream rock stuff ala Timo Rautiainen. Especially odd and strange sounding names booked to the festival had room to perform stuff of their own. Having a large range of metal and other types of rock proves Tuska is not limited to one certain metal category as everyone had something to feel, taste and see during these three long days.
Now it is definitely true that The Gods made and created Metal as the weather was extremely warm and hot during the whole weekend as there was no single rain cloud floating above the festival area. In general the atmosphere was peaceful and bigger problems managed to be avoided, thanks to the common metal spirit of the Finnish die hard metal freaks.
As usual, it has turned out to be an annual mandatory tradition for compiling this article of the Tuska festival in Metal-Rules.com with both pleasure and pain. Therefore the Finnish Metal-Rules.com pain squad spent the whole weekend testifying several acts in action and tried to feel and taste the spirit of Heavy Metal and soccer during three insane long days in the beautiful central park of Kaisaniemi with several friends as well as everlasting enemies as usual. Enjoy…
What could be a better way to get your ass kicked off for the Tuska Festival than find yourself in the front row of metalheads, and to witness Finland´s own ´nuke metal´ warriors Impaled Nazarene. They were ready to punish everyone´s eardrums by their blistering metal assaults. The band´s last album, PRO PATRIA FINLANDIA (it´s Latin, and means “For Fatherland Finland”), has been well received amongst the metal fans – some people considering it even Impaled’s finest work during their whole career. So, it was no wonder that the band churned out many songs off of their latest album. Even a controversial “Zero Tolerance (from NIHIL)” was played by our beloved battle squad Impaled Nazarene, and as some of you surely were aware, one tiny odd yet sad incident, this particular song seemed to be too much for some narrow-minded yet stupid German authorities and ImpNaz´s whole German tour was cancelled due to song´s ´provocative´ lyrical content. Well, the Germans did it again…
Nevertheless, Impaled Nazarene delivered their goods bravely and victoriously onstage, and the mighty slogan “Suomi Finland Perkele!” got strengthened ´only-Satan-knows´ how many times more before the band´s metallic blitzkrieg came to an end.
The Swedish Deathstars features so called well-known faces from the Swedish metal scene as the whole band was basically metamorphosed from Swordmaster. They venture more into the eccentric catacombs of the electro/dark metal approach. Frankly Deathstars was a ridiculous hybrid version of the horrorshow of Marilyn Manson and the Norwegian Kovenant’s electro approach mixed together. However, the sound was quite horrible which definitely ruined most of the set of these Swedish electro-gothic mongers. The vocalist Whiplasher’s look as well as approach on the stage reminded slightly of a weird combination of the frontmen of a couple of Finnish gothic names, namely 69 Eyes and HIM. Deathstars definitely convinced a bunch of young teen gothic chicks who were screaming their lungs out in the front row, and who obviously may have wet daydreams about these kinds of bands.
Well, let me tell you just this for starters: Wintersun is simply an amazing live band! I have seen them playing a couple of times before, and every time I have left the venue with a big, satisfied smile carved on my face. Wintersun´s intensity level in the live situation is pretty unbeatable. There´s so much energy in them every time they come to the stage and just play like the warriors of the last day.
This time didn´t was no exception. The band seemed to be in a tight and furious shape onstage, nailing the audience´s attention perfectly by playing songs off of their highly appreciated debut album, plus a cover of Slayer´s “Angel of Death”, in which Pete Lindroos (Norther, Ensiferum) joined to sing the song which he did in a respectable way, and was greeted by the very supportive crowd after the show was (sadly) over.
Despite the slight problems Kai Hahto faced when trying to keep his drum kit in one piece during the band´s performance, the band served their fans well, and therefore it´s fair to say Wintersun deserved a honest set as one of the most professional and talented live acts at Tuska 2006. So, whenever you might have a potential chance to see these guys playing near by your town, don´t miss them; just go see these incredibly talented fellows live as they surely are worth seeing.
Beyond the Dark Sun
Battle against time
Angel of Death (Slayer -cover)
Although Arch Enemy has been around since the mid nineties, many people still know them only as a new band of ex- Carcass guitarist Michael Amott. Michael and his younger brother Christopher formed the band together with drummer Daniel Erlandsson and bassist/vocalist Johan Liiva and their debut album BLACK EARTH was released in 1996. After some lineup changes, the addition of the former Mercyful Fate / Wichery bassist Sharlee D’Angelo and female vocalist Angela Gossow, it was clear that the band’s blending catchy, classic-style metal riffs with crushing grooves with an intense yet accessible sound (similar to the Carcass sound) would make them successful. The band’s excellent albums such as: “Wages of Sin”, “Anthems of Rebellion” and “Doomsday Machine” have managed to attain a degree of commercial success especially in Europe and Japan and there is no doubt that Arch Enemy is one of the biggest and most important old style extreme metal bands in the world at the moment. During the last year the band received some shocking news when founder member Christopher Amott announced he was leaving the band. Firstly it was meant to be only temporary and he was replaced by Gus. G (Firewind, ex-Dream Evil) but when the situation turned out to be a permanent the band decided to hire a new member and soon it was announced that the Swedish “veteran guitarist” named Fredrik Åkeson (ex-Talisman, ex-Tiamat, ex-John Norum) would be the chosen man for the job.
