Imagine a warm place by the seaside. Hot sand like flour, a large cup beside the hammock brimming with sweet ripe fruits and grilled fish. Drinking white rum with a straw from a huge coconut. Now reverse that: Finland is the exact opposite. From a mediterranean perspective, it’s a stern, unassuming place. Compared to our cuisine the spectrum of taste is relatively narrow, mostly from what I could experience about cream, herrings, salmon and vodka. Yet, once you calibrate your tastes there are a lot of interesting variations ready to be picked up. The morning after the warm up event I went to the city hall and market to buy something that looked like local food. The first thing I noticed was that they consume a lot of soup. Soup’s Finland equivalent of pasta fpr us pagliaccio-italianbaffi-neri-mandolino-pizza, soups over which they pour solid slabs of cream, just to make it all the more unhealthier for your cardiovascular system. Considering I am an obese person I was totally in my element as that city had the largest number of overweight people I have ever seen. Thick boned maybe, but I have seen very few skinny guys, and girls were mostly lovely smooth and curvy *deep breath*.
Raw fish is probably a blessing in these places as it helps maintaining arteries clean out all that saturated fat floating in a lot of dishes. The old fishmonger probably had a soft spot for me as after buying some random herrings she offered me a nice potato and salmon soup which was nothing short of delicious.
Another mandatory stop when I travel abroad is the supermarket. I am a freak for colored, disgustingly sweet sodas and drinks: to me the more artificial and chemical looking the better and this supermarket was like ridiculously filled with that shit – from fruit flavored water (what the?) to a wall of yoghurts and milk derived random things I could not decrypt (oddly, very few labels had english translations and the 4G signal was feeble so I could not check),
Event Day 1
We had the chance to drink a couple of beers at the Monttu pub (which actually looked way cooler than what I could tell from Google Street View before the show started especially considering there was another bigger place downstairs where the afterparty shows took place.
More drinks right out of the venue were accompanied by meeting a few new friends from all over Europe and Americas. It was cool to see people I only had written letters of paper and ink decades ago, and was also nice to meet new people. The atmosphere was so laid back and relaxed I felt like being on vacation. Cheers to all the guys I met from Spain, Poland, Estonia, USA, Chile, Germany and a couple more from Italy as well! The merchandise rotated a bit and I was tempted to buy a couple of books but some of them I already owned in different editions, other were frighteningly expensive, the shirts were too small for me and vinyl I didn’t want to carry so I just got some more tapes and let it be for now.
The real event starts out in full blast with one of the bands I looked forward to see live the most. Let me state two things before I start:
- I am totally impressed by how well the youngest bands (year of formation 2000+) did at this festival. I flew there probably mostly for the “veteran” names but I was totally blown away by the newer bands. In more than one case I was more taken by their shows than the other ones but that after all is the reason you go to concerts – to be disappointed by bands you like on records and reconsider other ones you previously dismissed when listening to studio recordings.
- I am completely lost for old Beherit and I am a huge freak for the necromantic armageddon nuclear atomic satanic sound of black fucking metal or as they say “Metal of Death” – give me Blasphemy and Naked Whipper any time above all the Norwegian stuff combined.
Seeing Witchery live was a little bit like being in this land in 1990 for a few minutes. The pure bestial necro-bastard suffocating sound, the raspy, phlegmy vocals, the distorted and bass-soaked crackling sound was like a whirlwind of old school blasphemy in an ageless venue. Despite the very simple structures the result was impressive. Black, like Thash metal, is all about the riffs after all (as well as aesthetics, let’s not dismiss that). You certainly could go unnoticed with a bad Death Metal riff, but there is no hiding in this branch of music. Total 8+ performance for me, everything was just as it should have been, including the ugly corpsepaint. Brilliant.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEqQ8AIy1CQ (video not mine, check the channel)
This is a band I was obsessed with during my old tapetrading days. Like I wrote on the pre-festival rants, I was a role playing nerd (well I still am, but bear with me) and the name Pestigor(e) stuck because it was the name of a pestilence demon in the Warhammer fictional setting. Pestigore certainly had some solid Bolt Thrower influences in sound, so why not in the looks? At the time IIRC Bolt Thrower even had an endorsement from Games Workshop (together with a terrible HM band whose name I can’t remember). So I finally managed to see this band live after over twenty years (by the way the average age at the festival was way higher that I even imagined thanks Pestigor this time I was not the older fuck around!) and it definitely delivered. Impressive show chock full of adrenaline, you could really perceive when passion still drives fingers and throat I guess. I am not a big fan of heavy chugging but framed in a contest of blasting and BTesque sound everything was in order. Pestigore basically gave me what I was expecting, nothing more nothing less, honest stuff. I shall rate this as 7.
