The Finnish Death Metal Maniacs fest and general holiday rant DAY 1

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Welcome back small mummies and monsters. As you could see from the logo above I just recently returned home after this fantastic festival which took place in Finland last week. This is also the first english post in a long time, as for over an year I wrote reviews and some general rants in Italian language on this parallel blog called “Abominazioni“. The experiment was certainly cool considering I certainly master my native language much better than English, but visiting the FDMM made my mind clear like it never was in the last 15 years. I might use that blog again sometimes but here is the place where the Nuclear Abominations lore belongs, and so here I will stay in the near future. In all honesty this might just be the only post you’ll read for a while and there is a reason for that which I will unveil a couple of lines below, at the end of this long rant.

So here it is, the detailed report of this amazing weekend. It will NOT be just a review of the concert, actually I am uncertain how could one review a concert at all. Recordings, sure, but live performances? Bah. Did a couple in the past probably, but really they’re not my cup of bile. Beware this is going to be a rant, a personal rant, and probably will have a couple of deviations from the main body of thought, you have been warned.

Here are the pre-reviews of the various bands playing at the fest, for those who understand some Italian or want to try luck with Google Translate.

Departure

The flight to Tampere was leaving at 6.40 AM and – while wishing cancer to whoever in Ryanair decided to plan a flight so early – I had to take into account being at the airport two hours earlier, that totals 4.40 AM. Considering there is no train that goes straight to the town of the airport and that I would need to take a bus as well, plus some extra time for eventual problems and delays which ALWAYS turn up, I might as well go there the night before and just don’t sleep at all. Since I am a lazy fuck and prefer to take at least 3 or 4 hours of sleep before a flight I had the brilliant idea to book a room with Airbnb, considering last time I was lucky and the place was enchanting and the breakfast sumptuous. Things didn’t turn out completely clear from the beginning. Despite four different requests the girl in Airbnb just didn’t want to tell me the exact address of the place. When I arrived and parked in the street close to the place a guy came in to pick me up and take me to the apartment and it looked like it was him who actually managed the room, but somehow didn’t want to appear anywhere, nor he wanted to tell Airbnb the correct address. The flat was in a dirty, shady quarter and located in a monstrous old building that probably hosted like one hundred families at minimum wage. Looked like I figured the Bronx in the 80’s. When I got in, the girl which was probably lending her name for the Airbnb account was sitting on a couch and showed me the “breakfast”. Some cookies, coffe. That’s it. Considering I don’t drink coffee, the morning after would have been quite meager. The apartment itself reeked of cigarette smoke, probably old one clinging to the walls since nobody was smoking when I arrived.

BBQ & Grill

Since it was still early, I went to a nice pub in the whereabouts (the owner suggested me a kebab, no thanks I prefer home made gourmet food) and had a real good hamburger. That was a place I saved on my Tripadvisor list because it was definitely good on the food level, even if at 13 euros for hamburger and beer it might be considered pricey.

I got back to the room just to assist the arrival of a family from southern Italy which was frying some fucking garlic at 11 PM. The smell added to the one of acrid stale smoke crept into my bedroom and I had to try to sleep with the pungent smell of garlic stuck in the nostrils. Two hours later someone started to scream in the building, shouting in some oriental language I could not recognize. It didn’t last long, however, just enough to break my sleep. I went to shit in the bathrom just to realize that the lightbulb was burned out and the toilet paper ended. The owner of the room suggested not to call a taxi in the morning and that the airport was very close, like 10 minutes. It took 40, with sweat drenching my sweatshirt and the awareness that I was late on my schedule. Ah, for those 36 euros, I managed to have breakfast at last: 2 glasses of fridge cold water as there was no juice nor yoghurt nor anything else to eat.

As soon as I arrived at the airport, tragedy struck. While kneeling to weigh in my bags on a scale, my pants ripped in half. From groin to ankle, one single huge rip. Trying not to panic, I ran to the toilet and took out a change which luckily I put in my luggage at the last minute. I have no clue what would have happened if I did not have that spare pair of pants. Azatoth was with me that day.

Clock ticking and scared to be late, I started to queue at the check in when I realized I did not need to stay there as I only had hand bags. I ran to the gate and made it at last, meeting some friends waiting there at the gate. From that point on luckily things went pretty much smoothly, but the start was really a concatenation of shitty, shitty situations.

Starving for the missing breakfast I had the clever idea to eat something on the plane: 8 euros for a gummy croissant, a tiny shot of orange juice (which was a soft drink and not a juice btw) and a bottle of water costing six euros per liter – I drank very good wines for that price. The worse thing in the picture however was that my shirt was WET as in completely SOAKED in sweat. Luckily I just bought a buff and protected by neck but the air conditioning was hammering on my upper back and I just crossed finger I was not stuck the day after.

Tea in Tampere

Tea in Tampere

We arrived safely in Finland and paid six bucks for a ride to Tampere. Since we had some spare time I stopped by an enchanting little tea room and has some warm tea with Karjalan Piirakkaa. Took some pictures around like a Japanese tourist on LSD, then I took the bus which I paid in advance online months before at the honest price of 3.50 euros. When I was on the bus something really weird started to happen. Might be the sleep deprivation, or the rough, untamed aspect of the fields and hills but I started to enter in a unexplainable close contact with the land. The sheeps, the hay bales neatly wrapped in white plastic, the water ponds and lakes. Might be I was in a complex, chaotic mindset for months but I finally relaxed after so much time. For the first time in literally years I was really enjoying the moment. I tried to nail myself awake with energy drinks, but at the same time I was in a complete state of peace and relaxation. Not only I have been wishing to visit Finland all my life, not just for the bands of course, but I was there in one of the most undefined, unstable periods of my lifetime. And I could watch all those bands I only read about in fanzines when I was a kid. Things were going to be real cool.

