After a successful first day of Tuska, my mind and body suffered casualties in the wake of an all too lengthy after party at Virgin Oil. Worth it though, always refreshing to meet and chat with new and interesting people. Forward! Day two! All pics by Eija Mäkivuoti.
With The Dead
Like I’ve state so many times by now, With The Dead’s debut album is a stunner in heaviness! Doom and stoner metal is a remarkably heavy mix, and this was firmly cemented further in the live performance, which truly was a wake up call for my less than good shape this Saturday afternoon. Lee Dorian’s somewhat seductive yet reserved stage presence didn’t spell your average dry British wit, a much better showman than I had anticipated. Not having too much of a back catalogue, the band stomped through its six track self-titled album with fuzzied groove and massive heaviness in the front-seat. Nicely executed with an never-ending booming low end, tracks like “The Cross”, “Nephthys” and “Living With The Dead” amassed such metal density. A strange feeling of deja-vu, day two had again started with a beast of a performance.
Primordial are a band I’ve followed for a long time. It must have been around the release of “The Burning Season”, around fifteen years ago. Here’s a band that has something to say, many moments of fascination have been spent with albums like “Spirit The Earth Aflame“ and “The Gathering Wilderness”. Never saw them live though, so I was really excited for this. Rugged clothed and deathlike in his face, A.A. Nemtheanga dramatically declared “we stand at the edge of time, shoulder to shoulder, where greater men have fallen”, before launching into the title track of the band’s latest album. The rather unfitting broad daylight didn’t rob the passionate performance of any vigorousness. “The Coffin Ships”, “No Grave Deep Enough”, “As Rome Burns” and “Bloodied Yet Unbowed” all displayed epic and weathered narratives onstage, incredibly effective and atmospheric and without one trace of keyboards or synths, which is something I deem commendable. This one went straight to my heart, strong performance with that extreme metal magnetism that is so powerful.
Skipping the trveness of Tsjuder and the spectacle overload of Turmion Katilot, my next scheduled observation involved longtime favorites Omnium Gatherum. I’ve seen the guys a couple of times. They’re touring pretty heavily, accumulating more shows each year. This is also reflected in the performance. A bunch of guys that are thrilled to take the stage and play for an audience. New songs like “The Pit”, “Frontiers” and “Skyline” sounded great. The high-point was undoubtedly “The Unknowing”, a personal fave of mine, extremely well executed. It’s impressive to watch the guitar team of Joonas Koto and Markus Vanhala, considering the wide range of dynamics in the songs, both assuming heavy guitar tapping duties and casting heaps of killer riffs. Great gig!
Due to an scheduled interview, which then got cancelled, or rather rescheduled, I only catched a couple of tracks with Obscura. Holy hell! I knew the Germans were efficient, but this was downright nuts! Amazing musicianship, tight delivery and a charming politeness onstage, death metal has matured a lot since its crude inception nearly three decades ago. I loved that they played “Ode To The Sun”, off their latest album “Akróasis”, brilliant song!
Like Testament the day before, a similar experience conjured itself up through the classic thrash metal party that is Anthrax. Another thrash titan of old, whose resurgence to a more classic sound has seen great success with albums like “Worship Music”, “We’ve Come For You All” and the recent “For All Kings”. A band in fine form, vintage classicks such as “Indians”, “Caught In A Mosh”, and “Madhouse” were mixed up with new classicks like “Breathe Lightning” and “Evil Twin”. I had seen the band back in 2014, they conquered then and they did it again this time, everyone in the band exhibiting a merciless attitude, especially bassist Frank Bello being a whirlwind of energy! This one gave off the same feeling as with Testament the day earlier, an atmosphere of unity and massive headbanging and airguitaring!
Headlining day two, the curiosity named Ghost. I was particularly interested in seeing this, since I’ve not really taken notice of their rise to prominent status. What I was treated to was a stellar performance, and probably the best performance I saw at Tuska this year. There was so much class onstage, the songs executed with style and an ever present, almost comical interaction between the audience and Papa Emeritus and also between himself and his nameless ghouls. Songs like “He Is”, “Cirice” and “From The Pinnacle To The Pit” gave off a dark anthemic aura as the sky darkened. At the same time, it felt like you were at an arena show with a legendary band, singing and rejoicing all the songs, strange phenomena, since this band is relatively new. But yeah, the Swedes, they know their catchiness, that melody that takes hold of your mind. Add to that a pope and posh butler-like outfits, some mysticism, the chanting of nethergods and a great sound, and you have the recipe for a good metal show. Again!
Stay tuned for the report from the final day coming soon!
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