Arranging festivals of any kind has been nearly a mission-in-possible task or at least challenging. The Saarihelvetti festival had the extremely amazing fortune to be able to arrange a two-day event. The covid-19 pandemic was getting a tighter grip in Finland and authorities had started setting new restrictions. As a result, several events and festivals were forced to cancel. As for Saarihelvetti, the festival managed to be arranged on time before new restrictions were announced. However, festival-goers were obliged to wear a mask all the time. Most of the bands playing at the festival haven’t been on stage for at least a year. It was obvious some minor hassling happened, but that brought the authentic feeling. Here is the short write–up of the festival.
Tyrantti may not sound familiar to readers living outside of Finland. The group’s Finnish singing old-school trad metal definitely appeals to the local metal fans. The three-piece has drawn the influences from the early days of the Finnish heavy metal bands like Gobra, Sarcofagus and added obvious elements and mixed the sound of their own to have the Tyrantti approach. As the elements and riffs are reminiscent of that sound. Tyrantti’s 45-minute set was an outburst of benevolent and enjoyable metal. The singer’s eccentric speeches between songs sounded kind of corny, but in a good way. The combo, being an opening act of the festival, appealed to the audience.
I Revolt, a metalcore band, is relatively a newcomer founded in 2017. The five-piece has gained such a good following amongst the metalcore fanbase. The band sounded refreshing solid and had catchy songs with modern-era influences. As for their playing, it was tight and as professional as some big-name bands The singer turned out to be relentless – banging the head and encouraging the audience to start even a small pit. As a cover tune, I Revolt had picked up the Slipknot classic (Sic) for the tribute for the late Joey Jordison.
Frankly Finntroll could have easily been one of the headliners as the response and fanatical polka dancing of the audience was both funny and strong. Besides the band hasn’t been seen on fests for a while therefore the five-piece troll metaller got such an immense response from the audience. The band had an enjoyable gig and relaxed performance. But being on a two-year mandatory break from playing gigs and festivals could be seen and heard when funny mistakes occurred here and there. Those mistakes and small hassles brought a more authentic feeling. Despite some mistakes, Finntroll’s eccentric troll metal sounded splendid.
The Finnish doom metal veteran – Unfortunately only a handful of people had gathered to dig the epicus doomus metallicus by Spiritus Mortis. Hey C’mon show respect to the one of the greatest doom metal bands! The doomesters offered an amazing set of the purest doom hymns such as “Robe of Ectoplasm” “Holiday in the Cemetery” from the latest THE YEAR IS ONE album. Even though the band’s visual side looked a bit unpolished, but Spiritus Mortis’ doom sounded majestically splendid.
The melancholic and dark stuff has always appealed to the darkened Finnish metal hearts. Swallow The Sun dark and atmospheric hymns with the touching doomy melodies with Mikko Kotamäki’s growling created the gloomy, mesmerizing beautiful feeling amongst the audience. The audience was entirely spellbound and enjoyed the darkened hymns in trance. The lights and the nightfall created other beautiful aspects for the perfect gig of Swallow The Sun. Yes, the band sounded mesmerizing good.
Insomnium have become a household name and gained a loyal fanbase. It is not unexpected as the dark melancholic, yet melodic, metal appeals to Finnish metal fans. The whole area was totally packed when Insomniun kicked off. The set consisted of ten songs picked up from the four albums. For example songs “Valediction”, “Shadows Of A Dying Sun” and “Heart Like A Grave concluding the 60 minute set. The band sounded splendid and created the atmospheric feeling.
Silver Bullet won the band contest and gained an opening slot as the first band of the day. Obviously it isn’t the most idealistic place, but getting a gig is a deserved chance for any band nowadays. Silverbullet, being on the German Reaper Entertainment, has released two albums so far. The band parted ways with the original singer a year ago and recruited a new man behind the mic named Bruno Proveschi. Apparently the Saarihelvetti festival was his first gig in front of a live audience. No background info is known about his career, but his voice sounded magnificent and fit to the sound of Silver Bullet. Obviously being on the stage with Silver Bullet for the first time definitely brought extra tension and excitement, but he pulled through the 45 minutes fine. Silver Bullet sounded bombastic and good. Witches Hammer is a great tune by the way.
