Festival report: Saturday 11.6 at South Park Festival, Tampere

The festival season has now started for my part as I attended South Park festival as one should in June. This time only Saturday for me though. This year the festival offered acts such as Slayer, Triptykon, Amorphis and Battle Beast on Friday, while Bullet for My Valentine was the headliner on Saturday after Soilwork, Diablo, Thunderstone, Powerwolf and others had done their bit. The selection of bands was considerably more orientated towards heavier music this year compared to the two previous; a development I welcome gladly.

I really looked forward to seeing Thunderstone. I have only seen the band one time before, and I believe that was nine years ago in Kalajoki. It was good to see singer Pasi Rantanen back in business after being absent from the band for some years. The band entered the stage already at 2:30 p.m. so the audience was not huge at the time, but more and more people were drawn towards the main stage during the set. Thunderstone offered songs from all of their six studio albums, which I find very positive. Furthermore, four songs from the new album and three songs from Evolution 4.0 is perfect in my opinion.

  1. Veterans of the Apocalypse
  2. Forevermore
  3. The Path
  4. Higher
  5. Dirt Metal
  6. Through the Pain
  7. 10.000 Ways
  8. Down With Me
  9. Let the Demons Free
  10. Tool of the Devil
  11. Until We Touch the Burning Sun

Thunderstone released the album Apocalypse Now in April this year, and the four songs they played from it worked well live. I have not listened through the album that many times yet, but I can say that it is a grower. Thus, I hope they will play some of the other songs live as well later on. Rantanen seemed to have problems with the higher notes in the beginning, but to his defence I believe there was some problem with his microphone. At least it sounded better after he got another one. The new always smiling drummer Atte Palokangas is also fun to watch and he plays really well, which applies to the rest of the band members as well.

Nino Laurenne of Thunderstone. Photo by Jukka Vahter.

One thing that I found strange was that Thunderstone only played the first slower part of Down With Me and then passed on to Let the Demons Free. There would have been time to play the whole song, and I think it is a little unnecessary to play only a part of song that is not so terribly long in the first place. This is obviously not a big deal, but I really would have liked to hear the whole of Down With Me since it is a great song. One thing I really enjoy with Thunderstone live is the fact that the members master the art of singing in parts really well. Many bands rely on backtracks in situations which require several voice parts, but Thunderstone manages singing in parts well without such assistance, which gives plus points in my book. During the last song, Until We Touch the Burning Sun, it started to rain a little after being sunny for quite a while. The irony.

After getting our things to the hotel and finding something to eat, we returned to the festival area to watch Powerwolf, a band I have absolutely no experience of. I would say that they sound quite a great deal like Sabaton, but I prefer the voice of Powerwolf’s singer Attila Dorn any day of the week. Anyway, the band members look like they play black metal although they play quite straight forward power metal with some darker influences. There is apparently some kind of werewolf/vampire thing going on here, and some song titles and lyrics may appear quite dark at first. However, a closer look on lyrics and titles reveals that the band does not take themselves all too seriously. They are pretty fun to watch and there is not really anything to complain about music wise. In my opinion there is a little too much talking and trying to get the audience to sing all kinds of long melodies (which by the way is really difficult if one is new to the song). Powerwolf could have played another song instead. Oh, and another thing. Why does this band not have a bass player? Powerwolf will return to Finland in October to play in Helsinki and Tampere again.

Powerwolf. Photo by Jukka Vahter.

Next out on the main stage was Swedish Soilwork. I have seen these guys live many times these last years, and I can say that they never disappoint. They always get the crowd going with their faster songs such as Follow the Hollow,  and the band’s energy seems to be contagious. The sound mix has not been that great some of the times I have seen them live before, but this time it was really good, which Soilwork is definitely worthy of. Singer Björn “Speed” Strid really shone this Saturday evening and nailed pretty much all the difficult higher notes as well as everything else. It was probably the best performance by him that I have seen. This time the band had a stand-in drummer, since Dirk Verbeuren is currently playing with Megadeth. Danish stand-in Bastian Thusgaard does not impede Soilwork at all, but is fully capable of playing Verbeuren’s tricky rhythms. All in all, Soilwork once again treated the audience to a well played set and finished with Stabbing the Drama, which is always a killer song live. Do catch these guys live if you have not already.

