Location: Kaisaniemi, Helsinki (Finland)
By: Sabine van Gameren & Elvira Visser
Tuska was about to start again and this years’ line up made the festival sold out. The sun was shining and it was a great weekend in Kaisaniemi park, Helsinki. This for the very last time, cause next year the festival will move to a different location.
This might bring some questions and doubts to the fans of this festival, but we trust the organization for getting it right once again. Elsewhere in Europe, in Belgium to be exact there was a festival where over 100 people were transported to the hospital because they got too less to drink and got heat stroked. Tuska arranged this all better with good facilities to get water (for free) and with making sure the audience didn’t get overheated by spraying them with water. Also to mention is that during the whole festival the schedule got followed tight and this results in hardly missing any band you planned due to bands starting/ending late.
A long que was formed in front of the gates of Kaisaniemipark. Fourtyfive minutes after the gates opened Barren Earth and The Arsons Project where opening Tuska festival 2010. Barren Eart is quite a young band and was formed in autumn 2007. The band is formed with members which we know from different other bands. Olli-Pekka Laine played in Amorphis, Marko Tarvonen plays drums in Moonsorrow, Kasper Mårtenson played keyboard in Amorphis and Janne Perttilä. The band member had met before and they knew there was a chemistry. At the end of the year 2007 they found a lead guitarist in Yli-Sirniö (Kreator, Waltari). To finalise the band Mikko Kotamäki (Swallow the Sun) joined them and Barren Earth had found its final form. Knowing that all these musicians come from international known bands it is no wonder that the quality of the band is good. This is what they also delivered at the Tuska stage. Mixing death metal with prog. Getting influences from bands like Opeth and Jethro Tull. One thing maybe was some interaction with the audience. All band members are quite focussed on their own play that less is spend on a stage show. Band like this you rather need to hear instead of expecting a gregt show. And they did play great, just close your eyes and enjoy the music. A good start of the day.
With a stage to make He-man’s castle Grayskull make like a cheap imitation, Testament’s entrance was set the moment they entered the stage. After only the first few chords the crowd transformed from sunlit spectators to a swirling mass of moshing people. An intense show followed, with old-school thrash-metal as the backbone. Chuck Billy, characteristiccally playing air-guitar on his loose microphonestand during the guitar solo’s. What made the show more personal was the directness and the many thanks the lead singer gave towards the visibly enjoying Tuska audience. “Practice what you preach” was a sing-a-long favorite and a massive wall of death and moshpit followed not long after. Even the newer material was enthusiastically received, making the only odd thing the time of day this legendary Bay Area thrash-metal band was playing, with a full sun shining upon the stage from start to end. A grand performance from a grand name in metal history.
A band that has become a steady name in the melodic metal scene is Insomnium. The band was founded band in 1997 and it took some time to create the sound of Insomnium. A sound that mixes a lot of styles of music together. A band that is not afraid of experimenting and evolving as a band. The bands founding members are Markus Hirvonen, Ville Friman, Niilo Sevänen and Ville Vänni. They are masters is creating a dark melancholic atmosphere which might be knows as the Scandinavian sound. But along this darkness they know how to create beautiful melodies before showing their aggressive side. The tracks still stay catchy but have melodic and brutal moments. For a wile they have been one of Finlands best kept secrets but during the last years the band have been touring throughout Europe. The band started to sound heavier and richer and they asked Aleksi Munter (Swallow the Sun) to great some epic keyboard parts to the music, creating a whole new layer to the sound. This band again is a lot more about the music then about the show. There is some interaction but you should feel how they take you, how they pull you into their music. That is what they also did at the Sue Stage at Tuska. At times brutal death metal but with melodic nuaces that set their sound apart.
