Report and pics by Luxi Lahtinen & Niko Karppinen
Sauna Open Air Metal Festival 2007 entertained approximately 22,000 metal warriors within 3 hot and sunny days. Almost 10,000 people appeared on Saturday, 8th of June, which was undoubtedly the biggest day of the festival thanks to both Dimmu Borgir´s and Type O Negative´s attendance. The Sauna Open Air Metal Festival opened its gates for metalheads for the 4th time in the whole history of this well-organized festival. The settings were probably the best so far for a great, all-aged, metallic event. At least the four main headlining acts that were booked to Sauna 2007 – Megadeth, Dimmu Borgir, Type O Negative and Heaven & Hell – placed four unbeatable aces on the table. It seemed that the impossible had a splendid chance to become possible… and that´s – what I believe, happened eventually.
Two curiosities – and let’s even say, somewhat relatively experienced reporters from Metal-Rules.com – crept through the gates of Sauna Open Air Metal Festival, and the following honest observations were made on the happenings during this metallic feast…
Korpiklaani (4:45pm; small stage)
Luxi: Korpiklaani from the sparsely inhabited backwoods of Finland, were privileged to be the opening act of Sauna Open Air Festival 2007. The band looks like they have been flown far from the Dark Ages to the current, modern world by a time machine. Just my sincere observation – that´s all, ha!
Anyway, this was the first time for me to personally witness this relentless sextet playing live onstage. When I found my way to the photo pit, the band had already started playing their wild and energetic set. I just missed the opening song from Korpiklaani´s set, so I cannot comment on that any further for obvious reasons. Nonetheless, then came a song called “Korpiklaani” – and the feast was ready to begin. Watching Korpiklaani performing ´folk-humppa´ songs off all of their previously released 3 albums (plus, they did play one new song, “Let´s Drink”, off their forthcoming album, entitled TERVASKANTO), convinced me about these furry fellows´ value as great entertainers onstage. It was actually lotsa fun to see them playing a nice cavalcade of their folk´ish humppa songs, raising the festival spirit amongst the crowd up the same way that ice cream can do for little kids. “Hunting Song” and “Happy Little Boozer”, undoubtedly two of Korpiklaani´s most popular live numbers, concluded the band´s positively brisk live performance in a fine way.
Korpiklaani´s live show was full of joy and a good spirit that was transmitted to the audience that fully seemed to enjoy the band´s performance under a heating Finnish summer sun.
Cottages and Saunas
Happy Little Boozer
Pain Confessor (06:15pm; small stage)
Luxi: Pain Confessor have been gaining more ground for themselves in Finland by putting out 3 albums thus far, becoming one of most popular live acts – especially amongst the younger metal audience. The band combines modern thrash metal with sort of a metalcore-ish vibe that seems to appeal to big audiences on American soil particularly.
Those of you who have seen Pain Confessor live, pretty much know what to expect from this somewhat violently and furiously moshing bunch: A rollercoaster ride of aggressive, adrenalin-pumped, modern metallic approach with a mean attitude and determination to lash their audience mercilessly ´til they are too weak to beg for more. Hmmm…well, at least you should get the picture anyway.
The guys of Pain Confessor did their job decently enough onstage according to the fact that most people were still on their way to the venue, a lack of the crowd didn´t disturb the P.C. team to unleash their fury on the stage. The band did deliver the goods in a respectable way, and I think the guys have really thought their set list through as it contained a sort of ´best-of´ Pain Confessor in my opinion. “Poor Man´s Crown”, “Fall on Evil Days”, “Butterfly”, “Coming Down a Storm”, “Planetkiller”, “Lake of Regret” and “Ne Ultra Plus” (with Rainer Nygård from Diablo) were some of the songs that I remember from their set; all played with a strong attitude and heart. A good show from Pain Confessor. Nothing further to be reported about them.
TIMO RAUTIAINEN (07:00pm; main stage)
Luxi: Timo Rautiainen & Trio Niskalaukaus were a hugely popular metal act (who sang in Finnish) in Finland a couple of years ago ´til they decided to call it quits. Since the split up of the band, Timo Rautiainen himself decided to pursue a solo career of his own. First it seemed to make a point, since the band didn´t want to repeat themselves any more from one album to another, but honestly Timo´s solo band isn´t that far from removed musically from the sound of his previous band, Trio Niskalaukaus. In fact, the band´s live line-up contains 3 ex-members from the Trio Niskalaukaus -line-up, so what´s the point to drag the old corpse out from the grave and try to repeat the same thing over again under a different moniker? I simply don´t get it.
To sound even more cruel for them, the only point of interest about their live performance was the Candlemass cover song “Samaritan” that they had twisted into a Finnish name, “Samarialainen”. It sounded almost identical to that Candlemass song, but the only difference was, it was sung in Finnish. Otherwise, I also need to question their place on the main stage because for example Kotipelto deserved that spot way more than them! Oh well, I wasn´t behind these decisions of who´s gonna play when and where, so let´s just bury this matter now, once and for all. Next…
Vesien Hallitsijan Testamentti
Samarialainen (Candlemass -cover)
Pitkä Katkera Miinus
Meille Niin Rakas
Stam1na (07:45pm; small stage)
The winner of “The Most Furious Live Act” award at Sauna 2007 this year goes to: Stam1na! (*applause*)
Luxi: Seriously, every time when these wacko, relentlessly moving ´mishmash metallers´ hit the stage, one never expects a lame and lifeless performance from them. The band is like a vicious swarm of Vespa Crabro hornets that wildly and headlessly hurtled from one side to another side of the stage – thrashing and moshing like their bodies would have been covered thousands of little, but sharp needles that had to be shaken out from their bodies. Some people call them as a thrash metal band, some others just an aggressive metal band – and some whatever-metal band, but the fact is their music is such a mishmash of everything that it´s awfully difficult to drop them down into any hole and say: “This is where you belong!”. Moshing metal monsters of their own kind they truly are…
Stam1na, just like many other Finnish metal bands these days, serve their dose of metal in their own mother language. The band´s lyrical approach is somewhat clever even if very much made in a sort of tongue-in-cheek -fashion. To say Stam1na couldn´t raise the dead from their graves when setting the stage for their little battle zone, is true…especially when they kick off such raging numbers as “Pahan Arkkitehti”, “Viisi Laukausta Päähän” and “Kaksi Reittiä, Yksi Suunta”. Stam1na can never do a boring show. It just would be as impossible an equation as witnessing an Ozzy Osbourne show without any “I love you all” speeches.