Then it was time for Diablo on the tent stage. I have now seen the band live three times in a year, and I think this gig was better than the two previous ones. This is mostly due to the fact that this was the first time that they had no technical issues, which meant that the flow of the set was much more enjoyable. Diablo played songs such as Symbol of Eternity, Trail of Kings, The Call, Savage, Mimic47, The Preacher and Prince of the Machine. Read My Scars is a song that works unbelievably well live, also this time. Singer/guitarist Rainer Nygård shouts “READ”, and the audience answers “MY SCARS”. One song that I have been dying to hear is D.O.A from the album Mimic47, but I do not think that they have played that one at all since they returned from their hiatus. Also, it would be awesome to hear the title track from Silvër Horizon, which I know that they have played, but sadly not with me present. Of course, Diablo only had an hour to play this time, so it is not realistic to expect any rarities.

Diablo on the tent stage. Photo by Jukka Vahter.

Diablo is getting into a really great live shape and the songs sound tight as three guys in the backseat of a Nissan Micra. I want to take a moment to appreciate lead guitarist Marko Utriainen, who is probably one of the most underrated guitar players in the country. Namely, I would say that he is one of the best. The very guitar driven sound of Diablo makes heavy demands, which Utrianen delivers in a very refined manner. All the band members do a very fine job, and the tent crowd got to see a Diablo that is certainly back in business.

Bullet for My Valentine got the honour to bring this year’s South Park to a close. It has been quite a while since I last saw these guys live, and that time the sound was awful. This time it was great. BFMV has actually developed into a really good live act these past years, and I am actually a little surprised by how well they perform now. One reason to the clear improvement is the new bass player/(backing) vocalist Jamie Mathias, who is actually both a better singer and screamer than the band’s front man Matt Tuck. This does not mean that Tuck is bad, only that Mathias is better. Mathias steps into the breach in the more difficult singing parts, for example the refrain of You Want a Battle? (Here’s a War). Consequently, this results in a better performance on the whole since Tuck now gets some relief which means that he can do his own parts better. Also, the two occasionally burst into part-singing and do it with credit.

Bullet for My Valentine. Photo by Jukka Vahter.

I think BFMV played a good selection of songs. The audience was spared from songs like Hearts Burst into Fire, Fever and Temper Temper, and instead the band played heavier songs. The set included tracks like Your Betrayal, Raising Hell, Scream Aim Fire, Tears Don’t Fall, Waking the Demon and my personal favourite Alone (Trivia: Gojira’s Global Warming + outro part of Be’lakor’s Countless Skies = intro of BFMV’s Alone). Just like Soilwork, BFMV also had a stand-in drummer, Jason Bowld. He did a good job. I do not know why in the world he got to have a drum solo though. Seriously, few things bore me as much as drum solos nowadays, mostly because they all turn out so similar. I will not be impressed until anyone brings out congas, bongos or something like that on the stage. Otherwise, there is nothing to complain about concerning BFMV’s gig. Sure, the band did not exactly do anything over-the-top (pun intended), but they perform very professionally and still retain the feeling to their music.

This year’s South Park had about 9000 visitors and it is already clear that the festival will be arranged next year as well. I will probably be there as usual since it is always a very pleasant experience to start the festival season in Eteläpuisto in Tampere.


