How many festivals have been arranged in this current crazy era of covid-2019 ? Most of them, maybe all of them have been canceled or then postponed. The map of European festivals have mostly been blank and totally dead. Some countries allowed these big gatherings to happen in August including Finland. The first and only metal oriented festival Saari Helvetti was carried out in the beginning of August in Tampere Finland. The place which the festival was hold was a tremendous amazing place, a small idelystic island in the middle of the lake. Travelling to the island happened by boat. The massive restrictions and other limitation had forced all the international bands to stay at home, instead, the line-up amazingly covered a great offering of the Finnish bands from a wide of the genre from the disco industrial to the extreme grindcore. Here is the brief review of the festival.
Friday – The First Day
Bloodred HourGlass should have gained more attention and recognition as the melodic sounding metal with the harsh vocals could appeal to any metal fan out there. The band has constantly played and toured abroad, but the bigger success is still waiting. The five-piece got a nice turn-out even though the playing time was quite early. The playing worked fine even though the band’s touring activity has been on hold for a while because of the raging pandemic. BloodRed HourGlass known as BRHG has plenty of catchy and melodic sounding riffs and hooks that definitely can be a sign for bigger things to come.
The longttime grindcore mongers Rotten Sound have been loyal to their uncompromising sound and approach. Even though the line-up has undergone changes, the vocalist displays the pure nihilistic grind-core style. If the band has venture to a new direction – No – Rotten Sound sounds as Rotten Sound. The band or in fact the vocalist seemed to enjoy being on the stage under the burning sun.
The industrial metal bandwagon hit Finland when the German industrial metal giant Rammstein got catapulted to the insane level of success by playing in uber huge stadiums. Therefore Finnish Rammstein babies started popping up quite in a short time. One of these Finnish industrialrammstein copycats is Ruoska (means Scourge) whose Teutonic German march industrial approach gained success years ago until the band went on hiatus. Obviously their return has been waited amongst the Finnish metal/industrial fans for doing a sing-along type of reaction. The four-piece industrial metal combo offered a solid set of the Finnish singing industrialized metal hymns. And the Rammstein influences – they are definitely there.
Brymir presented the Finnish folk/pagan metal scene. The band hit the stage after Ruoska’s industrial assault. Brymir focused on doing songs off the latest output WINGS OF FIRE and a few selected older songs from the past. Brymir’s melancholic sounding folk/pagan approach is a perfect description of the Finnish state of mind.
Brymir’s set was one kind of transition to the leading name of the whole folk genre – Ensiferum. The long time pagan metal veterans’ latest opus THALASSIC is an amazing journey into the concept line based on the sea. The set was kicked off by “Rum Women Victory” and followed by another new song off the newest offering “Andromeda”. The pagan metallers rumbled through ten songs within one hour. The set included several well-known Ensiferum hits like “Lai Lai Lei”, “From Afar”. The latest addition to the line-up, the keyboard player, Pekka Montin has brought the more traditional metal aspects into the sounds. His role has become more essential part of the Ensiferum sound puzzle as his playing and clean vocals fitted along with the harsh sounding vocals perfectly.
Saturday – The Second Day
The second day was kicked off by another Finnish singing squad Kaunis Kuolematon. As usual, these melancholic Finnish bands definitely keep reflecting the grimness and depression in the Finnish way. Kaunis Kuolematon’s beautiful hymns with these melancholic aspects sounded splendid. But why did the vocalist guy have to growl ?! That definitely ruined the ethereal feeling and mood. These clean parts created and brought the more Deadly Beautiful moment. If someone is looking for the depressive and melacholic stuff, Kaunis Kuolematon is a must pick-up.
Wolfheart run by the man with several irons in fire Tuomas Saukkonen hit the main stage. Mr Saukkonen runs and plays in several other bands, but apparently Wolfheart has become the priority one in his personal band ranking. Within the 45 minute set, the four-piece went through eight songs. The melodic death metal by the wolf men sounded a bit monotonous, even though songs like “Ghost Of Karelia”, and “Hail Of Steel” are superb ones. Wolfheart is a great band for sure, but the band rather stood in the spot of their own on the stage and pulled the gig through as if it was a day job.
Lorna once again presented these pagan melancholic style of band who draw influences from the Finnish state of mind. Vorna has increased their success piece by piece. It could be witnessed when the area was nicely crowded. The band didn’t have to rely on tricks or treats, just focusing on playing and performing.Vorna’s material is so emotional and ethereal that once again reflects the Finnish darker side of the human mind. By closing the eye to enjoy the stuff of Vorna was the most ideal way of getting into it.
Fear Of Domination continued the more industrial based offering. In wake of success of Turmion Kätilöt, Fear Of Domination have gained the success of their own. At least the area of the main stage was totally packed. As a matter of fact Fear Of Domination featured the singer from Turmion Kätilöt. Fear Of Domination turned out to be rather an entertaining group giving a solid set of the industrialized assault.
…And Oceans went thru the line-up changes as the long –time frontman Kenny dismissed the band. The Finntroll frontman Mathias Lillmåns had been recruited to fill the slot. He has always been a splendid frontman for Finntroll, but Kenny’s crazy as well as personal grip in the stage manners. Hillmans took the stage with the routine manners and definitely handled the gig. His voice is known from the Finntroll stuff, therefore hearing him doing the vocals in …And Oceans sounded a little bit odd. Playing under the burning sun ain’t the most suitable environment for a band like …And Oceans. They would need a totally darkened placed with a few spotlights.
Omnium Gatherum being another band by the Insomnium guitarist Markus Vanhala ain’t that known or popular compared to Markus Vanhala’s priority band. However Omnium Gatherum got a huge audience. The melodic death metal appealed to the audience. The band has drawn influences from the legendary Death. Especially the melodic parts have the same sort of reminiscent elements. Therefore playing “Crystal Mountain” by Death wasn’t that unexpected surprise after all. The dual guitarists shared the solos and playing duties.. The guitarists deserve the kudos for doing nice looking posing with the guitars. Thanks for the killer pics!
King Satan turned out to be such an interesting act on the stage. The combo ladled all the elements from the grim-sounding, industrial approach. Obviously the occultism and darker elements were heavily tied up to King Satan’s approach. The frontman’s relentless movements, the eccentric-looking percussionist with a weird looking head mask and of course corpsepaints created the real entertaining show given by King Satan.
The industrial terrorizing continued the perversion sicko disco industrial outfit Turmion Kätilöt. The industrial perversions’ recent album GLOBAL WARNING came out on Nuclear Blast. However Turmion Kätilöt has always been extremely popular in Finland since they started 2003. Their shocking elements and perverse stage shows have caused a lot of shit-stirring headlines. Therefore their massive success ain’t that surprising. Being a headliner for Saari Helvetti was more than deserved. The gig at the Saari Helvetti festival was obviously the one and only gig for Turmoil Kätilöt, therefore it could be expected to see some weird performance on the stage as Turmion Kätilöt have arranged all kinds of shocking things before. Instead the band focused on offering a more routine gig with stand-up comments between songs. The audience seemed to be enjoying and sing-along during the whole time.