[schema type=”event” evtype=”MusicEvent” name=”Tuska Open Air” sdate=”2016-07-01″ edate=”2016-07-03″ street=”Suvilahti” city=”Helsinki” country=”FI” ]
Tuska day 2 got opened by a band named Brymir. The guys been around since 2006 (ish..?!) and make Melodic Metal. This year the band came with a second full length album called “Slayer of Gods” which is barely a month old by now. The early birds on Tuska terrain are being treated by a good set though, the band plays solid and strong a confident list of tracks. With joy and enthusiasm of being on this big stage the guys are putting a smile on my face at ease. No more words are needed, we will hear from them more in future!
Across all three stages, Fuck Ushima had the shortest set of the entire day and kick started day two hidden away from the glaring sun inside the Inferno house. I didn’t think I had counted a lot of people going in, but a sizeable crowd had formed for the young sludge/grindcore band from Tampere. I wouldn’t have assigned them their youth either had I not been there to see them, which I think should be a compliment as some grind bands are a bit green these days. They were true to their genre, rocked the small stage and had some sweet song builds that I liked a lot, but aside from that there wasn’t anything too grabbing about their performance that separated them from their peers too much. Good, but not great.
With The Dead were an interesting one on the early morning. Playing in the tent the band has at least some darkness around them to spread their doom. With some familiar members, known from Electric Wizard, the band has drawn some curious minds and as they only have one debut album out it is not too strange that people are a bit hold back while watching them.
The band self plays interesting and captivating music, but the whole surroundings make it hard to fall into it. A sun outside the tent, lovely temperatures… the fact that their music isn’t widely known yet. A tough job for the British. Yet, they spark some interest. It is not top of the bill as a complete experience yet, but time to grow in that will do its magic!
Do I have to stay unbiased here?! Seeing the Irish Primordial come on to Tuska’s main stage was a proud and exciting moment for me and I couldn’t wait to see their performance in the contrasting daylight with the sun illuminating their usually dark set up. With their metal influences ranging from thrash to black to death and an Irish folk reference thrown in here and there, they first set foot in Finland back in 2005.
Eleven years later, that connection doesn’t seem to have faltered. Opening to a huge crowd and an even bigger welcome, the lads got straight into the zone and played tracks like No Grave Deep Enough, The Coffin Ships and finished on Empire Falls. Nemtheanga commanded the stage, howled out his words and was backed up perfectly by his fellow musicians. This is one of those bands whose unique story and collective personality just has to be appreciated.
One of the most remarkable bands of the day is Circle. They are experimental, a bit psychedelic even and are everything but one of those standard bands you will see anywhere. A keyboard is placed in the middle of the stage, some oddly (un)dressed musicians are heading onto the stage and the show is on. That keyboardist being in the main spotlight. A Freddy Mercury love might be detected by his way of composing and perhaps the love of ballet moves seem to be on board as well. Yet, musically they go in a bit more strange direction. Metal, not always directly, but something more vibrant, more freely and crazy in a way. Yet, the whole is well thought and sticks brilliantly together. You may not see this everyday so when you find it near you, don’t pass up the opportunity!
Tsjuder gives us some Black Metal today. The Norwegians are around for over 20 years already and five full lengths into their discography the band is having a serious amount of music to spread on us. Musically they are not too experimental, they perform a rather traditional form of Black Metal and luckily they do that skilfully with style. On stage the band is not the most interesting one to observe but we got to appreciate the guys giving us some icy cold Black Metal with class. Unfortunately we could not see the complete set of the band, but we enjoyed what we saw!
Crimson Sun: This female-fronted Finnish melodic metal band traveled across from neighbouring Kotka to take the Inferno stage for awaiting fans. Singer Sini Seppälä’s vocals were strong and filled the interior and you’d be forgiven for wondering how such loud pipes come from such a small girl. With two large fans blowing their hair on stage, I definitely saw a few strands of bassist Jukka Jauhiainen’s long blonde locks caught in one of them!
Concentrating on their 2015 album release Towards The Light, their set list included The Spark, Clockwork Heart and Memories Burning. Playing for a mere thirty minutes, it was all over very quickly, though they were playing on the day featuring the most bands squeezed in. Well received by the crowd, and competing with Tjuder at the nearby Helsinki stage, Crimson Sun held their own and completed a solid performance, but I wouldn’t have wanted it any longer.
