JALOMETALLI MUSIC FESTIVAL
REVIEW AND PHOTOS BY ARTO LEHTINEN AND MARKO SYRJALA
The mighty Jalometalli Open Air Metal festival strikes with an outstanding awesome killer line-up to maintain its true metal status on the Finnish festival map. The festival is known for relying on old school metal to offer everything from traditional metal to extreme metal. Above all, it is also the classic names who have never ever visited Finland before that make this special. The legendary Teatria club is now history as it was torn down. Fortunately the organization of the Jalometalli festival managed to find a new location to arrange a true ass kicking festival. If having Slayer headline last year was a real dream come, then getting King Diamond to headline this year’s event was another jackpot for Jalometalli indeed. Of course getting both Dark Angel and Loudness booked for Jalometalli was also killer. The place was packed. When the second day arrived a merciless rain storm hit the area drowning everything. Unfortunately, Testament suffered from the rain.
Once again the Metal Rules team hit the ground of Oulu to witness several absolutely killer bands. The whole Jalometalli festival is so unique and one of a kind that anyone reading this article should take a glance at the offering of the festival. Here is a brief article on the fest. So the time had come all of us to leave bitter sweet farewells to the old venue where we have enjoyed great music and great company throughout the years.
Rotten Sound was honored to kick the Jalometalli Open Air festival off with their hyper brutal grind core. Despite a small group of people in the front rows, Rotten Sound unleashed a brutal blasting gig with the intensive grip thru the whole set. As stated, the small crowd has arrived on time to witness the gig, however the frontman of Rotten Sound tried and wanted and encouraged. As usual, the four piece sounded tremendously tight as expected in the first place.
HIGH ON FIRE
Can High On Fire be labeled as a stoner rock band? The trio hammered their hybrid mix of stoner rock elements with Motorhead styled parts with the heavy sounds. In the long run, this type of doomy rock got a bit boring.
Finally, yes finally it happened. Dark Angel has never ever visited Finland before. Back in 1989 it was damn close to have Dark Angel to Finland with Nuclear Assault, but Dark Angel never arrived, although Nuclear Assault did. Rapidly back to 2014, the LA thrash legends made their long awaited debut visit to Finland. The whole area was totally packed, when the opening riff literally blasted out of the monitors with an intensive powerful thrashing maelstrom. The audience was totally stunned, spellbound, and in a pure trance when all the classic thrash hymns were blasting out of the loudspeakers. But where was the pit ? The five piece sounded lethal and raw and above all offered a real lesson in what thrash metal is all about. However, the sounds weren’t balanced that well. The one hour lesson included several songs from Darkness Descends album, a couple from Leave Scars, and Time Does Not Heal for the same titled album, We Have Arrived from the same debut titled album. The band truly nailed and killed. But where was the pit?
Jalometalli is not a hard rock festival, but Japanese hard rockers Loudness were still one of the most awaited bands on this years line-up. Loudness is a legendary band, originally formed in early 80’s, who reached world-wide success with their mid 80’s albums THUNDER IN THE EAST, LIGHTNING STRIKES and HURRICANE EYES. The band is probably best known for their legendary video of “Crazy Nights” which was played heavily on MTV and other music channels at the time. The band has gone through numerous changes since the 80’s but the current line-up includes three original members: guitar virtuoso Akira Takasaki, bassist Masayoshi Yamashita and vocalist Minoru Niihara. The band is complemented by drummer Masayoki Suzuki who replaced original drummer Munetaka Higuchi, who died of cancer in 2008. Although Loudness has been active during all these years, the band has released 26 studio albums in 33 years, the fact is that after the 80’s Loudness has hardly received any attention outside of Japan. The latest album THE SUN WILL RISE AGAIN was released in June of 2014 but as many latter Loudness albums, it’s available in Japan only.
The band performed now for the first time ever in Finland and they opened up with “Crazy Nights” which, of course, received great feedback from the audience. In a way, it’s a bit risky thing to open up with your best known song without saving it for the end but it worked fine this way as well. Another THUNDER IN THE EAST track “Heavy Chains” followed and audience liked that they got it. The guys might not look the same as they did in the 80’s but they truly sounded really tight through the set. Niihara sang all his vocal parts the way he used to do in the 80’s and looked cool with his top hat. Takasaki truly is a guitarist extraordinary. There’s just something magical in his playing which is not just extremely technical. It’s something unique and something… that is rarely, if ever, heard before. Set list was wisely built around the classics. “So Lonely” will go down in the history of the festival because it was certainly the most cheesy performance ever performed in Jalometalli. THE SUN WILL RISE AGAIN was present with three tracks which sounded ok but, understandably, most of the audience did not recognize that newer stuff. In summary, Loudness was just as good as expected and a welcome change for otherwise heavy line-up in Jalometalli.
U.S. thrash metal legends Sacred Reich performed in Finland a couple of years ago at Porisphere festival, but then I missed the whole gig due to my own scheduling conflicts. This time I decided not to repeat my mistake and I was waiting for the band a good time early. To be honest, I haven’t been following the band much after the old times when they released such classic albums as THE AMERICAN WAY and SURF NICARAGUA. And in fact, they haven’t released any new music since 1996 when they put out the somewhat disappointing HEAL album. So, this show was going to be all about nostalgia. The band opened up with “Independent”, followed by “One Nation” and “Love … Hate”. Classic metal tracks followed one after the other. “Who’s to Blame” was definitely the highlight of the show. It was played with such intensity, that many others could learn something. The band closed the show with “American Way” and “Surf Nicaragua” which, of course, sounded near phenomenal for an old school metal fan like me. The Sacred Reich guys might not look the same as they did back in the day, especially vocalist Phil Rind, but the band still sounds as good as ever. The band offered exactly what I was expecting, a full set of nostalgia with no fillers.
It’s kind of an insane feeling to see a King Diamond show for the third year in a row as you remember what kind of condition that this man’s health situation was in just a few years earlier. Sadly there is still no new album to promote, and the stage is still basically the same one that they’ve been using since the re-union. But after having seen the show twice previously, I knew that that there would be some new additions for the show and the set list as well. The familiar cemetery gates were used to fill the front of the stage when the band attacked the stage and started the show with classic “The Candle”. “Sleepless Nights” followed and it melted even the most hardened skeptics’ suspicions. At this stage, the show and the set list proceeded in the same way as a couple of years earlier but the first change followed when the band next preformed thar GIMME YOUR SOUL… PLEASE track “Never Ending Hill”. It was great finally to hear this brilliant track played live, seven years after the album was released. The following “Puppet Master” was also now played for the first time since the re-union.
There’s no King Diamond show without a few Mercyful Fate songs and the band now performed “Evil” and “Come to the Sabbath”. The biggest surprise and the most welcome returning thing on the whole show was the return of “Cremation”. It always works when you’re having genuine looking coffin on stage where you burn bodies and the whole coffin at the end. It was impressive and it truly was stage theatrics at its best. The King truly is back in his finest form. The man looks great and his vocals are still powerful and crystal clean. The band sounded really tight and its latest addition, bassist Pontus Egberg, looked like he had always been on the stage with this band. There’s not much to add. Long live the King and hopefully the band returns to Finland again once the new King Diamond album is finished!
The domestic dismal heavy doom metal outfit Kuoleman Laakso concluded the first day by offering the ultra heavy doomy set. The gig was prestigious murdering from the beginning to the end, above all the darkened landscape and the great lights brought its own atmosphere and feeling. Despite the movements of the band was quite minimal, matching the mix of doom and depressive metal. Kuoleman Laakso was a good way to conclude the opening day.