But now then, onto today’s gig. It must be said that band started their show with a storm, “Taking Back My Soul”. This band is simply amazing on the stage and their amount of the energy they have is incomprehensible. Angela Gossow is for sure one of the best frontwomen of today’s metal world. Her strong vocals are excellent, she’s performing possessed and at the same time she’s looking damn good, how much more you can ask from a metal band singer? Red-haired Michael Amott´s performance was as impressive as always. His killer guitar riffs and excellent solo’s while headbanging and running across the stage like a tornado was just amazing. What a couple, these two are together! Another tornado, but with a black hair, Sharlee D’Angelo proved once again that he was one of the best performing bassists in the festival and then we had a new guy, Fredrik. For sure the playing with Arch Enemy would be a dream come true for many guitar players and Fredrik clearly proved that he certainly was a good choice for the guitarist job. Arch Enemy is quite different stuff compared to the stuff that he has done in his past in other bands, but today his playing was excellent and he didn’t miss any note. The atmosphere was amazing when the band played songs like “We Will Rise” and “Ravenous”. Rarely if ever have I seen such an energetic and strong performance in the Tuska Festival. There is one thing I have to mention here. I remember when Arch Enemy last visited Finland. It was in 2003 at the same festival and there was also bands like Type O Negative, Edguy, Amorphis, Ministry and Soulfly on the bill of 2003. As well as now Arch Enemy was clearly the best band at the whole festival, but for some mysterious reason they had to play on the second stage again which apparently was way too small stage for them and an utter shame.
Sisters of Mercy
The Sisters of Mercy was originally formed by their vocalist in the late 70’s and now the only remaining members are Andrew ‘Eldritch’ Taylor and guitarist Gary Marx. Prior to the release of their 1985 debut album “First and Last and Always” the band released a series of successful singles which helped them build a strong following in underground circles. In spite of the mainstream success the band reached with their debut album, they still managed to retain their cult status. In the mid 80’s Sisters Of Mercy were the worlds leading “gothic” band and they were an important prototype for many bands in the future. The bands unique sound which was a ponderous hybrid of metal and psychedelic, often incorporating dance beats and different rhythms combined with their dark looks was certainly something totally new and fresh…what the music world has missed. But things didn’t go that well for too long. After numerous line-up changes, changes in musical direction, and problems with the record company, the band disbanded in the early nineties. The band never officially split up and they have done some tours during the past ten years however I was more than surprised at finding out that they were going to play at the Tuska Festival. First of all, they certainly are not nor have they ever been “metal” in any case. Secondly, this band has not released anything in ages and it was more than clear that the whole band would be completely unknown for the most of the crowd of the festival. I have never been a fan of their stuff and to be honest I’ve never owned any of their records. I have only been familiar with some of their best known songs like “Temple Of Love” and “No Time to Cry”. I also had no idea how band would look these days. But despite all that, I still had some kind of anticipation to see this classic band live for the very first time. Unfortunately, it was clear from the start that this version of the band doesn’t have much to do with the old days. The band nowadays consist of two completely unknown black wearing young guys on the bass and the guitar, the drum machine, and of course “Eldritch” himself. What the heck was he thinking when wearing a hockey shirt on the stage? Despite that, he has a very short blonde hair, well almost bald, it can be said that he was as “ungothic” as possible. If it was his purpose to be “ungothic” he definitely succeeded in that very well. I didn’t recognize most of the songs which is not a big surprise after all. It was obvious the band mostly played their latest material which was completely unknown for the most of the people and abandoned the good old classic ones. The very few old songs, which were played in the end of the set, were heavily re-arranged and it was hard to even recognize them. The band’s performance overall was really weak, boring, and uninspiring. It didn’t come as a big surprise when people soon started a mass invasion towards the beer tents or left the area. At last only a handful of people watched the whole show from the start to the finish. Sisters Of Mercy were totally the wrong band in the wrong place. I don’t think this performance would have succeeded any better in any other circumstance, no matter where and how. In brief, the Sisters of Mercy was without any doubt a huge disappointment and probably the worst band ever booked in the history of the Tuska festival.