Tuska Open Air 2009

Spread the metal:


TUSKA 2009

by Arto Lehtinen

As everyone who was there still recalls, last year’s Tuska was an outstanding and brilliant event in several ways. Several great headliners literally crowned the event last year when Morbid Angel and Slayer unleashed and utter maelstrom resulting in a ballistic reaction amongst the audience. Besides the younger generation was absolutely thrilled about having an opportunity to witness Killswitch Engage. Topping the previous year is always a complex task for any organization of any festival. Obviously the Tuska organization may have faced a problem to top the previous events as the 2009 line-up didn’t look that tempting and convicting on paper. However, there were true highlights and and long awaited names in the line-up. It felt somehow that  these bands didn’t bring the metallic pleasure enough for the crowd. As with much recent news items, the global economic depression is a factor that impacts these large metal festivals and secondly it has to be pointed out that several mainstream rock festivals have been eager to book metal bands to the line-up, at least here in Finland. It is kind of weird to see, for example, Testament playing at a mainstream rock festival, whereas Tuska is supposed to be a metal festival even a few Japanese hara-kiri j-rock pokemon rock combos were there and of course Volbeat.

The audience have obviously realized the low offering of the Tuska festival because of any single day was not sold out. According to sources, some 9000 metalheads visited the area every day. Apparently that number is a little bit exaggerated. This year’s Tuska article is a little bit different compared to other years. There are a few clear points as some of bands didn’t present a metal approach that much, especially the Japanese ones, and one Danish band. Here is the shorter review of the fest to see and feel what Tuska offered this year.


When arriving at the festival area, the Dutch extreme thrashers Legion Of The Damned were about to kick the set off. The four piece Dutchmen have been more or less regular visitors on Finnish soil. The last time the damned legions unleashed a raging thrashing fury at the Finnish Metal Expo. Actually there was the passionate raging attitude in Legion Of The Damned. The frontman’s massive long hair was spinning around and moved on the stage from the side to the side relentlessly. Legion Of The Damned is always a grim and aggressive sounding live band, giving a pure thrash blizzard to the wild crowd.



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When the Dutchmen finished their set, it was Neurosis’ turn to create the heavy and depressive atmosphere. Neurosis truly did a real authentic set at Roadburn, by creating a mindblowing experience to the audience following the gig from the beginning to the end. The visual things and sounds were amazing. There was quite a skeptical feeling in advance to expect as a mindblowing a gig from Neurosis as at Roadburn. Playing this kind of stuff in an outdoor festival and especially with the the sun burning the guys on the stage like hell. Neurosis is without any doubts an indoor band, where they can create a real authentic atmosphere.

Even though some people found the Neurosis set great and superior, but having witnessed them at Roadburn, their gig wasn’t that authentic and sonic hypnotic feeling. It has to be admitted Neurosis’ place on the mainstage under the redhot burning sun wasn’t that idealistic after all. They indeed unleashed the sonic rampage and offered a brutal and uncompromising set.


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While Neurosis was spreading a neurotic set of the brutality, most of the people were wandering all the around the area, enjoying the sunny day and drinking the ice cold beer. When both Black Dahlia Murder and Ensiferum kicked their off sets of their own, both the tent areas were truly packed. It was essential and kind of easy to pick Black Dahlia Murder as Ensiferum has been witnessed more than a few times by us Finns. The Michigan metalcore five piece is known for being for an extreme wild and relentless, especially the band’s frontman. His shadowboxing and continuous raging on the stage literally encouraged the audience go beserk in the pit. The murder squad sounds better on the stage and on albums for sure. However The five-piece squad offered an insane slap of hyper active deadly metalcor-ish onslaught.  


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After spinning around the festival area, I was anxiously waiting for Immortal’s start on the main stage. As a matter of fact, Immortal sounded, and above all visually looked, better at Sweden Rock, when the Swedish landscape turned to the black side. The lights and Abbath’s fire breathing was fiery evil. As already stated in the Sweden Rock article, Immortal faced unexpected problems there. Before the Tuska slot, Abbath said regarding these technical problems in Sweden that “shit happens”. Anyway back to Finland and Tuska where the Norwegian frostbitten grim black metal trio headlined the first day. The trio in fact headlined this same festival a few years ago. Abbath rushed to the stage, starring at the audience. As it has already been made utter clear, the sun burned the ground with hellish warmth, yet the grim glance in the eyes Abbath growled “Fuck The Sun” directly leading to “The Sun No Longer Rises”. The Norwegian black metal trio nailed the songs one by one and of course the mandatory fire breathing belonged to the trad Immortal gig, what else ?



The Sun No Longer Rises


Unholy Forcess of Evil

Sons of Northern Darkness


One By One

Damned in Black

Wrath From Above

Unsilent Storms in the North Abyss

Beyond the North Waves

Battles in the North

Blashyrkh (Mighty Ravendark)

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The first day was finally behind and of course a few bands ruled as expected. The upcoming two days will be including some ass-kicking names. Despite some ass-kicking, there will be a bunch of non-metal acts like these Japanese pokemon clowns which did definitely not belong to any kind of metal fest instead just to some freak circus show! Obviously, unholy forces of evil caused an unexpected disappearance of one of the Finnish Metal-Rules.com writers as the man was later found in Turkey. There the sun still rises for sure. People were about to head to either night clubs or then continue partying and boozing in the Kaisaniemi park till the second day.