Ten awesome songs by ten not so renowned Finnish bands

As President Obama recently noticed, Finland may be the country in the world with the most metal bands per capita. This means that the metal genre is responsible for most of Finland’s music export, which seems very much plausible due to prominent bands such as Nightwish, Children of Bodom, Amorphis, HIM and many more. However, since there is such a large amount of rock and metal bands in Finland, a great deal of them remain in the shadows of the giants. Thus, I believe it is only fair that I here present a list of ten really cool songs by ten not so famous bands. Also, lists are fun. I try to compile quite a versatile list of songs so there would be something for everyone.

Private Line – 1-800-Out-of-Nowhere (2004)

Let us start with something more towards rock than metal. I discovered Private Line sometime in my early youth at the dawn of times when 1-800-Out-of-Nowhere appeared on MTV’s show Up North. I immediately took a fancy to the song and I still think it is a good rock track. I seem to remember reading somewhere that Private Line was described as Finland’s own Mötley Crüe. That is not really true. Private Line is actually pretty good. Check out their debut album 21st Century Pirates if you like this track. Feel free not to watch the video, it is quite terrible.


Rapture – To Forget (1999)

I cannot say that Rapture is a band that I have listened to a lot. In fact, I recently found this song, but it is a cool track. It appears on the band’s debut album Futile and it is quite a straightforward melodic death/doom song. It is melancholic and emotional and thus appropriately depressive.


Waltari – Below Zero (2009)

Waltari was probably the band that got me into metal in the first place, even though a great deal of the band’s material could be categorized as something other than that. The album Space Avenue (1997) is still the best in my opinion, while more recent albums have not impressed me so much. However, the title track on the album Below Zero is a great song that shows the band’s potential. I saw Waltari live for the first time some years ago at Leipätehdas in Vaasa. It was a very distressing experience since we were about 20 people in the audience. That is not okay for such a cool band as Waltari. Just listen to this.


Bloodred Hourglass – Bastard’s Seed (2015)

Now let us jump to last year to another melodic death metal song. I saw Bloodred Hourglass live a couple of years ago at Nummirock and I really enjoyed their performance. Bastard’s Seed is an eight-minute track with some really cool riffs and melodies. The song is from the album Where the Oceans Burn, which is the band’s second full length record. I could not find this song in its solitude on Youtube, so here is the whole album. It should start from Bastard’s Seed when you hit play if I have done this right.


Bloodpit – Platitude (2005)

Let us continue with something a little slower. Bloodpit sounds like something brutal, but it is actually really a hard rock band. Those of you who have played NHL 07 have heard this song before, but you may very well have forgotten about it. A very memorable chorus, peculiar low tempo verses and the intriguing voice of  singer/guitarist Matthau Mikojan makes a really interesting song. It is from the band’s debut album Mental Circus, but it seems that Bloodpit is not around anymore these days. That is a shame since I think these guys were on to something.


Catamenia – Kuolon Tanssi (2003)

And now it is time for the mandatory kick in the balls, so let us turn up the tempo. Kuolon Tanssi is the first track of Catamenia’s Chaos Born, and this is also a song I found recently. I usually do not listen much to any kind of black metal but this rather melodic song just hits me hard. Brutal but yet beautiful in its own way, this song gets the party started.


Zero Nine – Banging on Drums (1986)

Now we turn on our heels like a diehard fan of nothing else than ‘true’ metal does when confronted with progressive and more complex music. I am going 80’s on you now. Banging on Drums is found on Zero Nine’s fifth studio album called Intrigue. Singer Keijo “Kepa” Salmirinne’s voice is indeed both unique and intriguing, which are the main reasons to the greatness of this song. It awakes childhood memories in me since I was only a little snotty-nosed kid when I heard this track back in the 90’s. It was awesome back then and, I’ll be darned, it is still awesome now.


Tracedawn – Without Walls (2008)

I saw Tracedawn live a hundred years ago at Sauna Open Air in Tampere, and I remember that I listened to this song from their debut album before the festival to know what kind of band it was. To be honest, I had forgotten about Without Walls for a long time, but when I found it again I realized how great it is. I am also realizing now that this list is turning out to be some kind of a trip down memory lane for me. Oh, age. Why are you imposing your earthly burden upon me?


