Tanja Ahtila, Sandy Mahrer, José Carlos Santos, Klaudia Weber
As mentioned, Finnish festivals have their name for a reason. Tuska, that means pain. For most of those 33.000 visitors it might be this horrible inflammation of hair roots that continued throughout the weekend, for others it might be their terrible sunburn or those blisters you got from your Three-Stage-Marathon. Or tension in your neck from banging too much. Some outfits looked painful in the heat that started on day two: latex and leather, voluptuous black Goth dresses, extreme high heels and very tight corsets – just looking at it I had to grasp for air...
Many journalists received blue marks as festival trophy. The 10th Tuska gathered more photographers than ever before, unfortunately the space in the trenches - err, photopits was cut in half. Only the most reckless, stronger, faster and those with the bigger Zooms survived... yet this should be the only excess of violence, because Finnish Metal fans are very disciplined. Easy to recognize the tourists...
Naturally Tuska usually draws families, including grandparents and babies, people who don´t even look like Metal fans or Metal fans with camping equipment for a concert picnic. Tuska is therefore one of the best festivals ever, somehow cosy although being sold out, pleasant dimensions, and all that right in the heart of Helsinki... simply a must. And who missed it again this year: There will be a DVD of this Tuska anniversary!
Friday, June 29 2007
Hatesphere The Danish band opened the festival that first appeared to have bad luck with the weather (dark clouds, strong and chilly wind). Singer Jacob and his crew did not have to do much to inspire the crowd, it just worked out fine. Unfortunately most people were still in the long queue in front of the entrance. (SM)
Moonsorrow attracted so much of international journalists so there were shifts for the photo pit. This should be an impression what the mosh- err photo pit in front of the main stage would be like... Ville Sorvali & Co, as always in their decent bloodbath-look, hammered their old and new Viking Metal hits (yet shorter versions of the recent “Hävitetty” album) into the excited audience. (KW)
Dragonforce As the second band on the main stage the guys from Dragonforce – from all over the world – found an enthusiastic crowd. In spring they had already gathered fans in Finland and so they could rely on their audience, and indeed: The whole festival crowd sang along with hymns like “Through the Fire and Flames” and “Once In A Lifetime”. (SM)
Imperia The former Trail Of Tears singer presented her own band and a great show. She had just become a mom but quickly regained her shape. The band still seemed not quite convincing for the Tuska crowd, because more people listened to Maj Karmawho played in Sue tent at the same time. (SM)
Immortal Those Norwegian Black Metal dinosaurs managed – unlike Dimmu Borgir at Sauna Festival – to chase away the clouds. It didn´t help that Abbath shouted “Fuck The Sun”. Immortal impressed with Finnish vocabulary (“Perkele” - devil) and their raw brutal sound. The audience celebrated this long awaited comeback; this almost 20 year old band, however, did not appear old, the guys posed like youngsters. (KW)
Katatonia Singer Jonas P. Renske, favouring the “Addams Family-Cousin It” look, also knew some Finnish words. Those Swedish Prog Metal gods provided a calming sound with melancholic melodic classics from their “Viva Emptiness” album and more recent songs like “My Twin”. The audience cheered and sang along. (KW)
Turisas gathered so many people, it was impossible to see the band. What a pity, their outfits were so cool... they played cheerful rough Finnish Folk-Metal, initiating sheer party mood! (KW)
Children Of Bodom Always up to no good, Alexi & Co created some night club feeling on stage, lolling at a bar and drinking before sauntering to their instruments and playing “Hate Me” as their flying start. Janne Warman seemed inspired by the energetic Dragonforce keyboarder and acted as a savage to inspire the crowd. Well, that wasn´t really necessary anyway... Their great set list included almost all of my faves (“Needled 24/7”, “Taste Of My Scythe”), then the “Bastards Of Bodom” sat down at the bar again until they rounded up their gig with “Children Of Bodom” and a blowoff. (KW)
Saturday, June 30 2007
Instead of wind/rain jacket it was better to wear as little as possible. The sun slowly but surely won the weather battle, and the fight for space in the shade started when Misery Index opened Tuska day two with Old-School-Death Metal, alternating groove and blast beats, on the main stage.