Rhytmihäirö is a Finnish band that played at the same time as Insomnium. Though, they are more aggressive, making a combination between Thrash metal and Hardcore. The band had formed in 1988 and has quite a steady line up for the past years. Their show came quite energetic, with a slight sense of humor in it. It was clear that the band attract an own audience but brought also some random people into the tent. Their music seems to work well today as they get the people hooked with their Finnish lyrics. For an international who would like to know their causes it not too hard to figure out; alcohol seems to be a big inspiration for the guys. Nice act to see on this festival!
On the main stage it was now time for Tarot to play. They got a new album released recently and were ready to perform some of that today. The Finns come with an interesting but calm set. The band starts it all quiet and did not do too much activity at first but starts to make an impact after being into the set for quite a bit already. Vocalist Marco Hietala knows the stage of Tuska very well, he has been here several times before with any of his band and he makes a relaxed impression. Musically the expectation were perhaps set on a more bombastic show what the band did not really bring. Songs got stronger by letting a choir singing along, but this performance could have been much more than it was. It was not bad, but just did not live up to the expectations.
Time for some industial metal at Tuska. The first band up to introduce some industrial was the Swedish Pain. A band known mostly because of Peter Tägtgren. Who is the producer and creative brain behind Pain. Peter you might know from the band Hypocrisy, which was performing the next day. The band Pain plays with the boundaries, and is looking for Extremes. At Tuska the audience gathered up in front of the stage anxiously waiting and screaming for this band. No wonder that after a few minutes the band created a great atmosphere in the Sue Stage. Fans were cheering loudly for the more know songs. The band rocked the stage with a certain attitude without overdoing it. The band sounded a lot better inside the tent then outside. Too bad because a lot of people came to see this band and had to stand outside. The electronic elements were a little distorted. The band brought a doze of energy on stage transferred to the audience. A great set is what Pain delivered.
Satyricon made an interesting statement. Drummer frost came on stage doing the creepy eyes trick that Kamelot usually does in their show. The band plays on several festivals as Kamelot and also Tuska would bring Kamelot, even though it would be one day later. The Norwegians have a good reputation as being an interesting live reputation and luckily they managed to keep with up to that. The band clearly enjoyed themselves at the Tuska main stage and played around quite a bit. Satyricon is much loved in Finland which resulted in a lot of audience participation. Vocalist Satyr walked all over the stage with his devilish microphone and made a good show you did not want to miss.
On the Sue stage Ihsahn was making acte de présence. Ihsahn got known with his previous band Emperor, which got to legendarical level before they called their quits. He released an album under the name Peccatum with his wife and recently released part three of the trilogy under his solo act. With a good live band behind him he enters the stages now and although many people choose for Obituary, playing at the same time on the other stage, the tent was still full of fans. Fans who liked Emperor and fans who fell in love with this solo act. With a reputation built, there are quite some expectations and Ihsahn made them quite true, giving all the people at Obituary the finger for missing out on a gorgeous show. Most standing out next to the character Ihsahn were the keys, played by Einar Solberg. He’s fast, he’s furious and has a the energy like he drink a whole supermarket supply of energy drink. Besides that he also brings clean vocals which bring a wonderful add to the music.
As a little treat for all the Emperor fans who stayed true to Ihsahn they played one old song and when they left the stage it is clear that this was one of THE bands of Tuska. A show that won’t be forgotten soon.
Devin Townsend was the headliner of this evening and seemed very popular at the audience. Today he would do a special show with the project Ziltoid, on day two he has another set scheduled. What the hell is Ziltoid, you could think. It is an alien, appearing on the big screens right before Devin and band entered the stage. Basically, Ziltoid leads to the ninth album of Devin and that was exactly what you would get. The whole album was played during the set and this show was very exclusive as they had not done that before. The show was interesting for people who feel into the science fiction theme. For others, this show might not really make sense. It is a typical act that you either love or hate, but hardly anything in between.
On the second day of Tuska the first band to play is Blake. The band has been formed in 2001 and makes melodic metal, not too fast, a slightly bit of commercialism in them. The music is catchy, heard once is easily remembered. It was clear that the afterparty shows of the night before had knocked quite some people out as the festival area was not so filled yet. Nevertheless, this band is quite a good one to wake up with, when the sun is shining the bring a bit of the party mood onto the grounds and attract the early birds.