Thunderstone – Holding on to My Pain (2007)

We need a plain heavy metal track as well. Holding on to My Pain is one of Thunderstone’s best songs. I believe few would agree with me, but the album Evolution 4.0 is in my opinion their strongest release since it is their most creative one. By the way, Thunderstone just released their new album Apocalypse Again, so be sure to check that out since singer Pasi Rantanen is back after being absent from the band’s 2009 release Dirt Metal. But for now, let us hold on to our pain.


October Falls – A Collapse of Faith Part II (2010)

Let us wrap this up with an almost 18-minute epic doom/folk/black/ambient metal song by October Falls. The album A Collapse of Faith consists of three parts, so this second part is slightly taken out of its context here. Still, it is a great track and it is without a doubt a grower for me. The atmosphere that this creates is something that really gets to me. Furthermore, the immensely beautiful piano ending is a great way to finish this list.

So there it is then. I hope you found at least something you liked that you have not heard before. If some of you have actually heard all of these songs, you are highly educated and  you shall have my eternal respect.

I come with great news

This has been a good week. Firstly, Finland has advanced to the final of the ice hockey World Championship. Secondly, Insomnium released the album details of their upcoming record on their official Facebook page. The album is called Winter’s Gate (originally Talven Portti in Finnsh), and will consist of one forty-minute song based on a award-winning short story about Vikings written in 2007. What makes this even more astounding is the fact that the band’s vocalist/bassist Niilo Sevänen is the author of the story! Apparently, in addition to producing great growls and bass lines, Sevänen is also a top-notch writer. The album will come with the actual book in Finnish, English and German. I can barely stay in my pants. I really like these kinds of conceptual albums, since one of my all-time favourite albums happens to be the one-hour-one-song album Light of Day, Day of Darkness by Norwegian Green Carnation. I really can’t wait for this! Winter’s Gate will be out on September 23rd.

And there were even more good news to come. I assume we have all been greatly affected by the great void Poisonblack left in the Finnish music scene when the band reported that they would take a hiatus and possibly will not return anymore. Now it turns out that vocalist/guitarist Ville Laihiala has started a new band called S-TOOL. Soundi reports that the band, in addition to Laihiala, consists of drummer Aksu Hanttu (Entwine), bassist Kimmo Hiltunen (Lullacry) and guitarist Sami Leppikangas. Laihiala describes the band’s sound as more straightforward and heavier than Poisonblack and Sentenced, and he draws parallels to Pantera and Entombed. Check out the new video for Shovel Man below!

POISONBLACK to end their career

Poisinblack, Lyijy Promo pics 2013Poisonblack, Drive Promo pics, 2011

Sad news, friends. Poisonblack has decided that 15 years ad 6 albums of music is enough.

Poisonblack was formed in 2000 in Oulu, and the line-up these last few years looked like this:

  • Ville Laihiala – Vocals, Guitar
  • Tarmo Kanerva – Drums
  • Antti Remes – Bass
  • Marco Sneck – Keyboards
  • Antti Leiviskä – Guitar

Previous members: JP Leppäluoto (Vocals), Janne Markus (Guitar)

The fans have been expecting something like that, but nothing of this magnitude.

Tarmo Kanerva (drums) explains what’s going on:

” This decision (to put the band on hold, hit the breaks, stop the carousel) is Ville’s (Laihiala), and he has felt this way from the beginning of this year. Poisonblack is and always was formed by Ville and strongly based on the music and lyrics of Ville. We (other members) fully respect him on this.”

“We definitely faced some sort of lack of a greater mutual agreement on the direction of the band music wise, and our latest record deal ended with Lyijy. It’s not a great asset for new record deal negotiations, if the band itself doesn’t really have a clear vision on their work.”

