Traditionally Tuska leaves space for the regular festival goer’s hangover, and starts off with the event a little bit later, and ends it a little bit sooner. This year’s latest addition to the last day of the festival was Pikku Tuska, where the doors were opened for children of all ages, and the festival had been slightly adapted to the situation. While the tent stage was getting ready for HEVISAURUS, there was a fruit and veggie bar for the kids, that was instantly a hit.
Before the dinosaurs kicked off their show, however, KAISER was scheduled to play at the Inferno stage. Their crushing, heavy, stoner rock immediately woke everyone up on the festival who had a rough start of the day. It’s a tough spot to play on a Sunday as the first band, but KAISER managed to pull through, and delivered a solid first gig of the day.
LEVERAGE recently released their brand-new full-length album “DeterminUs”, and were thus set to open the main stage on Sunday. I haven’t had the chance yet to watch the band play a gig, because of their inactivity. Nowadays Mikko Salovaara (ex-Kiuas) and Kimmo Blom have joined the ranks. With new songs in their catalogue, the band played “Wind of Morrigan”, along with guest violinist Lotta Pitkänen, which definitely took the song to a next level. All-in-all the band performed a solid set, with a lot of great energy. (Photo by Janne Pappila)
Marching my way to the tent stage, it seemed like the children had taken over the festival. Kids were everywhere in the tent, to watch their favourite dinosaurs play some heavy metal. The band started off with “Jurahevin Kuningat”, and continued their set with songs like “Tahdon Maito”, “Juranoid”, and my personal favorite “Räyh!”. Hands were in the air, either waving or clapping, and it turned out to be an outstanding experience to watch HEVISAURUS play their heavy metal.
Meanwhile I REVOLT was playing at the Inferno stage. Last year I REVOLT made it to the finals in the Tuska-Torstai contest and won the Finnish and Nordic Emergenza Festival. So, it wasn’t a huge surprise that the festival would invite them over to show us their authentic thrash and death metal. I had seen I REVOLT once before, and what I remembered from that performance was the immense energy and interaction with the ground, and yes… The same thing happened at Tuska.
After I REVOLT, it was time for a little food break, because the cheeseburger was not a big success the previous day, I decided to go for the avocado and halloumi burger with fries – of course. This was a definite success.
Up next was FRANK CARTER & THE RATTLESNAKES. I had never heard of the band, but the turnout seemed to make it very clear that the band is popular among the festival goers. Frontman Frank Carter also seemed to agree and welcomed the Tuska visitors to their show by telling them they’re a punk band, who somehow ended up at a metal festival. I remember thinking to myself, I wonder why the festival promoters booked this band among all the heavy-ass acts playing that day, but it was instantly clear why. During the second song, Frank Carter jumped from the stage and embraces the audience. This is when the actual show begins, a shout out to Frank Carter for also offering the ladies a safe space to have their own mosh pit. Definitely one of the best moments of the festival!
Meanwhile, DARK SARAH was scheduled for the Inferno stage. The band has kind of a unique sound and put on a very intriguing show. I especially like the dynamics between JP Leppaluoto and Heidi Parviainen. The sound in front of the stage, unfortunately, was not the best. We could barely hear the vocals coming out of the mix. Perhaps this was better at the back of the venue, but we weren’t able to check it out.
Continuing our quest to check out all the acts of today, JINJER was set to play at the Helsinki stage. The previous time we have seen JINJER, it was as a support act to ARCH ENEMY, and since then the band has grown quite a bit. Their music has grown more and more into progressive metal, which is definitely my cup of tea. The band has somewhat exploded within the last year, and that was clearly noticeable looking at the audience who had gathered to watch the band play. Definitely one of the largest audiences of that day in the tent. Frontwoman Tatiana Shmaylyuk seemed to be the biggest magnet of the bunch, considering the number of guys shouting “Tatiana, I love you!” on the front row. However, Tatiana doesn’t give much attention to that, and windmills her way throughout all of the songs. JINJER was definitely one of the highlights of the festival, in case you wondered.
I got to know PALEHØRSE through the pre-report I wrote about the festival. I soon realized that their music is totally my cup of tea, and even wrote a review about their latest album before the festival started. So, I was definitely looking forward to see their performance. And yes, the band showed me that they’re an amazing live band, that many progheads need to look out for, they might just become your favorite new prog act coming from Finland within the next years.
BEHEMOTH recently released their successor album “I Loved You At Your Darkest”. While some may prefer “The Satanist” over this brand new full-length album, it’s clear that BEHEMOTH has gotten a lot of praise over the past year. With a fully booked summer schedule, it was almost unthinkable the festival organizers of Tuska wouldn’t book the black metal outfit. While a black curtain was covering up the set, children started chanting “Elohim! I shall not forgive! Adonai! I shall not forgive! Living God! I shall not forgive! Jesus Christ! I forgive thee not!” creating an intense atmosphere that is necessary at BEHEMOTH shows. The curtains drop and I almost thought my face would blast away or melt off by the amount of pyrotechnics used in this show. The band comes on stage, and once again proves why this act is so popular. Frontman Nergal shocks and entertains the crowd, while he still manages to draw out some heavy-ass riffs, and vocals. The show was definitely incredible, and perhaps one of the better performances I’ve seen from the band so far, and it made me confused about why this band was not booked as a headliner… They sure would have deserved it.
After BEHEMOTH there was again a bit of a scheduling dilemma. RYTMIHÄIRIÖ was scheduled at the same time as HALESTORM. Since I have already seen RYTMIHÄIRIÖ a bunch of times, I decided to go for HALESTORM, and up until today I still don’t regret my decision. Being the final show on the European festival tour, the band manages to perform a solid set, with a lot of energy. Lzzy Hale is an enchanting performer, she has the same amount of energy as a squirrel addicted to coffee, and the dynamics between the other band members are fantastic. The band makes a comment on how everything they play is heard on stage, they don’t do backing tracks, just play heavy metal, and that is the kind of energy we have all need in our lives!
HELLACOPTERS were closing down the main stage, a big surprise to me, as I had personally never heard of the band before I wrote my pre-report. Even though a lot of the Finns have mentioned to me that the Swedish action rockers are legendary in Finland. A lot of people seemed to have disappeared from the festival grounds, or headed to the bars, but the truly dedicated fans remained to watch HELLACOPTERS play their set. I noticed a lot of people dancing to the rock songs and a lot of excited people from a somewhat older generation than mine. The good atmosphere gets interrupted, as frontman Nicke tells off someone in the audience to stop moshing and hurting others and urges that they just wanna have a good time. It’s somewhat a bit awkward after that moment because a lot of the people didn’t exactly see what was happening and what the buzz was all about, but the show goes on, and it continued until the bitter end of the festival.
And thus, Tuska 2019 concluded. All-in-all it was a wonderful experience to be a part of Tuska again. The festival organizers did their best to make sure the visitors have the best experience, by introducing new features. Even though the first day was a chaotic mess, they stepped up and worked all night to ensure our experience would improve for the next days, and they sure did. The food options, however, were a lot slimmer than last year, and a tad more expensive as well. The only downside of the festival was the fact that the merchandising booth had a gigantic queue throughout the whole festival, the idea of the presale was definitely an outstanding plan that could have helped the situation a lot more if done right.
The band that were scheduled at Tuska 2019, were a nice mix of just about everything. Everyone had a band they could listen to and enjoy. In the end, it was definitely one of the better festivals I was able to attend this year, and I’m already looking forward to Tuska 2020.
Written by Laureline Tilkin
Photos by Laureline Tilkin, Alexändra Sleäze (KAISER) and Janne Pappila (LEVERAGE)