Facing each other on the schedule were Sotajumala and Torture Killer, a tough choice for the metal fan. Sotajumala it was for Tempelores. The band makes Death metal since 1998 and got fans shouting the names of the band members already before the band entered the stage. The band is considered to be the sound of the underground as many people talk about them. The band comes in energetic and fanaticism dripping of their faces. During the show they live what they play and bring their audience in ecstasy. Quite a heavy show, that early on the schedule. Besides the singer it is surprisingly the bassist who stole the show with his performance, not the most expected thing in a band like them. Good show, remind and visit again!
Hypocrisy opened the festival day on the main stage. The second day of the festival and also this day was sold out. The day started with a larger amount of people on the festival grounds then the day before. On Friday we could see Peter Tägtgren with his other band Pain. Today the visitors had the chance to see him perform with the Swedish band Hypocrisy which was formed back in 1991. The band started out as Seditious before there was a second attempt with this band. The band played better the expected. The band made sure that spectators did not loose their interest as the band might have the name to be more soft or even that they play girly metal. However many people kept watching and moshing around, and a lot of guys. Hypocrisy showed at Tuska that they still know how to rock and made many people cheer and mosh around.
Today the Sue stage was the place for those who loved old school metal. Crowbar was one of the bands that were playing. They attracted way more people to the tent than could fit. Even far outside the tent people were trying to watch or at least hear Crowbar play. Crowbar is an American band from New Orleans, they play sludge metal. Their sound can be distinguished from other bands because they have slow low-keyed songs that also has some more punk or hardcore related moments. Although the band might be a legend in the sludge metal, their stage show was lacking any form of energy. They were all just standing still, perhaps the way to deliver a good show in their case because the audience seem to enjoy it. The guys were focusing on creating a special atmosphere during their performance, from flowing slow to climactic hardcore. By doing this, the played songs from Crowbar were greatly welcomed with applause. Their show was not only fast and furious but it was more a showcase of experience for people unknown to Crowbar.
FM2000 was one of the most funny bands to see. The band makes metal with that typical folk humor in their sound without being a folk band. Their songs are in Finnish but only little Finnish is needed to get the joke. And even without getting it, the band still gives you riffs to dance to, mosh to, headbang to, whatever you like. Backupped by steady drums it all gets an interesting touch. Seeing this band will bring you an interesting evening, without the bullshit, don’t take it all too serious, just enjoy the music and have a good time. That seems to be a bit of their motto and at least it is what they radiate.
One of the first bands that got the audience to sing along was Devin Townsend. For some unknown for others one of the highlights of this festival. He honoured the festival with two performances as he had played the day before as Ziltoid. Devin’s musical career started when Steve Vai discovered him in 1993 when he received a demo wrapped in a pair of Devin’s old underwear. Devin has become known over the years as he found himself a new studio and touring band for each of his solo projects. These projects needs different bands as he claims that the music he makes is totally different then their predecessor. This because he writes about his own experiences of the year before, and what he is feeling at that time. At Tuska he seemed to feel fine and a bit hot as the sun was shining brightly on the mainstage. Devin showed he was eagerly to play and the audience seem to love everything he did from growling to almost opera-like singing. One thing he did throughout the whole gig was walking up the stage edge while pulling faces towards the crowd while posing. This resulted many times in a cheering audience.
Death Metal act Survivors Zero throws in a slight melodic edge to fine tune their music, making it a mix of being extremely aggressive and a being one that more people can get their hands too. The band has been started in 2006, but apparently they got quite some fame in short time, considering a quite filled tent. And not much to say about it, it is totally understandable. The band brings good music which have a steady instrumental bases and builts on with some outstanding riffs to be accompanied with deep vocals. The band has the potential to grow big so if you get a chance to see them, they are much recommended.
