1. Support a great organization
These guys have been carrying the flag of the underground proudly and are committed to deliver the most uncompromising event filled with extreme music every single year. Sadly, they have gone through the wringer quite a bit in the past years, with a mass exodus from last year’s line-up because they supposedly are an extreme right festival (which they aren’t), of course the struggles everyone experienced through the pandemic, and this year again with the sudden pulling back from 3 of their biggest acts on the line-up. But they are damn resilient and just keep motoring on, only days after the announcement already coming with 3 killer replacements under the form of Satanic Warmaster, Warmoon Lord and Kalmankantaja. They do this all out of the sheer love for the underground, and completely independently, so they really do rely on your support. Get a ticket, get your booze on, get some merch,… support the hell out of them!
2. Legendary bands & special shows
It wouldn’t be a Steelfest event if there weren’t exclusive and special shows by legendary bands from the underground metal scene. And this year is no different. There is the exclusive show of the Finnish weirdos Ride For Revenge, with main guy Harald Mentor claiming that this will be the only show for 2023 and the foreseeable future, the Marduk show where they will play the new album ‘Memento Mori’ for the first time live before they embark on a world tour for the release, the return to the stage of the legendary Behexen after a long live hiatus, the ‘IV – Infinite Victor‘ album release gig of Finnish Sacrilegious Impalement, the first ever European show of the Canadian Grenadier, the first live appearance of YMIR and the resurrection of PEST for just this one Steelfest show. Every year they manage to bring together some of the most difficult to get bands and performances, and we love the organization for it!
3. The true underground
Steelfest wouldn’t be Steelfest if they wouldn’t bring an impressive array of underground artists to the table. They manage to find some bands that have been around for a long time and have a cult status, while also keep an eye on what’s new and promising from all over the world. Take bands like the earlier mentioned Swedish black metal institution Marduk, who is bringing their latest album to the stage for the very first time, the return of metal misfits Deströyer 666 after a killer show last year’s edition, Estonian WWII adepts Loits, the mysterious international collective The Committee, Norwegian black metal traditionalists Nattverd, Colombia being well-represented by black metal cult Utuk-Xul (formerly known as Dies Irae), Infernal and Witchtrap, Norwegian black metal legends like Carpathian Forest, Urgehal, Nattefrost and Gehenna, old school German black thrashers Tsatthoggua, the first European appearance of Canadian melodeath outfit Grenadier, Eastern Asia representing with the Japanese black/thrash band Sex Messiah, blackened death metal from France with Ritualization, some proper US extreme metal with the black metallers of Gravespawn and old school death through Nunslaughter and Evil Incarnate, some depressive black metal from the Australian Austere, the return of Norwegian black metal supergroup Nordjevel, French avant-garde act Pensées Nocturnes, old school French black metal outfit Merrimack and the mysterious new French black act Sotherion.
4. Finnish black metal scene
And as is tradition with most Finnish festivals, there is a good amount of attention and place in the spotlight for the local music scene. And Steelfest is of course no different, which makes it even more interesting since the Finnish black metal scene has had some impressive acts and still produces new and exciting projects all the time! Going from legends like Horna, Azazel, Satanic Warmaster, Pest (back together for a one-off show), Torture Killer, URN, True Black Dawn and Behexen (back after a long live hiatus), more recent cult acts like Sacrilegious Impalement, Ride For Revenge, Warmoon Lord, TotalSelfHatred, Ymir (first ever live appearance), Rienaus, Witchcraft, Ruttokosmos, Vornat and Kalmankantaja and brand new promising projects like Hail Conjurer, Nocturnal Sorcery, Coraxul, Gauhrithoth and Mist From The Mountains. That makes for about half of the total line-up and very exciting for the Finnish black metal aficionados under us.
5. The atmosphere
For those who haven’t been to any of their events yet before, a “gathering of wolves from the underground” means a setting with quality live music from start to finish, and while there will be most likely some knuckleheads that think it’s funny to throw a “Sieg heil”, it’s a welcoming place for all walks of life and a feeling of coming home to your extended family. The security is incredibly friendly, the atmosphere is relaxed despite the rather dark tunes blasting from the speakers and there are tons of drink, food and merch options, with even the option to meet and greet your favorite artists for signing sessions. And in normal circumstances, you’ll find most of the bands popping up on the festival terrain to meet up with friends, check out other bands’ shows and get their drinks on.
6. The low amount of damage
The price of their tickets have always been very reasonable, especially when you look at the quality they have to offer for it. You can get a 1-day ticket for the easy price of about 69€ and if you want to go wild and go for several days, a 2-day ticket will get about 129€, and a 3-day ticket about 199€ out of you. Knowing that also the drink and food options are quite reasonably priced for an expensive country like Finland, what is holding you back still?
And if you really want to burn through more money, you can be rest assured, there will be very interesting merch to be found there. Every year, besides the official festival shirt, you’ll find some exclusive band merch that you won’t find anywhere else but at the official festival merch booth. But plenty of other vendors and even labels will show up with some of their best materials for you to buy. Better get ready to open that wallet up… and remember: “Cash is King”
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