We spent three days at Tuska 2023 metal music festival in Helsinki, which was sold out. We listened to bands such as Vended, Gojira, In Flames, The HU, Ghost, JINJER, and more. View our largest photo gallery in the history of Finland Today.
Three days at Tuska 2023 Metal Festival in Helsinki’s Suvilahti area captured us in a microcosm where nothing existed but the next heavy metal band and a total of 63,000 people, which meant that Tuska did not only break the attendance record but was also sold out: There. Was. No more. Room. But magically, everything WORKED.
On Friday, when the temperatures hovered near 25 degrees Celsius, and the heat of the sun descended upon us from a clear blue sky, we moshed on the verge of ecstasy and wandered from stage to stage.
Chills were delivered by bands such as the American aggro-metal group, Vended, who set the standard on an intimate Inferno Stage for other bands to follow. JINJER from Ukraine brought hell and fury on the Main Stage, which was the final proof that they are at home everywhere their vocalist Tatiana Shmayluk grabs the mic in her cupped hands. We last heard them playing at the Tent Stage at a previous Tuska, and what I can still remember was the crowd going crazy in the moshpit to sound so low and powerful!
This year, we heard the Finnish metal band, Diablo, rock the Inferno Stage as well. They made it clear that the metal of Ostrobothnia has groove and depth, and it was wonderful to hear them curse in Finnish while they screamed and sang in English.
On Saturday, the Finnish weather altered between rain, less rain and a bit of sunshine.
Did it matter? Not much. The crowd was prepared with rain capes, and you could wander about the area with a can of cider in your hand while the air wafted with spices of french fries and kimchi.
Bands in the roster included the Finnish Turmion Kätilöt, who we were blessed to observe backstage, which was busy as an ant’s nest with roadies going back and forth with band equipment, getting things ready for the following four groups simultaneously!
The Swedish melodic metal band, In Flames, was one of the following bands we observed. They played songs like “Behind Space,” which made the crowd go crazy with running around the moshpit.
“We got to test that strength from the legs!” said vocalist Anders Friden.
“Cloud Connected,” “Only for the Weak,” “I Am Above,” followed and, then, finally, “Take This Life.”
“I will never forget this evening … when I am old and shit … I will be thinking about this,” Friden said.
Neither will we.
Sunday left the festivalgoer indifferent about the weather as the climax would arrive despite what came down from the sky.
The German electronic metal band, Electric Callboy, attracted so many people to the Tent Stage that you would have had to bumrush your way through to hear the group that has inspired the Finnish Eurovision contender, Käärijä.
While the Germans pounded bass-heavy tunes like “Spaceman,” Xysma, the Finnish rock band from Naantali, made the crowd nod heads to classic hard rock not too far away on the Inferno Stage.
The HU, which combines Mongolian folk music with heavy metal, took the Main Stage on Sunday evening as one of the definite highlights of the festival. (Our interview with the group will be published later.)
This is a group that will go for the all-out experience, which in their case meant that at Tuska they began with tunes leaning more toward Mongolian folk music with a metal flavor, and just about 40 minutes later, they started bringing the heat with songs like “Black Thunder” and Metallica cover “Through the Never.”
“Kiitos!” they screamed after the crowd as long as far back from the stage went amok with moshing.
Soon they were attuned to playing maybe their most popular song, “Wolf Totem.”
“HU! HU! HU!” the crowd shouted.
An hour later, it was time for the Swedish rock band, Ghost, the final act of Main Stage and, thus, the festival.
Ghost is a band that considers costumes as crucial as a story and catchy riffs.
These Swedes have constantly gained popularity since 2006 when they formed the band.
Some fans held placards at Tuska that praised Ghost for saving their life. Others had brought their Ghost dolls to wave them in the front row.
One of the most peculiar acts in the group’s recent history includes the frontman, Tobias Forge, throwing the first pitch at the Major League Baseball matchup between the Chicago White Sox and the Cleveland Guardians in Chicago.
One of the most chill-delivering acts includes playing “Watcher in the Sky” at Tuska.
The shoulder-to-shoulder crowd swayed to the rhythm, and just when you thought it was all over, they hammered three tunes in the last 10 minutes.
“We never leave without a good night’s kiss,” said Tobias.