Festival Report: Nummirock 2014

For this summer’s festivities, Teeth of the Divine sent a festival reporter to the Finnish farming headlands to visit the Nummirock 2014 Festival. The festival is held around 330 kilometers north of Helsinki, away from any major city or municipal, annually on and around the midsummer day, during which time the country is often on a nation wide hiatus and a booze binge. So come on in, educate yourself and see how bands like Behemoth or W.A.S.P handled their business.

by Matti Manner

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While we were setting up our bunker and settling in, I could hear the first band Kaunis Kuolematon play in the distance. When I finally managed to get out of the camping site, the band was already walking off the stage. One quick shot and my first festival photo was in the books. For the little I had paid attention, the band played something that sounded pretty stereotypical melodic doom/death with a mix of cleans and growling vocals done in Finnish. After taking a last look at singer Olli Suvanto`s “Where`s the goth girls at?” -appearance on stage, I felt at ease on the idea that I had not missed anything personally appealing.


Generally speaking, Thursdays in Nummirock are usually for warming up as the day runs solely around a single stage, the smallest one named after Koff beer. Between bands, there were also two acoustic troubadours playing rock classics in the beer tent next to the open air stage.

Next up was Speedtrap that rammed in quite a positive surprise with their energetic live performance. Fast speed metal, that stylistically owed much to old greats like Saxon and Motörhead. Even though I found little in the terms of variation in the song material, everything was done effectively and that got people moving. Sawing riffs with occasional guitar solos and increasingly hurrying tempo seemed to follow very strict guidelines. The overall picture left me waiting for something more special, so I doubt I’ll be going out to buy their first full-length album, Powerdose.


During Speedtrap’s set, the festival security was so relaxed that somebody had forgotten to post any security to the stage. Practically anyone would have been able to jump into the photopit — or better yet — assaulted the stage. Not surprisingly, a seemingly drunk patron realized that very idea and ran with it. Most of the gig, the fellow was clowning in front of the photographers while trying to score high fives from the band. It took a while for vocalist Jori Sara-Aho to finally spot the anomaly and being in a good mood, he came to give the fan a firm handshake. Naturally, this encouraged the person even more as he turned back to the photographers and began shouting “It’s now or never, you should be taking some photos!” Spiced up the gig he did, even if it was annoying for the most part.

After Speedtrap I went to have a beer in the service tent. Sipping on a can, I got to observe how a troubadour duo, that went by the name Tapani Kangas Acoustic, had some troubles getting their in-between acoustic set done. Instead of having any technical related obstacles to hurdle, Kangas winded up competing with Profane Omen`s vocalist Jules Näveri for vocal supremacy. Näveri, who had a long soundcheck session on the other side of the tent, took Tapani’s setlist of rock classic to task. With much more power behind him (both vocally and sound system wise), Näveri took over the show and was screaming and screeching over most of Tapani’s setlist. Mildly entertaining while not so cool as it was a bit like pissing on another man’s breakfast cereals.

Profane Omen was the first one to get a legit moshpit running amongst the crowd. They were also the first to dole out some flaming pyros. In a live surrounding, Profane Omen is a decent act and capable of riling up the audience. New songs from their Reset album were highlighted with fire shows that went off throughout the setlist. As a band that has been out there quite a while, I somewhat feel that the band has stayed artistically pretty stagnant. Even though Profane Omen didn’t seem to have slowed down much from since I first saw them live at Pellavarock 2007, watching them now made me feel that they have not been able to reach the next level with their music. They have the energy to put on a lively show, but to me it really felt as if they’ve stayed in some kind of a stasis ever since they were awarded the “Newcomer of the year” award at the Finnish Metal Awards for their debut album Beaten Into Submission back in 2007. Five albums later and everything still feels the same.


As a side note, during Profane Omen’s set,the already poor weather conditions took a turn for the worse as the temperature began to creep closer and closer towards zero degrees celsius. On a date that should mark the midsummer, the conditions were pretty bleak!

Sweden’s Deals Death were to be the first headliner of the festival as they came to close up the day. The only thing I’d heard from the band was a viral video put out by the band where they showed singer Olle Ekman practicing his death metal grunts by the piano. The group made an inspired effort to fulfill the role as Thursday’s top billing.


Despite having technical difficulties with the vocals reaching the speakers, the band didn’t slow down at all. Few minutes into the set, a new microphone was introduced while Deals Death kept the show rolling as if there were no issues whatsoever. Undeterred by the harsh climate or technology fucking up, the band simply marched on from the first song to the last, attracting a decent gathering.

Observing the stage I kept seeing some similarities to another Swedish metal band, namely Sabaton. While the look and sound were miles apart, the positive energy level was very much the same. Both Sabaton`s Joakim Broden and Deals Death’s Olle Ekman are showmen at heart. As Olle was growling and punching the air with armbands around his biceps, I tried to recall what it reminded me of so viscerally, but I couldn’t put my finger on it until the guy decided to tear away his shirt. Then it hit me. Intentional or not, I haven’t seen a better Ultimate Warrior homage outside of professional wrestling. Rest in peace, Warrior! In the crowd there were a few brave men that took Olle’s example to heart and threw their own shirts off also. Where stage lights did not help those poor few SOBs, the alcohol must have. While the open gunshow displayed on stage might have had its appeal to the female audience, I could have bet a few spacebucks that the bare chested polarbear party running in the mosh pits didn’t. All in all, I can always appreciate a good show, so hats up for Deals Death for coming up with one.

At the very end of the show I had a little laugh out loud moment at the awkwardness that followed the encore. To depict this moment fully might be a hard thing to pull, but I’ll try. It all happened while the last note of the last song was still playing. For a moment Olle turned his back to the crowd and took some steps towards the backstage. Understandably this was interpreted by the audience as the point where show ended and the band was leaving the stage. Instead, Olle was just trying to signal someone from the back to come out and take some band photos with the enchanted crow behind them. Worn out and freezing, half of the people in attendance had already walked away from the stage and were lining in front of the exit gates. What resulted was the band trying to lure the confused crowd back like lost cattle for their snapshot, but getting only the scraps of what was there just ten seconds ago. Watching this take place from the sidelines, I found the whole thing both hilariously funny, uncomfortable and weird. Freezing but happy I joined the marching dark mass back to my camp.

It was not long after that I was crawling into my sleeping bag, tired and willing to escape the semi-winter climate. The fact that the central heating was not working in our trailer kind of sucked, as did most of the performers in the karaoke tent that was located close by. Goddamn thing seemed to have opened the gates to hell, as it seemed to produce an endless supply of more and more brutally awful vocalists again and again. Fuck sleep.

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  1. Commented by: Apollyon
  2. Commented by: Juan Manuel Pinto

    Dear Matti Manner:
    I loved the following quote off your review:

    “In the end there is no true substitute for hard work, claim otherwise and you are most certainly a hack full of shit”

    How true.

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