“We delayed publishing this announcement until the day of the very last gig, since the majority of the band did simply want to enjoy being on stage, and there is no drama between us that would keep us from reuniting some day. With that being said, we do not have any plans for the future as Poisonblack. “

Thank you, Tarmo.

Kouvola, Novemeber 2013.
Kouvola, Novemeber 2013.

This is copied from the band’s Facebook page:


Greetings oxygen spenders. After these last 15 years we have reached the point in our career that it’s time to stop and think about the future. Thou it has been a great ride with ups and downs, great friends, audiences and whatever has been thrown at us, we’re going to hit the brakes now and lay the band to rest. For how long remains to be seen. As you all know, it has to be 100% or not at all. Personally, I really have to think about that long and hard.

On behalf of the band I want to thank the people who have supported us throughout the years. Labels, managers, promoters, clubs, festivals, crews… and especially the fans. Without you this could not have been possible.

Take care y’all



I personally have loved Poisonblack a whole lot. Their music has changed a lot during the years but that’s not a bad thing. The band has always been a great pleasure to meet and have had good fun on stage. Thank you for the music, guys. It has given me a lot, a lot of energy throughout the years!

Share your memories of the band, leave your greetings whatever they are, here on the comment section! We all know they have far more fans than you’d actually think. 

Festival report: Saturday 20.6 at Nummirock, Kauhajoki

Nummirock is a really old school type of festival, positioned at the shore of the lake Nummijärvi, pretty much in the middle of the woods. It has been around since 1987. Nummirock offered a really strong line-up this year, including bands such as Testament, Arch Enemy, Heaven Shall Burn, Amaranthe, Moonsorrow, Diablo, Eluveitie and Insomnium. However, I was only present on Saturday.

Arriving quite late, Amaranthe was the first band for the undersigned. The band seems to have a strong fan base in Finland and this also showed during this gig. Their characteristic industrial metal works well live and the singers are indeed very good. The band pointed out that their first festival gig actually took place at Nummirock in 2011 and thus seized the opportunity to thank the Finnish fans. As always, the band performed almost indecently flawless set containing songs such as “Digital World”, “Massive Addictive”, “Amaranthine” and “Drop Dead Cynical”.

Olof Mörck and Elize Ryd of Amaranthe. Photo: MarkusHelanderPhotography
Olof Mörck and Elize Ryd of Amaranthe. Photo: MarkusHelanderPhotography

The following band on the main stage was the legendary thrash metal band Testament, whose set consisted mostly of songs from their two first albums. Ruthlessly fast tempo while the singer Chuck Billy occasionally rotated the circle pit with his special mini microphone stand. The members seemed to enjoy themselves and were impressed of a guy who climbed quite high up in pine to get his hands on a gigantic guitar pick which Billy accidentally threw there. I would not have minded if Testament had played some of their newer material as well, but it was still a really good set. These guys still got what it takes to play thrash metal.

Because of desperate need for food, I missed some of Carnalation‘s songs, but I saw enough to form myself some kind of an opinion. The band plays death/grind, which actually was quite a lot better than I expected. I like that this band also have some clean singing, because it adds a balance to this type of music, which in other cases often becomes slightly tiresome in my opinion. Fast tempo mixed with heavy breakdowns makes Carnalaton quite interesting.

Next up on the Inferno Stage was Eluveitie, probably the folkiest of all folk metal bands. The Swiss band consists of no less than seven members and, in addition to the regular instruments of metal music, includes pipes (and other wind instruments), violin and the mighty hurdy gurdy. The mandola is occasionally also used. This is without a doubt a very skilled band since it all works brilliantly live. I have not listened much to Eluveitie, but many in the audience seemed to know the songs quite well and the atmosphere was jolly during the set, resulting in different types of ring games. The band played some of the songs acoustically, including “A Rose for Epona”, and also gave the audience a chance to choose the English or the Swiss German version of the song “The Call of the Mountains”. The audience cheered for the Swiss Germans version, which was really nice. I like the fact that the songs vary very much from each other, mostly because of the use of both growls of Chrigel Glanzmann and clean female vocals of Anna Murphy, occasionally in harmony with the violinist Nicole Ansperger. With Murphy smiling almost all the time, it is very hard not to enjoy this. The band also seemed to enjoy themselves and they radiate a very sympathetic impression. A great performance in every way.

