The Finnish Death Metal Maniacs fest and general holiday rant DAY 3

After the long afterparty that culminated in drinking vodka and random liquors with Polish and Estonian headbangers I had the clever idea to sleep straight to noon (drinking water to limit hangover) and skip tourist traps for a day. Might have been relax, might have been the fresh weather, I woke up completely fit, rested and with no hangover whatsoever, ready for another day of sickness. Yay.

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A quick walk with a bleeding foot and the ever present thought of the via crucis and the passion of Jesus Christ brought me to the day of the main events. Happy I was to arrive just in time to see… (personal ratings between brackets, I still like to do that shit, sue me!).

Cadaveric Incubator (9)

This band completely blew me to pieces. Part Massacre, part Carcass, part “The Day Man Lost” era Carnage, and an ever-clinging Repulsion feel, everything blended together and with some of the best, most crushing sounds I have heard during that day: this band was a complete surprise, whoah! I heard some stuff on recording but I was not ready for the complete massacre that they were able to wreak on stage. Carcass inspired music is cool per se but when you bastardize everything with elements from other old school masters you really get *the* shit. Of all the “new” bands I saw at the fest, this is with Krypts definitely the one that impressed me the most. I certainly didn’t see it coming.

Festerday (7)

I did dig Festerday on studio recordings. Actually I somehow enjoyed their re-recordings of older songs on the Svart collection even better than the original tapes (which admittedly I never owned in original form, just dubs), something that happens very, very rarely. Yet for some reason that escapes me I wasn’t completely taken by their live performance, might be that Cadaveric Incubator did such a great show beforehand, who knows, they just did not have the same punch as I was expecting. Nevertheless the was intense and left me with the lingering desire to sit down on my couch this weekend and listen once more to the Svart collection with some more attention.

Necrolepsy (8)

I can’t conceal the fact that this band intrigues me like very few others recently. Their approach to music is basically the same I always searched for my fanzine as well. This is a band that only recorded stuff on tape so far, and distilled the filthiest aspect of everything sick in the classic old School Death Metal sound into a twisted, gruesome monstrosity. Autopsy for sure, but also a lot of other raw sickness, too many and yet none in particular influences to mention. I am pretty certain that the show hid something I could not appreciate completely as I still had no chance to listen to the songs before and the drummer which I asked for copies is not answering my emails since August. If someone who reads this blog could dub their releases to me, please do get in touch because I really dig this stuff (info @ nuclearabominations dot com thanks).

Lubricant pt. 1 and pt. 2 (4)

This band was a joke, period. I could (yet again, maybe not) get over the Sunday morning old bored husbands doing plumbing work attire. but I cannot stand these terrible, terrible vocals and happy as lark riffs. I still maintain that this band was not that special even in the pre-Nookleptia days, always retaining that slight tongue in cheek humour I basically find annoying in this music (unless you can properly handle it but there are so few bands capable of that). Not a fan of the records, I found them two steps worse on stage, and I had to suffer through them TWICE. Argh. Whatever. This was probably the only bad spot I could remember in the whole festival. Sometimes the Emperor is just naked, you know.

Amputory (7)

This is the band of Pekka and Saku from Pestigore, and they’re good, in a maybe more modern kind of “honest solid Death Metal” good. I can’t really find anything to complain about their show, as everything was in place, maybe lacking that darker, dismal touch one could expect from a Finnish band. Dem plus Gorephilia could be a good show.

(live 2013, no cr)

Necropsy (6)

I was expecting something more from this band actually, but then sometimes exceedingly long time spans somehow alter your perceptions. I loved the vocals of Necropsy on their older stuff and honestly I heard the two albums they released after the reunion just for a few seconds and with limited attention, as I always do with online music (I prefer to give full attention only when I listen to the physical stuff with a booklet or lyric sheet in my hands).

This is basically what I was expecting

Hear the phlegmy, gargling throat? The muddy, muffled sound? The twisted and slightly dissonant riffing? Well I couldn’t hear any of that at the show. Mostly a lot of chugs for which I have no special love. So what could I say? I really was into Necropsy 1.0, not so much sure about Necropsy 2.0.

