Swinging ice cold Lonkeros, metal meltdown’s on three stages, retard cruises on a ship that never leaves and a whole lot of PERKELE! The time draws nearer for the annual Tuska Festival, held in Suvilahti, Helsinki, Finland from the 1. -3. July.

The festival is turning nineteen this year, meaning next year’s edition will mark a milestone for the people behind the biggest metal festival in the land of the thousand lakes. This’ll be my fourth year at the festival, second time as a shambolic blogger. Loads of killer bands on the bill, and interviews are being set up as I write this. I’ll be short and concise, so let’s do a rundown of my schedule on Friday!

The first day has some peculiar inaugurations and rendezvous that yours truly has yearned for a long time (well, two years seems like a long time for hardcore fans). Opening the festival we have U.S. deathgrind machine Cattle Decapitation, a band I’ve only recently dived into, mostly due to their latest output “The Anthropocene Extinction”. Curious to see the energy level, when the band goes onstage with what probably will be a less packed audience.

Swallow The Sun are one of my favourite doom metal bands that have emerged in the new millennium. Their crushing melancholy embodies trademarks within the Finnish metal sound, distilled in the heart of the north. Performing all three volumes of last year’s “Songs From The North”, that is one album per day, I’m particularly interested in the acoustic part of the concept. Not sure which volume is being performed on Friday, but nevertheless this is band worth checking out, regardless if they’re being heavy or mellow.

I’ll probably go check out Kvelertak. It’s a band that is being talked about a lot, should probably see what the fuzz is all about, have a hunch it’ll pass as “good partay metal”. As prime time approaches, there’s of course Testament and Behemoth. Two classic bands in extreme metal and both are having some serious momentum in their best age. “The Satanist” is still spawning superlatives aplenty and provokes the common man worldwide, while Chuck and co and gearing up for the release of their upcoming album “Brotherhood Of The Snake” (which they’ve been doing for a while now). This is sure to be a great combo for myself and the rest of the Finnish swearing loudmouths. There might be clenched fists forming, should Nergal try to break out the acoustic and go all country on us!

Closing Friday is the stupendously epic metal opera concept Avantasia, lead by Tobias Sammet (remember Edguy? They still around?). There’s a lot of coordination when booking something like this, a certain expectation level is to be had. I think the first two albums were pretty cool, but I have not payed much attention to what has happened afterwards. I’m excited to see how the stageshow will look like and if Mr. Sammet has a paramount constellation of guest singers lined up. Avantasia is not something that does excite me musically though. However, if I go buy myself enough beer and do some “oohs” and “ahhs” when needed, the show might just be more than good.

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