01-07-2017 Tuska Open Air

01-07-2017 Tuska Open Air
Starts: 01-07-2017
Ends: 02-07-2017
Suvilahti
Helsinki
FI

Day two started out as a really hot day, so when LIK walked on to the main stage as the opening act, it was a death metal show in pure sunshine – which we all know marry well together!

Visiting us from Sweden, LIK have been growing in popularity and we are starting to notice them being talked about more and more. I personally loved their track Serum 141 but the crowd seemed to react with the most positivity to Endless Oceans of Blood. If you were there, I’d love to hear your opinion in a comment!

With a multitude of upcoming festivals still to play this year, look out for them at Gefle Metal Festival in Sweden on July 14th, MetalDays in Slovenia on July 27th and even Graveland Festival in Holland on October 7th.

These guys have intrigued me and I think I’d like to attend more, so maybe I’ll see you at one of them!

On day two it was Alabama Kush to open the Inferno stage. They have a Stoner approach, quite hypnotizing and they like to go deep and dark. Long tracks they play, but the progress in them is rather slow. However, when they manage to keep the interaction going and bring some movement in the atmospheres they create, you find yourself listening with care, but judging some of the earliest visitors not everyone seem to be awake enough for this kind of music. A slow and rather strange start of the day.
Alabama Kush - Tuska 2017

The female fronted Avatarium draws quite a crowd in the tent. The band has been going quite strong lately, doing a bunch of shows. An album is on their hands. “The Girl With The Raven Mask” it is called and of course the majority of the show is based around it.

Femme upfront is rather theatrical. The style of performing is almost cliché, like a starting acting class, but when you look through that you can see that she puts great effort in putting her heart into the lyrics. With success, the music comes across well. Supported by some interesting guitarriffs they fit well in line with various other female fronted bands. If they built upon what they have they could make the whole a bit more epic and showlike, then we suspect they will be a big crowdwinner next time.

Paara. What can we say about Paara? Well one thing for sure, if you have missed that you just wasted your ticket money, because this was THE show you should not have missed.

The band makes Black Metal and do so in Finnish. A debut album is out and a second full length is scheduled for later this year. Their sound appears blacker than Black we would say, a massive sound comes from them which makes the Inferno stage shake and stir. A self-titled track in the beginning of their set, makes that people instantly get the feel of it, a skillful composition that has a slight catchiness that makes you get along but during the whole set the guys kept this energy up. No fallback as you often experience, but full energy through the whole set.

A massive experience, making us realize that this band is not meant to stay in Finland, international allure. Someone hook them up with a major, please?!

The next on to the main stage we have the Finnish Impaled Nazarene who brand themselves as underground nuclear metal.

Singer Mika Luttinen strode on staring at the crowd, gushing fake blood from inside his mouth and letting it stream down his chin and chest. 666 written across his forehead, he launched into their set full of coarse screams and evil face-pulling. Despite the windy day, the crowd was sizeable, however the masses of smoke they attempted to use on stage didn’t get to make too much of an impact.

Taking a second to chat with the audience every now and then, they maintained character and the fans seemed just as excited and energetic as they were in their performance. Keeping busy, you still have time to catch them in Italy, Romania and Germany before the end of the year. And of course, at Finland’s Hell Unleashed too.

MOKOMA
The utter uniqueness of this band is both incredible to listen to and to witness. I happen to find this one of the most musically-smart set of people on the Tuska bill, and I think many would be in agreement because the tented stage was completely packed. The famous dreads of Santtu Hämäläinen were of course as impressive as ever and the heaviness of his bass was the most impactful element of hearing them live.

Opening up to Kuollut Kuolleempi Kuollein, even I took a moment out from behind my camera to observe these masters of their special niche of metal. In fact, I’m going to have an ear worm now for that song just because I’ve mentioned it; definitely one of the favourites. The onlookers lifted their feet and jumped up and down at singer Marko Annala’s command, and the whole band shared the stage brilliantly between hectic swings and vigorous pacing. If you missed Mokoma, you should be feeling really ashamed right now!

Throes of Dawn is quite a name already, with many shows on their name and many fans around they did not have too much to suffer from being scheduled up against Mokoma and Timo Rautiainen.

The band is maybe known for their darkest side, but has a more Progressive sound nowadays. Maybe their latest work called “Our voices Shall Remain” is bringing this all again one step further than before. The performance of today was quite a slow starting one. The guys take their time to build the intensity and although people seem anxious to hear the band go into these intense moments, they seem patient enough to simply wait for it.