Galvanizer (8)

A surprise for most everybody at the show where (we) attendants were mostly in the 30-40s range with somebody even slightly above that bar. There was certainly some kind of enthusiasm in seeing such young people playing with such passion and full blast force. I recognize most of us were that young or younger when we all had our own small local bands in the past, but seeing them in the middle of such geriatric wasteland was super cool. Even with eyes closed, this band gifted the festival with a great show, perfectly capturing the vibe with an interesting concoction of Finn/Swedish Death Metal with some grinding flavour (read “grind” as in pre-Nasum filthy “grind”, not that shit that goes as “grind” today).

(not that show, but I forgot to take pictures, sorry :v)

Bar Kino

The festival was interrupted in the afternoon to give everybody the chance to eat a bite or two and move to this Bar Kino for Lantern/Lubricant (sigh)/Rippikoulu. I stopped at a local Thai restaurant and arrived late at the venue, so I completely missed…

Lantern (n.a.)

I am still pissed off for having missed this band, fuck. On studio recording they’re so twisted with all that spiraling guitarwork I could not decide whether I liked them or not. I was hoping in a live show to understand if the band was an act or genius or just another attempt at something different. I guess I’ll catch them some other time, I have time, I am immortal.

Rippikoulu (8/4)

I give this band two ratings because I have completely opposite opinions on their older and newer stuff. First off I was immediately hooked by the beautiful horse jockey cap that the hipster guy that turned out to be the singer showcased on stage.

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Isn’t it Doom/Death enough for you?

In any case, the venue was big, clean, and the sound crisp and loud. Also the waitress that collected empty beer glasses was the most beautiful girl I have seen in my life and I had the urge to rip my eyes out with my hands every time she walked close to my couch, but with a couple of shots I could move my attention back to the stage. Jesus. Dat… Never mind.

Like I mentioned before, the old stuff was great. Crushing Death Doom of top quality and performed with no fallacies. The vocalist despite the terrible hipster outfit actually had some powerful vokillz, the songs had that vaguely drone-like hypnotic pattern, and combined to the theatre-like set up they were given the end result was memorable almost as much as the ass of the waitress.

What I didn’t like though were the new songs, which somehow sounded completely different from the old stuff to my ears. It’s like they dared a couple of times in that same ground walked by bands like Skepticism, and believe me, you DON’T want to fight Skepticism in their own element. Doom/Death is fine and welcome any time, as Solothus showed later with impressive taste and dedication, but do not dare to play symphonic “funeral” stuff when you play just before Skepticism or believe me it’s really going to be embarrassing. And it was.

Did I mention the waitress in this venue was otherwordly? I should write a review for her on Tripadvisor.

Back to Annis

The walk back to the Annis was mostly uneventful, lots of sticky beer all over the toilet floor, somebody collapsed on the streets. Nothing noteworthy.

Depravity (7)

I still believe “Silence of the Centuries” is the most representative Finnish Death Metal album (EP actually) ever. If someone asked me how Finnish Death Metal sounded like, I won’t blink for a second and shove that one in his hands. Yet the show wasn’t exactly the way I expected. As with Necropsy, I had probably way too high expectations. Sometimes you get “romantically” attached to an idea which just doesn’t turn out the way you expected. Who knows. The show was flawless from what I can tell but I just could not connect the way I expected. In any case, great songs.

Solothus (8)

Another big surprise in the new fertile ground of Doom/Death, give me Solothus over any new Rippikoulu any time. Certainly they walk very safe, widely familiar ground and I could not really gather any exceedingly original ideas, but what the fuck, as far as it’s well played and has all the right elements, I am totally in for this kind of Death/Doom. And they don’t have that shitty 70’s sound mixed in either, which is a big big plus in my book. Flawless stuff that could turn into something interesting in the future if they manage to “have it”.

Skepticism (10)

The bomb dropped in order to close the festival. Even before leaving I found it a perfect choice to close the event with Skepticism, but never I could imagine such a live show. That one has really been one of the most intense, heart rending performances I have seen in my life. They have all the bullshit of a symphonic band, but the way they arrange everything, the end result is something completely unpredictable, these guys are Artists with capital “A”, you really feel like being part of a masterpiece when they play. I have been into this band for a long time, but live, they are from another planet, like the ass of the waitress at the Bar Kino. Tired, drunk, with the lingering awareness that I would be back to my country the day after, I completely abandoned myself to the sea of sadness and abandonment that the band brought to the Annis. There were moments they were so intense I was actually shivering. I was shaking for minutes after the show ended, I swear. There is no way I could describe what is going on then Skepticism play, if you ever manage to see them live, especially in the same mood I was, you are going to remember it.

