28.12.2019 Hoarsefest @ On The Rocks, Helsinki


A little while ago we talked with OCEANHOARSE who in a spontaneous moment decide to organize their very own festival… Hoarsefest. The reason? Why the fuck not! The Finnish heavy metal act invited rising rock and metal bands such as THY ROW, WAKE UP FRANKIE, DIRT and I REVOLT, and also organized some clinics at the same time. Check out our photo gallery…

The doors to the club part of On the Rocks opened at 19:00 and there was already a queue when we arrived. It took longer than expected for us to get downstairs but there was a steady trickle of people into the venue as THY ROW opened the festival. White leather-clad Mikael Salo is a commanding frontman with an incredible voice, making sure everyone in the venue is paying attention, while the rest of the band bounced around to the music, helping bring their upbeat and passionate music to life on stage. They’re a really fun act and I look forward to a potential album, maybe in 2020, 2021, maybe?

Next up was WAKE UP FRANKIE, a heaping blast of thrash and smash and energy all up in your face. We didn’t know any of their songs, but if we were cold before their set, they heat up the place! The mood was completely flipped by DIRT though, with a more grungy/groovy vibe. In the words of a friend, the vocalist was fantastic because he looked like he belongs on the cover of a romance novel with the white shirt partially unbuttoned and tied at the bottom. Their music was a nice treat and in a good place in the set to change things up into more melody and less pure energy, especially with I REVOLT up next. If Frankie had awoken, he was revolting now! These guys put on another excellent show, all over the stage and getting the crowd rowdy. Again, we didn’t know their music but it certainly seemed to do the trick. 

Last up were the men of the hour, OCEANHOARSE! This foursome is all about pure metal, no backing tracks, and that is what they served. Vocalist Joonas Kosonen is a monster and so clearly passionate and invigorated by what he does. Jyri Helko has the best dreadlocks since the late dreads of Tomi Joutsen and Ben Varon is like Alexi Laiho without all the unfortunate addictions. Oskari Niemi on the drums is not the biggest guy out there but he’s sure fucking fierce. 

The coolest part of the night was definitely the All-Star Jam, where OCEANHOARSE invited members of the other bands out to do cover songs with them. They did everything from “Bark at the Moon” to “Cowboys from Hell” and, of course, OCEANHOARSE’s own new single, “Duality” [Slipknot cover].

Meanwhile, while we were listening to all of these gigs in the basement, there was a small stage by the upstairs bar, still available to the public, hosting clinics. Asim Searah [WINTERSUN] and Sara Strömmer [FEAR OF DOMINATION] spoke about guitar and singing respectively, and other clinics throughout the day included Juhani Mac Flinck and Antti Wirman as well. 

The whole event was really funny. Bar access was ample, the crowd was enthusiastic (and ample), and the bands were alive. The clinics were full, even if we didn’t understand most of what they were talking about, and the most important part was that the music was great and everyone seemed to be having a good time. Here’s hoping we get Hoarsefest 2.0 in 2020!

Written by Bear Wiseman of Musicalypse

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