The long-time Finnish crossover veteran Rytmihäiriö opened the second day by offering the Gambina punkish-crossover-thrash whatever metal it can be called. Obviously the frontman had tasted the drinks a bit more as his speeches between songs were out of his mind. Instead, his way of introducing songs was quite sarcastic with humorous aspects. The four-piece crossover metallers didn’t offer any unexpected surprise, as this was a more traditional festival gig. Their set consisted of the newer material as well as the older ones from the early ’90s. Once again we gotta remember they had just about 45 minutes of playing time.
Ember Falls presented the more modern approach in the metal approach. The band had taken care of the visual look at the stage. All of the members had the red clothing as some kind of uniform thing. The band sounded solid and as said earlier modern.
Lähiöbotox, the name doesn’t say anything to foreign readers. If the name is roughly translated to English, it could be something odd like “SubUrbanBotox”. The name may sound hilarious, but the stuff definitely blow the ones head away. Drawn influences from the rap metal pioneers especially Bodycount, but Stuck Mojo’s PIGWALK can’t be forgotten and ignored. The rap-metal squad came like a storm on the stage and conquered the Saarihelvetti audience with the intensive passionate and ass kicking performance. Both the singers made the audience jump and go utterly berserk. Will the Finnish rap metallers be a new hit name ?
Satan’s Fall presented the true traditional heavy metal approach. The obvious influences have been ladled from the iconic metal bands such Iron Maiden and above all Accept. The five piece metallers taught a true lesson of the real Teutonic metal to the small crowd digging the music in the front. Actually the double guitar works had the same kind of feeling and were reminiscent of the older Accept material. Some riffs sounded like Wolff Hoffman’s guitar work would have added to the approach. Due to a lack of gigs and festivals for obvious reasons, small bands like Satans Fall have suffered a lot as not having got an opportunity of sharping the live playing. Satan’s Fall is damn great metal appealing to the true metal bangers for sure. Therefore the band is worth checking out.
Lost Society’s latest album NO ABSOLUTION was a fine piece of thrash/groove metal and deserved more headlines, but it is known the raging pandemic closed the doors for several bands and several great releases didn’t have the proper attention. The four-piece ragers are extremely vital and energetic on stage. They didn’t let anyone down, just pushing the gas pedal and let their heads spin and dropped fast and groove-sounding songs with the intensive touch. Due to the limited playing time, the band focused on the gig and didn’t start goofing around the stage as they have occasionally done that. Lost Society sounded tight and well-oiled thrash machine when they concentrated on playing and thrashing.
Diablo has been on hold for a while. During the downtime, the band has worked on the follow-up to SILVER HORIZON, which saw the light of day in 2015. The groove metallers have a well-gained reputation and are kind of a household name on the Finnish metal map, making their return to the limelight much easier. Even though being in the absence from the limelight for a while, the members have the experiences of playing of years and years. Diablo didn’t fall into mistakes and hassle in the playing, just offering the heavy groove-sounding metal offering. The whole 60-minute set was a good example of how a gig should be carried out with the professional grip and attitude even though there has been a break. Of course as pointed out earlier, the experience from the past was the major bonus. Let’s see when the next Diablo album is out and the band will embark on the tour.
Mokoma offered an unexpected surprise by doing a real intensive set with the obvious furious thrash metal vibe in sounds. The thrash rockers definitely have a wide range of different kinds of songs on the roster, but obviously they had picked up the most raging ones for the set. The 60-minute thrashing rage to the mellow-sounding songs created the perfect balance in the metallic approach of Mokoma. Even though the Finnish singing metal may sound eccentric, as far as Mokoma’s lyrics are deeper meaning appealing the domestic audience. The band’s performance was tight and energic. The set consisted of several known and mandatory Mokoma songs pleasing the audience for sure. By the way the bassplayer needs to have kudos for having the old worn-out Autopsy Mental Funeral t-shirt – interesting if anyone pointed it out in the audience.