by: Juuso Viljanen & Pekka Konttinen
It’s about to become a habit: going to Nummirock to celebrate the midsummer festival I mean. And of course, we have our cameras and reporter attitudes with us. Just like last year we missed the first night due to work. This years thursday night artists were Ranger, Mors Subita, The Man-Eating Tree, Flesh Roxon, Sonic Syndicate, Satanic Warmaster, Insomnium and finnish ”hockey metal” band Suamenlejjona. People told us that we missed very good shows by arriving at friday, but you know, sacrifices must be made.
So things wouldn’t be too easy, it was raining like hell when Serotonin Syndrome started playing. We care about our camera equipment a bit too much and decided to stay in cover. Sorry Serotonin Syndrome. But for the next act we took a risk. Mors Principium Est was the first act on the ”beach stage”. Their albums have been both great and not-so-great and we were looking forward to hearing their faster and older stuff. We were left with pretty much nothing. Most of the songs were from two of their newest albums which are pretty unknown to us. Plus the band was boring to watch. No moving on stage, barely any moshing… just standing still and staring at fretboards.
The next band was like from a different planet when compared to Mors Principium Est. It was time for the first main stage act, Battle Beast. We suppose everyone who follow metal bands and metal as a genre know who they are, what they do and how popular they are in Europe. They brought quite a nice crowd in front of the main stage. We’re not fans of Battle Beast, but after shooting them their music was ok to listen on the background while having a break with refreshments in the new relaxing place: Relaamo (which was a great new add to the festival!). The Battle Beast show is fast-paced and entertaining to look at, but we have to admit we can’t understand all the hype on the band…
Next up: terrible rain. And Nuclear Omnicide. We had to take a risk and run to take a few photos. It was pouring water so we had to stay in shelter and just listen. But it sounded great. Great mix of death and old school thrash metal, kind of a mix of Suicidal Tendencies or Municipal Waste and some death metal band. Energetic band thrashed for about ten metalheads who didn’t give a shit about the rain and muddy ground. Everyone seemed to have fun, and hey, that’s what metal festivals are all about, right?
Oh and before we forget, there was a competition just like last year, Wacken Metal Battle. Both Serotonin Syndrome and Nuclear Omnicide are competitors and there are two more bands coming the next day.
More thrash? Yes, more thrash! Lost Society performed here also last year, and what can we expect? Lots of headbanging, flying hair, thrash vests and sneakers in the muddy pit. And that’s what it was, plus pyrotechnics, a few new songs and great thrash-attitude. Have to respect these guys for their live performances and skills playing that accurately live. Thats always a pleasure to see.
One of the highlights for Juuso this year was the next main stage act, Moonsorrow. They don’t do too many shows in Finland, so he was really looking forward to this one. And right from their first song, ”Tuulen koti, aaltojen koti”, he had goosebumps all over his body. Their sound is massive and epic and gives him constant chills. Nummirock is arranged in the middle of the woods, right next to a lake so Moonsorrow’s folkish metal is 100% perfect music to listen to there. Kinda makes you want to start playing flute yourself.
Due to heavy rain (once again) we missed both Arion and Korpiklaani. Got to listen to them from shelter, but didn’t see or photo either of them. Sorry folks…
You’ve all heard the rumors about us Finns not liking Swedish people too much… Arch Enemy won’t get our gratitude for staying at the rear parts of the stage for the whole freakin’ show. We guess they were afraid of a few raindrops that kept dripping. Not very good photos from this act but they sounded good. And they played well. You really can tell that they’re on a big tour and have played practically everyday for weeks. Plus we both really liked Alissa White-Gluz. Angela Gossow is one helluva growler, and so is Alissa. We might say that Alissa is even better because of the range and variations she has on her voice.
A new name on the list of modern death metal bands in Finland is Whorion. They caught our attention with their live
performance and music. A bit ”Behemoth’ish” looking and sounding band had fire performance on stage so photographers and the first row of fans got their own piece of that fun (whatever it is that performers have in their mouths to blow into flames to make them explode). Show was intense and fast-paced, and their music is one-of-a-kind in Finland (correct us if we’re wrong). One of the best performances at the festival this year!
Of course, if you’re having a metal festival, you’re supposed to have at least one true Norwegian black metal band in your roster (so we’ve heard). Unfortunately no Norwiegians this time, but luckily we got the next best thing: Swedens own Dark Funeral. We were really looking forward to seeing them live, after all they are quite a legend. And we did really enjoy the show. We felt a bit bad for the drummer though, he didn’t really seem to get his feet work properly with the bass drumming. But still Dark Funeral showed that they’re still in a pretty good shape. And that they have fans. Front of the stage was growded with corpse-painted fans and black metal fanatics.
The last main stage act on friday night was German Heaven Shall Burn. We both have been listening to their albums quite a lot and we were really waiting for this one. Although we think they should have played at Arch Enemys slot? Arch Enemy is a much “bigger” band than HSB and could easily be named as headliner. Oh well…. The sounds were good and they definately had the biggest light show on friday. Can’t say for sure but there must have been people whose eyes melted because of the lights.
The band gave the audience a great show and they really seemed to enjoy themselves too. Before they ended their set we decided to go get some sleep for tomorrow. This means we missed Forever One, sorry for this one too. We just can’t stand anything related to Sentenced…it gives us rash.
The morning greeted us with a better weather. We could even see the blue sky! When we arrived to the festivals camping area, every camper was up early taking full advantage of this rare Finnish midsummer phenomenon: sunshine. It was a sign that this would become a good day. Due to the nice atmosphere in the camping area, we decided to skip the first band Jälkiabortti and enjoy some Finnish hospitality over there.
