Hammer 2013, Friday: Please let me die in Lieto

Hammer Open Air Metal Festival – Mannin navetta, Lieto – Friday, July 19, 2013

…and it’s gone.

After one day and night of catching our breath and brains, it was time for another Friday pre-noon departure from EHS (Etelä-Haagan Shell for the uninitiated), with the sacrificially all-weekend sober Antti behind the wheel, and his turbo-drinking sidekick Juho occupying the map-reader’s spot.  Watching the latter finish three cans of Karhu before we even made it to the highway sure gave a timely wake-up call to our thirst as well, and so the two-and-a-half-hour ride turned out to be smooth satanic sailing in the sea of brew, with just one brief shopping stop, where we happened to run into the Cataleptic caravan. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Adoration of Resuscitated Necrobrains IV: Abhorrence

Abhorrence

With vocalist Jukka providing the only putrid fruits – one demo tape and one 7” EP – of Abhorrence’s brief amok run for download on the band’s website for over ten years already, getting to know this short-lived but significant bunch wasn’t much of an ordeal.  While I couldn’t completely relate to the high praise given to the band by some, Abhorrence was yet another delightfully depraved discovery, and songs like “Vulgar Necrolatry” – perhaps better known from the repertoire of guitarist Tomi’s succeeding band Amorphis – and “Disintegration of Flesh” stood out as some of the most malignant monuments of domestic death metal mastery. Continue reading

Adoration of Resuscitated Necrobrains III: Purtenance

Purtenance

Convulse’s town-mates Purtenance weren’t among my first acquaintances from the olden days, and even after discovering their first and only full-length from 1992, Member of Immortal Damnation, it didn’t reach a very important position in my books.  However, as Purtenance reissues started pouring in over 15 years after the initial release, I gave the album further listens that enhanced my appreciation.  It still might not make it to my top-10 of old Finnish death metal full-lengths, but it’s definitely an essential album to lend your ear to, if you’re one of us craving for that dark, doomy atmosphere of obscurity combined with frenzied waves of decay. Continue reading

Adoration of Resuscitated Necrobrains II: Convulse

Convulse

Quite soon after getting to know Xysma, I started seeing the name of Convulse mentioned here and there, but hunting down their material even in the virtual jungle proved challenging.  After stumbling upon one or two of their later day tracks that were a delightful finding with their xysmic rocking, I soon managed to purchase the second album Reflections on CD for a ridiculous price of 2 euros or so.  The debut World Without God wasn’t quite as easy to track down, though, as it seemed like my searches were mostly just turning up posts from the Relapse Records board, where a certain user was persistently pestering the label to do a re-release of the album.  However, after I emailed the guy in question, he was kind enough to send me the mp3s he had found, and I’m not sure if I’ve ever been as excited about opening a goddamn bunch of files.  It became clear that my high expectations hadn’t been for nothing, as the iconic keyboard intro started creeping down my spine, then launching into the boneheaded brutality and morbid atmosphere that is World Without God. Continue reading

Adoration of Resuscitated Necrobrains: Xysma

Since obsessing over old(school) Finnish death metal will surely be one of the key characteristics of this space, let’s start with my Adoration of Resuscitated Necrobrains article from Enslain #11.  Also, I’ve been too lazy/busy split 7” to write anything actually fresh, so here we go:

Before discovering the musical marvels of Xysma’s early works through the double-CD compilation that Spikefarm graciously put out in late 2004, my only brushes with old Finnish death metal had been some early Amorphis and Sentenced songs, which hadn’t really served as much more than interesting glimpses into the past of bands that were now doing something more interesting to my ears.  However, facing the intensity, atmosphere and originality of Xysma’s music left an inerasable trace in my sonic memory.  The release of the compilation also triggered a fair amount of exposure for the band in the Finnish music media, and their charmingly cruddy old photos and heartwarming stories of tape trading times, youth center gigs and rehearsals in sub-zero conditions added to the compelling aura. Continue reading

The Agonizing Glory of War (and Death Metal)

Tuska Open Air Metal Festival – Suvilahti, Helsinki – June 28–30, 2013

Thursday

The third Tuska in Suvilahti announced itself with quite a bang, as among the first revealed bookings were two legendary names whose return to Finland had been eagerly awaited for years and I had yet to witness in the flesh – death metal warmachine Bolt Thrower and the master of heavy metal horror King Diamond.  As time went on, the rest of the bill didn’t shape up to be quite as mind-blowing as this flaming start might’ve fooled some to expect, but it’s still safe to say that the organizers managed to pull together the most exciting Tuska line-up in years.  At least I caught myself looking forward to the last weekend of June with atypical exhilaration. Continue reading

Re-exploring Hyvinkää’s Secrets of Steel

Steelfest Open Air – Villatehdas, Hyvinkää – May 24–25, 2013

The Steelfest hordes raising their horns for Vomitory one last time

After having successfully come out of the closet into the event horizon of the metal public in 2012, this time Steelfest had taken their game up a notch and notably multiplied the amount of foreign names on the roster.  Established legends like Sodom and Mayhem were accompanied by several less obvious and more underground visitors from abroad, and domestic extreme metal know-how was again well-represented by a plethora of Finland’s finest – from rarely seen oldheads to some of today’s most promising newcomers. Continue reading

Quite a Painless Korn gig (featuring Entombed)

KORN & ENTOMBED, Helsinki Ice Hall, July 6, 2009

The number one reason I chose to attend this gig, was that Pain was listed as a warm-up act.Pain and Entombed opening for Korn?Sounded unlikely, and therefore, cool.To my dismay, Pain’s announced cancellation occurred just days after my announced accreditation.Still, didn’t sound like a bad evening after all, and no other events were overlapping it on this summer Monday. Continue reading

Sinisthra play Lojo. Ain’t no hölynpöly.

On the same Friday that Black Sun Aeon (which features the main hahmo from Before the Dawn, and singers from Sinamore and Sotajumala) were to play their possibly first Helsinki gig, and Spiritus Mortis (long-time doom band now featuring Albert of Reverend Bizarre) were to play in Turku with Lord Vicar (another offshoot from the Rev…) & Fleshpress, there was announced to be a break-all-other-plans-and-drive-to-Lohja band, Sinisthra. (Featuring Mr. Joutsen of Amorphis, and whose drummer Erkki can be credited for gracefully translating into English the lyrics of some later Amo releases). I could do more name dropping if I chose to, but this bolded paragraph is already suffocating. Continue reading

Heavy. Metal. and other related cogitations.