Finnish Farm

I thanked myself once more for having only handbags with me as the sleeping place was very close to the station and the walk was a cake. I departed with the other guys telling them I was going to have some sleep, a shower and change my fucking clothes at last. The host was a half Slovenian, very young guy who had been travelling since he was a kid. He was a very cool person, but quite unaware on many levels. He completely forgot to say he had no hairdryer except when I was already stepping out of the shower with my hair drenched. With a towel wrapped around my sadly thinning but long hair I took a brief nap on what I recognized too late was the sleeping place: a couch in the middle of the living room. The couch was comfortable but there was no wardrobe nor a place to hang clothes so I had to spread them on the floor. The weird thing is that the living room was actually a place where the guy lived and worked in the afternoon so you had better “slept fast” (like Arnold Schwarzenegger says) or you’re going to be awaken by the host doing his routine. The overall stay was cool at a very cheap price after all, yet some situations were borderline awkward. The guy asked me if I finished the bottle of water on the first day – which I did since I always sleep with a bottle beside the bed – but the weird thing is that the bottle was almost empty, just like a glass or so. Considering there was no breakfast at all in the morning I assumed I could at least drink a glass per day. Whatever. I later did some shopping at the supermarket and bought some bottles which I left there. Meh.

Finland has this weird concept of happy hour: il lasts all night not just an hour before supper. You could drink at a local Mexican pub for 3 euros per beer which is cheap even for Italian standards. I met the other guys there and we had a couple of beers coupled with some shots of liquor, while admiring some local blonde haired fauna walking back and forth all around our table. Still shivering, jeezus. After a day of travel, it was a nice start.

Beer

Day 1

A brutal sore throat welcomed me the next morning thanks to no doubt that fucking missing hairdryer. I planned to buy one the same day but then I realized there was a sauna a few hundred meters from the building where I slept, so with just 5 euros I could walk in, take a Finnish sauna and have a shower using the built in hairdryer as well. Wasn’t it for one of the biggest, most painful, bloody blister I have ever had in my life, walking through Pori would have been a great experience. I did it anyway, but throbbing pain under the foot is not the best of pals to hang with for a whole festival with no buses close. My throat was so swollen I could barely swallow so I went to the nearest aptekki (pharmacy store) asking (after an educate queue with a number to be served) for cortisone spray but they told me I had to ask permission to the doctor which was available to visit me for just 60 fucking euros. No thank you, it will go away with just some mints I bet. Luckily, it did. Armed with a new smartphone and the amazing mobile Internet technology I located a nearby Alko store to make some shopping of Finnish booze. Basically these are State owned places which are licensed to sell the “heavier” stuff, otherwise you only get to drink dishwasher reflux type beer in the supermarkets. The shopping was good as it produced two bottle of an ancient beer called sahti, a bottle of a weird liquor made of tar called Terva and a very sweet Lapp berry wine called tyrni wine or something (i believe tyrni is a berry). The most interesting part was shopping for alcoholic beverages with an old Finn drunkard with one of the deepest vocies I have heard, could have been a replacement in Type O Negative, even if I have the impression alcohol was somewhat responsible for the bass boost. The guy had a teardrop tattoo on his face and lots of jailhouse tats all around including hands and neck. He was so happy of shopping for booze with somebody else that when I left the shop he shook my hand. Ah, Finns.

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Warm Up Event

The venue was an incredibly clean place for Italian standards where puke, punks, beer and cigarette and joint reek are the norm. The entrance was checked with a table that read a QR code on the ticket. As a last moment addition, there was also a place outside where you could buy decent beer from a producer called Mufloni (which is btw also an Italian word).

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Not sure if there actually was the flea market where old bands could sell their old  merch. I went to the tent several times and all I could see was some tapes (which I bought), a couple of Cds (which I don’t buy anymore) and some vinyl (which I didn’t trust placing in my bags) as well as merchandise from the bands which unfortunately would not have fit me ever since 2002. Luckily both the great organizer and Matt from Dark Descent has circus-tent sized shirts and I scored two really cool FDDM and Dark Descent shirts to bring home. Thanks again both of you!

Despite having seen them earlier last year Ascended played the real shit. The venue was also perfect – low ceiling, no smoke, crisp powerful sound, as soon as I got inside I was hooked. I didn’t remember this band being this good. English-influenced harmonics on a backbone of Finnish brutality – top notch. Decaying I skipped after a song, too routine pummeling Death Metal in my opinion, without the proper obscurity that should be typical of every Finnish band. Can’t remember much about Stench of Decay either, they are one of those bands that sound unripe without sounding primitive, which is a no-no. Probably not that bad, but not the shade of what was about to come. Krypts showcased one of the most powerful, most intense sounds I can remember- they were the perfect incarnation of that dark, grave touched heaviness I wanted to hear. The combination of psychedelic lights and utterly powerful chords and gloomy, crushing doom created a sensation of out of time and space I only recently experienced when seeing Anatomia. It was an amazing show and probably one of the top five bands I have seen at the festival. The recordings could not explain how powerful this band is live, I am officially a fan.

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