If Tuska Festival is the festival everyone loves in town, Nummirock is the favorite of all metalheads who want to get out of the city for their midsummer festivities. Taking place at the traditional location at Kauhajoki, like many other festivals, Nummirock was put on hold for a few years due to the coronavirus pandemic. Well, festivalgoers rejoiced, for the campsite lit up again in 2022, with wild and crazy metalheads of all sorts joining for bands like METSATÖLL, ALIEN WEAPONRY, GORGOROTH, and APOCALYPTICA. The festival started already on Wednesday June 23rd, 2022, with ALIEN WEAPONRY hitting the main stage on Thursday night.
Though we weren’t necessarily fans beforehand, we were drawn over to the tent stage when KAUNIS KUOLEMATON played, as we arrived a fair bit early to the festival area. Though Tuonela Magazine has covered these guys many times, it was our personal first time seeing them live and we are happy to announce that they lived up to the hype, as the interplay between the melodies and shrieks worked wonderfully. Their stage show was a pretty standard set of murky lights and low movement, but the relentless shredding and screaming made up for the stillness. They managed to successfully fill the tent with the melancholic wails, making for a very good set first thing in the morning – if not the most uplifting.
Next up was KIUAS, who retired some years back but have had a recent resurgence for festivals, with the vague promise of a new album hazily somewhere in the future. As one of our collective old favorite festival bands, KIUAS always manages to pull out a fair bit of nostalgic feeling, especially considering their last album came out in 2010. With only four albums to pull material from, and the band choosing material from only the three best of those, essentially, the whole setlist was a collection of the band’s greatest hits, executed flawlessly for the crowd’s pleasure. More recent songs like “The Visionary” and “Of Love, Lust, and Human Nature” are perfect for summer days, while older hits like “Spirit of Ukko,” “To Excel and Ascend,” and “Warrior Soul,” are all guaranteed festival killers. If summer festivals mean that we get to keep seeing KIUAS live, we truly hope they never stop!
KORPIKLAANI were the first band to take the main stage this weekend on our list of stops, and if there was ever a band and a festival that were made for one another, it’s KORPIKLAANI and Nummirock. What better pairing at one of the country’s drunkest festivals than one of the country’s drunkest big bands? While their set opened with newer material, they included some of their traditional drinking songs – like “Vodka” – throughout the set to make sure the audience remembered where they were and why. Notably, Olli Vänskä [TURISAS] was back on guest violins, leaving us to wonder if Tuomas Rounakari is ever going to return to their live circuit. If the audience weren’t awake yet, KORPIKLAANI and Jonne Järvelä‘s energy certainly offered a necessary kick in the pants for all the hungover metalheads.
When playing Gothenburg metal bingo, one of the bands that needs to be on your bucket list is AT THE GATES. They were a surprise hit among our crew, as none of us are very familiar with their music, leading us to wonder exactly how old vocalist Thomas Lindberg was, thinking that he was kind of killing it out there for a 50-year-old. Notably, many of the songs in their set had lovely intros, that led directly into hard-hitting death metal. Though they could have interacted with the crowd more – we didn’t catch a single song name except for “The Paradox” – the overall performance was extremely solid and left us feeling quite impressed.
DREAMTALE was our next stop, indoors on the tent stage. This Finnish power metal group has undergone more lineup changes than we could count offhand, which means that every opportunity to see them is often worth taking. Nowadays, the band offers dual vocalists in the form of Nitte Valo [ex-BATTLE BEAST] and Rami Keränen, who also does some guitars and keyboards. Personally, we haven’t seen Nitte Valo performing since maybe 2010, so it was fun to see her sharp, precise vocals trading off nicely with another singer. Their sound is pretty much in vein with the traditional ’90s German power metal sound, with some neoclassical synth work thrown in for flavor, making for a good show as long as you’re into power metal. They played a few notable newer hits, like “Immortal Soul” and “Blood of the Morning Star,” all-in-all making for a pretty fun set.
If there’s one foreign band who makes pretty regular appearances at Finnish festivals, it’s ROTTING CHRIST from Greece. Immediately stating how happy they were to be here, and despite being a harsh band, their stage show didn’t suffer from the glorious golden light reflecting off the lake from the setting sun, as audience members blew bubbles around. Having never seen them live before personally, we were very pleased by their strong, heavy, chugging guitar sound and technically fantastic musicianship. It seems the band are much happier than their music though, as they were all smiles and not nearly as much doom and gloom as their image wound suggest. Maybe they got too much sun?
Speaking of sun, every time one goes to see CRIMSON SUN, it seems like it’s been such a long time since the last time seeing CRIMSON SUN. Whether or not the time gap is as big as it seems is, however, is beside the point, as there’s no problem with a band feeling like a breath of fresh air each time they take the stage. Their crowd was unfortunately small, but we chalk that up to everyone still being down at ROTTING CHRIST‘s show. They opened their set up with some of the fun, poppier material, like “Virtual Reality” and “Beast Within,” but the best moments of their show were when they played some of their more dramatic, epic material, like “Last Day on Earth.” These guys are passionate performers and a really good live show, so it was nice to see the tent stage fill up as the other stages wrapped up, giving them a bit more of the crowd they deserved, as well as the energy.
If there was a Next Big Thing™ from Oceania these days, it’s the New Zealand trio, ALIEN WEAPONRY, who are so good that their 2018 release, “Tū,” was voted by our readers to be the best album of the 2010-2019 decade. Naturally, this made us curious to see what these guys had to offer. as these shirtless Kiwis took the stage to some Maori-influenced backing music, we were blown away by how quickly a drummer, guitarist, and bassist could make such a big stage seem so small. Their energy and performance were off the charts and the music was nothing to turn one’s nose up at either, as they impressed us with their material, despite us not knowing any of the songs. This was the first stop on their current European tour, so hopefully things got off to a good start – the crowd here was certainly enthusiastic enough about their set, so if we’re lucky, we’ll see these guys back in Finland again soon!
WOLFHEART have been making sure fans don’t forget about them, staying on stage as much as possible recently, even closing out Metal Capital Festival the weekend before in Oulu. Their set had a variety of material from across their discography, so we stayed for a few songs in order to get our dose of gritty Finnish death metal before turning in for the night to preserve a bit more strength for the rest of the festival.