Festivals / EventsLive

25th Tuska Metal Festival: A touch of nostalgia

Tuska Festival celebrated its 25th edition this summer, and it was exactly 20 years ago that STALKER (and the author of these lines) reported on Tuska – see more HERE: Meanwhile, this legendary festival in Suvilahti, Helsinki, with 4 stages, versatile catering and numerous additional attractions under the title Tuska Sideshow takes up the entire area.
Kudos to the organization which took care of the visitors’ well-being in every aspect: Hammocks, plenty of tables and seating at the site and whether at the wristband collection, at the main entrance, at water stations or at the toilet facilities on site, you waited  less than 5 minutes despite the rush. Excellent logistics, hats off! Nothing to complain about sound and volume either – but you couldn’t risk being without earplugs in all the spots.

Plus, there was a lot of art to discover on the grounds, even a loom; the selfie toilet, however, left me slightly perplexed… An area at the very front of every stage could only be entered without drinks – probably because some idiots  at other festivals had thrown cups, cans or even bottles towards bands on stage. A nice solution, I think.

The Tuska-Expo in the Kattilahalli (in cooperation with Sysimaa and Pakanafestarit) offered not only the usual and exotic metal fan stuff but also workshops for e.g. leather spike bracelets. You could get a piercing or tattoo on the spot or have negative vibes removed by a shaman. As a special highlight this year, a couple had their wedding at Tuska! I only vaguely perceived the existence of a Tuskaforum (in cooperation with Bleeding Metal Podcast) twice per festival day with talks and discussions about the music biz.

As for the catering, in recent years Finnish festivals – and especially Tuska – have been providing a wide range (plus biodegradable dishes and cutlery), from the usual festival fast food to vegetarian / vegan and sweets, basic portions in the 12-15 euro price range, beer prices just under 10 euros including 1 euro deposit.



FRIDAY 28.6.2024
The official festival opening by Lord of the Lost on the Karhu main stage happened without me due to tropical heat, but there are a few snapshots.
The neighboring Radio City and Open Air II stages made it possible to shuttle between bands playing at the same time, and it was so hot that day that I had to refill the bottle I had just filled at the first stage as soon as I arrived at the second… It didn’t help much that I Am The Night, the black metal project of melodeath hero Markus “Van Hala” Vanhala (InsOmnium Gatherum) reminded us how cold and gloomy it would be again in a few months. An atmospheric start to the first day of the festival and at the same time a prelude to the later highlight Dimmu Borgir!

Alestorm from Scotland naturally went down very well with their mix of power and folk metal, combined with a pirate image and tongue-in-cheek lyrics. Just the decoration made me smile – huge rubber ducks dominated the stage. Instant party mode and lots of movement in the crowd despite the heat… A special treat was the somewhat shy-looking guest star Patty Gurdy, known from the Carnival Row soundtrack (and who therefore has far more Instagram followers than Alestorm). Naturally, the “Fucked with an Anchor” song was not to be missed for the glorious finale.

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The most eagerly awaited act of the day was definitely Kerry King, former Slayer guitarist who had just unleashed his solo album. High expectations were by no means disappointed: Front man Bostaph thanked the audience for their “attitude, passion, release of aggression” before getting the moshpit going with the “From Hell I Rise” hits. A truly fiery show, but about halfway through I bet everyone, too, wondered whether we would get any Slayer – and as if Kerry could read minds, yay, the  “Reign In Blood” riff – giving you chills despite the heat … Without doubt the first festival highlight.

Jinjer, who had recently played at Tuska three times in a row (and thus held the last 20 year record), were absent this time; their Moldovan neighbors Infected Rain filled the gap impressively. The excellent bassist Alice Lane was the second female instrumentalist of the day after Patty Gurdy (Alestorm), which unfortunately is still far too little in the big picture. When will the Tuska guys finally invite bands like Crypta or Burning Witches, long established acts at other European festivals? The main focus was of course on Lena Scissorhands, who not only has a phenomenal voice, but also an ultra-charismatic stage presence, had the audience follow every command like sitting down on the floor and immediately jumping up and going wild again. Even people who otherwise have nothing to do with NuMetal can enjoy this.