Eluveitie. Photo: Jussi Panula.
Eluveitie. Photo: Jussi Panula.

This year’s final band at Nummirock was Diablo, who performed the only festival gig of the summer here after a four and half years break.

1. Symbol of Eternity
2. Read My Scars
3. Angel
4. Icon of Flesh
5. Resign from Life
6. Damien
7. Isolation
8. Trail of Kings
9. Queen of Entity
10. The Call
11. Living Dead Superstar
12. Mimic47

13. Icaros
14. The Preacher
15. Into the Sea

The band experienced some technical difficulties throughout the whole gig, which sadly made things a little slow. Singer and guitarist Rainer Nygård was also in a very chatty mood, which consumed a little too much time in my opinion. However, the songs were crushing, although Nygård seemed to forget the lyrics at some points. Diablo played two new songs that will be featured on the upcoming album “Silvër Horizon” in the autumn. “Isolation” and “The Call” sounded very promising, so stay tuned for the new album which will be released 18th September. Since I have not heard Diablo live before, I would have liked to hear “D.O.A.”, but the setlist was satisfactory anyway. “Into the Sea” works surprisingly well live and was a massive finish to the night. Diablo is certainly back in the game, perhaps even stronger than ever.

The mighty finish of Diablo. Photo: MarkusHelanderPhotgraphy.
The mighty finish of Diablo. Photo: MarkusHelanderPhotography.

Festival report: Radio City South Park, Tampere 5-6.6

This year’s Radio City South Park festival had a considerably more international and stronger line up than last year with bands such as Def Leppard, Accept, Helloween, Extreme and Masterplan. The festival was a success as the number of visitors reached about 11 000, which is a clear improvement from 2014.


The progressive power metal band Masterplan was the opening act on the main stage and entertained the audience with a well performed set. I am not too familiar with the band, but I have heard some songs before. I usually have a problem with bands that have only one guitarist, since the live act often suffers when there is no rhythm guitar during the solos, but that did not annoy me with Masterplan. The singer Rick Altzi is known to me because he was the singer on Thunderstone’s 2009 release “Dirt Metal”, and it was interesting to see him live. After a somewhat tentative start, the band got going with a little heavier sound than the regular power metal bands.

The power metal theme continued when Stratovarius entered the main stage. As always, the band delivered a professional set including old hits like “Eagleheart”, “Black Diamond” and “Hunting High and Low”, but also “Unbreakable” and “Dragons” from the newest album “Nemesis”. I would not mind if the band would drop some of the old hits from the set, because I have heard them so many times live that it is getting hard to appreciate them anymore. Not bad in any way, but nothing sensational either.

Next up on the main stage was Accept, with one of metal’s finest bassist-guitarist duos; Peter Baltes and Wolf Hoffmann. It is always truly enjoyable to see these guys live and I often find myself smiling during their gigs. Of all the classic metal bands, Accept probably has the best live act nowadays. This time’s highlights were “Pandemic”, “Teutonic Terror” and of course the legendary “Balls to the Wall”. What I also like about their live shows is the fact that they leave out unnecessary chatting between the songs and play as many songs as they have time for instead. Top-notch and definitely the best act of the first day.

Wolf Hoffmann of Accept. Photo by Jukka Vahter
Wolf Hoffmann of Accept. Photo by Jukka Vahter.

Teräsbetoni was the following band on the tent stage and played the whole debut album “Metallitotuus” as a special ten-year anniversary. There is no denying that Jarkko Ahola is an incredible singer, and the band treated the tent audience to an entertaining set including the old hits “Taivas Lyö Tulta” and “Orjatar”. Impossible to take seriously but fun to watch.

