TUSKA OPEN AIR 2014 – Day III – Helsinki, Finland

TUSKA OPEN AIR 2014 – Day III – Helsinki, Finland

The last day of Tuska greeted us with unwelcoming weather consisting of rain, wind and low temperature. Therefore the festival area was not as crowded as in the previous two days. Quite the opposite, it was close to empty until around the time when Orphaned Land came on stage. However, I refused to let the bad weather stop me from getting there early.

Amendfoil was the first band to get on stage and they played for just about 30 minutes. Unfortunately for them, they played for a modest group of people, the majority of the Tuska public either not arriving yet or choosing to hide from the rain inside a tent. I watched them for a couple of songs, but then I too decided to go to a tent, since their music was not that appealing to me and since I needed to dry myself a bit, before the next concert. Nonetheless, this band deserves a second chance and I would undoubtedly watch them again another time, especially in better weather conditions or in an indoors venue.

POWERWOLF live @ Tuska Open Air 2014
(Photo: Andrea Chirulescu)

A very interesting band that took over the Inferno stage was Powerwolf. Their style includes a lot of corpsepaint, dark costumes and crosses. But don’t let that fool you! Although they have the image of a (Christian?) black metal band, their style is actually very different from that! This German band plays power metal with sections of choir-like singing about themes such as the dark side of Christianity, werewolves and vampires as seen through the eyes of someone who is familiar with the Romanian folklore and tales of such creatures. Their concert was especially intriguing for me because I had never heard them before and was therefore all the time trying to figure out whether they were playing something Christian or just satirical towards religion. They also played well and their theatrical appearance made the show engaging.

EGO FALL live @ Tuska Open Air 2014
(Photo: Andrea Chirulescu)

Another impressive act was the one by Ego Fall, a band from Mongolia that plays death metal/metalcore with folk influences from their home country that includes both traditional instruments and throat singing. The band was extremely energetic on stage and communicated well with the public. But besides their refreshing music, the thing that I liked most about this band was that all of them, but especially the lead singer, seemed to always smile and be very excited to play. Unlike other bands, particularly some of the big ones, which seem bored on stage and consider playing live to be just another day at work, Ego Fall appeared to be genuinely eager to present their materials to the public. I really liked their music and would be thrilled to see them again.

After enjoying my Oriental portion of metal I went back to witnessing the concert of another Finish band, namely Insomnium. Although the temperature was still low and it was raining lightly, the crowd in front of the stage slowly turn bigger thanks to this melodic death metal band. I particularly liked the energy of one of the guitarists, Markus Vanhala, who was always engaged in connecting with the public while still playing exquisitely.

ORPHANED LAND live @ Tuska Open Air 2014
(Photo: Andrea Chirulescu)

Orphaned Land, the second band on the Inferno stage on Sunday, was for me one of the highlights of this year’s Tuska festival. Their one hour show was really stimulating due to their harmonious songs and their great energy on stage. The music, described by the lead singer Kobi Farhi as ‘folk metal from the middle-east’, not only sounded amazing, but also incited the public to dance and to forget for a moment about all the rain and the cold. Even the drummer gave us a sample of belly dancing during the show! They were really proficient also at connecting with the fans and at making them sing and dance along. I can say that Orphaned Land is a stunning live band and I only wished they had the possibility to use more of their traditional instruments on stage.

SATYRICON live @ Tuska Open Air 2014
(Photo: Andrea Chirulescu)

Next after Orphaned Land I went back to the main stage to delight myself with the Satyricon concert. I’m happy they played many of their older songs such as ‘Now, Diabolical’, ‘Repined Bastard Nation’, ‘The Pentagram Burns’, ‘K.I.N.G.’, ‘Fuel for Hatred’ and ‘Mother North’. As at all Satyricon concerts the fans were ecstatic, especially during ‘Mother North’, when they were invited by the band to sing along. The public was generally receptive and I could even see some people trying to do a circle pit in the puddles of rain. Although the rain was quite heavy during this show and everyone was soaking wet, the spirits were still high and the band managed even so to create a good vibe.

Neurosis from Oakland, USA was the second last band of the evening. After a whole day experiencing many stimulating bands, I found Neurosis to be somehow unsuitable since their style was much more different from everything I’ve seen and heard at this year’s festival. The band’s experimental music was a bit too difficult for me to digest at that moment, too slow in rhythm and with too many blank moments within songs where no sounds would come out. Probably in other circumstances I could have enjoyed them live, but this time they just didn’t appear to fit in. 

EMPEROR live @ Tuska Open Air 2014
(Photo: Andrea Chirulescu)

Lastly, Emperor, one of the festival’s main attractions, got on stage. I was thrilled to finally see them live, since for not so long ago I thought this couldn’t be possible anymore. But luckily the band reunited at least for some gigs. Ihsahn, Samoth, Faust and their live musicians did an excellent job delivering the songs. However, other than that, I felt that the show was also somehow boring, since the band didn’t make much effort in connecting with the public. It was rather disappointing not to see any eagerness, especially from Ishahn who gave me the impression that he was there only for the paycheck. Another minus is that they finished playing about 10 minutes earlier than scheduled. I believe that since they were the main headliners, they could have at least made the effort to play for as long as they were supposed to.  Nonetheless, the public reacted very well to the songs, among which were ‘I am the Black Wizards’, ‘Inno a Satana’, ‘Wrath of the Tyrant’ and a cover of Bathory’s ‘A Fine Day to Die’. All in all, the concert was bittersweet, leaving me with mixed feelings regarding Emperor and their interests in playing live.


Looking in retrospect I can say that Tuska 2014 was a success, bringing about 40 talented bands on stage and benefitting of excellent organizers and other staff members who made sure all the concerts would start on time and that the public had everything they needed in order to make the most out of the festival.