Schedulewise we could not wait that long, so we remain with saying that the way going there was at least interesting enough, but we pity that we could not see the band highlighting themselves as we are used to from them.

Timo Rautiainen is quite known in Finland, but maybe is less a name on the international market. With his Trio Niskalaukaus he is playing at Tuska today and the international guest may seem to take no notice of him that much, but we can tell you it may be a mistake.

A gloomy atmosphere is in the music and while the band is coming onto stage with a big smile and the joy on their face, Timo himself puts up his grumpy face until it his turn to get in. Nothing to worry, it is all part of the act and it turns out that he puts quite some stress into bringing across these lyrics. He is a theatrical man that express himself clearly, so even if you can’t follow the words you will get a hang of it.

Furthermore, the instrumental part of the band is giving us a fine backbone as well, the guys have their skills ready and make it as use during the show. No, perhaps it is not a band that will address everyone but one could surely enjoy a performance like we saw it Tuska purely for the way they present it!

Sleep of Monsters were a new one for me, so when I arrived to the stage and saw a gang of people walking on, I wasn’t sure how this was going to go. The indoor Inferno Stage is the smallest of all three and doesn’t always lend itself to a pack of exaggerated people, however they all had a great sense of unity on stage and ultimately you wouldn’t have noticed by them.

Dressed impeccably, they impressed me more than I had anticipated based on a few Spotify listens. They had a more well-rounded and much heavier ambience in person, although with that many people on stage there should be! So how to describe them… In their own words it is adult occult rock, Victorian post-punk, pre-Raphaelite psychedelia and even fin-de-siècle proto-metal. What a parade… Not to everyone’s taste, but worth a watch.


LOST SOCIETY: How much fun are these guys?! It was such a treat seeing them play on their home soil to a crowd that was absolutely gagging for them.

The crossover thrash four-piece had an unrivalled energy pulsating through the Väkevä tent stage, which lasted their entire set of eight songs, my favourite being I am the Antidote. Damn, there’s another ear worm… Catapulting into our international spectrum within the last few years, Lost Society have gone from strength to strength with their hard-hitting and riffs and youthful approach to thrash revived with a bit of groove.

They exude all the madness and professionalism of perfection without being showy or trying too hard. Their stage execution was flawless and they were certainly fitting for the honour it is to play Tuska’s twentieth anniversary celebration. Honestly, I am tempted to come back to Finland for some more of their fun; they’ll be in Sunila, Tampere and Helsinki again between August and September.

Soilwork is a regular at Tuska, the Swedes have been around several times and they acknowledge that clearly. Letting us know that they are happy they are back and ask if everyone has enough Jalovina for now they clearly bond with the audience.

Today is much about these song we got to known them from. Last year a compilation album got out so we really are celebrating the best of Soilwork at this point. And lucky we are, for Soilworks reputation on live performances is bit shady. A gamble, you either win or lose and at what odds? But, the odds are in our favor for the band is performing outstanding. Bjorn gives his best vocals and the whole band seems energetic in the stage.

“Stabbing The Drama” ends it today and looking at the setlist and the chants on the field it may be a bit too short set as some felt some songs were missing. (Especially “Follow The Hollow” seems much at request.) Let’s hope the guys return soon to put that straight too then!

Here we have a very special addition to Tuska’s twentieth line-up, with guitarist Tuomo Saikkonen of Mokoma also reviving Mind Riot from the ashes after they announced their disbanding in 1997 – twenty years ago to perfection! Bringing forth two replacement members and a new EP called Come Undone, the phoenix that is Mind Riot graced the Inferno stage at 18.10; right in the middle of the festival’s busiest day selling out with a reported 14,500 punters.

Jumping straight back into the throes of EP promoting, the band were met with instant interest and acclaim for their return to a new perspective on their music while honouring their roots. The floor in front of them filled up quickly after they kicked off, with Lost Society goers probably just finishing up and piling in from the nearby stage less than a minute away. They aren’t really my thing personally, but they have an interesting story and I believe are worthy of the following they attract.

Electric Wizard’s set was a bit in Clash with some other Tuska happenings today, but luckily we managed to some of it at least.

The English Doom formation has left a good impression the last time we saw them at Tuska so it is a pity that we could not see all. But hey their start with “Witchcult Today” and “Black Mass” was certainly a good shot. These songs are slowly getting you into the set, but have enough mood and tempo in it to make the atmosphere come alive.