My last interaction with Turmion Kätilöt was at Tuska 2014 and was an experience I reveled in, so I was looking forward to this one like no other. Last playing at the festival’s second stage, this year they seem to have moved up in the world as they brought their antics to the main stage. Giant balloons, fire to rival hell’s wrath and the two singers sharing kisses on stage elevated their performance to being just plain bonkers, and you’d expect nothing less. All eyes were on their stage – you couldn’t help but look – and they reached a perfect balance of chatting with their insane fans and ripping the stage a new one.
The big stage definitely suited them; they were heavier, scarier, crazier and even more enjoyable than before and I’ve never liked them more. This was THE band to see of day two!
MØRKET was one of the bands I was looking forward to see in the small stage of Tuska. Their described mix of genre’s, all what we heard in our research period sounded very promising but when seeing it live it was a bit unfortunate that the click was not really there. Maybe because the performance appeared a bit messy, the sound did hit ground right away… it was not right all of it. One thing the band does not lack on is enthusiasm though. I believe every word they said even if I don’t know what they said. Their message is clear. Hopefully next time it will just catch me a little more.
About to embark on a massive North American tour, Omnium Gatherum have been keeping very busy by touring and promoting their release of the album Grey Heavens earlier this year. I enjoyed their show from the second they came on to the stage as they were obvious professionals and technically perfect. I even heard that they were better at Tuska than their recent appearance at Nummirock, which I’m glad they saved for me.
The rough yet controlled death metal vocals against the delicate yet powerful guitar solos was a perfect contrast for the ears, and their carefully constructed melodies are left burrowing in your ears for hours afterwards. The song Frontiers in particular is one from the day that I am still having trouble getting out of my head! Garnering a huge attraction into their tent, I saw a thrilled crowd lapping up every moment and wishing that they stuck around for longer.
Only a few songs, we were able to see of Embreach, a Melodic Death band from Finland. Unfortunately that’s how it goes sometimes, but at least we got some taste of what the band does. The guys are around for over a decade and seem to have a good idea of what they want to perform. The thing that stopped me a bit is that their stage presence seems a little shy at first. They could live their music a little more you would guess, but perhaps they picked that up after I had to leave. Musically they played some good songs, with enough vehemence and a good balance between all so no need to hold back on anything we would say.
Technical Death Metal band Obscura was playing the mainstage. Not really a name we expected to see there, to be honest. Some people were gathering for Anthrax already so they had some good crowd out there though. For them being technical I had hoped they would have overwhelmed me a little more. To have these guitarist blow me away and then a vocalist making me shiver when he builders over that, but nope. The band seemed a bit generic. They were quite calm on the stage which did not warm the heart for it either but musically they were more tame than expected as well. Not all bands could be a winner and these guys were not the best of the day, that is for sure.
Swapping with Havok’s slot at the sheltered Inferno stage, Lord Vicar stepped up to allow their Prague-deserted comrades time to arrive and play a little later. I’m not sure how many fans were made aware of this as even I found out very late in the day, but none the less there was a massive crowd to come out and hear some gold old traditional doom. Starting off pretty slow, they exploded into a rhythm and crunched out an absorbing and intoxicating set that had both its ups and downs.
Songs included “Birth of Wine”, “The Last Of The Templars”, “The Green Man”, “Born Of A Jackal” and “The Funeral Pyre”. Singer Chritus took the opportunity on stage to kneel down and skull a beer which, dare I say it, might have helped get things going a bit as they finished stronger than they started. A band with as vast experience as these individuals probably could have blown me away a bit more, but that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the spectacle and it was one to tick off the bucket list.
Thunderstone is a band I see at Tuska. Every once and a while they pop up here and this year again they were on the bill. As they released an album earlier this year, it made sense to do so. Most of the time I thought these shows were a bit so-so, but this year the band was really convincing. Some new material on their hands seem to bring the joy back for the guys, they seem to be happy to be out there and play this material which is contagious enough to keep me entertained and enjoying. So Thunderstone did really well today, bending one’s mind when one has already have a so-so reputation in one’s head that is not an easy thing to do and it proves that the guys did a good show here today.