Another band that was given the chance to show themselves was Armed for the Apocalypse. You could clearly notice that they were not that know as the Inferno tent was almost empty. People had found their way to the other stage are to get some food. However there was this band from the middle of nowhere, America as Armed for the Apocalypse like to say. One thing they love is when you are able to sing along to their songs whenever they play a show. A bit of a let down because there were not that many people watching this band. However the were a few who build a circle pit during each song they played. The band plays trash metal while flirting with metalcore. They play with a young passionate attitude on stage. The structure of the songs is not very complex but therefore easy to like. The guys from Crowbar came to check out the band and the guys from Armed for Apocalypse seemed to be pleased with that as well as their performance. They were happy that they were given the chance to play at Tuska Festival. That showed in their play, they seem to enjoy them selves as well as the audience.
A band that had a large group of fans at Tuska was Kamelot. Everywhere you went you saw people in Kamelot shirt as well at the merchandise stand buying new items. The waiting began when the gates opened and Kamelot fans already claimed the first row, to see their band up close. The band bring a type of metal mixed with an musical like vocalist Roy Kahn. Other members of the band are Thomas Younghblood, Glenn Barry, Casey Grillo and Oliver Palotai. They blend different metal styles together like gothic and powermetal. A band who is not shy to bring a lot of ballads on stage but mostly mid tempo songs. At Tuska they treat their fans with a great show. For the first seconds after the intro when Roy appears pyro is used. Not only once but during their gig. One thing is sure the band knows how to put down a show at Tuska. The last album is about a female opera singer who is attacked while she is on her way to her great debut. For their Tuska appearance they took a female guest vocalist. The fans got a nice show and fans who never-before-seen Kamelot will have had a great introduction.
After the crowd showed repeatedly to be tired of waiting for Overkill, this much renowned but less accredited band shook the Sue stage’s foundation. All the cliché’s were present: a dark stage, lights fog showing outlines of the band members, fast relentless thrash-metal, lead singer shirtless in tight fitting pants with one foot upon his monitor, and last but not least: a battalion of hits, including “Hammerhead”, D.O.A.’s“(we don’t care what you think) Fuck You”, “Overkill” and many many more, showing everyone that this awesome band from New Jersey,NY, knows how to take us back in time in a heartbeat …and a head bang. The crowd went ecstatic over the assault Overkill bombarded over the many present at this Tuska stage. Recent material was just as well received as the classics, making this performance a well enjoyed trip into the minds of these masters of metal and a serious whip-lashing experience. A must-see for fans of metal classics.
Bloodbath has been a very interesting act for Tuska. People gathered far around the tent as there was not enough space in it anymore. The Swedes have come with a certain attitude and when fans go totally nuts from the first song they play they can clearly enjoy their time on stage, teasing the fans with asking them if they want to have the cap of their drinks, which results in a whole lot of people getting crushed in the frontrow, giving the security a hard time pulling out the people who can’t take it any longer. Seems like a great show? Yes, well played, well done. Too bad the singer had a book with lyrics in front of him and the guitarist had quite a huge list of chords and other notes written next to his setlist. Hard to remember your own music? Seems like the fans did a better job in that! Well, at least you have your attitude to make up for your shortcomings. No matter in how much other bands you are, it shouldn’t be that hard to just rehearse them until you remember? Quite a disappointment, while the show was not even that bad in the end. It’s just that by knowing this, you realize that the show could have been much better than it was.
The headlining band of Tuska Saturday was Nevermore, a band who has been around for over 15 years. Nevermore was founded in Seattle and consists of Warrel Dane (vocals) and Jim Sheppard (bass), Jeff Loomis(guitar) and Van Williams (drums). At Tuska the fans cheered but the band seemed not that into it. There was some enthusiasm missing, something to show the audience that they liked to be there. However they played their songs okay, this was not their best performance. Where other front men had shown to be great entertainers today Dane lacked in putting down a show. He sang his songs and that was it. This was the downside of their gig, also appearing in a leather jacked totally zipped when the sun is shining bright on stage when it is around 28 degrees is a little weird. But maybe all about appearance. Al thought there were some downsides to this performance, they did play tight and played some tracks the full audience seemed to sing along. However Kamelot gave a better performance then the head liner today.