 

As a show you can’t expect much energy, but you must find the joy in the intensity and on this level you don’t really have to worry with this band, for they clearly translate the intensity of the music also to their live performance. It seems that many were enjoying this band well, so hopefully they return soon.

With my partner in crime Sabine being more well versed in the touring escapades of Fear of Domination, I funnily enough am the FOD newbie reviewing this ever-growing band whom I have not seen perform outside of an after party.

The extra large group had great chemistry together on stage, and had themselves all plastered in unique face paint illuminated under the eccentric lights of their set in the Inferno building. Always wanting to be strongly visual in their shows, they played up to the crowd with rabid exuberance and a great physical performance which was received very well by the filled hall.

The next day, their leading female could be seen outside the Alepa on the festival grounds offering punters some face painting which seemed to be taken advantage of! Topping off their set with a massive group photo of them in front of their fans, Fear of Domination did in fact dominate at Tuska!

Amorphis is a steady factor in the music scene, not only in Finland but throughout the world. You can count on them. They are always on the road somewhere and may be are the most hard working band around at this point. We lost count of our rendez-vous, that many. And then to say we can’t recall the guys ever disappoint.

So they did not either today. With their latest album “Under The Red Cloud” they found themselves on hands with plenty material again to wow us and vocalist Tomi Joutsen seems to expand his style even more. With going a bit deeper in meaning, the lyrics and the way they are brought to us live we can sense that even after all these years he is still eager to go beyond what has been done before. So typical Amorphis!

Yet we are of course getting some the good old classics as well. “My Kantele” may be one of those songs that everyone knows and seeing Tuska erupt in wilde cheering when it comes along is showing us again that Amorphis is almighty, especially at Tuska!

Demonztraitor what that band that you may have wondered about. Booked in the Inferno stage, up against Amorphis and Triptykon… would there be people? Well ok, the turn up was not that immense as we have seen before at this stage, but luckily for the guys the people that did show up seem to be knowing them well and really like their music.

The Thrash formation seem to have refounded and make a bit of a return. The guys are all bringing a good passion along, having some tempo and strong riffage to support their identity. Yet, it must be said, not before they introduced some guest after a couple of songs the whole got going.

When Juha Virtanen from The Hirvi (also resently reborn) came on to stage some actual moshing started to take place, something we obviously had not seen enough of during Tuska. Finland awoke with these guys, got it going!


Triptykon hits the stage and we get to see them emerge between the crosses. Celtic Frost covers were quite the deal of today, regardless the fact that the band has released two albums of their own.

Not that it really matters for the whole is absorbed by the audience nevertheless. Yet, it seem not to warm too many hearts. Observing it, rather than feeling what is put across we would say. Sure this is not the most energetic band anyway, but we have seen more bands like that who could warm us a little more than Triptykon did.

There has been word out that the band is creating new material at this moment, but today we did not get to see much of it. To say this was a bad performance, no not that… but it certainly was not top of the bill either.

The one word that has come to mind every time I’ve talked about seeing HIM at Tuska has been ‘nostalgia’. Oh to be 16 again and listening to Love Metal as if it was the only album that existed!

With the Saturday selling out of day tickets, this is largely appropriated to HIM’s first ever performance at Tuska, making their presence even grander in light of its anniversary. Not to mention that this tour for the gothic love metal legends has been announced as their farewell one, claiming that by the end of 2017 they will be “released into the wild”.

What a fantastic series of events to have them play in Helsinki’s Tuska at such a pivotal point in time! Opening to – there’s that word – nostalgia from the get go, Buried Alive By Love was played first, before launching into a flowing mix of old and new school discography. Their moody set was played against an impressive suspended metal heartagram, which was as effective as it was simple. They concluded with a surprise firework display, leaving us all exiting the festival grounds with a knowledge that something really epic had been witnessed.

Reviewed and photographed by Sabine van Gameren:
Alabama Kush, Avatarium, Paara, Throes of Dawn, Timo Rautiainen, Soilwork, Electric Wizard, Amorphis, Demonztraitor, Triptykon

Reviewed and photographed by Aoife Drum-Towell:
LIK, Impaled Nazarene, Mokoma, Lost Society, Sleep of Monsters, Mind Riot, Fear of Domination, HIM

09 July 2017