Hammer 2013, pre-party: Double dose of Down Under delirium

Hammer Open Air pre-party: Vomitor & Portal – PRKL Club, Helsinki – July 17, 2013

If you don’t count the official warm-up show at PRKL Club in May – with death/doom crushers Cataleptic, ancient death ritualists Lantern and blood-soaked black metal maniacs Hellspirit delivering the evils – the fourth sessions of hammering and being hammered began with a Wednesday pre-party at the same Helsinki venue. This time it wasn’t just about a bunch of quality domestic names, though, as Turku’s Metallihelvetti had gotten Aussies Vomitor to disrupt their Satan’s Escalation Tour with a visit to our forbidden frozen zone ruled by polar bears and suicidal knife-fighting eskimos. However, what made this date all the more special was it being one of the few on this European crusade to also include their countrymen Portal.

Not least because of their peculiar – to say the least – stage garment, I had been looking forward to seeing Portal live with great excitement, but even their crooked and unearthly death metal terror by itself is notable among today’s toothless food for ears. The whole clan appeared expectedly disguised, with vocalist The Curator sporting a new, indescribably bizarre costume. Despite being stylishly masked and veiled, this one lost to the earlier fucked-up wizard hat and cuckoo clock looks, but the tentacular fingers were a particularly nice touch. The meat was in the aural horror, though, with the oppressively chaotic churning conquering my cranium with its hungry tentacles. What we were witnessing was so beyond reason and our regular realm of experience that those of us who didn’t walk away after listening to the discomforting and monotonous murmur for five minutes or less could only stand in awe and nod our heads in mesmerized trance.

On the contrary, Vomitor’s deathrashing terror was much more live-friendly, working as a great soundtrack to a raging gang bang of fists, hair and beer. Their appearance at the first Hammer Open Air had disappointingly slipped through my fingers more or less, so seeing this club show felt very rewarding and redeeming. The band’s primitive old-school pounding also counterbalanced Portal’s hazier abyssal adventures in a way that made the night an unforgettable feast of Down Under delirium of the highest order.

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Photography: Portal | Vomitor

Feature continues: Hammer 2013, Friday: Please let me die in Lieto

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