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Steelfest Open Air 2012 - Pt. 2 - 5/19/2012 - Villatehdas - Hyvinkää

Incredible but true, the second day of Steelfest the horrible weather of Friday leaves space for a great sunny day, main reason why like half of the people won’t get inside the area anytime soon (it is not possible to leave the place once you get in), drink beer instead in the parks and on the street. The favorite summer activity of every true Finn. Still I manage to make my way to the place right when Forced Kill begins, picking up from where I left last evening: with some good old Thrash.
The attitude on stage (and the bandana) of the vocalist, brings to mind immediately Tony Foresta from Municipal Waste, just thinner. This is not a bad thing, since Forced Kill show turns out as pretty entertaining, proof of the validity of certain unsigned bands in the Finnish underground scene. Following their brief set, we all turn to the second stage for the performance of Sawhill Sacrifice, with an hear towards the radio commentary about the hockey semifinal, Finland vs. Russia.
Another band which plays in its hometown, the guys comes on stage with bloody outfits which surely work as attention grabbers for the audience. Some additional blood on stage comes from the mouth of the guitar player, as they play their set from the two demos in their young discography. All in all another entertaining band to keep an eye on, playing some good old Death/Thrash, and showing how rooted is in Finland the cult of Lovecraft’s work, since even they have a song called "Great Ones".
Similar themes for the following Corpsessed, more brutal-oriented act, which in this particular case is not much of my cup of tea (nor my can of beer, that is). The band is close to the release of their first album, and is musically valid, it just doesn’t give me much from this one particular show.
It is surprising how Cavus got themselves quite some following on the opposite stage, when they start playing their set from the debut "Fester and Putrefy". With their traditional stage clothing and face painting, the Porvoo-based five-piece has subtly made its way into the local scene by playing in festivals such as last year’s Tuska. The band shows an interesting attitude, and of course a bottle of whiskey couldn’t be missing. Along with songs like "Death Rattle", "Fist Of A Titan", "Worship And Rot", their traditional death rat appears also, for the joy and childish play of the guys in the front who spend the following hour to throw the thing in the air (until the security decides to get rid of it).
Now the big stage is all set for Sacrilegious Impalement and the festival reaches some of its highest moments from now on. The stage adorned with drapes, stakes, and a big inverted cross with a small mysterious vase in front of it, the guys show themselves in a slightly revisited line-up compared to the last time I saw them. SI has changed a lot from how I remembered it, now the band seems more balanced and confident, and they offer some pretty good show. While the first time I saw them, they somehow reminded me a bit of Satyricon, now this impression is long gone, and they seem to have reached their own sound. Good to hear that also from the songs, and good to see Hellwind play with blood from his cup, and throwing ashes from the aforementioned vase at the audience (let’s not put too much thought about were did they come from…).
Surprises are still ahead, however, for the Steelfest crowd, when Enochian Crescent finds its way on the other stage. Traditionally we know that EC shows always have something "interesting" happening at some point, and this time is no less as we’ll see. Drakh Wrath shows some more "summery" make-up, and the shows seems to progress as usual, with the wooden cross in hand, blood-drinking moment during "Ghost of Saturn"… but here comes Hellwind from Sacrilegious Impalement, who quietly lights a torch on fire and starts heating an Omega-shaped brand.
What for? you’d be wondering if you haven’t seen the show. Well, as the songs go by, this little thing gets heated well enough, while now we are at the last song, "Väkisinkastettu", and also Mr. Baptims, Lord Sargofagian, has joined the party on the vocals. Ultimately this iron bar is passed on to Wrath, who nonchalantly brand himself on his chest. That is surely something you haven’t seen before!
As nothing happened the show goes on, now with three singers, to conclude the song in front of an excited and dumbstruck audience. EC sure knows how to make people talk about themselves. And wow, that is some real masochism.
There is no time to absorb the course of the events, since another well-known Finnish band is about to play: we are talking of Sotajumala. Mynni, wine bottle in hand and smile all over his face, starts his furious headbanging with the fans inciting the band loudly. Typical Sotajumala gig. Of course with moshing and drinking at these songs about war. It’s usually entertaining to watch the "war god" play live, if it wasn’t for the unfortunate position between that EC concert and Taake, another long-awaited band. Nonetheless Mynni gets his change to be grabbed by a multitude of hands when he climbs on top of the barrier before the stage, and gets his full dose of applauses.
Hoest and Taake shows to the Finns how Norwegian Black metal is done. With the addition of all the faces and poses of the singer, which can be very amusing. Wrapped into the Norwegian flag, Hoest enters on stage and begins a sequence of dedications (here and there during the show), among which we can’t forget the one to the recently deceased Trondr Nefas from Urgehal. The new album has some killer songs (we all know we want to hear the banjo part from "Myr"…) and it plays of course a major role in the show, along with the acclaimed "Hordaland Doedskvad" in particular. During the show the fans go literally mad (which for the Finnish standards means they typically start shouting nonsense and headbang while standing), but everything points out to a successful performance, with the band heading towards Stockholm right the following day. Alcohol, smoke, and rough Black metal, as it should be. Thanks Norway for your exports!
Well, aren’t we missing something here? The Crown is waiting on the main stage, back in 2009, I had the fortune to see them the following year in Germany. Now that also Johan Lindstrand is back in the band, it’s one reason more to follow this conclusive show of the festival.
The Swedes are ready to seriously kick ass, and it comes really easy to them in this one occasion given that all the fans are there for them (with the exception of those who are rushing to buy the last beers before the drinking area closes for good). It’s safe to say that The Crown owned this year’s Steelfest, with a strong performance far above many of the rest.
Songs like "Rebel Angel", "Black Lightning", the more recent "Soul Slasher", and again "The Speed of Darkness", "Deathexplosion"… echoed in the night over Hyvinkää. At least the area is mostly still under construction, so no harm done, maybe. As we await for the new record, I think it would be hard to get disappointed if the band plays like this.

Finally, the afterparty of today, featuring Torture Killer and Axegressor (both valid bands) has managed to reach full capacity of the venue, so no extra shows for me tonight, and a couple of hours more of sleep, despite people breaking glass doors and making drunk noises all over the hotel.
In the end the outcome of the festival turned out to be quite positive, even with the initial difficulties, promptly corrected by the organization during the event. About 2500 people attended the festival, not too bad for a place like Hyvinkää, where usually nothing happens and is not remembered for anything special. With some extra indoor space (seen the weather on the first day), and a few tips here and there, I think this could actually turn out into something quite good. Not to mention that the place is very easy to reach. Best acts of the weekend, personally: The Crown, Tyranex, Sacrilegious Impalement/Enochian Crescent, Entombed/Taake.
Let’s see what the festival will have to offer next year!


Photos:
The Crown


Taake


Sotajumala


Enochian Crescent


Sacrilegious Impalement


Cavus


Corpsessed


Sawhill Sacrifice


Forced Kill


Report a cura di Marco Manzi

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