Long time readers of the PiercingMetal site and blog know full well just how much the Command HQ enjoys the Metal offerings of Finland. Yep, for quite a few years (even before starting the whole process that you see before you) I had been enjoying the likes of Nightwish, Sonata Arctica, HIM and many more. Now a few short years ago we became fast friends with one Samuel Jyhla, who we often refer to as our “Finnish Ambassador”. We call him this based on his continual keeping this side of the fence in the loop with the goings on back home and bringing us up to date on bands that already or might pique our interest. A few short weeks ago, Samuel went home to visit and attended the Tuska Open Air Festival. This is a massive event held in Helsinki, Finland that is primarily dedicated to Metal and I while I have wanted to go for a couple of years it has just not been logistically possible for me to do so. During a recent meetup with Sammy, he showed me some of the photos that he took from the audience at Tuska and when I asked if he wanted to share them with all of you he said “sure”. I even added some notes about his overall perceptions, but kept them brief and succinct. Just click the various band logos to be taken to the full gallery of shots that he let us post.
The King is NOT dead, all Hail The King! One of the artists that I was most interested in hearing about from Samuel was the great King Diamond who has not been on a proper US tour for quite a few years based on health concerns. As you will see in the images, the King is back in total command of his Metal game and delivering the sinister goods in the fashion that we expect of him. He appeared to have a massive stage setup and was bringing the dramas of his music to life with other players in addition to his rock solid band. There has been rumor of a live concert film from the King for a few years and I would really love to see that. I also wonder just when we can count on seeing a Mercyful Fate reunion. I never saw them back in the day.
Sammy mentioned how this next band was new to his Metal ears and called Battle Beast. That is a great name in my book and the female fronted band delivered some serious good he maintained. He suggested that I look into them in the future and I shall for sure. Sadly he did not have a lot of photos of this particular band and was saving his card for the main events. I don’t blame him since I get nervous with my memory cards when they start to fill up. This band is fronted by Noora Louhimo who joined in 2012 but they have been around since 2008 according to my research.
Stratovarius remains one of the most important legacy Finnish Metal exports and while there is no longer a single original member in the lineup, they have maintained course never to be detained by any adversity. They recently released a live DVD and their newest album is called “Nemesis” that I have been spinning for several weeks and it kicks butt. The band is now also 80% Finnish, as long time drummer Jorg Michael has stepped down and been replaced by Rolf Pilve (their keyboardist Jens is Swedish in case you didn’t know). They are quite an energetic band in the live sense which you can see by these images that Samuel took and I look forward to their return to the states.
We wind down this adventure with the fantastic Nightwish. The juggernaut of the festival itself and probably one of the biggest touring acts from Finland at this point in time. I very simply love almost everything that this band does and they were the first writeup that I ever did way back in 2003. The last time I caught Nightwish live, they were in NYC on their “Imaginaerum” tour and while the band appeared initially with their second singer Annette Olzon, they would leave the country with Floor Jansen (formerly of After Forever) at the microphone after a bit of drama. Sadly the band did not do a return run to this part of the world because I think Floor is amazing so I was listening to every word Samuel said about them. He said that she was probably one of the best live singers he had ever seen and one of the main things that impressed him was how she did every single vocal note that had been originally delivered by Tarja Turunen (the bands first singer for those new to the program). He mentioned how the band was doing songs that had not been done for awhile such as “She Is My Sin” (a FAVORITE of mine), “Dark Chest Of Wonders” and “Romanticide” as Floor did not seem to have any issues with the higher, stratospheric register. Needless to say by the end of our discussion I was praying to the Metal powers that be that they not only return to the states with Floor but also that they offer her the gig. I bet she will do an incredible job if they ask her to sign up for the long haul. They’re already an exciting live band in my eyes so I already know I am in for a treat when I see them with Floor.
Our friendly neighborhood Finnish Ambassador also snared some side images which I was glad to find being the case because I do that sort of thing in my reporting as well. Here are some of those photos for your indulgence. The first two shots show the audience gathering and watching the shows.
This shot in particular amused me since I see two friends from the Metal scene in it. The chap with the white hair and glasses is Mark Gromen from Bravewords.com (one of our very favorite resources for Metal news and information without fluff…..a true leader for the medium) and the rather stern looking dude in the boss shades is non other than the great Frank White. Frank was one of the first photographers I ever met when I stepped into the pit and I always enjoy hearing his stories from the shows gone by.
Well that is all we have for you so we send out a rousing “Kiitos” to Samuel for allowing me to showcase these images with our worldwide readership, I know I speak for all of you when I say just how we appreciate that kindness. Now be sure to follow these groups via their official website pages which are linked below, along with the festival link itself AND by all means keep them afloat by purchasing their albums. I’ve embedded some links to Amazon.com below their websites for you to investigate. Now to start adding cash to that “Must Go To Tuska Festival” fund 🙂
King Diamond: http://www.kingdiamondcoven.com/site/
Battle Beast: http://www.battlebeast.fi/
Tuska Open Air Festival: http://www.tuska-festival.fi/