The last band to enter the stage on Friday was Extreme. This band apparently had some hits in the 90’s, but they are pretty much unknown to me. However, people seemed to at least know the words to the song “More Than Words”. There were some good songs in the set, but it felt like they do not really have enough decent material to play a longer gig. Now there were long guitar solos to kill some time and I really do not like that. Furthermore, the songs in the end of the set sounded more like country than rock, which does not really work at this type of a festival. Other than that, Extreme performed very well, but I still think that Accept should have been the last band to play on Friday instead. Also, I kind of wanted the set to end prematurely since I was about to freeze to death. But at least it did not rain.


Well look at that. Rain. However, I managed to stay dry the whole day, so I should not complain. I cannot understand how people wearing t-shirt and shorts survived the day as it was windy and probably no more than 12-13°C when the rain had fallen for a while. But everything is possible with alcohol, as they say (no, no one really says that).

The strangest act I saw of the whole festival was Viikate playing some Motörhead songs, in addition to their own songs. The twist here was that the band had made Finnish lyrics to the songs. They should not have done that. In fact, they should not have played Motörhead songs at all, because it did not sound good. I could barely recognize which songs were Viikate’s own and which were covers because they all sounded the same. So why play covers then? And nobody wants to hear Motörhead songs that do not at all sound like Motörhead. Strange and unnecessary.

After this it was time for the young and talented Santa Cruz on the tent stage. Even though the genre is not really my cup of tea, I think they have something good going on. The singer impresses me with his high notes which surely are difficult to manage live. The band has good energy and a cool vibe. Some of their songs tend to get a little humdrum, but that is the only thing that kind of bugs me. The audience seemed to enjoy the set which contained songs like “We Are the Ones to Fall” and “Wasted & Wounded”.

Santa Cruz. Photo by Jukka Vahter
Santa Cruz. Photo by Jukka Vahter.

Next up on the main stage was good ol’ Amorphis. The band played the first gig of the festival summer and performed very well, as usual. Amorphis is without a doubt one of Finland’s best live bands. However, I found the set of songs a little dull this time.

1. Hopeless Days
2. The Wanderer
3. Sampo
4. Silver Bride
5. The Smoke
6. Silent Waters
7. Towards and Against
8. Against Widows
9. You I Need
10. My Kantele
11. House of Sleep

I was really happy to get to hear “Towards and Against” since they have not played it many of the times I have seen them, and it is also one of my favourite songs of the band. The rest of the set had a little too much of a greatest hits feeling to it for my taste. I was surprised that they did not play any song from “Tales From the Thousand Lakes”, as they have played the whole album on some shows in the winter and will also do so at least at Tuska Open Air later this summer. However, the most shocking thing is that Tomi Joutsen has actually cut his hair shorter. Unreal.

I have seen Helloween at the exact same spot some years ago, and I did not like it much that time. This time was completely different, but I cannot put my finger on why. The new song “My God-Given Right” sounded far better live than I thought it did when I watched the video of it earlier, and it was a really good gig on the whole, with songs such as “If I Could Fly” and “I Want Out”. It annoys me that the band walked off the stage towards the end and expected to get cheered back to play a couple of more songs. This does not work at festival gigs (except for headliners), and some people got confused and started to walk away. Just play another song instead of wasting time on these kinds of things, Helloween.

Helloween still draws attention. Photo by Jukka Vahter.
Helloween still draws attention. Photo by Jukka Vahter.

Last band to enter the tent stage of this year’s festival was the Swedes in Eclipse. This was a surprisingly good performance and nice way to round off the night in the tent. I had not heard anything of these guys before, but they have some kind of a little heavier glam rock going on. Eclipse treated the tent people to an energetic and well-played set, and they probably got some new fans as well.

