Being set up quite close to the city center and populated areas in Helsinki, the Tuska festival has a curfew different from any other I've seen. Friday and Saturday the 'noise' has to end at ten PM and Sunday at nine, making it possible for everyone to get their rest and have the chance to go home at decent times for the next working week. Thus, Sunday only leaves room for three bands on the main stage. The first of them was a Finnish act I've known for a long time now and I always wished to see live — Apocalyptica. Everyone was telling me how cool they are live, but nobody actually managed to explain how cool they really are. There's one drummer on stage surrounded by three guys playing cellosâ€¦ Way atypical for any metal concert. And the cellos are not played in a boring style by sitting on a chair and moving the bow left to right and back (except when you interpret 'Nothing Else Matters'). But other than that the cellos are treated like some bigger guitars which need to be leaned against the ground for support. Yet, they are constantly carried around and strummed in various ways to make the show entertaining. Add some headbanging, the crowd singing famous Metallica lyrics, guest singer Tipe Johnson (even if they had less guests than I expected considering they were playing their hometown where they could have invited at least half of the people on albums), giant amounts of energy on stage culminating with one of the cello players climbing by the drum kit and hitting the cymbals himself. Well, there were a lot of small moments that added to the feeling of a very special show and to my promise that I'll see these guys again. And again.
After Apocalyptica, a quick trip to the tent Inferno stage to watch one of the US thrash reprises of the day, performed by Ohio's Skeletonwitch. Entertaining as far as I stayed. A lot of furious headbanging, restless guitar riffs and mad growling. I think the band was doing a brave attempt at fitting as many songs in the setlist, so that fans get the best value for the paid ticket. Nice of them, but I don't know how well they succeeded in that heat. I left after a little while to go back to the second main stage, which brought another band I was looking forward to seeing live: Baroness. They seemed to have started with a bit of shyness mixed with huge smiles on everyone's face, but the impression of shyness vanished instantly once the psychotic intro ended and the band jumped into their incredibly built songs. They have a tendency to start somehow lazy, but by the end of the song the rhythm gets so intense, the riffs so mind blowing, the solos so passionately played that you feel as if you've taken several new unknown drugs. I guess, I never tried any, but that must be the feeling of perplexity left by such music. Besides, it's always fantastic to watch when musicians get so involved that they crawl on the floor to play the guitar and do all sorts of mad acting, just because they are so much into the show. Despite the intense sun and the need to hide in the shade, it was hard to move too far away from the stage where they played.
More American old school thrash has made its way to the main stage once Baroness was done. This time originating from New Jersey area and going by the name Overkill. With a history of sixteen studio albums and countless live appearances, the band leaves no doubts that they love being on stage. Even if at times they raise some doubts by pointing the middle finger intensively towards the crowd or photographers, I later found out it's not at all a sign of disrespect, but rather a local habit. The band's latest album was released in 2012 and I think few songs from it were played as well, but the best reactions from the crowd came when hits with history were performed. I later on went to the band's signing session, found the explanation for the often used middle finger in photos, but also noticed how the band's vocalist takes his time to talk or take pics to everyone who comes by for an autograph. Very nice and friendly of him (and the rest of the band).
The last act on the second main stage was supposed to be from US as well, and perform some crazy grooves, but since their singer was imprisoned in Czech Republic a few days prior to Tuska, Lamb of God were quite forced to cancel their appearance on Finnish grounds. We all wish Randy Blythe well and quick solving of the case, but meanwhile we have to enjoy the fact that music goes on. The organisers came up with a local replacement, a famous name that entertained a lot of European stages playing under the name of Finntroll. There's great fun to be had on the rhythms of viking metal, and while the band is not the most intense on stage (out of those from the same genre), the crowd went crazy pretty fast and I admit that standing in one place was not an option during this show. Your legs gained a mind of their own and somehow started dancing. There was another act in the Tuska perimeter, yet they didn't perform on any stage. I don't recall if I saw them prior to Finntroll or Baroness, but I surely have to mention them. Ramin kuntopolku. A two piece band, going around with a loudspeaker and their drumkit (aka bassdrum, a snare and a hihat), setting it down on a random place, performing 15 seconds grindcore songs and starting quick small moshpits or walls of death. That's what they did at Tuska at least. Outside the festival, they apparently have this kind of short concerts in all possible and impossible places. Men's toilets, elevators, in the back of supermarketa, at the gravelpit or on a bridge crossing the highway. I found this using google and I recommend you the funny lecture.
The end of the 2012 edition of Tuska was marked by Ministry's performance on the main stage. I earlier heard very small bits of their music and decided it's not too interesting, so I had absolutely no idea who this band was and how it looked like. I noticed a rather pimped up microphone stand and pretty weird costumes in the audience, culminating with a huge dark wolf like mask which puzzled the guard and probably boiled the one who was wearing it. Yet, when the band's singer Al Jourgensen appeared on stage, I lowered the camera and stared at the stage in a state of immense awe, only having the expression 'WTF' crossing my mind. If you are also on the list of people who never saw them, have a look at the photos to see why. Tons of piercings and tattoos, vampire teeth and a golden front tooth, a tall magician hatâ€¦ Quite an appearance overall. It sounded as if the band went through various style changes since not all the songs had the amount of industrialism that made me easily lose interest in the band. So I think I even registered decent guitar parts, but all in all the mood was easily killed by the repetitive dance like parts. Hence, when I met my friend and she suggested we head home, I gladly accepted her idea and said my final farewell to Tuska 2012. I also took the occasion to say a classical 'I'll be back'!