I mostly compare Gorephilia as the Morbid Angel – “Formulas” era – of Finnish Death Metal, plus a couple of other more traditional stuff like Diabolic. Their sound is atypical for a Finnish band but not slamming cricket vocals kind of American. They started out with “Black Horns” and shot 7 tracks of pretty much intense, well structured stuff. This is a band of 10+ years of experience so it shows. Flawless but maybe without that dark touch that makes the Finnish sound stand out. I’ll say 7 here, maybe a little more.
What can I say, this band has been in my top favorite three ever for a long time. Actually I still do believe they’re one of the greatest bands of all time. There is something cryptical and yet completely AWARE in their sound which sounds just touched by some cosmically evil grace (more possibly a cenobite-like kind of divine), Demilich is the gate on earth to the sixteen-sixth regional dimension. A work of art of twisted guitar structures, trippy names and classy artworks. It is a MASSIVE concept, sculpted with micron level precision. Shit, even their logo is unique. I can’t hold back the claim that this was also my favorite band at the festival, a band that also showed to be able to play their songs flawlessly AND faster than recorded on album. Singing along like a teenager, I drank avidly every second I was there in front of the stage staring at a piece of time collapsing into itself in a swollen ball of encrypted signals. Not only the show was perfect on EVERY single aspect, including the low ceiling and flashing lighting that just continued to eat itself at every frame, but it was also beyond cool to meet these guys I have been in touch for so long after the show ended. They’re also quite different from what I expected, from some interviews I thought Antti was some kind of anti social guy but that turned out to be quite the opposite, he’s a nerdy guy with a black and bleak sense of humour just like me, ah ah. The drummer Mikko was the coolest, most laid back man I have met in all my staying. Seeing such an amazing band being made up of such amazing people was just the perfect peak of the whole trip to me and still makes me wonder about all that shit about rock stars and all the fuss ordinary people go through for their shitty bands :D. This is a show that oscillates between 9 and a 10 in my book.
Meh, wish I could like this band better. I do like the doom-death idea, hell some of my favorite bands could be filed as “Doom/Death”, but I cannot stand the “70’s Doom” vibe i find on some of Cemetery Fogs riffs. I am not a Black Sabbath fan, I do have some albums of course but I am definitely not a diehard freak. But I definitely loathe everything that tries to come close that wailing distorted sound. Influences aside, there is a thin line between unripe and minimalist and I somehow believe Cemetery Fog are kinda unripe as well. They oscillate between barely OK to No-No for my tastes. Their performance to me was a 5.
Maveth is a good band, like with Gorephilia if I had to find them a place in a record shelf I’d go with “American Death”, with some strong Swedish crunch added in. Maveth’s sound is elliptical, riffs that churn and swallow themselves in cycles dragging you into the vortex. The show to me was quite impressive for its hypnotic properties, few bands manage to be heavy as fuck and create long waves of crushing sound like them, good stuff. 7 in my book too.
Let’s try to forget the 1994 album “Reflections”, some blood clot must have hit these guys brains back then. But I heard the new album “Evil Prevails” several times before giving up to Convulse, because “World Without God” was solid shit. And honestly speaking, I was not completely inspired by their live show either. From what I could hear they mostly did stuff from the first album and just one song from the braindead period and just two from the last one. Whatever. I just could not get much energy at all – I would not go beyond a 5.
Now find a good riff here and tell me, because I could not find any:
There are bands like Convulse (or the Swedish Sorcery for instance) that just can’t make it to capture their old feelings no matter how much they struggle, and then there is Archgoat, which are every inch as good as the day they recorded “Angelcunt” almost 25 years ago. If there is a better Black Metal band existing today, let me know because the two shows I saw by them were earth shattering. Archgoat live is a forced trip to hell with your body submerged in broken glass. The only time I saw anything this mesmerizing recently was Anatomia and that was another genre entirely. Not only they play the perfect form of Black Metal / “Metal of Death” but they do it just as good on record than live. Powerful show with a huge punch and possibly in the top three I have seen at the festival. I really like this band, but it really is even better than I can describe, if you ever have the chance to see them live, DO IT. Full 9 to the show.
This bands places in between the two before in terms of keeping the flame alive. Pre-reunion “Drowned records” Purtenance were in my top list with their unmatched brutality and powerful sound and you know what the last album is also good I think, not exactly as good as the old one, if not for a crisper, cleaner, more modern sound (which I do not like, obviously), but almost as good as “I’d buy it”. On stage however I was not hooked at all. I could hear a lot of chugs and a lot of crunch but no feeling at all. I’d go for a 6, just because there was nothing systematically wrong with the show in itself, but you know, I was expecting something better.
The Afterparty #1
We were drinking and frolicking during the after-show so I watched the three bands playing at the Monntu just a little, mostly listening to them on a seat while doing else. I remember Axeslaughter being somehow fun with their vicious, raw sounding thrashing Death, the rest however was mostly to forget, not to say shitty *wink*.