Day 3 of Tuska starts with Turmion Kätilöt and Finntroll. Turmion Kätilöt is an industrial metal band that has been seen on Tempelores for several times already. The Finns brought the early morning awake, the tent was filled, as well as the other tent but since this would be the most wanted day, first sold-out, there was a long queue in front of the gates early. At least it seems like the fans are there for them and the band played songs from their latest album as well as older songs like “Pirun Nyrkki”. The band spoke quite a bit with their fans in between and seemed to set a good mood. Nice gig to start your festival day with.
Finntroll the Finnish band at Tuska who brought the audience some folk metal. “The namesake came from an old Finnish legend where Swedish priests coming to Finland had an encounter with a wild-looking man who killed most of their party. The survivors came back bearing the tale of the Finntroll”. The band was founded in 1997. After some line up changes the band has been very succesful since the coming of Vreth on vocals. It is unusual for a band that a member who has left the band still write the lyrics. Founding member Katla still writes these lyrics in Swedish. Finntroll had the privilege to kick of Tuska Sunday. As they are know to build a party they sure did in the Inferno tent. They had a nice performance where a bit more folkloric songs were played at the beginning, some very known songs like Trollhammaren in the middle to end with some fast paced songs to get the crowd totally insane. They knew as always how to make a big party and get all those people who came to watch them to move, drink and dance around. Too bad they were playing in the tent because they could use a bigger stage for their performance but this was nice and intimate.
W.A.S.P was the first act on the Main Stage. The band has a good reputation in Finland and last October they played a couple of shows in the country. No big surprise to see that many, many people were watching this band and there was hardly a path free anymore to get from one side to the other side of the festival area. The band started their set well with known songs like “On Your Knees” and “Wild Child” but also played their latest single “Babylon’s Burning” which seems to be a metalclub hit already as many people were singing along. Later in the set the band played some more unfamiliar songs to switch that of with some songs that demand audience participation. For those who have seen the club shows of the band, it might have been a bit disappointing to see that there was no video back up, that make some of the songs come alive so much, but on the other hand, the band had chosen a completely different set now and just made a good show that pleased their fans well.
The UK band Trigger The Bloodshed brings quite brutal Death metal. The band got formed in 2006 and got quite a name. Instrumentally they got their sound all together, play tight and set some aggression into the world, but it is not the newest kid on the block. Yet another one to fill up in your collection, nothing deeper, nothing wider. The band played a good show, energy comes alive and they were acting as a warm up for the next band: Cannibal Corpse, which they also mentioned themselves. Was that an open appliance letter to be their support for a tour or what? Well, let them be. They would have the same fans, so why not?!
Warmen was the second band who tried to survive the heath on the inferno stage. Warmen started as a solo project from Janne Warmen (Children of Bodom). They have already released four CD’s and their latest album is called “Japanese Hospitality”. Waremen is a band that is able to play an impressive diversion of styles. From virtuosic metal to groovy and even catchy. To create the sound of Warmen the band further exsists of Antti Warman (Jannes brother) on guitar, Jyri Helko (For the Imperium) who rocks the bass, and on the drums Mirka Rantanen (Thunderstone). If this was not enough the band worked together with acclaimed finnish metal singers. At Tuska some of them joined the stage like Timo Kotipelot, Jonna K. and Alexi Laiho. When you know how Janne plays keyboard in Children of Bodom you know you can expect some fast melodies from his keyboard but he does not take all the credits as there is room for guitar and bass solo’s as well. All the members have moments to shine. Mainly bass player Jyri can be found everywhere on the stage. They did invited a lot of singers to sing during their performance while the band originally plays instrumental music, but knowing how the audience responded to this in the way they could sing or even shout along it was a good choice. Simply said: Warmen is a great band.
