Tuska Festival 2015 Part III: Suvilahti, Helsinki FI

tuska festival 2015 poster

Warmen, or “Children Of Bodom keyboard player Janne (Wirman) & friends”, was the early showstarter for Sunday. With a vast array of lightning fast melodic hooks and catchy choruses delivered by a super star group of singers (namely Alexi Laiho, Pasi Rantanen and Jonna Geagea), what’s there not to like on a sunny Sunday afternoon?

Fans at Tuska Festival,

Fans at Tuska Festival,

 

The second full album theme show of the weekend was delivered by Stratovarius, who played their Visions album in its entirety. Honestly, especially in the case of Visions, if you’re not a die hard fan of the band that’s doing something like this, it’s hard to justify having the filler tracks on the set that they’d never play otherwise. It seems like shows like this would be better suited for a club environment.

Alice Cooper, photo by Timo Asoaho

Alice Cooper, photo by Timo Asoaho

Alice Cooper’s bombastic show saw all his famous, over the top rock and roll antics taken to the max. The slot was well chosen, as some people were showing some members in attendance were showing some wear and tear from the weekend. It was nothing short of a real snake, apparently borrowed from Mr. Lordi, a guillotine, and what have you to keep people’s spirits up before the day at the office tomorrow creeping closer and closer. Alice closed his set with local living legend Michael Monroe of Hanoi Rocks fame to join his friend Alice for ‘School’s Out’ to close the weekend.

The festival reported seeing 25,000 visitors during the weekend. It’s pretty difficult to pinpoint what it precisely is that gives Tuska its loyal following and good reputation from some other European festivals, but yet again plenty of Tuska first timers I had the pleasure of sharing beers with swore to come back next year – and mainly for the occasion, only secondly for the bands.

WORDS BY LH

PHOTOS COURTESY OF TUSKA FESTIVAL/Timo Asoaho/Aku Axel Muukka

Tuska Festival 2015 Part II: Suvilahti, Helsinki FI

tuska festival 2015 poster

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.

Abbath, photo by Aku Axel Muukka

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.

In Flames, Aku Axel Muukka

In Flames, Aku Axel Muukka

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.

Fans at Tuska Festival,

Fans at Tuska Festival,

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

 

Tuska Festival 2015 Part I: Suvilahti, Helsinki FI

tuska festival 2015 poster

 

Contrary to every possible weather forecast promising rain, Tuska Festival 2015 in Suvilahti, Helsinki was held during a scorching hot weekend of festivities. So hot, that the debut of the Finnish Sauna tent at the Tuska Libre bar area seemed a bit uncalled for.

Fans a Tuska Festival, photo by Tuska Festival

Fans a Tuska Festival, photo by Tuska Festival

Do people come to festivals like Tuska for the bands or just for the occasion? It seemed like this would be put to the test with some of the least star power of the lineups from Tuska the last few years, but with an increased amount of investments in the food stands and other attractions. The biggest worries of not enough people showing up faded quite quickly. Already by the time of Ghost Brigade, still during office hours, the area was getting filled up fast. A quick math exercise at the bar would set the course for the weekend – large, 1L beers would come off quite a bit cheaper than the smaller cans only third of the size – a dangerous realization a lot of people seemed to be making while queuing up on their first cold ones at the bar area fittingly named “Heavy Drinker’s Corner”. Ghost Brigade’s “Elämä on tulta” is an impressive track that when delivered with the band’s fierce intensity would get people on the right mood.

Fans headbanging, by Tuska Festival

Fans headbanging, by Tuska Festival

Lamb of God tore open one of the biggest pits of Tuska’s 18 year history, perhaps only second to Slayer in 2008. Hence it was questionable if Sabaton’s headliner slot – despite all their excessive and impressive pyrotechnics, and their drumset set up atop a gigantic tank – was really in place. The Helsinki crowd was certainly more hungry for Lamb of God after their 2013 cancellation due to vocalist Randy Blythe’s unexpected imprisonment in Czech Republic, whereas Sabaton is a more common visitor to Finland.

Lamb of God played two tracks from their upcoming album VII: Sturm und Drang, namely ‘512’ and ‘Still Echoes’, which seem to be continuing their well known sound that truthfully hasn’t changed much apart from Randy Blythe’s expanded use of various vocal techniques. LOG was as active on stage as ever, but Randy’s voice seemed a bit worn out – a small detail that didn’t take away from the intensity of the show. While Sabaton’s performance seemed more polished and rehearsed, LOG’s was just pure murder with no fancy extra toppings. The band dedicated the track ‘Ruin’ to their Finnish friends from Children Of Bodom, and ‘Now You’ve Got Something to Die For’ in particular to Roope Latvala, who’s departure from the Finnish melometal band was announced a month ago.

Sabaton, by Aku Axel Muukka

Sabaton, by Aku Axel Muukka

Sabaton, by Aku Axel Muukka

Sabaton, by Aku Axel Muukka

 

The bands at Tuska need to stop their shows already at 10pm, but the festival has also its official afterparty club gigs at various Helsinki venues, and there’s plenty of competing events trying to grab their share of the long haired crowd, too. Good advice is just to follow the buzzing crowd into the decadent Helsinki night.

 

WORDS BY LH

PHOTOS COURTESY OF TUSKA FESTIVAL/Timo Asoaho/Aku Axel Muukka

FESTIVAL PREVIEW: Tuska Open Air

tuska festival 2015 poster

The 18th edition of Tuska Open Air continues the legacy of one of the most iconic metal festivals on the planet. Held in Suvilahti, Helsinki, Finland, the festival boasts 2 large main stages, and a third club stage for shorter sets by up-and-coming acts.