A clear demonstration of a band’s popularity is the crowd size, and Bloodred Hourglass set a record on this day at the Open Air II stage. Suburban Tribe on the Radio City tent stage also turned out to be a crowd puller and I managed to catch a special moment: Their ex-singer, none other than Tuskaboss Jouni Markkanen, came on stage for two songs (“Sunflower” & “First Spring Day”) on the occasion of their 30th anniversary. He is undoubtedly more competent as a manager than on the microphone – compared to the powerful-voiced Ville Tuomi – but the nice nostalgia moment was well received by the crowd.


Elvenking, who performed at the same time, invited the audience to a cheerful folk party with lively fiddle tunes that got them partying and dancing despite the 28°C temperatures. The Italians have been active for 25 years, but have rarely traveled this far north. Their catchy pagan metal with Celtic influences, plus their announcements spiced with Finnish phrases, put everyone in a good mood. You can get people jumping even when it’s not metalcore!

Dimmu Borgir was another 30th anniversary band at the festival. The Norwegians don’t need any nostalgia points, as they have continuously improved since their legendary beginnings. This applies not only to the particularly photogenic frontman Shagrath: He expressed his sympathies for Finland by recalling Dimmu’s first Lepakko gig 27 years ago and announcing “Spellbound by the Devil” with “Saatana perkele!” The 70-minute set included all the albums, resulting in a continuous epic journey from start to finish, one bis chain of climaxes – causing pleasant shivers despite the aforementioned heat. This merciless potpourri of hits would have actually been much better as a glorious finale on Sunday than on the first day and in full daylight…

All I can say about Zeal & Ardor and the metalcorers Ghøstkid is that both were much better than I had expected, but I didn’t want to listen to more than two or three songs each.

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Pendulum, the electronic music headliners of day 1, scored with a great light show and got the metalheads dancing even at the back with their mercilessly pounding beats. A metal techno party like this on a pleasant summer evening seemed to be just the thing for most Tuska guests. But since none of the headliners were really my cup of tea this year, I tconsidered alternatives, such as the aftershows at On the Rocks, Praha and Lepakkomies (with e.g. Bob Malmström, Kneel Before The Death, Brymir, Mørket and many metal DJs).

Another option was the indoor Kvlt stage, this year sponsored by the Finnish Inferno Metal magazine: Suotana might be one of the best new bands of the last ten years, both on records and live. They combine energy, humor and musical skill with ecologically themed lyrics in which the nature of their Lapland homeland plays a leading role.

SATURDAY 29.6.2024
This day broke the attendance record, sold out with 23,000 tickets – and you could tell by the fact that it was no longer possible to move around the site that easily. The 2024 Tuska weekend was expected to attract a total of 60,000 metalheads. Rain in the morning had a cooling effect, wind and clouds made for a slightly more pleasant climate on the asphalt festival grounds than the day before.


Rytmihäiriö were once again – like at other Finnish festivals – the warm-up act in the early afternoon. This band in particular would have even more appeal after a few beers or gambina shots. The (presumably still) relatively low level of intoxication didn’t really dampen the mood. It was remarkable that the tent was so packed at such early hour, so that singer Une could go crowdsurfing safely during the extended version of “Saatana on herra”.

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On the main stage, the Danes Vola delivered atmospheric, musically appealing prog metal, which unfortunately felt a bit too level-headed right after Rytmihäiriö. However, an all-round accomplished and likeable band that can be fully recommended to fans of e.g. Riverside or Leprous.

Devourment with their brutal grind threatened to acoustically flatten tent and fans, so it was better to go to the neighboring stage despite the -core offer. For the Swedes Solence, Tuska was the last gig of their tour and in addition to a hymn to mathematics, they also performed the new song “All of the pain must go” for their enthusiastic fans.

