Kicking off Saturday’s lineup was three-piece Tyrantti, with the morning slot of 11.40am. Fiercely spirited and comically expressive, they class themselves as in the genre of NWOFHM – a term coined by the long-standing fellow Finns Circle – expanded as New Wave of Finnish Heavy Metal. Barely together two years, they took over the stage with confidence and eagerness, ready to show the world what they’re made of and carve themselves a place in the people’s attention span.
The highlight song for me was probably Kobra, their latest release just a month beforehand, which you should listen to if you want to give them a chance. Several times, I saw them walking around enjoying the fruits of their labour within the festival walls, and I regret not going up to say hi to experience the contrast of their on-stage extremity! I’m sure with some progress and growth, these guys will be making a big name for themselves in the future.
Every year at Tuska, usually from the Inferno/Club stage for some reason, I come away from this festival having fallen madly in love with a band that will stay with me permanently. This year, I give you Six Inch. I have already secured my obsession with the song Pardon Me!, but I was left with bated breath in hoping their live performance would live up to my high hopes.
Well, it totally did, and more. They play some out-there nu metal with intense personality, and a big too-cool-for-school attitude. I could have easily put my camera down in the photo pit and just enjoyed being up against them to cut loose close-up. I wish they’d had a longer set, but with their latest music video just recorded in Suvilahti, I suppose I can watch that and feel like I’m back there again. Check out the official video to Naja on YouTube for yourself.
OK… Star Wars fans, look away now. I am about to be exposed, because this is way out of my depth. I am not a following of the cult, and honestly, I’m not a fan of spin-offs that base themselves off of it. Unfortunately, that includes bands. Of course music should be fun, of course it should have influences and muses and passion behind it, but this is a step too far for me personally. Galactic Empire are playing to one audience and it’s fair to say that I’m not it. This doesn’t mean that they didn’t just play to acclaim in Graspop, Download Paris and Download Madrid, but if I look at this as an innocent by-stander watching a show that I’m somewhat alienated out of, I still didn’t enjoy it! I thought the instrument skills were good, but the music was still boring. The presentation on stage was good, but the presence was still boring. The idea behind it was good, but the novelty was still, well, boring. I’m not averse to a bit of tongue-in-cheek external shaping (read: ArnoCorps!), but maybe I’m just… Boring!
If you have not heard about Beast in Black you obviously have not switched your radio to Radio Rock yet. The band is played on heavy rotation there so no wonder people got to know them. The band has been formed when Anton, guitarist, had left Battle Beast.
When listening to the band you can’t help yourself from thinking it has something Nightwish likes.
Except no lady up front, but the way of composing surely seem to have been inspired there. The set is surely ambitious, the audience is not all at that same level at the start, the early hour may be part of that. But when the guys come towards the end of their set and their hits are played it surely looks much more alive. Give it time, this band we will see around.
Finlands’s Goth n roll band The 69 Eyes were maybe not the first that we would expect to see here, but in another way they surely are part of it. The darkness roams all over the tent when they enter the stage. Plenty of people seem to be interested in this band here at Tuska. Their latest release dates back to 2016 when “Universal Monsters” came out.
Today is more the kind of show that brings the best off, the 69 Eyes classics like “Feel Berlin”, “Gothic Girl”, “Brandon Lee” and “Lost Boys”. A blessing for the long time fans and for many that seem to seek a hint of nostalgia. The band has no problem entertaining their audience. Pro show, simply focussed on the songs self as a center point the band does not need much extra’s to succeed here.
Helsinki formation Foreseen is a band that has DIY menthality and all that brought them across Europe and now on Tuska festival in their own hometown. The crossover they make has quite some body. A powerful sound comes over you when they start, the band is also quite active int heir performance which enhances the feel of the music.
Last year the band presented their second full length album called “Grave Danger” which has a lead in their set. The riffs the band bring are probably most interesting add as it seems to define them. An interesting show of a band that has a clear goal of what they want to bring.
The beloved Finnish Mokoma return to us this year at the main stage, directly after donning last year’s second platform. Punters came to surround the main stage in their droves, emphasising how much this band are revered and admired in the land. Their set included all of the best picks like Lunnaat, Sydänjuuret and my ultimate fave; Kuollut, Kuolleempi, Kuollein. Ending on Sinne Missä Aamu Sarastaa, we can’t not mention their May 2018 release of the latest album Hengen Pitimet which they also introduced us to in their set list and which has been widely received with open arms and positive reactions from fans and critics alike. With the appreciation shown in frenzied circle pits and attentive reactions from the onlookers, Mokoma are going strong as ever and luckily for all of us, have a healthy tour scheduled for the remainder of the year which I urge you to go to.
Hardcore five-piece Red Death joined Tuska all the way from Washington DC, following the 2017 release of their second full-length album Permanent Exile. Entering the stage via Metallica playing throughout the Inferno hall, I was instantly surprised at their youth. The green Americans were given a middle slot in the longest day’s line-up, which had me expecting a more experienced-looking troupe.
Embodying their extreme punk home origins, they thrashed around the stage rabidly and soaked up the audience’s raving feedback. Said audience, however, was quite modestly sized and didn’t attract too many away from the adjacent Mokoma or Carpenter Brut. I’m going to be honest and say that these guys didn’t really rock my boat, and I think they got swallowed up in a day with a great bill of epic rivals. I would be interested to see them play their own headliner however, just to get a more authentic sense of them in their own environment.