Cannibal Corpse is not known for giving the best performances ever and after taking the pictures I leave to the festival area to watch it from some distance, realizing at the end of their show while giving them one final look, that they were still exactly where I left them. So for Cannibal Corpse you come to listen to the music, or get crazy in the pit. Let’s say the last one, because due the sound that wasn’t at its best here, you could better put their music on while being at home. Nevertheless, when being surrounded by so many fans that like to go nuts at their music, there is a good atmosphere and that counts for something too. Highlight of the show is their most known song “Hammer Smashed Face”.
The youngest band playing at Tuska might have been [Amatory]. Besides then fact that all members are young the band played a different style of metal that no other band played. A metal style mixed with screamo-coren but then with a rough edge. [Amatory] is a band that is progressive and extremely powerfull on stage. One of those band where you need another set of yeas to be albe to watch everything that is happening on stage. A fresh and enthusiastic attitude and a lot of energy. It seemed that not many people know this band as the tent was not full with people. They Russian band showed that they have an eager to play and they almost did not take a break in between songs to breath. [Amatory] is surely a band who has great potential to grow as they are young and willing. Tuska had them on stage to present not only legendary bands but also that there are ones still to discover. [Amatory] proved with their show that they are ready to go explore Europe. Ready to spread their music. I hope we will hear more from them.
As the last act playing on the Sue Stage Nile was brought in. The Americans have been around since 1993. Their latest album comes from 2009. The band plays Death metal and got the people on their hands in an overcrowded tent. Their shows was tight and especially vocalist Karl Sanders did a good job. Their stage performance seems quite static in the start but eventually it got better and when the audience got into it, the show was loose. A band with a reputation like Nile doesn’t surprise with bringing a good show, so this was in line of expectation for many people. The band could perhaps try to connect a bit more with the audience, as it somehow looked a bit like there was a gap between them. But overall Nile played a good show.
After a step-by-step instrumental start of Megadeth’s latest formation of talented musicians, along with some minor difficulties with the wireless reception on one of the guitars, Dave Mustaine introduces the second song about a torture device. As the only “Endgame” song in this set, “Headcrusher” boosts towards the crowd like a stampede of decibels. It is there that people notice that Mustaine has problems reaching the higher notes of the song. Lower growls of text come out effortlessly and the solo’s rip through the speakers towards the hungry crowd. After the nostalgic recollection of a thrashband that has been active for more than 25 years and celebrates the 20th anniversary of “Rust in Piece”, Megedeth blows forth the first track , “Holy Wars” As the crowd sings along vigorously, Mustaine has again trouble of squeezing out some of his higher, characteristic squeals. Especially when a lot of the songs afterwards are also from the same 20 year old album, this starts to show on one of my favourites “Tornado of Souls”. As fervently as the rest of the band tries to compensate by performing nearly flawlessly, which is a very hard task that should not go unnoticed, the emphasis of Megadeth is on the music and the many, many, many solo’s. Still, we are gifted with all-time classic “Symphony of Destruction”, “Peace sells…” and an encore of the solo’s from “Holy Wars”. All in all, a very powerful set with some memorable moments, like the thought of Megadeth’s frontman following the political steps of Arnold Schwarzenegger and ending up in the White House, gave everyone at Tuska a smile something to think about.
Three days of metal had came to end, almost, because there are still some afterparties left. Stay tuned for that review also! Next year, new location and a new edition of this wonderful metal experience.
Photo’s by: Sabinevangameren.com
Devin Townsend MySpace
Survivors Zero MySpace
Turmion Kätilöt MySpace
Trigger the Bloodshed MySpace
Cannibal Corpse MySpace
Barren Earth MySpace
Armed for Apocalypse MySpace