Celebration of metal on the island of hell, part 2/2

Author Konsta Hietaniemi - 20.8.2021

Having almost recovered from the previous day I set foot on the ferry of hell once more ready to cross off one more band from my to-see list right out the gate. Rytmihäiriö‘s gig was one of the highlights of the festival for me, and they were the first band on the main stage on Saturday. On my way I stopped by to listen to a few songs from Silver Bullet, an up and coming unit of epic power metal that had won their slot on this festival in a band competition. It wasn’t hard to see why as the playing was tight, the songs sounded interesting, and the atmosphere and chemistries on stage seemed great.

Several people were already gathered in the shadow of the spurgugram in wait for the messengers of alcohol and homicides. Finally an ominous sounding prayer to Satan starts playing from the speakers, after which the band appears and goes right into “Viinahampaat“. Frankly, I was slightly surprised that a proper pit didn’t yet break out during the second song “Olen kännissä“, but the audience did liven up towards the end of the set, especially during classics like “Paluu raittiusleiriltä” and “Saatana on herra“. The band threw around some friendly banter and told some stories between the songs clearly having fun being on stage again. During the night, a few metal barriers had appeared in front of the main stage. Their purpose never became clear to me, but they effectively formed a kind of a circular area between them, which the audience effectively utilized for certain rotational activities.

After Rytmihäiriö I decided to have some lunch. The previous day I had laid my eyes on the delicious looking spit roasted pig that was being served next to the small Rock ‘n Tits stage and decided to have my Saturday’s lunch right there. The meal, which also included coleslaw and baguette, could have been slightly bigger for that price (also, the baguette was far from fresh). The rest, especially the pork, was delicious, though, and I’d say it was worth it. Barely, but still. After a moment of confusion-ridden curiosity caused by the artsy burlesque show on the aforementioned small stage I thought I’d check out a bit of Lähiöbotox.

This young Finnish rap metal outfit fronted by rappers Seksikäs-Suklaa and Dosdela was tearing up the main stage as I arrived. Judging by the audience they were a welcome addition to the lineup, and after a moment of observing I could see why. Generally speaking, few metal subgenres manage to appeal to me less than rap metal, but somehow I still found the group’s performance quite entertaining. The riffs are heavy and have a strong tendency to cause head-bopping. The delivery of the two frontmen seems to fit heavier music, too, and I like the aggression and energy the band has.

During the gig I set myself under a tree at the edge of the area, since it slowly began to rain. It was originally my intention to check out some bands I had never heard of on Saturday, but the ever heavier rain combined with the tiredness from the previous day diminished my motivation to do that quite effectively. I did catch some of Satan’s Fall‘s set, and the band’s classical heavy metal sounded very impressive. Not wearing anything waterproof I quickly decided to secure my place underneath the tree again to enjoy Lost Society‘s show.

Which was one of the highlights of Saturday, hands down. The band never disappoints live. The sheer technical skill combined with an insane energy and kick ass songs is a familiar package for anyone who’s ever seen this young quartet in a live setting. As enjoyable as it always is, though, I do have a minor complaint: frontman Samy Elbanna, while definitely a master at what he does, tries just a bit too hard sometimes. Dude, the audience loves you and they will scream for you and your amazing songs even if you don’t ask them to do so between every song and in the middle of most. This might just be my pet peeve, however, and the audience definitely doesn’t seem to mind. They were going nuts despite the rain. And despite the set containing basically no thrash metal at all. Yes, it does indeed seem that Lost Society has managed to avoid being shackled by their thrash roots, which is even more impressive considering the quality of their debut album. The setlist consisted mostly of their latest full length, “No Absolution”, with “Riot” and “I Am The Antidote” being the only exceptions. A special mention goes to “Into Eternity“. It’s been a while since I listened to Lost Society, so my humblest thank yous to the band for adding the song into the setlist and, thus, reminding me that such a masterpiece exists.

After the gig I set upon a quest to find myself a plastic raincloak, since the protection offered by the tree was growing less and less effective as the rain intensified. Also, I wanted to get closer to the stage for the last gig of the day. Luckily, after a few misses, I found a place that had some. I went back to the main stage and sat down listening to Diablo‘s gig from further away. Despite being a rather big name in Finnish metal Diablo had somehow never caught my attention. The gig was quite enjoyable, though, and some really cool songs which I had never heard before managed to keep my tired, soaked and frustrated ass entertained, especially towards the end of the gig. Yes, I do have to admit that I almost considered going home a bit earlier at some point. Well, I’ll stick around for a couple Mokoma songs I decided.

As Saturday’s headliner walked on stage, those thoughts magically disappeared. It was the combination of the band’s uplifting presence and the entire audience waving their hands to set opener “Hei hei heinäkuu” that made me forget about the rain and the emptiness of my social battery entirely. The song, with lyrical lines such as “there is summer somewhere”, was the perfect way to start the main show of the rainy Saturday, and it only got better as the band went directly into the in-your-face thrasher “Kuollut, kuolleempi, kuollein” (unless Finnish lyrics in general are a turn off for you, I most warmly recommend that song as a gateway to the rest of Mokoma‘s discography). The rest of the setlist followed suit being very hit-oriented. Live staples like “Sydänjuuret“, “Kesytä perkeleet” and “Sinne missä aamu sarastaa” were delivered with the usual skill, energy and dedication one might expect from Mokoma. Surely, there were no surprises, but as someone who hasn’t seen Mokoma that many times, the gig was a blast and closed off the festival in a wonderful way. There was even a wall of death during one song, and if that doesn’t embody the pure energetic joy of having metal festivals back I don’t know what does.

Photos: Sami Hinkkanen, Outi Puhakka, AJ Johansson