Tuska Utopia was announced this fall as a combination of live shows and Finnish tourism, with a series of episodes featuring a band and a place in Finland. The first of these was released on Friday, November 13th, 2020, featuring local industrial metal legends TURMION KÄTILÖT performing inside the old gas cannister at Suvilahti, which is known for hosting Tuska Festival for the better part of this last decade. As our team is comprised of many foreign residents of Finland, we were excited to check this out!
If you’ve ever wanted to know what a TURMION KÄTILÖT show is like but haven’t had the opportunity to see them live, this would’ve been a great opportunity to get a taste. Their show featured the fabulous production of seeing TURMION KÄTILÖT at a festival, with the intimate close-ups of seeing them at a club goofing around. The show began with new tracks like “Naitu,” “Kyntövuohi,” and “Turvasana” along with more familiar tracks like “Teurastaja,” “Dance Panique,” and “Pyhä Maa” and ending with “Syntisten Laulu.”
The first debate we had during the show was whether we would be graced with an upshoot of Shag-U‘s junk (the man wears more or less a belt with front and back flaps, for those of you who weren’t watching); there was also a debate as to whether that is a part of TURMION KÄTILÖT‘s shows and if you’ve not see it, have you really had the real experience of a Shag-U -era show.
Samy Elbanna of LOST SOCIETY gave a metal tourism tour of Suvilahti and its history, as well as a bit of Helsinki/Finland itself after the first song, which was interesting for those who have been to Tuska Festival or any of the other events because of the venue’s history, though some of the general facts or fame about places like Kallio felt exaggerated. However, we felt like this segment would have felt more natural if it had been before the show itself had started as an introduction.
After a mere one song, we did feel like there was something wrong with watching TURMION KÄTILÖT on a screen. There was something that felt missing, and it turned out to be the smell of beer and sweat, the heat of the pyros, and the all-engulfing volume of the music. The band put on a tight performance and they did a very good job, sounding maybe the best I’ve ever heard them, but what was missing was the same thing that’s missing from a lot of live streamed shows: the audience-crowd energy. However, they did an admirable job with each other to make up for it. There was plenty of the band’s classic vulgar camp value to enjoy throughout, but certainly more emphasized in the music video -like songs where there were close-ups of them gesturing to one another.
This wasn’t a knock-out production, however, as there were a few things that could have been done better. First of all, the flow of the entire production was a bit awkward, as interrupting the gig for the tourism segment and later for a short interview felt awkward and disjointed, interrupting the immersive quality of the live show. They would have worked nicer as an introduction and outro to the show. As well, as foreigners who have come to Finland within the last decade or more, the things they chose to highlight as “Helsinki tourism” felt a bit like strange choices. For example, they mentioned sauna culture but didn’t mention places like Löylyy (a stylish sauna restaurant) or the Allas Sea Pool (which has a variety of swimming pools with public saunas), or any of the various spas or water parks in the area. They mention some drinking places like Majava but neglect to mention places like On the Rocks (a metal bar/venue) or The Riff (which has CHILDREN OF BODOM‘s Hate Lounge), and let’s be frank, even Samy Elbanna‘s cute Finnish accent can’t hide the fact that Kallio is nothing more than a shady alley of dive bars interspersed with the occasional hipster coffee shop. What about Helsinki’s finest record shops like Keltainen Jäänsärkijä or perhaps the underground black metal shop, Kvlt Limited? We also don’t remember Elbanna talking about the Helsinki Cathedral he was standing in front of, nor the Rautaranta outdoor gym or Upenski Cathedral, which are shown in the video clips.
The interview segment too was a bit awkward/forced, only including somewhat generic and not specific questions. Later on, it became clear that the interview was cut, mostly focusing on MC Raaka Pee‘s funniest answers, however, it would have been better to keep the interview in its entirety. Due to the cut, the first question went by so quickly that we didn’t catch it, the second was relevant to the year, and the last question… well that leads to another thought. Prior to watching, we had been wondering why they chose to call the whole thing Tuska “Utopia” (aka “paradise”) as it doesn’t really make sense in the context of what maybe should be called Tuska Tourism or something to that effect. What does utopia have to do with tourism? The final question seemed to be there just to force relevance into the “utopia” part of things. Also, it’s worth mentioning that there were spelling errors in the English text in the episode.
However, despite the fairly long list of criticisms, this was not a waste of an hour, as we did like the way that some songs like “Teurastaja” and “Turvasana” felt more like music videos than live videos, with its close-ups and the great performances from the band, leaving the visual part of the live show diverse and interesting. As well, the entire live production, meaning the sound, lights, pyrotechnics, visuals… the whole package, was extremely well done, save for an awkward transition between songs here and there. On the band side of things, we were very satisfied with the experience.
Ultimately, the event felt a bit like a live stream, a bit like a live DVD, a bit like a music video (or a few music videos), a bit like a tourism video, and while that concept as a whole is really great, there was a feeling of unpolishedness to the production of non-live-show segments, which leads it to have a somewhat amateuristic feel as an overall product. However, with a bit more polish and maybe a hint of artistic flair, this could prove to be a fun series. As per usual, using SemiLive as a platform was a great choice, there were no kinks or any other technical difficulties during the stream and it was fun to keep an eye on the chat and see the excitement of a lot of fans. We look forward to seeing what is in store with BATTLE BEAST next week and how this series will develop as a whole in the future!
- Pirun Nyrkki
- Grand Ball
- Dance Panique
- Viha ja Rakkaus
- Pyhä Maa
- Sano Kun Riittää
- Syntisten Laulu
Written by Bear W.