Tuska is so centrally located in Helsinki that there’s no room for parking unless you’re looking to leave your bike in the bicycle park. Still, already by 1:45PM on Saturday when Bloodbath was starting their set, the festival area was getting quickly filled with an unusually high concentration of corpse paint wearing festivalgoers, most staying in the nearby hotels since the festival doesn’t offer a camping area either.
And not really just for Bloodbath, but Abbath’s world premier show under his own namesake must explain the unusually high spike in face paint sales in Helsinki this week. For more info and full video of Abbath’s show, follow this link:
A clear oddbird for the day was Atomirotta, a Finnish act that would be best described as a mixture of rap, jazz and funk. Not exactly what you’d expect on the second main stage between Abbath and Einherjer. The booking, apparently result of a lost bet, was a testimony of the quirky & fun attitude of the team behind the festival that consistently shows through how the festival keeps being organized year after year. Very professional, yet always tongue-in-cheek.
The small club stage in the Kellohalli hall has always been notorious for its challenging acoustics. This year at least Sotajumala (Finnish for “War God”), which on paper seems like a very difficult band to mix with their speed limit defying death metal, managed to come crystal clear and produce a fantastic sound and a highly energetic show.
Saturday closed with In Flames, who had tuned their set not to just push their new album, but to really get the crowd going, opening with ‘Only for the Weak’. Singer Anders Friden made a joke how he’s been in Finland for already several hours, and hasn’t yet had a Lonkero, a popular local long drink mixed out of gin and grapefruit juice. Miraculously, despite all alcohol consumption strictly being prohibited to designated bar areas, an unopened Lonkero was thrown on stage somewhere from the depths of the crowd just seconds later.
Whispered, a melodic metal band with Japanese influences, took the stage at On The Rocks just an hour later. Opening with ‘Hold the Sword’, the band relies on a lot of backing tracks due to their symphonic sound, but also their mad skills with their instruments. Another highlight by this underrated band’s set was ‘Sakura Omen’, their newest piece that takes the band’s music to even further depths into a mystical soundworld.
Fast forward to Virgin Oil – another club just a few blocks away – where Amoral was kicking off their first show as a six piece, since the band’s longtime singer Niko Kalliojärvi returned the band doubling the vocal count of the band. Ari, the band’s more recent singer, and Niko would take turns taking stabs at older and newer Amoral material. Perhaps it was Niko’s more active stage presence, but this time old school seemed to have the upper hand on the new school.
To close the night at Virgin, Euge Valovirta’s (Shining SWE) All-Stars band came on playing cover songs with various singers joining them on stage, some more dressed than the others, which went perfectly well with the post 1AM showtime of a long and hazy weekend.
WORDS BY LH
PHOTOS COURTESY OF TUSKA FESTIVAL/Timo Asoaho/Aku Axel Muukka