Saturday, August 15, 2009

Update from Oulu

An 8 hour drive, and for a few days I'm closer to the top of the world than I've ever been.

It turns out that the hotel we're staying at... four stars (you should see the breakfast buffet!). That guest list I was on for the festival? VIP all-access badge!

The first day of Jalometalli was interesting. The best bands were of course the old-school ones, simply because I think none of these bands ever broke big, and when you're a working-level band for 25+ years (and both Rage and Voïvod have at various times, not sure about right now, been full-time musicians but certainly never "mansion and a Ferrari" level) you have to be good to bother keeping going and to keep people's interest. Sólstafir was the one interesting newer band but they were awfully droney for my tastes. Most of the other bands were newer and of the "this is our genre and we wear it like handcuffs" variety.

Of course, the difference between the US and Finland were very evident. Spiritus Mortis, Finland's oldest doom metal band (established 1987) closed out the night. Their new singer Sami Hynninen doesn't participate in the same reality the rest of us do. At one point he stipped completely naked and was seig heiling while fiddling with himself while singing songs like "All This For Love," a lovely ditty about a man who kills his entire family. This is an all-ages show, mind you. He was like this for over 10 minutes, and he was hands-on much of that time. The rest of his band was various shades of cracking up, embarrassed, and rather peeved, depending on which guy you looked at.

Well it certainly wasn't boring.

But... but... some of the bands have literary connections! Deathchain is a completely Lovecraft-inspired band, complete with a guy dressed up like Cthulhu (!) on stage. Rage went through a heavily Mythos-inspired phase of their career. Of the bands I'll be seeing later today, Dawn of Relic is all about the Lovecraft as well as Chambers and Carcosa. A ton of other bands have a song here and there about this stuff. (this is not so much a Conan-and-Elric themed metal fest, Stormwarrior possibly aside, but there are plenty of such themed bands over on this side of the pond)

But to really make this post topical to the blog and D&D... I continued my "buy a new set of dice in every new city I visit" tradition by visiting Oulu's Fantasiapelit store.

Better yet, across the plaza from the hotel is the Oulu public library. Keep in mind this is a town way up north with about 110,000 people living here and not another sizable city for many hours' drive.

This library had nearly a full set of Paizo's Planet Stories books (not that I've seen any of them for sale in any bookstore I've visited in Finland), and more spectacularly, 1970s digest-sized hardcover editions of a lot of Poul Anderson and Jack Vance books, many titles of which I'd never ever heard of before. All this in English, mind you.

I wanted to steal that red Three Hearts and Three Lions book so bad, you can't believe.

This place is pretty awesome. More metal today (Atheist and Agent Steel are the expected highlights, but also ARTILLERY! The 80s are alive, as Whiplash and Death Angel will also demonstrate! Scary how many "20-25 year veteran metal bands that never made it" you can run across), then a roundabout drive back home down the coast (looking at a 10 hour car trip day).

Then Monday I sit back down to working and filling a few orders and getting back to some people's emails and settling down for the big final work push on Insect Shrine.

Also keep in mind that if this shipment takes the same amount of transit time as the last one, the Noble Knight stuff will be on sale this Friday. But past performance is no guarantee of future results, and all that.

1 comment:

  1. You are a real aficionado, James. I must admit my Scandanavian metal lore is limited to Swedish groups like HammerFall and Dream Evil. Sounds like a pretty good time.

    : )