Terve, terve my friends. Now I know that we are a tried and true US based Heavy Metal and Hard Rock website, but it is without question that we have a strong level of support for our Finnish Metal providers and with that in mind we wish them all “Hyvää Itsenäisyyspäivää” or Happy Independence Day if my translation is correct. Bear with me since I really do only know about five or six phrases.
Last year I suggested that our readers could reflect upon any of the Finnish Metal shows that were reported on via the tag of “Finnish Metal” but this year I wanted to reach out to you all and do some polling to pick your brain and see what bands might send you over the edge the most. So let’s get some dialogue and some education on bands that more people need to learn about my fiends, please tell me what your three very favorite Finnish Metal or Hard Rock bands might be and why this is the case for each of them. I’ll start the process so you see what I am looking for from you kind fans.
Nightwish: I realize this is somewhat of a predictable choice but they were to my knowledge the very first Finnish Metal band that I had been turned onto. I have my friend Elaine to thank for that, and I wonder if she even remembers this because it was a “hey have you ever heard…..”. I loved what this band was all about and I guess the album that had just come out was “Wishmaster” when this was happening and to me this remains a masterpiece. Readers of my work might find it interesting to learn that the first review I ever did was for a Nightwish show when the band played the once venerated and now long shuttered L’Amour in Brooklyn. What I remember most about that show was how it had sold completely out and this impressed me as a Metal fan. I didn’t know who else had ever heard of this band but clearly a lot had and this was a very good thing. The problem I had with Nightwish was that they did not get over here as often as I would have liked them to and then Tarja left to be replaced by Anette and now she is gone as well. “As The Nightwish Turns” is almost my feeling but I still love the power of their music and how it makes me feel as a Metal fan and I cannot wait to see what the have in store for us in the future. Their most recent studio album is entitled “Imaginerum” and there is a film being released that uses this music as well. I love the album and am very interested in the film. Right now Floor Jansen is their touring vocalist and I think she should be offered the position.
HIM: Another band that I latched onto rather early (way back in 2003 LOL) was the incredible His Infernal Majesty aka HIM. I remember that I was working at some Wall Street drudgery and had taken a break to enjoy some Yahoo Music. At the time there was an awesome player that would recommend things based on your listening and it suggested HIM to me. At least that is how I recall it (this was in 2003 so I am a little hazy). Anyway, the song was “Join Me In Death” and it had a video. This just knocked me for a loop since it sounded so fresh and different from what I was listening to on a regular basis. When I got home I ordered myself a copy of “Razorblade Romance” and then hoped against hope that this band would make its way over to our shores. They eventually did with two shows at The Bowery Ballroom back in 2004 and while I would have loved to be at the first show, I could not attend based on a commitment but I did catch the second. A key memory I have about this particular show was my having a number of extra tickets at the last minute thanks to friends who while originally interested were no longer so when the day had arrived. Ugh. When I tried to convince them otherwise I remember hearing the comment “since I don’t hear them on the radio how good can they actually be???” It was fantastic and fun and I became a fierce advocate of their sound going forward. I’ve also managed to see them live at least once when they have returned to our region and can guarantee you that you will still not readily hear them on the radio (nor much of what I regularly discuss on the website and I would not have it any other way). The band actually just has released a Greatest Hits package called “XX: Two Decades Of Love Metal” and I recommend it if they are still somehow new to your ears. There is not a bad song on the release.
Sonata Arctica: If my memory serves me well (and it usually does), I have been listening to Sonata Arctica for only a little time less than I have been listening to Nightwish. Once I began to really examine the Scandinavian Metal scene I was finding a lot of cool choices and I will admit that at first the bands name was what caught my attention. There was just something interesting about the name Sonata Arctica and perhaps one of these days I will ask them just what the name means but I digress. My first go at the band was with “Winterheart’s Guild” and much like the aforementioned “Wishmaster” from Nightwish, remains one of my very favorite Metal releases from the Scandinavian side of the fence. The band had been set to tour the states as an opener for that same band but dramatics and changes in that camp found that on hold for the duration. It would not be until a 2005 US tour by Overkill that found Sonata Arctica as direct support that I would get to see them. I’m amused at how reflecting on this reminds me that I had only just launched PiercingMetal.com as a website ten days before I saw the band. They were supporting “Reckoning Night” at the time and I have kept up with them ever since and consider a couple of their members brothers in the Metal way. The band has been signed to one of our favorite labels of them all (Nuclear Blast Records) for some years now and their last two releases “Live In Finland” and “Stones Grow Her Name” are worthy additions to your collection. I smile at how I will be celebrating their countries Independence Day with them as they begin their US tour for this new album this very night. A concert review will hit the site as soon as time allows. I am also looking forward to speaking to the guys since we always have a nice time exchanging stories and jokes.
Honorable Mentions: Not being in my top three is by no means a slight but I did want to stress that I also have a strong appreciation for The 69 Eyes, Korpiklaani, Turisas, Apocalyptica, Michael Monroe, Naked, Stratovarius, Lordi and Ensiferum along with far too many more I am afraid. I guess that I can blame being a music journalist on the fact that my preferences are often far more than three simple choices at any given time. I’m proud to admit that I have seen all of the bands that I just listed and numerous others that I have not. Good stuff for sure.
I’m looking forward to any replies and your choices for this narrative that we get. My hope is that it steers not only other readers to some quality stuff but also to me as well since one cannot be on top of everything no matter how hard you try. I’ve embedded some links and the albums that were my first introductions to the groups that I focused on. You can also click this link http://piercingmetal.com/tag/finnish-bands/ to absorb any other Finnish bands that have been written up on the website. Enjoy.