Brief Overview of Rockfest 2019 Headliners

For all rock lovers from Finland and beyond, Rockfest is a great way to welcome summer with a fair dose of good headbang. Even though the festival takes place in a breezy Hyvinkää near Helsinki, it promises to be unbelievably hot due to its impressive line-up.

The action kicks off on June 7 with Slipknot performance. The gods of modern heavy metal will bring the house down once again since their gig at the Hartwall Arena in 2016. The other stars of the day are Amaranthe, Enslaved, and Powerwolf.

The next night is a triumph deluxe for metalheads of all sorts. The main stage will explode with the hits of Disturbed, In Flames, Within Temptation, and Dream Theater. All of them unleash different faces of metal so that you won’t have a single chance to go off the boil.

The final date of Rockfest is all about good old classics on behalf of world-class bands such as KISS, Def Leppard, and Finnish proud Lordi.

Rockfest, however, keeps a fine balance between local talents and foreign loud names, welcoming rising stars to shine on the big scene as well. But while it’s fine to discover young bands from the ground up, you need to be at least somewhat prepared before hearing mastodons of the modern rock scene. So here it is, a brief overview of 5 major Rockfest 2019 headliners.

  1. KISS

Being onstage for almost 50 years, KISS honed their performance skill to a sharp razor-edge. They are renowned as a hard rock band that subsequently influenced the rise of the glam metal genre, furtherly nurtured by other Rockfest artists, Def Leppard and Santa Cruz. KISS is especially famous for a harmonic interspersing of pop elements into heavy metal music and vigorous live shows with the use of excessive make-up, bizarre outfits, and other elements of androgynous aesthetic.

The most iconic KISS’s hit is I Was Made for Lovin’ You, which topped the charts in the US, Canada, Australia, and Europe. Still, the album on which the song is featured, Dynasty, has never repeated the success of their debut tape, Kiss, released in 1974.

KISS is one of the few rock bands whose concert albums and videotapes are sold equally great as studio releases. KISS’s concerts are accompanied with impressive pyrotechnic explosions, bursts of flame and artificial blood, and flying band members over the scene.

According to their official website, End of the Road is their final tour ever. Hopefully, we all can see this spectacle on Rockfest 2019. But just in case you won’t have such a chance, KISS will be touring across Europe until July 16.

  1. Disturbed

Disturbed is a prominent band on the modern American metal scene that is standing on the verge of several genre sub-divisions. The formation’s frontman David Draiman states that their music could be described as classic metal similar to those played by their influencers, while critics often characterize their stuff as nu-metal and even alternative.

Such a mix-up in Disturbed’s music classification can by much more melody than in classic metal and operatic Draiman’s baritone instead of heavy metal (often) harsh screams. However, they don’t rap and miss many of the elements initially inherent to nu metal.

Most notable Disturbed releases are debut The Sickness followed by Believe with renowned hits such as Down with the Sickness and Prayer. Recently, the band has released their 7th studio album titled Evolution, which will be heavily emphasized during their show at RockFest 2019.

Later in 2019, Draiman and Co. are touring Europe and America by autumn, visiting most of the major cities on the continents.

  1. Def Leppard

Def Leppard performs the same day as KISS and for a reason. Both are the icons of the hard rock genre, with Def Leppard being more of a classic metal style in their appearance and British vibes in their music. The two even united to perform side-by-side as part of KISS 40th Anniversary Tour, so their same-day performance in Finland is not that new to fans.

Def Leppard’s most popular releases so far are Pyromania and Hysteria. The band is among the five groups who have two tapes sold over 10 million times in the US. Def Leppard also fired a self-titled album in 2015, so most likely we will hear songs from it along with the band’s greatest hits.

After their long-awaiting visit to Finland, Def Leppard will throw gigs in some European and North American cities. The most notable event this summer is their second Las Vegas residency, during which they will have 12 amazing nights at Zappos Theater.

A month in Vegas sounds like the band members will go on a binge with “blackjack and hookers”, but actually only one member enjoys gambling — Rick Savage. By the way, Joe Elliott says he is not that kind of gambler who can lose his house, etc. Unlike some other rock stars (with Lemmy Kilmister and his Ace of Spades on top of this list), Rick Savage has no history of problem gambling.

If there were any signs of addiction, he would find a way to gamble even without coming to Vegas. Almost the same collection of slot machines is now available online, so he could just go to an online venue and play his favorite titles there. This won’t likely be a problem to the rest of band members, too, as reported by Elliott.

  1. In Flames

Oldfags know In Flames as pioneers of melodic death metal genre along with Dark Tranquility and At The Gates. Their second album, The Jester Race, is recognized as the benchmark for this music style.

The band switched to more alternative metal and even metalcore sound later on. On their most popular album, Come Clarity, Anders Friden started using more clean vocals in choruses and beyond. Their latest releases like Battles are almost completely made within the alternative metal genre.

Even though In Flames continues gaining in prominence, their old fans are quite upset with such a change in their style and often criticize their new tapes by calling them “lazy pop metal”.

On RockFest 2019, the band will likely present their latest I, the Mask. It was better received by critics than Battles, albeit still worse than early works. The album won’t get the old times back, but for new In Flames fans it can be highly rewarding to hear it live.

The band’s visit to Finland is just a one stop in their European tour, with notable concerts on Alpen Flair Festival, Trondheim Rocks, Summer Breeze Festival, and more.

  1. Slipknot

At first sight, Slipknot’s story is quite similar to Disturbed’s. Both are American heavy metal bands formed in the 90s and similarly classified as the nu-metal genre. The band members actually estrange themselves from this label and describe their music as “metal metal”, which likely means that they don’t want to restrain their art to any subgenre.

Slipknot also name our previous heroes KISS as their influencers. Despite Slipknot’s music style being much more aggressive than KISS’s, their visual appearance could be clearly inspired by them.

The band is known for wearing individual masks and jumpsuits. They also use pyrotechnics and elevated stage areas as part of their performances. There are cases of setting band members on fire and tying people up with a microphone cord during their early shows.

As for most popular works, the best album of Slipknot is Iowa featuring such songs as People = Shit and Left Behind. There are only 5 released albums in total, but each of them gets a mostly positive response from critics, which means the band’s focus is shifted towards quality rather than quantity. This is a good sign for fans, who are still awaiting an upcoming We Are Not Your Kind.

Most of the songs from the new album will be presented at RockFest 2019. Later this summer,  Slipknot will attend some more European rock & metal festivals before coming back to the US in August for some solo performances.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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