Hammer Open Air 2013
Finland has a lot of metal festivals trough the year, but for many die-hard enthusiast Hammer Open Air is the only one worth showing up. Festival is organized by Kold Reso Kvlt and this is the fourth time the Hammer has been raised. For the second time place has been in Mannin navetta (Barn of Mann) which is in county of Lieto, location is 20 minutes away from Turku. From Turku to Hammer there where festival-busses going constantly which made life a lot easier for many festival goers. Hammer is restricted to adults only, which is why people can enjoy their beverages everywhere in the festival area. This of course leaves out the young audience but it makes it even more enjoyable for the crowd.
For me Saturday began with the act of Venenum. I was expecting a lot from this death metal band from Germany. The band has released only one EP but they have performed a lot and one could tell. They were a great start to the day. Finnish Abhorrence was up next. This band was formed in 1989, then split up for over a decade and now they are back. One could not notice the “brightest star” of the band, the guitarist Tomi Koivusaari from Amorphis. As usual he was quite passive during the show, but it did’t bother. The singer and the bassist gave an excellent performance and the audience was pleased. It seemed the band themselves were amazed by the wild reaction of the crowd. Their performance of old Amoprhis song Vulgar Necrolatry was the highlight of this set! After the classic Finnish death metal act a band from our beloved neighbourgh Sweden rosu up to Metallihelvetti stage. RAM was on fire right from the start. Old school traditional heavy metal! Fast and furious act right from the beginning till the end!
Dressed in traditional Latvian costumes was Skyforger at Kvlt-stage up next. This band has moved more toward folk metal from heavy metal. They performed couple of songs from the great Latvian Riflemen album and some newer stuff. In the middle of the stage they sang a traditional Latvian folk song without any music in the background. Too bad the lyrics were a bit too difficult for the crowd, marinaded in sun and/or beer, to be sung with them. This was one of the few bands that the audience demand an encore, and Skyforger delivered! From Skyforgers act one could not help but to compare yesterdays Stormheit to them. This is a another way to show nationalistic pride, in a more classical and elegant way…
Italian Bulldozer was highly anticipated by many older members of the crowd. The band gave were in good spirits. Vocalist A.C. Wild kept the crowd happy with his stories between the songs. Dedicating songs like “Impotent” to critic from Kerrang, who gave them zero points in a article. But not in a bitter way, rather laughing about it “But we don’t give a fuck!”. Their excellent set ended with the trashing Whiskey Time with crowd singing along furiously!. Another “more experienced” band was Repulsion from USA. This almost 30 year old band played tracks from their first demo and forwards. This was a highly appreciated by the fans. During the set vocalist Scott Carlson declared that their usual set always includes a Venom cover song, but since they are here tonight, we will play Black Breath from the record Horrified instead!
At first a band like Sigh from Japans seems to be a bit unusual this festival. I don’t know if the band had made the set specially for Hammer Open Air, but it seemed to include more metal songs, rather than any avant garde things, that the band has been recording during the last few years. With a show starting from burning bibles, to burning skulls and ending with hot candle was pouring over an almost naked female body, who could disagree that this was a great show?
Then it was declared that Hell is on earth, well Kvlt-stage to be precise. Hailing from England with good old school heavy metal this band gave an excellent show for every one. Formed 31 years ago, died and now resurrected (2008 -) is alive and kicking, literally. The band members were going wild and vocalist David Bower gave everything that he got for the audience. I have to say he is clearly not the youngest singer at this festival, but surely he is the wildest. Running back and forth on the stage, jumping down with the audience several times, what a show! This was a bit different theatrical show that Sigh delivered before them, and I think this Kill won this round. No wonder Sigh singer Mirai Kawashima said “We can’t play anymore (encore), I need to go to the front row for Hell playing next”.
Secrets of the Moon from Germany was the second last band of Hammer. Some of the crowd were clearly waiting for Venom at the front of Kvlt stage. Still the band got a decent amount of fans watching their show.
The main band of Saturday, and maybe of the whole festival, the one and only Venom! Armed with leather and spikes Cronos led his trio to the stage. Crowd was going grazy and the security forces were busy picking up people crowd surfing. Mosh pit kept going trough the set as the trio went trough their set list of classic tracks one after the another. The show was spiked up with pyrotechnics which kept the crowd and the band on fire despite the rain that was falling during the set! A great end to the best metal festival of Finland!
Read the Day 1 Report HERE