GALLERY: 1.3.2024 Turku Saatanalle XI – DAY 1 @ Utopia, Turku

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We once again headed west for the annual appointment with Turku Saatanalle’s black metal debauchery on March 1st and 2nd, 2024. A weekend filled with familiar faces, traditional bands, and a few pleasant surprises, all amidst the homey atmosphere that the folks at Metallihelvetti have succeeded in creating, making it a recurring event in our metal calendars.

After a quick stop for beer at the Whiskey Bar near Kupittaa station and making preparations to fill in the time between visits to Utopia, we were ready to head to the venue and witness the first-ever live show by the local black metal ensemble FLAGG. The band, named after their guitarist and prominently featuring KALMANKANTAJA’s vocalist, has been very prolific during the COVID years, releasing two full-length albums. They had plenty of material for the half-hour slot at their disposal, and it was evident that they wanted to impress the early crowd. The resulting gig was a fitting opening for this year’s edition of the festival.

NIGHTSIDE took the stage next. With a much longer history, or rather, much earlier origins, since the band had been on a 17-year hiatus, the reformed band featuring Serpent, a.k.a. Mr. Jerry “Rauta” Kurunen, performed both earlier material and new songs from their latest “Lions” EP, which they hadn’t released yet during their prior show at the festival in 2022. The local and older guard of extreme metalheads seemed to appreciate it, and the hall slowly became more crowded as people flowed in.

The atmosphere heated up when Finnish/Brazilian OUTLAW took over. Their energy permeated the venue and the audience, transforming the atmosphere. Focusing on their latest album, “Reaching Beyond Assiah,” and drawing inspiration from some of the Swedish greats mixed with a touch of South American passion, they carved out their own spot in this weekend’s memories, paving the way for the show of the better-known fellow Brazilians SEXTRASH later in the evening.

Rumors circulated that KORGONTHURUS might have had to make changes to their set due to their drummer being ill. However, the band powered through and delivered an intense show for their fans. With a frontman like Corvus (who we are eager to see perform again with HORNA at Steelfest in May), and the whole band sounding tight and cohesive, mission accomplished!

Hailing from Kyrgyzstan, DARKESTRAH was certainly the oddball of the weekend, attracting quite a few curious eyes. The band, now based in Germany with some members familiar from an earlier encounter with MOGH, showcased their epic folk black metal, setting them apart from the more traditional sound presented at the festival. Their use of various folk instruments added to the unique live experience, with the vocalist displaying charisma and delivering a strong performance. For many, this band was at the very least a curiosity, but a lot of people seemed captivated by their show.

Undoubtedly the most anticipated and standout performance of the night was SEXTRASH. The Brazilians are an institution for fans of ’80s South American seminal death/thrash. As multiple people put it during the weekend: “the next closest thing you can get to SARCÓFAGO.” The band immediately conquered Utopia with their fast tempos, overwhelming riffs, and a mixture of classics about sex, blasphemy, and drinking. Throw in some MOTÖRHEAD, and you have the perfect recipe for a successful and entertaining show, serving as a fitting conclusion to the first night of the 11th Turku Saatanalle.

This final show of the evening also served as an adrenaline booster, as many people still had enough energy left to continue partying until the wee hours of Saturday morning. We took the opportunity ourselves, knowing there was ample time the following day to recover before returning for more: same place, same time, more black metal bacchanalia.

FLAGG

NIGHTSIDE

OUTLAW

KORGONTHURUS

DARKESTRAH

SEXTRASH

Photos by Marco Manzi