Stam1na´s performance at Sauna 2007 was pure dynamite. If I dared to claim something else, I would be lying…
Viisi Laukausta Päähän
Kaksi Reittiä, Yksi Suunta
Tässä On Aseeni
Kadonneet Kolme Sanaa
MEGADETH (08:30pm; main stage)
Luxi: Dave Mustaine´s Megadeth hit such hard cards on the table at Sauna in 2005 that expectations towards the band´s 2nd visit at the festival, were naturally running high. Megadeth´s latest album, UNITED ABOMINATIONS, has caused a mixed reaction amongst the fans of the band mainly due to Dave´s somewhat strong lyrical approach. But after all, it´s the music that should count – at least that´s what it did for us anyway.
Megadeth were, as expected, in fine form – and the band honestly managed to impress me even more by their tight and flawless performance than they did 2 years ago at the very same festival. The band´s live strength is based on their smooth and nearly ´chord-to-chord´ playing, and it was a breath-taking experience to watch them onstage because everything seemed so easy to these guys. Dave´s merits as a superb guitarist, performer, entertainer and the whole stage charisma he has, cannot be denied. Seeing him playing skillfully and ambitiously all those classic songs off some of their evergreen hit albums “Skin O´ My Teeth”, “Devil´s Island”, “Wake Up Dead”, “Tornado of Souls”, etc.) as well as their latest output (“Sleepwalker”, “Washington Is Next!”, etc.), together with his other band mates – Glen Drover on 2nd guitar, James Lomenzo on bass and Shawn Drover on drums – It could be said everything was set carefully for a great Megadeth show. The set list itself couldn’t of been any better than it was. One of the true surprises was to hear them playing “Mechanix” that was also re-titled later as “The Four Horsemen” by Metallica and used on the band´s furious debut album, KILL ´EM ALL. Nevertheless, Megadeth´s version out from this classic kicked ass at least as much as Metallica´s own version – if not more.
Megadeth was nothing, but a truly impressive live band. Obviously they were also one of the festivals most anticipated bands at Sauna this year.
Niko: I thought at Sauna Open Air 2005 when Megadeth was playing that I’d seen the best show they could do. I take my words back because I was sooooo damn wrong…!! This performance was one of the best performances at Sauna Open Air 2007 – and honestly one of the best shows I’ve seen in my life… ever! Megadeth was certainly one of the tightest playing-units I’ve had a pleasure to witness. How tight are you be able to play? Megadeth´s performance was so damn tight; it felt like you could raise your fist up in the air and then shove it up straight into your ass and feel no pain, but plain pleasure (“I was never aware of this type of sexual orientation of yours Niko” -Luxi).
It finally seems that Megadeth has come back to that form where they could do anything they want when playing live. The Drover brothers were sensational – and the band was storming through the set like they would be auditioning as the last band to support Metallica or something (can some of you smell the smoke of irony here now? Well, I think I can…). Dave Mustaine himself was in a great shape; you can see it clearly when watching Dave´s playing. His solos were great and his appearance was totally something else, but just “I’m just going to finish my share soon and then I’m gonna jump into my plane and get the hell out of here quickly”. Like Mr. Mustaine himself stated: “If there’s somebody who wants to talk… I’m sorry, but I’m on the play”. I think you can figure out the rest out for yourselves, can´t you?
There’s few musicians as respected as Dave Mustaine. When you take a look at what Megadeth have achieved during their incredible career, one can only dream of the same success. Some of the songs that Dave has written in his days of Megadeth, are true classics of the entire Speed/Thrash Metal scene. We got to hear most of them that night. Personally I was so mixed up when I heard the songs like: “Devils Island”, “Wake Up Dead”, a part of “Set the World a Fire”, “Peace Sells…”- AND of course “Mechanix” which is, like all of you should know by now, “The Four Horsemen”. Or, to put it simply, Megadeth’s own version out from the same song. I think we heard quite an exhaustive set from Megadeth; we heard almost everything that was worth hearing from them. Such a killer set from Megadeth, just so damn good!
I have to say I’m not going to complain about this sort of ´new coming´ of Megadeth. For me personally, Megadeth was one of those bands in my life for many years that I never had a chance to see playing live… just like Celtic Frost. I was about to throw away all hope that at some point I would see them live. I´m glad I was wrong 2 years ago… The whole band looked so fresh and dynamic. The kind of good feeling they had on the stage, was spred over the crowd and the band´s show was sincerely amongst one of the greatest performances in SOA 2007. So thank you Dave and co.! Feel warmly welcomed back to Finland again – the sooner, the better, of course!
Take No Prisoners
Set the World Afire
Skin O’ My Teeth
Gears of War
Wake up Dead
Kick the Chair
Tornado of Souls
In My Darkest Hour
Washington Is Next!
Symphony of Destruction
Holy Wars… The Punishment Due