Puska Festival Day 2 At Taivaskallio
Featuring Flies Flies Flies, Abstrakt, Astral Bazaar, Napalm Ted and Riesa
On what was an overcast Saturday in Helsinki with a risk of rain. Day two of a two day DIY festival begins. On the high crest of Taivaskallio hill, we have; punks, metalheads and alternative people alike. It's bring your own drink this afternoon. Koff beer certainly is a popular choice from the Kioski shop at the bottom of the hill. A sole Mexican food truck made the climb up offering food and refreshments. Portable toilets are placed on the side a scenic mini lake. A single gazebo tent houses a drum kit, PA, guitar/bass amps and a mixer with a small space remaining for a stage area. A green grass bank faces the stage for the crowd to watch with a gravel path going through it and the festival area for any confused locals or tourists to quickly walk past. Four old forts pop out the ground to rest upon, drink upon and to socialise. Free entry for all who dare climb and appear. It's a rather scenic and intimate affair, it's Day 2 of the Puska Festival and this is the warm and pleasant late afternoon to early evening main show before the final evening show at Cactus. Despite an hours delay due to earlier rainfall and a casualty of a song or two being cut from each band's set... The show is now on and the rain is ceased for the rest of a soon to be wonderful bright evening.
F L I E S - F L I E S - F L I E S
Our first act sets up. An all female grunge act with punk rock tenancies. The treat us with two cool bass lead intro songs to start off with. CoPilot the first track off their EP Learn Their Ways and opener blasts into a grunge filled riffs for an intro then into a slow verse to softly nod your head to. The Chorus hits with leading vocals and a guitar wailing loudly over it creating that punk grunge vibe. It's a good opener. Into Oblivion they head with a prominent bass again underlining that underground punk feel. Another good verse chorus punk song with a very jumpy head nodding chorus. A nice quick guitar solo to a middle 8 and then back to the chorus and the outro.
Noticeable is the age of the band playing. Those in the crowd being a few years older as punks and metalheads tend to stick with the genres for life. Their young age though is masked by the musicianship of the band as they jump into a cover of Man In A Box by Alice In Chains. It's a groovy song with a jumpy staccato chords. Rhythmically the band keeps on point in impressive form which brings the performance to life.
Next up is Fire Proof which a cool swung beat metal tune with cowbell. There's some slight rapping in the verses which reminds me of FUU by Dream Wife. The groove is a good and the rapping is kinda soft or cooly awkward but still on point. Maybe not the best rapping but it certainly feels more like a Finnish charm than anything else. A cool guitar comes in for the solo and this is time more prominent before a quick break and back to the chorus. Fun song.
Another cover song begins. I don't know the song and I just assume it to be one of the girls. I believe the song fitted the band very well. One of favourite parts was when all members were singing in syncopation the middle 8 part, "Teacher why don't you be my number 1". It was a nice creepy feeling that suited the mood of the song. The outro sounding just as cool with the Oooohhhhhs woahhhhs from the band. The song covered was Feed My Brain by Radkey.
In the penultimate track Flies slow things down with a rather serious ballad, Sober.
A thundering DUN DUNN DUN DUNN from the drums, guitar and bass form the bass. A wailing guitar follows as the drums and bass keep the chord hits going. Soon we have vocals for the song in the building of verse into pre chorus.
"Why can't we not be sober" bellows the band during the chorus in this powerful song. From watching this performance you really see the band perform this with theirs hearts as the song seems to resonate with them.
Wait! This a Tool cover? This band is cool. Why haven't you checked them out yet?
Their final song tonight is Technical Failure.
There's a rock beat and an awesome Double bass break down for the end as the band create huge mash of sound for the send off. Good stuff.
A B S T R A K T
With a break of between 15 to 20 minutes to allow people to make a beer run down the hill and back next up is a dark metal band called Abstrakt. They take to their instruments with a sample of GET TO THE CHOPPA from the movie Predator playing over the PA before jumping straight into From Chaos To Creation.
We're treated fast riffs and screaming vocals from the start.
A swinging quick riff quick break before jumping back into the bombardment.
Radient Darkness Begins with a biting trilling back and forth riff that is a little like Piranha by Exodus but quite different and much more biting. Cool shredding breaks split fast verses before hitting a softer sounding chorus. About half way through the song sounds a bit funky yet still brutally thrashing before hitting the chorus again.
We are abstract shout the band as they jump into new track Etherstorms. It's heavy and I stop taking my notes so I can headbang more.
The Prophet Of Fire, another new one, starts of with this cool shredding guitar intro before kicking in.
During the performance it was quite fun watching some police drive up the hill to investigate what was going on. The festival was obviously planned and organised. I wonder if this band scared some neighbours down the hill? Whatever
Prophet Of Fire overall sounded to be quite an epic and we're all having a good time..
Inferno starts of with a Fuzzy intro before turning into another anthem. It is a big sounding epic death metal anthem this time. The first riff bouncing in feeling and a machine gun fire double bass drums under it. The lyrics start off in a preverse state before the big riff comes in again to start the verse. Again the preverse like vocals sing this time with a low bass hitting low notes back and forth dunnnnnnnn dunnnnn under it creating a dreading feeling. So the song progresses to break before jumping back into an assortment of riffs before hitting the pre verse. I seem to remember during the middle part of the song the bass player to got a shot of vocals which was a nice addition. Overall this song comprises of many twisted melodic breaks and headbanging solos sending the four man mosh pit wild!
Noticeable upon my own investigation for this reivew is the band performing without the Symphonic elements their release Obsidian has. Whether or not this was artistic choice to perform without any backing tracks or samples in the PA system is unknown to me at this time. At two or three points in their performance I will definitely state they created the dark atmospheric sound close to the recording, notably Inferno and Radient Darkness. For the actual performance live they were more fun to watch and showed that they were a varied band that didn't need to take themselves seriously. Importantly though, a mixed crowd of metalheads and punks all enjoyed the set.
