Tuska Utopia is back again with its second episode following TURMION KÄTILÖT at Suvilahti, now with local legends BATTLE BEAST performing in a strange ruin somewhere in the woods outside of Helsinki. This episode, promising another tourism segment, as well as another brief interview on top of the recorded performance, aired on Friday, November 20th, 2020, via SemiLive.
BATTLE BEAST‘s performance started with “Unbroken,” which is not their hardest-hitting song and was a bit of a weak starter, especially considering the best part of the song was cut due to the stream freezing for a while. However, my dislike of the new album aside, the band was putting on a very strong show, in a beautiful outdoor forest, with great lighting and fantastic music quality. Even if the song itself wasn’t for us, it did showcase an interesting location for the recording.
Samy Elbanna [LOST SOCIETY] returned again to host the tourism segment after the first song, to give some details on the “secret location” in which the band was performing: an unfinished castle hand-built by a mystery woman in a mystery place, which was interesting but for the fact that this isn’t a place that tourists are allowed to go, so we were never told the name or who built it. As well, the segment was more about facts about Finns and the local forest culture, as opposed (once again) to any real tourism. Why have a tourism segment for a place that tourists can’t visit? Furthermore, it was disappointing to hear the reference to COVID where he said that Finns went to their cabins, which was completely untrue. In reality, Finns were told not to go to their cabins so as not to spread the disease outside the southern part of the country. There were some fun facts about Finnish forests and a short mention of cabin culture, but as a segment advertized as “tourism,” again, was ultimately pretty disappointing.
The show continued with a few older hits like “Straight to the Heart,” “Bastard Son of Odin,” and “Black Ninja,” the last of which came in rather abruptly, but it doesn’t matter because they’re all good songs that work fantastically in a live scenario, recorded or otherwise. The light on the birch trees made for an interesting effect. “I Wish” has a bit of a Bond theme -vibe, which was kind of cool as the cameras moved dramatically around legendary vocalist Noora Louhimo as she belted out the words to the ballad.
This time, the interview was interspersed after six songs – an even less appropriate location than in the previous episode – leaving us wondering about the lack of production consistency since the interview was not in the same place as it had been during episode #1. This interview featured Noora Louhimo, Eero Sipilä, and Juuso Soinio sitting with the same interviewer around a fire at the “venue.” Again, the interview had the same three questions that were, again, not especially interesting, which is likely why the answers were not interesting either.
The band then continued with “Eden,” which had a guitar section that we didn’t recognize from the studio version that we enjoyed, but the band was acting as though there was a crowd in front of them, trying to do an echoing singalong with hand waves that felt really uncomfortable without a real audience present. There was a dark and mysterious intro to “No More Hollywood Endings,” while “King for a Day” had Louhimo announce it like a live show, “King! For! A! …” and waited for the non-existent crowd to say “Day!,” which was again weird and drew attention to the lack of crowd. This is a great track though and a collective favorite, though it was on the list of (exclusively) good tracks that were interrupted by slow streaming. The keyboards really stood out in this performance and it was definitely not a copy-paste of the album version. They then closed with one of their biggest hits, “Beyond the Burning Skies,” with Louhimo lamenting the inability to tour as the music began.
Ultimately again, the feedback on this episode was much the same as it was for episode #1 – the live show was good and surely did not disappoint fans of the band, but the overall episode was off-the-mark with the branding and execution of everything else. The band had promised a “bacchanalia” but provided more of an ambient music video that wished it had a live audience (and we wished we had been there), and the rest of the “utopia” part of the episode was again poorly executed. Nevertheless, you know we’ll be tuning in again next week to check out APOCALYPTICA!
- Familiar Hell
- Straight to the Heart
- Bastard Son of Odin
- Black Ninja
- I Wish
- No More Hollywood Endings
- King for a Day
- Beyond the Burning Skies
Written by Bear W. & Laureline T-F
Interview with messier — “There’s only three of us, so we have to make it count and get the sound as big as we can.”