Tuska 2017 - 20th anniversary

Number twenty has a lot of meanings. It is the basis for vigesimal number systems. It is also the atomic number of calcium and a standard dartboard is laid out as 20 sectors (yeah, facts checked from Wikipedia). Now it has another meaning as well. Well organized, maintained and brutally awesome metal festival can live easily for 20 years. Tuska Festival in Finland celebrated their 20th anniversary and we went to witness the party.

As part of the celebration Tuska launched an Anniversary song with a bunch of legendary musicians involved such as Esa Holopainen (Amorphis), Marco Hietala (Nightwish), Nino Laurenne (Thunderstone, Sonic Pump Studio), Alexi Laiho, Jaska Raatikainen, Janne Wirman, Daniel Freyberg (Children of Bodom), Gas Lipstick (EX- HIM / Hallatar), Tomi Joutsen & Santeri Kallio (Amorphis), Kai Hahto (Wintersun, Nightwish), Lordi, Ville Sorvali (Moonsorrow), Netta Skog (Ensiferum), Timo Kotipelto, Jens Johansson (Stratovarius), Burton (HIM), Akira Takasaki (Loudness), Gus G (Ozzy Osbourne, Firewind) just to name few.

Check out the song

This year provided a great variety of bands and headliners Sabaton, HIM, and Mastodon. Metal sauna, free laundry, whiskey bar (tested!), all kinds of shops and a good variety of food stands to choose from and one of the best things: over 37000 cool metalheads. Friday already broke a new record when over 12000 people were banging their heads during Sabaton show. Like all previous years, local police forces had zero alarms during the weekend despite the fact there was like a gazillion gallons of alcohol products consumed. Try that in a pop or even in a religious festival.

Highlights from Friday were brutal and evil Baptism, Devin Townsend Project’s glorious performance with lovely Anneke van Giersbergen, nostalgic Mayhem and one of the coolest live bands ever Sabaton. I got the privilege to witness Sabaton show from the stage and it gave a whole new perspective to a metalhead. Even though yours truly has performed live many times but not in front of 12000 people.

Saturday started with a doomy performance by Avatarium. Great voice by Jennie Ann-Smith is now officially on your “100 things to hear before you die”-checklist. Nevertheless, Finnish most notorious black metal act Impaled Nazarene kicked the sh*t out of us in a broad daylight and another legendary band from Finland Timo Rautiainen & Trio Niskalaukaus celebrated their reunion with an admirable performance.

In Solmusali there was a panel discussion 'Black as Hell – The aesthetics of darkness in modern metal". Moderated by Toni-Matti Karjalainen with Horror-author Marko Hautala, journalist/author Viljami Puustinen, journalist Laura Vähähyyppä and academic musician Kimi Kärki. It was a great pause to chill a moment between checking bands and raising hell.

Triptykon was something much expected as Tom G. Warrior lead the show from starter “Procreation of the Wicked” to “Morbid Tales”. Saturday had another legendary reunion when HIM ended the night. The band might not be my cup of tea, but one can admit they have earned their crown as one of the biggest bands in rock history.

Personally, my most awaited act in Sunday was Dirkschneider’s nostalgic trip to Accept years. From “Balls to the Wall” to “London Leatherboys” and “Metal Heart” are anthems for centuries to come. Baroness was also fun to watch and their new guitarist Gina Gleason is a perfect catch to maintain bands quality work.

Apocalyptica went back to their roots by performing only Metallica songs. Originally a bit obscure project has grown into a worldwide phenomenon and Apocalyptica gathered a huge and enthusiastic crowd. Sonata Arctica, on the other hand, was really fun to watch and they seemed to have some real die-hard fans in the front row singing every lyric of the songs.

Sunday ended with American sludge/prog/alt/stoner-giant Mastodon. The band was in a great mood and blasted a really great show. Such a great way to end this year's Tuska. I’m already waiting for next year, wouldn’t miss it!





Devin Townsend



Impaled Nazarene




Sonata Arctica

Suicidal Tendencies


Article and photos by Pete Alander - Copyright 2017 © Heavy Music Artwork. All rights reserved