Profane Omen Although personally I would have been more excited if vocalist Jules Näveri’s other band, Misery Inc., would have been on the bill (it had probably looked weird with Misery Index already there!), Profane Omen put on a good, violent show, much better than their rather average debut “Beaten Into Submission” would lead to believe. In a live setting, their metal comes across much more than their hardcore, and songs like “Painbox” or the shredding “FMH” sound all that much edgier than on disc. The main disadvantage for them at Tuska was the unfortunate slot, with new Finnish sensation Before The Dawn playing at the same time. However, those who chose Profane Omen won’t think their time was wasted. A promising band that’s showing a good degree of evolution. (JCS)
Before The Dawn Even mastermind Tuomas, otherwise on stage totally absorbed in his music, smiled, and several times: First, the foursome appeared as tight band, not as loose alliance of individuals, like at Nosturi. Second, they broke the attendance-record at this early hour – only Finntroll drew more fans. Perfect sound – as if from the CD, excellent set-list - a good combination of their new "Deadlight" and older material, the audience cheered and spontaneously clapped their hands... And then the host even called the band back for an encore – for strict Tuska schedule, that´s like awarding a medal! Keep an eye on this act! (KW)
Pain “The Same Old Song” opened the set of Pain from Sweden. Impossible to find a better choice, and many Swedes might dream of such a success in their neighbour country. The audience cheered enthusiastically to Mr. Tägtgren and sang along, you could hear it all over the area. Sometimes it sounded even louder than the band, especially during “Shut Your Mouth” and “Nailed To The Ground”. (SM)
Thunderstone had a difficult time with their slot at Sue tent, because at the same time Insomnium played on the other stage. Still they gave everything, and received everything from their audience. A great show that they obviously enjoyed a lot. (SM)
The fact that the Inferno tent was bigger this time could not be noticed, during Insomnium scramble not only in the photo pit ... the epic-melodic Death/Black Metal appealed a lot to the crowd, Swallow The Sun keyboarder Alexi Munter joined the Finns for four songs. The same scenario when the Dutch Old School Death Metal band Legion Of The Damned played, the audience also cheered to them. Later some might have been surprised that Nicole performed rough Death/Nu Metal despite their harmless sounding band name. (KW)
W.A.S.P. The super heroes from Los Angeles, Blackie Lawless and his band, proved at Tuska that they should still not be put on the scrap heap. Songs like “Wild Child” and – for the grand finale - “I wanna be somebody” were known to all, also because of Heavy Karaoke, and so their show became the highlight of the day. (SM)
Brother Firetribe Girls´ hearts were melting away, the Death Metal head revealed as a secret fan. Well, this music appeals to everyone, and one admits it, the other one doesn´t. Songs that suit everybody, because who has not walked the night with a heart age, or who cannot say “I am Rock”? A great show, like every time, and a pleasure for the eye, when Emppu V. shot across the stage like a bat out of hell. (SM)
Isis Being perhaps the band most apart from all the others of the whole festival line-up, there was a mix of curiosity and excitement about Isis’ performance at Tuska, and the Americans ended up being essential for the success of the weekend. Their opaque, Neurosis-like song structures, long crescendos and not very obvious dynamics might seem like disadvantages at a festival, where immediacy is usually more rewarded by the mixed audience present, but Isis were able to enthrall literally everyone, whether they wore Burzum or Nightwish t-shirts. No need for any direct, verbal communication with the fans either – the staggering level of intensity that was clearly noticeable from the performance of every band member was the deeper, most lasting way that Isis used to make their emotions felt by everyone. With multi-talented musicians letting out mammoths the size “Wrists Of Kings” or “So Did We”, the result could only be one of the best concerts of the whole weekend. (JCS)
Emperor The second comeback of a legend, the second Black Metal classic at 10th Tuska who did not really look like that, though. Without corpse paint and dressed rather plainly dressed, the Norwegians battered their music into their fans´ ears as if there was no tomorrow. Regarding the chants and the mood, the audience reacted at least as enthusiastic as to the W.A.S.P. show – a worthy head liner! (KW)
Sunday, July 1, 2007
Mercenary opened the last Tuska day, competing with Sturm & Drang, and although they had more audience, the Mercenary crowd sometimes sang louder than the band. It was the first show in Finland for the Danes, and a good one. The new guy Rene seems to be a good replacement for Kral, and a great start of the last day. (SM)
Sturm & Drang Hardly out of Kindergarten, and rockstars? The guys are about 14 years old and played in Finnish clubs where they could not get in as audience. And indeed, they appeared quite professional when they entertained the Metal festival masses. Besides their own hit “Rising Son” they covered “Breaking The Law”, “Fear Of The Dark” and “Paranoid” quite flawlessly. A hot newcomer from Finland! (KW)
Blind Guardian A lot of people had been looking forward to see those German Speed/Melodic Metal veterans. Their new album “A Twist In The Myth” seemed to be well known in Finland, judging the chants. Blind Guardian had a good start with “Nightfall” and “Born in a Mourning Hall”. In between Hansi´s statements sometimes made you smile, e.g. about “Punishment Divine”: “This is a song about Nietzsche, he has been insane”. He also trained the audience to sing long “Ooooh” choirs. Ancient classics like “Traveller In Time” might have made some old fans smile, well, those were the days... (KW)
Finntroll Long before Blind Guardian had ended their show, the exodus from the main to Sue stage started, and 20 min before their gig the chants and scramble started – Finntroll ruled the Sunday! Tundra, Skrymer, Routa and Vreth banged and rampaged on stage like hair monsters and animated fellow Trolls in the audience to dance wildly. (KW)
Moonspell After a too Pop-like beginning, for my taste, the Dark Metal guys from Portugal finally shook the earth with “Opium”, “Vampiria”, “Alma Mater”, set the dark hearts of their fans on fire and caused goose flesh even in the summer heat... Once again Fernando proved to be a charismatic frontman with a lot of humour, commenting a short break “Sorry, I had to fix my make up”. “Full Moon Madness” and “Mephisto” completed a fantastic show. For many people that band was the headliner of the day! (KW)
Vader This Polish band had quite a lot of people at their show, only those who like Sauna could stand it inside Inferno tent. The audience cheered a lot to their rough Death Metal sound. (KW)
Stratovarius Finally they play live again, and nothing seemed to work out fine. Voice too loud, guitar not loud enough. Luckily the sound became better, and you could enjoy the concert and reflect on a great festival. Stratovarius was indeed a worthy band to end the festival, because everybody had a “Hunting High and Low” at some point, and indeed a “I´m Still Alive”. (SM)
Sandy Mahrer (SM), José Carlos Santos (JCS), Klaudia Weber (KW)