Helsinki’s epic heavy metallers Battle Beast have started out strong in 2015 by releasing a new album, and touring relentlessly. On the road supporting Unholy Savior (Nuclear Blast) which dropped in January, the band has been supporting the likes of Sabaton and Delain among others. They are just getting warmed up, and the live arena is where they flourish as a group. Catching them in a more intimate setting close to home, TJ Fowler shot the band at Henry’s Pub in Kuopio for this dynamic photo set for Ghost Cult.
Heavy Metal legends Accept are criss-crossing Europe on a huge headline tour. They are out on the road supporting their acclaimed, Andy Sneap produced Blind Rage (Nuclear Blast) and back to putting on the high energy performances that made them a major draw in the 1980s. In his review of Blind Rage, Ghost Cult’s Mat Davies opined that “Accept have rarely sounded as fresh, vibrant or exciting. Well, not since they invited us to place our balls to the proverbial wall, anyway.”TJ Fowler (Fowler Photo/Skullbanger Media) caught their recent concert in Tampere, FI and provided us with these exciting photos of the big rock show.
There is a little joke I like to tell people on occasion, ‘I like my coffee like I like I like my metal, BLACK!’ It makes for good laughs and is a clever little joke. Truth be told, I hate coffee. I also am not a fan of black metal…I do not hate it as much as coffee but it is close. Apparently, Tuska must have heard my joke and thought I was serious and loaded up on black metal bands this year. Everywhere I turned was black this or black that…in fact it was so black I expected a KKK protest outside the gates. So despite the Norwegian darkness that pervaded the festival, how was it overall…READ ON!
Well despite all the black metal there were other bands at Tuska that fell outside the realm of black metal. Bands like Lost Society, Amoral, Battle Beast, Tankard, Poisonblack and Anthrax fall into these categories among others. Out of all these bands not of the black ilk I was particularly impressed with the performance of Amoral who have a new album, Fallen Leaves and Dead Sparrows(Imperial Cassette ) that is a fantastic album of progressive, yet classical musical styling and is really a stand out band in my opinion. With the great vocal performance of Ari Koivunen the band really is joy to hear.
Another great band was Poisonblack which is ex-Sentenced singer’s Ville Laihiala new band. I have always been impressed with Ville vocals and in Poisonblack they are still great, and the music is also fantastic. Another great addition to the Tuska line-up.
Another great performance was from Tankard. The German thrash band that has made a career on making songs revolving around getting drunk. This was the funniest and most energetic shows of the festival and the band’s new album ‘R.I.B.’ is really great and fun to listen to. Singer Gerre is a real beast of a man and runs around on stage like some kind of crazed lunatic and the fans get a great laugh out of it all. If you ever get the chance to see Tankard live go do it!!!
Now I guess I need to cover the black metal stuff. The big ones for the festival were Dimmu Borgir, Satyricon and of course Emperor. First off Dimmu Borgir, well visually they are really impressive and the music wasn’t typically awful for black metal but again…this is just not my thing and I just shrug my shoulders.
Satyricon. Ok I will admit here I was surprised. I found Satyricon somewhat enjoyable and they put on a great show. I went back on Youtube after the show and looked up some songs and found the song ‘KING’ and ‘The Pentagram Burns’ and found these songs really good. I also know this is not the same music they played early in their career…and I listened to the early stuff and it sucked ass. Though I imagine there are many TRUE black metallers out there that will claim this is the only REAL Satyricon. Whatever.
Now Emperor. I will say now like I said 20+ years ago when I first heard the band and when they were the…thing. I also found it repulsive back in the 90’s how metal heads seemed to think the band was some kind of legend or ‘True Evil and REAL metal’ because members of the band burned down churches and murdered a guy. To me people who have this mentality are just as much of a sheep and a blind follower as any blind Christian or religious zealot who will follow some other leader with no question. They just exchange one belief for another…just a different mouthpiece telling them how to live. To this day it boggles my mind the reverence this band got for some the acts they did outside of music, as if they were doing something beyond just criminal activity. Pure rubbish. And the fact they got a headlining spot on a main stage is absurd since they haven’t done ANYTHING in 20 years. THUMBS DOWN TUSKA.
So Tuska overall was OK despite the black metal but really, if the line-up was like this again I wouldn’t bother going as there wouldn’t be enough there to really draw me back. Here is hoping next year will have some stronger bands fitting the bill.
Ghost Cult Magazine was honored to interview Uri Zelcha of Oprhaned Land at this years’ Tuska Open Air Festival last weekend. Although the band hails from Israel, they are truly citizens of the metal world with their message of hope, peace and tolerance. TJ Fowler (also of Skullbanger Media) connected with Uri backstage and discussed a wide range of topics from playing festivals, touring the world, the 10 year anniversary of ‘Mabool’, playing unplugged, and trying to top ‘All Is One’.
TJ Fowler of Ghost Cult Magazine interviewed Frost of Satyricon at this years Tuska Open Air Festival. Frost discussed playing the summer festival circuit, touring, their latest album, and the influence his band has had on the black metal genre among other topics.
Ghost Cult’s correspondent for Finland and Scandinavia, TJ Fowler also does interviews and covers metal for his own website, Skullbanger Media. TJ spent last week At the Metalfest Loreley, Germany covering the festival and interviewing bands. One such band he interviewed was Sabaton, coming off their triumphant new album Heroes (Nuclear Blast). TJ was cool enough to allow Ghost Cult to also run his interview. In this often hilarious interview, TJ along with Joakim and Chris from Sabaton covered the new album, finding new lyrical themes about wars, touring behind the new album, and future touring plans in 2014. Thanks for sharing TJ and keep up the good work!
Apocalyptica has been touring Europe to start 2014, recently performing their ‘Apocalyptic Symphony’ project with help from the The Avanti! Chamber Orchestra. Performing the works of great classical composer Richard Wagner from last year’s Wagner Reloaded (BMG) album, as well as hits from their own twenty-plus year career, the group is still finding ways to delight audiences. TJ Fowler of Ghost Cult caught up with Paavo Lötjönen before a homeland performance in Tampere, FI to discuss the tour, their last album, their ambitious new performances, and what the future holds.