No afterpary

I skipped Exthenia, Retaliatory Measures, Cannibal Accident (the first two bands were horrible from what I listened online anyway) preferring to finish my bottle of Terva on a bench in the park with an headbanger from Turku with an Autopsy sweatshirt that was waiting for the train.

That convivial drinking and subsequent moderate hangover in the truest metal tradition concluded my experience at the Finnish Death Metal festival, the best festival I have ever been to, bar none. Perfect location, right amount of people, completely relaxed atmosphere, everybody in there to have good time AND listen to the bands, which is something I seldom find nowadays anymore. Great music for music’s sake, from headbangers for headbangers. Save for some bullshit like my bleeding foot, everything went the way I expected and even better. Rumors linger about a possible second in the far future, if I will still be alive, I will certainly be there.

Also do yourself a favor and check these great, great pictures of the event: http://www.cvltnation.com/cvlt-nation-covers-the-finnish-death-metal-maniacs-fest/

The Finnish Death Metal Maniacs fest and general holiday rant DAY 2

 Day 2

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.

Other shit I ate late in the afternoon.

Other shit I ate late in the afternoon.

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),

The wailing wall.

The wailing wall.

Like... Finnish variation of our vin brulè (mulled wine)

Like… Finnish variation of our vin brulè (mulled wine)

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.

Monntu by evening - old guys in slippers

Monntu by evening – old guys in slippers

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.

According to the girl who had this bottle, the best part is that when you throw up is like washing your teeth.

According to the girl who had this bottle, the best part of this liquor is that when you throw it up it’s like washing your teeth.

Witchcraft

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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)

Pestigore

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.

Gorephilia

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.

Demilich

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.

Demilich actually do not shy using technology

Demilich actually do not shy using technology

Cemetery Fog

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

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.

Convulse

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:

Archgoat

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.

Purtenance

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*.

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

FDMMF-logo-white

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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ASCENDED (Fin): “The Art Of Necromancy” demo Cd-r 2008 s/p

Ascended - The Art Of Necromancy

There was a time, in the first part of the nineties, when I was totally obsessed with Finnish Death + Black Metal. Of course Sweden had THE scene, but bands like Purtenance, Archgoat, Demilich, Xysma or Depravity (and I can go on forever) had that special, unearthly feel that just took the most extreme genres and made each one of them even colder and darker. Finland just meant “sickness” in its most undiluted form, blacker Black Metal and darker Death Metal. Time went on and basically every one of these bands either disbanded or turned into some shitty rockn’roll a la Lubricant. Time to forget about Finland for a while… but like the Swedish scene has been resurrected, so seem the Finnish one has its good share of new talent to exhume, and this Ascended is really among the best ones I heard in a long, long time. Like for other old demos on the blogzine, Ascended actually recorded more stuff after this demo, but having been mostly an inactive couch potato for more than 5 years it was a great surprise for me to hear we have still great death/doom being concocted among the cold swamps of Fennoscandia. This excellent demo Cd-r was handnumbered to 100 copies but mine has no number so I guess is part of a second batch. The packaging is bare as it should be with classical lineart on the cover and very simple inlay (lyrics, general infos and so on).

The thing I love more about this demo is the sound of the drums. They reverberates like a gong, filling the whole soundwave with a distant, omnipresent, evocative vibe. Every beat seems to raise the atmosphere to the next level of dismal oblivion. The band is VERY different, but I can find some common feel with, early Eucharist or Necros Christos on the slower, more abstract, detached  moments.  Ascended is however not an entirely Death Metal band and there are no melodies of sort in their sound. I think they can arguably be defined as Death Metal with some good Doom/Death influences, but I don’t think they can be rated as a strictly Death/Doom band either. They are grinding slow at times, and almost obsessive in dragging riffs forever in an hypnotic way, but I will not use any other term but good, solid Death Metal. The vocals are deep and monumental, just like the music. This demo is a cathedral of sound, with an obscure halo hovering over it.

Thanks Finland for still being present.