This days shooting couldn’t start any better for us. Finnish death metal pioneer Sotajumala was the first one to perform on the “beach stage”. 50 minutes of fast guitar shredding, ball crushing blastbeasts and Mynni’s mean growling. The performace was really solid as usual. At least now every last bit of sleep was vanished from our eyes. The bar was set high.
And then the bar came down. Country-bluegrass-hillbilly cover band Steve’n’Seagulls has been a big hit this past year. They were the opening act on the Main stage on saturday. Surprisingly a big crowd had come to listen some evergreen classics like The Trooper or Cemetery Gates to be played on a banjo. People were sitting on the grass and enjoying a sunny laidback start to the final day of the festival. It was just a weird choice to put fast paced Sotajumala before them.
Next one up on the small stage was the fourth and final contestant on the Wacken Metal Battle. Shiraz Lane has been caught in this recent “new wave of Finnish hair metal”. We can’t understand why this sort of metal has been popular in the recent years. We just don’t hear them bringing anything new to the genre. All the members were young guys but their performance was really solid. It became clear that they’ve had lots of gigs and seemed to enjoy performing live. The singer could turn the Axl Rose -knob down a notch though. Later in the evening we heard that these guys had won the Wacken Metal Battle. Just like last year we thought there were better bands to win that title, but this is how it goes. Congrats to Shiraz Lane!
Santa Cruz is the current peak of the NWoFHM. After the last years Nummirock they have been really busy with touring in the Europe and in the USA. They even made a big deal with ESPN on having a few songs to be played on the channel. We only saw a few songs but it sounded just like something you would expect from them. Classic 80’s hair metal with a modern vibe. Their performance at last years Nummirock was a lot more energetic than now, but as we said they’ve had a busy year.
The “Sweden slot” for the main stage on saturday was reserved for Amaranthe. Metal group with three vocalists and lots on influences from pop and electronic music. They’ve been quite a hit in finnish rock radio stations and everybody knows at least one song from them. They gathered a nice crowd and people seemed to enjoy what they saw. Female vocalist Elize Ryd sounded live as good as on the albums. The band did a great job and as electronic as they are on their albums it did really work live as well. Watching a band with three vocalists feels a bit weird though. Can’t any of the players do the clean vocals or growling? You really need three vocalists? Oh well, good show, ok music and great atmosphere.
Apina is a relatively new player to the game. This quartet from Oulu combines rock, metal, funk and hiphop on their songs. It makes the music sound relatively fresh eventhough these types of bands have been around for ages. Sadly their gig at Nummirock went a bit off because it was raining and after Amaranthe people went back to the camping area to prepare for the next bigger act. There were a handful of people watching and they seemed to enjoy the set “at full force”. We’re curious to see what these guys will do in the future and how they will evolve their sound.
Nummirock isn’t Nummirock without Mokoma. These pop-thrashers have been regulars here for 11 years straight! I’m not surprised that they have said that Nummirock has always been one of the highlights of their summer. Mokoma released their tenth album at the beginning of this year so almost half of the songs on the set were from that record. Some good fast tracks and a bit too many songs from the lighter side. Hei Hei Heinäkuu is a summertime song, but we wouldn’t miss it if they dropped it from the setlist. Otherwise the gig was usual Mokoma in the good and in the bad.
How many of you thrash-vested metalheads jizzed in your pants when you heard Testament was going to play their first two albums, The Legacy and The New Order, in Nummirock? At least we both did. Plus we got to see their “new” bass player, Steve DiGiorgio, live. Both albums are golden pieces in the puzzle of thrash metal history and it was an epic feeling to get to hear them both at the same gig. The band was in a great shape and in a good mood, you could tell that by the smiles on their faces. Chuck Billys voice was in a great condition. He has always been one of the best metal vocalists there is, plus all the players in the band are true professionals. Think about it: Peterson, Skolnick, DiGiorgio and Hoglan…that’s what we’d call a supergroup! Definately the best show this year, there’s no doubt about it.
Everybody have been waiting for Carnalation to come back from their break. And now they are here! They had the honour to be the last artist on the small stage. It’s always good to end with some death-grind. Setlist was a mix of their debut album and new EP “Ghosts”. The performance was really solid and we could hear that the guys have been training hard during this break. The spot after Testament took its toll, because after their awesome performance it made this one sound a bit dull.
Eluveitie suffered the same fate. A lighter folk metal group was not the best choice for this spot. They did have a big crowd waiting and chanting before the gig. Luckily they started with some of the faster songs to get the rest of the people hooked. We stayed for a few songs and it was some really tight playing from the whole band. The audience clearly seemed to enjoy it. We have to admit that it is entertaining to watch a band with this many players. We didn’t even recognize all the instruments but who cares as long as they sound good? There are lots of folk bands that are much better musically than Eluveitie, but this swiss orchester was still much better live than we expected. Thumbs up and recommendations.
Everybody in Finland knows Diablo. It’s been 7 long years since their last album and now they are coming back with a new album Silvër Horizon. Diablo had the exclusive right to be the final performer of the festival and we don’t think anybody had anything to say about that. We heard a nice “the best of…” mix of their songs from all the albums. We even got to hear a couple of new tracks and based on those tracks the upcoming album is definetly something to wait for. The guy who managed the lights really knew what he was doing. There were a few technical difficulties and we could hear some hiccups in the playing but that didn’t matter at all. Diablo showed us why we have all missed them and why we should go to their upcoming club tour in the fall. The show ended with their greatest and most epic song: Into The Sea and it was accompanied with some fireworks. Not bad!
Nummirock showed us once again why it is the best festival in Finland. It was nice to see that it is evolving and finding what is the best way to build the festival area and what bands to book. It’s been a good progress because they broke their visitor record! We’re definitely going again next year.
By the way, did any of you count how many times an air-raid siren was used as an intro during the whole festival?