If ever there was an artist that you either love or hate, this might be it! ‘Individual’ is too tame a word to describe Carpenter Brut, but think electro/synthwave/metal-mix. Performing under this name but born Franck Hueso, the French musician prefers to stay out of the limelight and let the music be the prominent concentration of focus, which seems to have worked for him thus far considering he landed a 2016 US tour supporting Ghost.
The Helsinki stage was met with the man himself performing with a guitarist and drummer boosting his live enactment, and although I primarily found the whole ambience a bit odd, the crowd was brimming and they were all reeking of enthusiasm and ardour. I thought that the lighting could have aided the atmosphere a bit more, considering the intense digital sound and electro beats, but it also didn’t look like people needed any help in jumping along with each track. Tuska always throws us one curve ball, and this is one that needs to be heard to be believed.
Emperor returned to Tuska to bring some black metal once again. Right from the start we got a nice surprise seeing the support of Jørgen Munkeby there. But Emperor is king. (well emperor for that matter) What they were going to bring is the album “Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk” which is celebrating it’s 20th birthday last year.
The band’s classic hit well with the audience and at the performance of Emperor is hardly any comment the make, it’s tight. Don’t expect too much show at it though, the music is there to roll over you and that is exactly what it does. Emperor does not need all these show elements as the music is exactly what does the magic. After their set of the album the band played a couple more classics and concluded their show of to day with the mighty “Inno A Satana”. It’s as perfect as expected.
All star group Hallatar is performing in the tent. Exactly what the band needs, instead of the bright sun, the darker shades in the tent are enhancing the atmosphere of their doom show. Founded by Juha Raivo (Swallow The Sun) the band also contains Gas Lipstick (HIM) and Tomi Joutsen. (Amorphis). The album “No Stars Upon The Bridge” got released last year and spread well under the critics and found its way too the fans of this kind of music easily.
So no surprise that tent here is filled and the curious minds were in for a treat. The mood of this music may not always come out well on sunny summer days but today it seems a right match. The whole is vivid, the bass droning through you, guitars there at the right moment to keep sharp and the voice to keep deep impressive lines to tell the story. Drums are also key in here, much more on the foreground than you realize at first. The set was impressive and although we expected this would be something we mainly love seeing in a club the band made it work. Chapeau!
Kreator. The German masters of metal joined the Tuska line-up once again, ready to grace us with their expanded catalogue of their mastery of the genre. First appearing here ten years ago in 2008, they returned in 2013 and now we see them for their Tuska hat trick. Gathering almost all of the festival-goers to observe their main stage show, they did not hold back on their array of choreographed flames punctuating the front of the stage.
Opening with Phantom Antichrist, their experience of pleasing the crowd exuded throughout their set and included confetti launching, smoke blasting and of course more fire throwing – the latter of which I’m almost certain got a roaming seagull at the end. There must have been a few destroyed bodies exiting the grounds after their pits, but don’t worry folks, the seagull seemed to get away with dignity at least.
I’ll start by naming a few things about this band (Bombus) that I don’t think I’ll ever tire of. Firstly; their vocals. If I’m ever on my death bed and you’ve run out of ideas to save me, just hit play on Deadweight and I guarantee you’ll get a reaction from my limp body. Secondly; their riffs. If you don’t think that these are some catchy motherfuckers, then I don’t know what is. Skilled yet simple, technical yet true to genre and, honestly, god damn sexy. Thirdly; their authenticity. When hard rock meets heavy metal, you can get varieties that either become lame or don’t know where they sit in the world. Bombus have their game on; they’re confident and have the proficiency to back it up. Now, put all of that into a live show. Their vocals were raw yet hit every trying note. The way they commanded the stage melted all external factors out of focus. Essentially, the Swedish boys can do no wrong in my eyes, and they absolutely killed it at Tuska.
At The Gates is a band we hardly expect to be playing on the tent stage and seeing people watching them from outside the tent also it seems that the audience agreed on that. The band had a long set ready for the fans. Although the majority of the set looks back upon the impressive discography the guys have built through the years the guys are playing also some songs that are quite new. “The Colours of the Beast” for example. The album “To Drink from the Night Itself” came out only about 1,5 month ago so they have not reach many ears live. Something new is always in likes, and altough not everyone was familiar with this album yet, the songs fit seamless in the set with the older songs, so the whole got a just as energetic response as the other ones.
At The Gates is a band we can’t remember ever playing a set that is non-conforming. Here at Tuska the band did not let us down either. Always a pleasure.
Gojira’s that kind of band that never really seem to stop touring. Every summer they show up somewhere and every clubseason they are around as well. A hard working band that is worth to see live again and again anyway as the guys have an impressive live show and probably the best light guy we come across. Although the guys had some bad luck with their tourbus the guys made it to Tuska and played the show we will remember long time.
Flames, and the “Magma” album are the key to their biggest successes, but there is also the amazing visuals, the vehemence of their older songs that keep the whole in balance. Never too much, always exactly spot on. That’s what the guys got known for and what leads to their success. With some talking to the audience in between the guys have no problems on making a connection with the audience and making everyone feel at ease with their show. The day was sold out so a whole lot of people were watching these guys and singing along. It is a simple conclusion, Gojira was headlining the headliners this Tuska. A brilliant show!
Photographed and reviewed by Sabine van Gameren are: Baest in Black, The 69 Eyes, Foreseen, Emperor Hallatar, At The Gates, Gojira
Photographed and reviewed by Aoife Towell are: Tyrantti, Six Inch, Galactic Empire, Mokoma, RedDeath, Carpenter Brut, Kreator, Bombus