Tuska Open Air Metal Festival 2018 - Live Report

After a hopefully relaxing and sober Midsummer weekend ears and livers were ready for another summer festival weekend – Tuska Open Air Metal Festival no. 21 was calling for three days of music, friends and festivaling.


The weather was not that summery but compared to the cold and rain filled weekend the forecast had promised, the windy but mostly dry (at least weather-wise) weekend was better than anyone could have hoped for. I started Friday with finally seeing Tribulation who played on the Helsinki Stage and provided a real nice start into the weekend and got the metal festival mood going with their strong performance.

Tribulation (Photo by Marco Manzi)

Turmion Kätilöt (Photo by Marco Manzi)

Tuska veterans Turmion Kätilöt followed on the main stage and got the crowd dancing and cheering, even though the wind was blowing the sound all over the festival area. The two big M’s of the day, Mantar and Moonsorrow were unfortunately overlapping so I first rushed to Kattilahalli to see my all-time favorites Mantar who never disappoint with their intense live show and only made me even more excited for their new album ‘The Modern Art of Setting Ablaze’. And in true Mantar fashion, they set the stage ablaze as well, with their music and the hazy red lights.

Mantar (Photo by Marco Manzi)

Filled to the brim with the energy Mantar had unleashed, it was off to catch a bit of Moonsorrow who had lit my fire for them anew with their unforgettable performance at Steelfest a month ago. Also, their Tuska show was as great as ever, another band I never get tired of.

Moonsorrow (Photo by Marco Manzi)

The rest of the evening went by with bits and pieces of Arch Enemy and Meshuggah who were both a pleasure to watch and listen to. Especially Arch Enemy were nice to see again after a long, long time for me for the first time with Alissa White-Gluz fronting. I have always liked the band, though haven’t listened to them a ton. But their live show was a true, main stage-worthy performance that was just a blast to watch with the sun shining from the blue sky, with friends around and letting Alissa guide you into a full festival state of mind.

Meshuggah (Photo by Marco Manzi)

Arch Enemy (Photo by Marco Manzi)

The uncontested kings of the day (and maybe even the festival?) were however headliners Body Count ft. Ice-T. They took the night away with a performance that blew the festival crowd away and will stay in many minds for a long time to come.

Body Count ft. Ice-T (Photo by Marco Manzi)


Still reeling from that performance, Carpenter Brut got the Saturday crowd dancing into the evening before everyone ran over to the main stage for Emperor. Sun and black metal, sometimes it works. And not only the sky was bright, but also the band was in a very good mood that proved to be infectious for an already very excited audience. A very different vibe to the last time Emperor played at Tuska in 2014 where the day was rainy, gloomy and cold. This year Emperor were celebrating the 20-year anniversary of ‘Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk’ and the whole festival joined in, greeting the beloved songs with loud cheers.

Carpenter Brut ft. Mat McNerney (Photo by Marco Manzi)

Emperor (Photo by Marco Manzi)

The mood got a lot more melancholic, the air heavy with sadness as Hallatar played on the tent stage, a quiet moment in the festival craziness, both the sky and audience members shedding a few silent tears for Aleah and the beauty of the music. The evening picked up speed and energy again with German Thrash machine Kreator who made sure to up the ante again. At The Gates and Gojira caped off the official part of the day, but the party and the dancing continued until the early morning hours at the after parties.

Hallatar (Photo by Marco Manzi)

Kreator (Photo by Marco Manzi)


Tired feet carried me towards the last festival day that turned out to be the warmest and sunniest of the weekend. The weather of the day was matched by Ihsahn's cheerfulness which put the audience into an instantly good mood, letting themselves drift along with the groove of the performance, a perfect way to delve into the atmospheric show and enjoy the more rock parts of it as well with the tent acting as a wind breaker so it was possible to catch all the nuances of the music.

Ihsahn (Photo by Marco Manzi)

Then, onward to some Sunday dancing at Kattilahalli with Grave Pleasures at Inferno Stage – this band is also one that you can see live countless times without ever getting bored and your feet always compelling you to dance. Outside, Europe played on the main stage and of course I had to sneak out from Kattilahalli to at least catch Final Countdown which had been my 7-year young selves’ favorite song, recorded on tape from the radio many a years ago (even though, not speaking any English back then, I was convinced the song’s title was Fire Countdown for years). The festival ended with Clutch and Parkway Drive, and just like that another 3 days of Tuska had flown by.

Grave Pleasures (Photo by Marco Manzi)

Europe (Photo by Marco Manzi)


Check out the full photo gallery by Marco Manzi.

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