With their 2016 album release For All Kings, Anthrax are only getting better with time and their ever-reliable speed thrash metal signature is never lacking in creativity and inspiration. Always a smiling and enthusiastic band on stage, even the rain exploding onto the festival grounds in the middle of the song Antisocial didn’t phase them. While a few fled to seek cover, Anthrax played harder and faster to almost thank the crowd for their loyalty during the unwelcome wet.
Also playing favourites like Got The Time, Madhouse, Caught In A Mosh and Indians, Anthrax are the band you can depend on to awaken the head banging in your body and the grin on your face. The New York five piece will continue touring Europe before departing for North America where they join their peers Slayer for a stint that will keep them occupied until October.
Jess and the Ancient Ones, a band I have seen before, reviewed… and never liked. So why do you go seeing them you would say? Well, schedules make you sometimes. And for all the same, a Thunderstone thing could happen too. You can start liking a band as they grow and grow.
Now, did I really like the show of Jess and the Ancient Ones? No, not really. BUT I cannot say any different than that this band is grown a lot in the past years. And I understand why people in Finland like this band. A voice you won’t hear a lot. In Finland. In other countries you may be hearing something similar in any local start up. Maybe less trained, but with the same sound in there. So for me the uniqueness of this is totally not existing, but I get why people like it. She sings with loads of skill and it is less dreary to see nowadays which makes the whole a bit more exciting. For god’s sake… someday I will even like them perhaps.
Heavy yet lighthearted, fun yet professional, it’s hard to go wrong with Stam1na. The sound was great even in the tent of the Helsinki stage and I don’t think I saw it as packed all weekend for any other band. In fact, I got trapped and couldn’t even move for a while, the crowd was that thick. There were circle pits galore, a lot of effort into their light show and they really just ticked all the boxes for a great festival performance. They also gave pride week a shout out, which I hadn’t heard from any other band so far, so kudos to them on that as well. Wearing some fetching orange jumpsuits to complete their crazy personalities, Stam1na are out to put on a show and give you an experience and once again, they have done just that.
I was hoping to see Lord Vicar here today, but they changed places with Havok who had some flight troubles. At first being sad for missing Lord Vicar, who interested me, but soon that all turned away when the guys started playing. A ball of hate, anger and frustrated started rolling and destroyed everything on its way.
The band’s vocalist had issues with his guitar and after wiring up it wasn’t fixed. So at some point he turned around and threw it on the floor, to turn around again and continue singing while inserting some shit about the guitar to the lyrics. Somewhen later he turned around to see what them crew had not fixed it yet, to see three wide eyed crewmembers staring at it like ‘oh shit, now what?’. He came closer and realized he broke it. In shock he picked the mic and said: ‘I think I broke my guitar’. Well… NO SHIT… throwing it around with such anger isn’t gonna keep it shiny!
Luckily another guitar was waiting for him and the band could continue their set. Yes, the show of Havok was passionate and real. We cannot say anything different than that!
The smell of incense wafted through the air and the electric excitement took over the end of day two as the eagerly-anticipated Ghost were about to come forth and preach their highly controversial message. The anonymous Swedish Satanists, known only as Papa Emeritus III and his Nameless Ghouls, have a repertoire that has to be felt live to be believed and while you might expect music less accessible than what they play, their sheer presence is enough to tell you that you’re a part of something wholly unique and even fun.
Opening with the song “Spirit”, the rain suddenly ceased as if Papa Emeritus III had commanded it himself and they began their show. Changing from his anti-Pope robes during the set, he revealed a new tuxedo-like outfit and exhibited an even further evolution of their progressive ‘looks’ – something they pride themselves on as the band ages. We were also graced with a speech on the female orgasm, its history of being the devil’s work and how they wanted to dedicate a song to its glory and celebration. With that, they ended on the unusual “Monstrance Clock” and left us all breathless. You may not hail Lucifer, but you must hail Ghost.
Reviewed and photographed by Aoife DT:
Fuck-ushima, Primordial, Crimson Sun, Turmion Kätilöt, Omnium Gatherum, Lord Vicar, Anthrax, Stam1na, Ghost
Reviewed and photographed by Sabine van Gameren:
Brymir, With The Dead, Circle, Tsjuder, Morket, Embreach, Obscura, Thunderstone, Jess and the Ancient Ones, Havok