Tuska Open Air Metal Festival 2012, Day Two, Helsinki Finland
Band Photo: Behemoth (?)
And then it was Saturday! Day two of Tuska again started a bit earlier then the hungover and tired festival goers may have wished but the drowsy vibes quickly vanished (though not the rain clouds) as the day started on a much folkier note. Tuska Day Two promised another heavy day of good music, good people and the summer vibe that has Finns and Non Finn's coming from all over to partake in the festivities.
First up today was Estonian folk metallers Metsätöll! I have been excited to see these guys for years now and it was with bated breath that I entered the photo pit this morning! And here I will be a bit blasphemous and state that Lauri (Varulven) Õunapuu is quite simply a god of folk instruments. Throughout the set he seamlessly switched from bagpipes, to flutes, and numerous stringed Estonian folk instruments. Each one was expertly played and gave the performance a mysterious lovely quality. The Estonian language is quite obviously similar to Finnish, and in fact singer Markus "Rabapagan" Teeäär wows the predominantly Finnish crowd (and presumably wins their hearts) by speaking to them in Finnish. It needs to be said: his accent is much better than mine. Metsätöll is one of those folk metal bands that clearly love what they do, and though the music is fun and foly as ever, there is a lovely mysterious undertone that lends one’s mind to thinking thoughts of dark forests and legends of old.
Immediately following was Amoral! I’ve been interested to see these guys especially following the release of their new album “Beneath” which led the Helsinki based band to playing this year’s SXSW festival in States! Ari Koivunen is a talented singer, and while his cleans are dead on and full tonally, his growls aren’t as deep as I’m used to. That being said he gave an impressive performance! Amoral gave the audience an epic show, complete with fans and pyrotechnics that only emphasize the fact that guitarist Ben Varon was pulling off some serious shredding!
Finnish death metallers Mokoma started immediately as Amoral ended. Although these guys have played numerous gigs already this year, they give 100% in every aspect! This is a band that has found the perfect balance between being both melodic and thrashy! I dare say that not one person who came to the main stage to catch these guys was disappointed. In the photopit it quickly became an unofficial competition to see who could capture the most momentous shot of the bassist’s (Santtu) extremely photogenic dreadlocks. Despite the fact that these guys play rather harsh and technically challenging death metal, almost everyone playing had a smile on their face, and I am quick to decide that Mokoma is exactly where they want to be. Their passion translates to a really memorable set.
I missed the next few acts, but I do believe I compensated with that by conducting a rather interesting interview with Ari and Ben from Amoral!
I was back in the game in time for Insomniums set on the Hellsinki Rock Shop second stage. Insomnium was thus far the most beautifully melodic act of the day and I really have found a new favorite in the Joensuu based band. The set was atmospheric and high energy but with a calmer undertone. The musicians on stage might not be the biggest of headbangers, but their passion and energy show through anyways.
Next up was power metal legends Sonata Arctica! The show was lively, fun, and showcased a good selection of songs from all the albums, yet with enough new songs to please people looking for something different. The show managed to be one of the loudest of the weekend, heard all the way from the back, this really shows where the "power" in power metal comes from.
I made a quick stop at the Swallow the Sun gig, on the smaller Inferno stage. I only caught the first fifteen minutes, as another set started at this time. It’s become a tradition for me to never miss a Swallow the Sun show I can make it too, because this band is one of the most artistic and creative acts on the Finnish metal circuit. Lovely as always, with the darker vibe that has made them such a fantastic act. Don’t miss this one when they come through North America this fall!
The last band of the night was an act I’ve been waiting 5 years to see again! I saw Behemoth in Ohio years ago, and they made an impression on me that I’ve never forgotten. It was a really amazing feeling to be standing at the foot of the stage beneath the feet of these guys. Nergal hadn’t changed a bit even after a health scare and a hectic touring schedule. He’s as energetic and determined as ever, and Behemoth unleashes every ounce of their fury on the eagerly waiting crowd. The set showcased many newer songs, but the crowd was definitely rewarded with older favorites as well. This was a set that all were disappointed to see come to an end.
Behemoth was the end of day two for me, and on what a brutally epic note it ended on. Soon day three would ring in and start to bring the festival to a close.
Rachel Roth has studied classical music and folk music at the University level, and enjoys studying Folklore in her spare time. She is an avid metal and folk music fan lucky enough to be living in Helsinki, Finland. Currently, she has expanded her love of music to include photography and freelance writing. You can see more of her photography here or at liliumphotography.com.
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