Friday’s main attractions are the headliners Sabaton, and Lamb of God’s first Tuska appearance, making up for the band’s cancellation in 2013 due to singer Randy Blythe’s imprisonment in Czech Republic. On Saturday and Sunday all eyes will be on headliners In Flames and Alice Cooper, while domestic legends Amorphis and Stratovarius will play special theme shows to celebrate their classic albums Tales from the Thousand Lakes and Visions by playing them in their entirety. Opeth, Exodus and altogether more than 50 acts will play the festival and its official afterparty clubs in the Helsinki clubs Tavastia, Virgin Oil Co. and On The Rocks.

Tuska also continues its series of experiments with new concepts like Black Dining, a specialty restaurant for those with a darker taste, and Play Tuska – a contest that brings a rising German band to play the Club Stage on Friday.

 

Tuska Open Air online

Tuska Open Air on Facebook

Tuska Open Air on Twitter

Tuska Open Air on Instagram

Tuska Open Air on YouTube

 

 

Lamb Of God Frontman D. Randall Blythe Confirm Book Signing Dates, Tour Dates

d randall blythe dark days book

Lamb Of God vocalist D. Randall Blythe has a pre-order available for his upcoming book Dark Days: A Memoir (Da Capo Press; July 14, 2015), he tells the story of his incarceration after landing in Prague for a concert in 2012 and was immediately arrested on manslaughter charges for the death of a fan two years prior.

Several packages are available for pre-order now at Randyblythe.net, including book & t-shirt bundles, book & hoodie bundles, bundles w/ signed lithographs of Blythe’s photography prints, and more.

UPCOMING Randy Blythe “Dark Days” Book Signings:
Jul 13 (7:00pm): The Strand – 828 Broadway, New York, NY
Jul 14 (6:00pm): Bookends – 211 Ridgewood Ave., Ridgewood, NJ
Jul 15 (7:00pm): Book Revue – 313 New York Ave., Huntington, NY
Jul 17 (7:00pm): The Fountain – 1312 E. Cary St., Richmond, VA
Jul 19 (4:00pm): Book Soup (co-signing with Corey Taylor) – 8818 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

International LAMB OF GOD Tour Dates:
Jun 05: Rock Im Park – Nuremberg (DE)
Jun 06: Forta Rock – Nijmegen, (NE)
Jun 07: Rock Am Ring – Mendig (DE)
Jun 09: BEASTFEST – Hamburg (DE)
Jun 11: Greenfield Festival – Interlaken (SI)
Jun 12: Nova Rock – Nickelsdorf (AT)
Jun 14: Download Festival – Donington (UK)
Jun 16: Arena Club – Moscow (RU)
Jun 17: Club Kosmonavt – Saint Petersburg (RU)
Jun 19: Hellfest 2015 – Clisson (FR)
Jun 21: Graspop Metal Meeting – Dessel (BE)
Jun 22: Zeche – Bochum (DE)
Jun 25: Bravalla Festival – Norrkoping (SE)
Jun 26: Tuska Open Air – Helsinki (FI)
Jun 28: Den Atelier – Luxemborg (LX)
Jul 03: Roskilde Festival – Roskilde (DK)
Jul 05: With Full Force Fesitval – Leipzig (DE)

LAMB OF GOD Direct Support to Slipknot on “Summer’s Last Stand” US Tour w/ Bullet For My Valentine & Motionless In White:
Jul 24: Coral Sky Amphitheatre – West Palm Beach, FL
Jul 25: MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre – Tampa, FL
Jul 26: Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood – Atlanta, GA
Jul 28: DTE Energy MusicTheatre – Detroit, MI
Jul 29: Darien Lake Performing Arts Center – Darien Center, NY
Jul 31: Saratoga Performing Arts Center – Saratoga Springs, NY
Aug 01: Nikon at Jones Beach Theater – Wantagh, NY
Aug 02: XFINITY Theatre – Hartford, CT
Aug 04: XFINITY Center – Boston, MA
Aug 05: PNC Bank Arts Center – Holmdel, NJ
Aug 06: First Niagara Pavilion – Pittsburgh, PA
Aug 08: Molson Canadian Amphitheatre – Toronto, ON
Aug 09: Parc Jean-Drapeau (Heavy Montreal) – Montreal, QC
Aug 11: Jiffy Lube Live – Washington, DC
Aug 12: Farm Bureau Live at Virginia Beach – Virginia Beach, VA (HOME STATE SHOW)
Aug 14: Klipsch Music Center – Indianapolis, IN
Aug 15: First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre – Chicago, IL
Aug 16: Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre – St. Louis, MO
Aug 19: Red Rocks Amphitheatre – Denver, CO
Aug 21: USANA Amphitheatre – Salt Lake City, UT
Aug 23: White River Amphitheater – Auburn, WA
Aug 24: Rogers Arena – Vancouver, BC
Aug 26: Concord Pavilion – Concord, CA
Aug 28: MGM Resort Festival Grounds – Las Vegas, NV
Aug 29: AK-Chin Pavilion – Phoenix, AZ
Aug 30: Isleta Amphitheater – Albuquerque, NM
Sep 02: Austin360 Amphitheater – Austin, TX
Sep 04: The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion – Houston, TX
Sep 05: Gexa Energy Pavilion – Dallas, TX

Frost of Satyricon Interviewed at Tuska Open Air

THIS WEEKEND!

TJ Fowler and Frost

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Satyricon on Facebook

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