The resurrected legends Tarot delivered a strong start with “Pyre of Gods” – instant goosebumps! How nice to see the old masters, led by the Hietala brothers, reunited and in enviable shape. I really missed these guys from Savo, especially Marco and his great voice, the mega-cool Zac with chewing gum and/or a cigarette dangling in the corner of his mouth (THAT triggers nostalgia!), plus their dark humour expressed in blunt, partly political announcements – a bit like a metal comedy club. Did they use those jokes to cover technical hiccups on one keyboard and Marco’s microphone? Never mind, it’s all part and parcel of live shows, nothing can spoil the joy of hearing those brilliant Tarot hits (Rider of the Last Day!!) once again!


Sonata Arctica had played at Tuska for the first time 25 years ago and judging by the crowd size, their popularity hasn’t changed. My favorite song “I have a right” came early in the program, luckily, because the winter landscape in the background didn’t do much to actually cool things down. Therefore I went for some shade in the tent to:

Kaunis Kuolematon had a much better sound this time than at their club gigs, therefore nothing restricted the impact of their power and melancholy: “Peilikuva” and “Syttyköön toinen aurinko” in a row were already pure perfection, but then followed by “Paha ihminen” as the icing on the cake – sung partly by the audience alone – was another highlight of the day.

Stam1na came up with a big production including LED backdrop and female backing singers. The band are old acquaintances at Tuska, but when previously the focus was on hectic moshing, in the meantime their song material has matured and they impressed with versatility and depth. So it’s no shame to shed a few tears during “Kannan sinut läpi hiljaisen huoneen”.

The electro-metal trance party-compatible songs by Health were just a way to entertain myself while waiting for Amorphis – and almost everyone in the audience seemed to have been waiting for this band as well. One of those acts that you always enjoy watching and where you could at best complain about the selection of their usual best of album cross-section setlist. What really stood out was the seconds-long total sound system failure in the first third of the show, which the band themselves might not even have noticed due to their ear monitors …

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While Turmion Kätilöt probably set the absolute audience attendance record for this stage, Riverside from Poland offered excellent and grooving prog hard rock to chill out in the tent. However, the calm atmosphere may be deceptive as there is massive emotional power underneath, which continously breaks through. Songs that are catchy and fascinating at the same time, no boring soloist orgies. What’s more, the guys must have had a lot of fun on stage (again). After Pjotr’s death in 2016, the continued existence of Riverside seemed uncertain, but here the band proved to be vital, powerful and ready for the future in every respect. Definitely one of the highlights on Saturday, I’m looking forward to seeing this band live again.

Bring Me The Horizon: This UK alternative metal act was impressive indeed, a clear demonstration why they are currently a super popular live act. Unfortunately, only a select few were allowed to the pit to take photos of the massive show … I can’t say for sure if they really gathered more people in front of the stage than Amorphis before. Or whether the fans attended the whole show, because I chose alternatives again.

There had already been a massive queue in front of the Kvlt stage for Putro in Black, and it wasn’t much better for The Abbey, who would have been a fine conclusion to the day, as alternative to the headliner. Unfortunately it was just too crowded inside for enduring more than two songs, therefore let’s call it a day.


SUNDAY 30.6.2024
The third day of the festival was dedicated to Tuska for children (Pikku Tuska), which premiered back in 2019 with a Hevisaurus gig. Here, kids from 0-12 are allowed to accompany their parents to the festival, free of charge from 14-18h (suitable hearing protection provided). And alongside all the toddlers, there were also plenty of more mature metal fans again


The last songs by Nightstop were much more captivating than expected, because it wasn’t game console sound, but rather something like a gothic dancefloor. Then Beyond The Black cast a spell on me with “Songs of Love And Death”, “Reincarnation” and “When Angels Fall”. And not only me, the symphonic metal song material and the crystal clear voice of Jennifer Haben with her skillful Joik vignettes visibly appealed to the Finnish metalheads. This was only the 2nd time the super likeable Germans have played in Finland and I suspect that they don’t have to wait long for the 3rd time.

And finally I witnessed a Mamia Company Tuska sideshow: expressive dance instead of a mosh pit went well with this music. This Finnish contemporary dance theater group led by choreographer Nina Mamia offered “interactive human installations” throughout the weekend under the title Hahtuva/Fluff, named after grandmothers’ fluffy hair.

