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Underground metal and bands

Recently the second Metal Crane Festival led me to Finland for the very first time. Initially prepared for the cold north, I was thawed by quite the warm welcome. Even more so, as the crowd and the bands in Helsinki’s famous Nosturi were really hot. The Nosturi is a more than remarkable venue: a multi-floored, formerly commercial metal construction situated in the onetime industrial harbour surrounded by a wood of cranes, hosting a restaurant, the concert venue and countless rehearsal facilities of bands, some of them very well-known. Perfect venue for the Metal Crane Festival! Friday Night – Antithesis Of…

Metallijate (Ville Mussallo, Mikko Heikkilä and Antti Rantavuo) means metallic garbage. T(h)rash metal? Anyway you will meet the word written on containers wherever you go in Finland. Downtown. In a suburbian living area. In a park. On the beach. On a parking lot along the road. Even on a trail in the middle of nowhere in the loneliness of Lapland. The newly established band has not made it this far yet. Meeting Ville and Mikko in a gloomy bar below the famous Nosturi concert venue in Helsinki, Mikko tells me how it all began: With a photo of exactly such…

Obscuro: Congratulations on the positive reception of the new album and on the coming European tour with Omnium Gatherum and Wolfheart. You guys deserve the success. First let me ask: how does a Nothgard song get made? Is there a main songwriter in the band? Dom: Basically I come up with all new material. So I start to write a song on the guitar, set up a basic drumtrack & add keyboards/orchestrations. At this point the lyrical theme is already in my mind. Afterwards the band gets the songs, add their ideas and Felix Indra (Drums) composes the real drums.…

Heavy Metal Maniac, that’s what Marko Syrjala, bass player of Evil Drive calls himself. And considering the dedication it takes to run a metal band, make albums, play shows and achieve some success, the term maniac is merely more than one angle on many metal band stories. Perhaps being a maniac to some extended is needed to make it work, right? Evil Drive are a Melo Death Metal band from the very south of Finland, which only recently signed with Reaper Entertainment. Viktoria Viren and her band mates, Ville Viren (gui), Juha-Pekka Pusa (gui), Marko Syrjala (bass), Juha Beck (dr),…

Perhaps this is not a common interview. But then the Dark River Festival (DRF) was not a common festival experience to me. Henri Eerola, the festival and social media manager, said it is like a class reunion and coming home. His comparison fits in more than one way. The crew running the festival has been the same for many years, musicians and band have played there before and enjoyed coming back and the audience is the most critical you can have, with parents and friends among them. So besides Henri I asked some of the musicians about their Dark River…

Sometimes when you meet a band you have an idea what will happen. Sometimes not at all. You prepare your questions and you look forward to have a good time or an interesting, deep-going conversation or get some hard business facts. And at some very rare occasions you get that all when expected none of it! You were not really confident how to get the conversation running, perhaps. But then we’re speaking here of Turmion Katilöt, a band that for me more than any other never fits in any box. They are unique in the very best sense of the…

It has always been this way, my mum used to reply too often when I asked her for the reason of things being a child still. I have thought 100.000 times of this phrase and most of the times it made me do things different because different is good. ‘Your interviews are different.’ I have heard this statement at least from nine out ten interviewees and it always meant a compliment. They enjoyed the interview, they have said. They said it was personal, very good, intensive, individual or many other things pointing out they really appreciated my way, and being…

Meeting Jon Schaffer was special to me. I have listened to his music for 15 or even 20 years now. And then he surprised me with some very personal replies on the band history, its dynamics and his attitude towards metal. It’s a brutally hot summer day in the remote scenery of rural German countryside – Rock Am Stück – as I meet Jon Schaffer, head composer, guitarist, and well, simply the mastermind of Iced Earth. The band has played quite a few festivals in Europe already this summer and some club gigs in between. I wonder if he still…

Day One: The ‘Kymiest’ Festival Ever “We say it’s the most kymi or kymiest festival of all”, someone from the crew explained me. Kymijoki is the river not far from the festival’s venue. Actually the whole area all the way from Kotka at the Baltic Sea up to Kouvula is named after the river, the Kymi Valley. There is a shuttle bus (16 seats) taking you from Kotka or Karhula to the venue which is in the [Biathlon] stadium of Honkala. So yes, Kotka is not Helsinki and the Honkala stadium is certainly not matching Hartwall arena. The road narrows…

There have been quite some changes in Barren Earth lately either within the band line up or affecting the band dynamics. When there was never a doubt that Kreator would limit Sami’s [Yli-Sirniö, guitar] availability for Barren Earth the question arose how Oppu’s [Olli-Pekka Laine, bass] return to Amorphis would affect the band. And then of course already the tour with Insomnium and Wolfheart back in January 2017 brought more new faces on stage as for example due to Marko’s child being born not long before so his family had priority. So how are things right now with Barren Earth?…

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