The headliner of South Park this year was Def Leppard. I must say that I was hit by nostalgia when they opened with “Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop)”. I remember that song well from my childhood, and it was probably one of the songs that got me into rock music. The nostalgia, aside, Def Leppard’s performance was excellent. Most of the songs pretty much sounded like they do when you here them on the radio. The vocal harmonies are still in great shape and really raise the performance. Even though I have never actively listened to the band, I still recognized many of the songs; “Animal”, “Love Bites”, “Pour Some Sugar on Me”, “Let’s Get Rocked” and “Photograph”, to name a few. What a hit machine. Def Leppard certainly brought the festival to a close with dignity.

All in all, South Park was a really positive experience. The only thing to complain about was the placement of the portable toilets. It must have been some kind of a miss in the design since there were lines even though there were unoccupied spots. Apart from that, it was a great festival and I look forward to see what next year’s selection of bands will be like.

Why is KORPIKLAANI  so underrated in Finland?

Because we are stupid, that’s why.

Source: Korpiklaani FB.

Korpiklaani is one of the most popular and well-known metal ambassadors, yet they are not featured in the radio (which we have established earlier, is shit here in the great FIN). They have half a million Facebook followers. They are constantly deployed on big ass tours all around the world.

And they only have one fucking festival booked on their homeland for this summer. How fucked up is that? I have seen them live two times and they are awesome. They throw a party you will never see. They have a fun enthusiastic spirit and it shows, it spreads around the crowd, too. If you have read my previous posts, you might know that I am a regular guest on Finlandia-klubi here in lousy Lahti. Korpiklaani show on October 2012 was THE BEST damn show I have ever witnessed there. I do not understand why they are not booking this band regularly?! After all, you could say Lahti is their home town, home base.

You have better change of catching these guys internationally!

Fist listening in my car

They released their 9th album, NOITA, a few weeks ago. In my books their previous one, MANALA, was one of the best albums ever to have been made (Sumussa Hämärän Aamun, thats a life-changing masterpiece). So once again I had my hopes and expectations well up in the skies. This is not a real album review, because I don’t really do those, but let me just say that it has taken some time to open up to me. That is not a bad thing. It means its gonna be long-lasting experience on finding new things unveiling.

Noita” in the traditional Finnish meaning is different than what people associate it with nowadays. “Noita” is a person with wider knowledge and understanding of the nature and who also was believed to possess paranormal or unnatural abilities. These people were often also referred to as “Tietäjä”, that exactly means someone with wider knowledge and understanding of pretty much everything. Native American medicine man is pretty much the same thing or actually all the different types of Shamans of the primitive peoples are the same thing. “Noita” is someone that you turn to when you need help of some kind. Finnish “Noita” had the ability to heal, just like their North American counterparts. They were very respected members of the society. Only later Christianity changed the word to mean something negative since those people were considered rivals by the church. Even in Finland this turned into a Witchhunt (=noitavaino) every now and then. ” (Jarkko Aaltonen explaining the meaning of Noita)

My fridge.

The thing and the twist with Klaani is, that they have this “Beer beer”- Happy Little Boozer thing going on, but they also go deep into the mythology and skillful playing, And I, as a major history nerd, am happy to learn more meaning to words of our language.

This one is more metal, a little bit heavier and I *think* it has something to do with the producer being Aksu Hanttu  – who also played the drum to the album on this one as in Manala too. Matson is not really keen on the studios, so there’s no drama behind this. Jonne Järvelä does most of the music creating work, but their previous accordionist Juho Kauppinen has been composing 4 of the songs and Tuomas Keskimäki has been helping out with some of the lyrics. The album booklet lacked only one thing; I love reading the Thank You-section and this one didn’t have any. Oh well.

I love this one;

Lempo is a cool song too:

If you haven’t heard of this band before, start here:

and this has been watched over 2 million times:

Jonne and I.
Jonne and I.
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