A rather small, yet awesome town in Southern Finland, Hyvinkää, holds an open air festival that can be described as the most brutal start for metalheads summer. Since 2012, Steelfest Open Air has presented many international acts and this year was no exception. Bands such as 1349, Batushka, Impaled Nazarene, Gorgoroth, Ragnarok, Horna among many other class acts took the stage to preach their unholy word. Steelfest is known as an underground festival booking mainly black/thrash/death bands instead of more mainstream metal bands which is only a positive thing. The ambiance and brotherhood was palpable among all the corpse painted, leather-filled, spike and stud oriented full on roaring metalheads. Against all prejudices towards metal culture there are usually not any mentionable disturbances and that was just the case also in Steelfest. All the anger and rage erupted only when bands brought their theatrical performances inside two demonic days as this Steel Mill’s Millworker enjoyed the satanic mass.
“The ambiance and brotherhood was palpable”
Day 1: Friday is Fearday
Sunny and warm Friday started out with Saturnian Mist and White Death spreading their diseases to the cheerful crowd. First touch of brutal evilness was witnessed when Inferno played their surprisingly good show on the inner stage. Bands wicked catatonic sound and performance seemed to work way better live than I’ve heard.
Next at the outside stage Swedish meatball-masters Demonical got their audience to worship them throughout the whole act. At this point the beer stands had started slowly make their impact to the public and local band Lathspell and later on well known Finnish black metal quintet Horna were truly on fire and got the audience singing along.
A true blast from the past, straight from the 80’s with the most cutely named band members ever, Blasphemy from Canada played their old school black and death metal with a little grin in their faces. Lead singer Nocturnal Grave Desecrator and Black Winds was on full roar!
Next on the inside stage a very unfamiliar band for me, Kroda from Ukraine was so far the best act on Friday and made me crave for more!
The final act outside was the legendary Los Angeles based thrash band Sadistic Intent who had the pleasure to play under the setting sun and in front of very welcoming crowd.
Evil and dark Friday ended up with a mind blowing show from Norwegian black metallers 1349. Band name comes from the year when Black Death spread in Norway, wiping and killing out most of the population. 1349 is extremely technical band and it was great pleasure to witness their amazing skills live. Great way to end the first day of fear…
“…with the most cutely named band members ever, Blasphemy…”
Day 2: Saturday is Satanday
The gates of Steelfest opened up quite early and you could feel the fear-ridden and tense atmosphere among even the most hard core metallers. It was not a hangover that made the hands shake, it was the awareness of Saturdays opening act. Well known, widely feared, most evil and brutal satanic entities, a duo straight from the fiery depths of Hell known as Bat & Ryyd took the stage with their demonical vampyrish bat outfits. Words cannot describe the panic among the crowd and it was the most terrorizing way to start the day.
“It was not a hangover that made the hands shake, it was the awareness of Saturdays opening act.”
In fact, I needed to take a few hour break for my poor soul and therefore sadly missed Malicious, Sarkom, Mörbid Vomit, Diabolical and Latvian folk-metallers Skyforger who I heard, threw an exceptional set.
Luckily I got to witness the blood and sex-filled show from a local black metallers Sawhill Sacrifice with guest appereances of singer Anne and hmm… excotic dancers (?) Mercy and Sofia. Sawhill’s performance was easily the most entertaining from the whole Steelfest. It was also great to hear some well sung female vocals on this slightly masculine and male-oriented supply of performers. And i do love titties.
“Sawhill Sacrifice performance was easily the most entertaining from the whole Steelfest…”
Necromancer, also a local band, threw their brutally sophisticated 30th anniversary and farewell concert in front of excited crowd before Impaled Nazarene hit the stage inside. Mika Luttinen and his crew are great on stage and threw many familiar classics from their discography. Impaled is extremely enjoyable live band and well worth seeing!
Azaghal from Finland and Denial of God from Denmark also shared their humble opinions about god with intense and power with their twisted black metal acts!
Norway is well presented in Steelfest and Ragnarok gave a reason why. A full-on roaring lecture about ancient Norse gods was highly entertaining.
Last few weeks I have been blasting the mystic Polish liturgical black metal band Batushka and I was really thrilled to hear their participation at Steelfest roster. My unholy prayers were answered and “the Ghost of Poland” Batushka was just as good as i wished for. The monk choir combined with the anonyme satanic branding works like a charm. Batushka might be a bit dead on stage but in this case the music speaks for itself.
As the festival was about to end, the messengers of upcoming apocalypse, Gorgoroth, enhanced with Taake-vocalist Hoest, gave masses the final touch of evil. Gorgoroth have gone through a lot of musicians during their career. Seven drummers, seven bassists and four lead vocalists tells something about their staff policies. Anyway, this was a respectional ending and Gorgoroth could’ve not done it better!
“…well organized food and drink stands, minimum queuing, reasonable prices, really friendly and helping staff makes this two day black mass really worth visiting.”
Within the Steelfest weekend it gathers approximately 2000 unholy souls every year. Inside and outside stage, well organized food and drink stands, minimum queuing, reasonable prices, really friendly and helping staff makes this two day black mass really worth visiting. Even the architecture of the milieu shouts out for metal fest. Steelfest is held in an authentic surroundings of an old wool factory and it’s red brick walls, towers and vintage atmosphere gives a little extra depth to the festivity. Bureaucracy of Finland is absolutely ridiculous and makes it hard to set up festivals like this, especially when serving of alcohol is included. So, respect and horns up to all organizers of Steelfest, good job and hope to witness the blasphemy again next year! Steelfest is ehtaa tavaraa!
(c) pics and word by Pete Alander