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A quick visit to Fixation: The Norwegians impressed with highly melodic songs, providing instant sing along material, but firstly -core is not really my thing …

Secondly, I didn’t want to miss Warmen, the band of former Children Of Bodom keyboarder Janne “Warman” Wirman. Most of the audience probably thought so too, this Finnish all-star band (Janne and brother Antti, Petri Lindroos, Jyri Helko, Seppo Tarvainen) probably broke the attendance record for the tent stage. The band, resurrected in 2023, not only delivered the hits from their latest album “Here For None”, but also paid tribute to COB with “Hate Me”, “Sixpounder” and “In Your Face” as well as the “Somebody Is Watching Me” COB-style cover version as the grand finale. Petri also managed to sound a lot like Alexi Laiho – RIP, Alexi, we all miss you.

Lost Society had – at short notice – filled in for Bad Omens, who had to cancel all their summer shows. The Finns’ performance was definitely one of their best and one of the festival highlights. For me it felt like a special honor to experience the development of this thrash band first-hand – from a very young, hyperactive and quite chaotic “flea circus” at Jalometalli 2013, they have matured musically and personally into super professional, experienced entertainers who immediately captivated even the very young fans on site with their well-balanced best-of setlist. Great gig!


The majority had probably opted for Stratovarius, because more fans could have fit into the tent when Eivør started her show. For me, the choice between these 2 was clear – after all, how often do you get to see this exceptional artist from the Faroe Islands live in this country? Judging by the reactions of the audience, her very first Tuska performance should not remain her last. In the setlist, she focused on a cross-section of her overall work, only about a third was dedicated to the new album “Enn”. This gig was simply pure magic – spellbinding the audience with just her voice and shaman drum performing “Trøllabundin”. In my opinion, this performance was THE highlight of the entire festival weekend!

Opeth coming up next triggered mixed feelings, because the band’s elegant but much calmer line from “Watershed” onwards would have seemed rather anticlimactic after Eivør. Positive surprise: the keyboard kiosk, massively equipped for 70s prog with 2 Mellotrons, Minimoog and Hammond, remained in a discreet background role for the string section – the theme of the evening was death metal like in the good old days! Now the stage provided an additional bridge extending into the audience, which was used a few times, too. If Tarot’s lenghty chatting was still funny, Mikael Åkerfeldt’s pseudo-arrogant, stilted announcements could have been a bit shorter. Any doubts as to whether Åkerfeldt’s ego could cope with the audience’s “Waltteri, Waltteri” chants were fortunately unfounded; at the end of the gig, the band even gave their Finnish drummer the entire stage for an extra solo bow. – Conclusion: best Opeth gig since 2006!

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Brothers of Metal – and sister, namely singer Ylva Eriksson, proved that Swedes are also capable of tongue-in-cheek humor. A high fun factor, nevertheless it was immediately apparent how well the band mastered their craft. After Alestorm and Elvenking on the first day, this band closed the circle thematically with folky power metal and once again invited the audience to party as if there’s no tomorrow.

Parkway Drive: Massive show, flames, fireworks, almost non-stop there was something for eyes and ears to enjoy. The metalcore band from Australia definitely pulled out all the stops with their performance and a 1.5-hour set to close Tuska 2024 as a worthy festival headliner. Unfortunately, just not my thing, for me this year had already too much of -core content, therefore the photos have to speak for themselves.


Conclusion: Congratulations, Tuska, on a successful 25th birthday weekend with 60.000 guests, definitely CU next year!

Text: Klaudia Weber


Klaudia Weber

reckless and merciless dictator, so KNEEL! In other words, editor-in-chief, translator, website and ad admin, "Jane of all trades" - - - addicted to books (everything between Lord Of The Rings & quantum physics) and music, mainly Metal made in Finland. Furthermore, there's painting, drawing, movies, theater... so you can expect some variety on this website too. MA Master of Arts, English and American studies & Media communication = completed two full studies parallel within 5 years; very proud of my achievement - a bit later in life thanks to a scholarship - as a working class girl in a highlyconservative-romancatholic nation...