Beer run time...
A S T R A L - B R A Z A A R
On top of Taivaskallio hill as I return with a pack of Koff is Astral Brazaar warming up with some Psychedelic Western movie sounding guitar licks. They start off with a soon to be instrumental song with a buzzy sliding guitar licks and a dodgy guitar effects pedal playing up. An extended jam plays after a microphone mishap as well. For some acts this would be a bad start but this band play like good jazz cats would, adapting well and focusing on the extended jam which has made a good atmosphere atop the hill. They play some nice Jazz fusion with interesting variations in the style reminding me of Cosmosquad and Ohm.
Next up is a swung song with slightly show tune expressive sounding vocals. With the band jamming Ants (The Decay Of...) the singer Ville Manninen walks from the stage to audience and starts selling the band's CDs. It's an interesting sight with the band jamming some weird mysterious chords with slithering scales. It's a sort of strange market feeling up here but 5 euros for their debut Pictures Unrelated is a bargain.
It's a long jam as Ville traverses the audience on the hill crest until eventually returning to vocals to finish off the song.
What I'd describe as rather hippie sounding is the next song Lungs Of Modern Times.
The fun jam continues this time with a Veep Beep vamp sounding Saxophone and slidey stick instrument thing keeping the cool beat going. Guiro, that's the name! This cuban, bossa nova, solsa rhythm (whatever it was, I only know punk/metal, sorry everyone) sounding song just jams away. The audience totally digs it though. Extreme music fans have a big soft spot for jazzy songs.
The final song they play is a riff tastic jazz intro akin to King Diamond. Nuclear Mystique. Running melodic guitar lines dominate on dancing swinging verses. A rather nice memorable chorus with long chords moves the songs and the crowd too before jumping back intro the swinging verses. After some verse chorus jumping and cool solos we're treated to a chilled out outro. Astral Brazaar have provided Puska with some brilliant Dancing groovey Jazz this evening.
N A P A L M - T E D
Napalm Ted 😂Ha!
Next up it's time to get back into some straight up hard and fast shit again. It's time to mosh with some Lofi death metal / hardcore punk with a Singing drummer, it's Napalm Ted blasting their opener Born!..... and also Burnt Arm and also The Deadline. All fast and brutal numbers. Three songs Mashed together in true grindcore style. I thought it was one song but it was three.
Brutal number number 2 as they blast through it called, Bad Dude. This one has a Cool break down outro and it proper windmilling music!
Song 3 - VEGADETH!!!
The mosh pit starts!!!!! YESSSSSSSSS This is a bit more chuggy riffage but still very fast. Part two speeds up and the pit of about 10 people at most goes crazy. Cool break down again as we stamp our feet in exaggerated style. Back into the song back into the mosh again!
I seem to remember a cool DUN DUN DUNNNN to build up some atmosphere before jumping into Eaten by Pigs then catastrophically jumping in to Double kick riffage madness.
It's at this point I'd like to say I've lost track of the number of songs the band played due to my insistence of moshing. This is solely my incompetence as a reviewer as the band were great. Here's a list of their song titles I find amusing: Vegadeth, March Of The Ducks, Eaten Pigs and Lethal Laughter,
Here's their music video for the song Burnt Arm. It's awesome.
R I E S A
The final band for this little festival on top a hill is a punk metal act called Riesa. They tear into their set quite literally with Kaupunki tahtoo sut and unreleased Hullut hurtat when (as my brother reports) one of the guitars has his strap ripped off or most likely fallen off.
Song number 3 is Huutokauppaa. It sounds more rock orientated than straight up metal. A kick snare beat drives forward this moving song. It's an upbeat song with an ok chorus. 6/10
Song 4 Silmankaantotemppu
A song that starts off with a cool break beat 🤘 and cool solos. It sounds like cheerful punk pop sounding industrial with a similar but more upbeat theme to the previous number. This song moves a lot better than previous songs as the band begins to find their groove. Upbeat choruses separated by cool guitar breaks dominated the song until a nice ending
Heading in to Pahasta is a straight up heavy song as the band turn it up a few gears. Generally the rest of the song is a blank in my memory as the mosh pit starts up and I join in with the rest of them. It's a fun two minutes.
The sixth song in the set is an Unreleased number called Keihoviisu. It's full of headbanging and at some bits I thought it sounded like Venom.
Noticable with this band is an Amebix / gothic influence, especially with the bass player with his ultra cool hair-sprayed hair! A some point roundabout this time the bassist runs like a mad man around the festival area playing his cable-less bass. He's seen jamming in the crowd, on top of the old stone forts, and on the pedestrian pathway... Klovmiarmeija is metal riff destroyer of song to open with, a quick verse and then more riffs. A quick build then a chorus full of loads of riffs. A cool feature of this song is the middle part with the droning and the slow solitary bass which reminded me of a dark Amebix song. Soon we reach a bridge full of riff that builds and builds getting faster as we all move about again.
Back into the punk rock feel akin to Bad Religion or NOFX we go with Niin sanotut ihmiset. It's a palm~muted verse and shouting chorus affair. Another thoughtful bass break features but this time with a good guitar solo before hitting the chorus again for a final high.
Riesa play their final song tonight and play very fast punk riffs with Lakiuudistus. It's a welcome quick number as we all get to mosh again and let loose. Overall the band played well and were very good in the second half of their set.
It's about half 9 in the evening and that's a wrap for the metal festival on top of a big hill in a pedestrian park. Everyone cheers Riesa at the end and we all make our plans to walk (STUMBLE) down to Cactus for the final part of the festival / after party. E N D