Finnish Metal

Tarot – Gravity of Light Review

Tarot – Gravity of Light Review

Talk about a long-suffering, unheralded and unsung band! Tarot has been slogging through the metal trenches in relative obscurity outside of their native Finland since 1986. For many non-Finnish folk (myself included), Tarot was an unknown quantity until lead singer and founder Marco Hietala joined up with Nightwish in 2002 for their Century’s Child outing, thereby drawing much needed attention to his primary recording outfit. It has been nearly four years since 2006’s Crows Fly Black, but finally the metal underdogs of Tarot are back in action with their eighth album, Gravity of Light.

Finnish Heavy Metal Propaganda

Finnish Heavy Metal Propaganda

Recently I’ve said in several different posts that I thought that Koskenkorva was the reason for the Finnish heavy metal craze. Turns out, I’m wrong. Apparently there is an indoctrination process that starts very, very young. Indoctrination, from heavy metal guys in dinosaur suits. Aptly named “Heavisaurus”! Their videos now litter the web and are […]

Black Sun Aeon – Routa Review

Black Sun Aeon – Routa Review

One of 2009’s most pleasant surprises for this Angry Metal Guy was Black Sun Aeon’s Darkness Walks Beside Me. To say that I was slightly addicted to the album would be an understatement: I was totally addicted to that record. It’s like there’s something in the water (Koskenkorva?) in Finland that leads to the ability of these Finnish bands to build some of the most incredible melancholy into their already heavy, beautiful music. Black Sun Aeon’s debut full length was definitely on the same level as many of the other excellent Finnish doom and melodic death bands out there. While maybe not as melodic as some, or maybe a little bit more simplistic than others, Darkness Walks Beside Me was a tremendous success.

Barren Earth – Curse of the Red River Review

Barren Earth – Curse of the Red River Review

Barren Earth took me completely by surprise. As a rule I do not post reviews of records from labels that do not send me promos of them. I think it’s a disincentive for them to do so and generally bands don’t deserve the promotion. However, sometimes bands come onto the radar that I can’t ignore, as is what happened when I picked up this new Barren Earth record on a total whim. In fact, I didn’t even know that this band had ex-members from Amorphis, the drummer from Moonsorrow, the guitarist from Kreator or the vocalist from Swallow the Sun involved, or that it was mixed by Dan Swano. I guess I should have expected that this would be a great record…

Poisonblack – Of Rust and Bones Review

Poisonblack – Of Rust and Bones Review

In the wake of Sentenced it’s no surprise that Poisonblack has continued strong, with support from fans of the previous band and has become bigger and bigger in Finland and throughout the world. Many miss the tongue-in-cheek depression that went hand-in-hand with later Sentenced records, at the same time as missing the band that once was. Of Rust and Bones, the new Poisonblack record (the band that features former Sentenced vocalist Ville Laihiala) basically continues on with the Sentenced legacy of mid-paced heavy metal with depressing lyrics, but doesn’t do it with the same kind of conviction or freshness that was embodied by the former band.

Kalmah – 12 Gauge Review

Kalmah – 12 Gauge Review

It’s hard to imagine a modern metal without Finnish bands, isn’t it? These guys have been pushing the scene forward for quite a while after having burst onto it with such a forceful manner a decade (or more) ago. One of the bands that has been sadly overlooked in this process has been Kalmah. These guys, while popular, have often taken a back seat to bands like Ensiferum and Children of Bodom in the international scene. This is a shame, because at least The Black Waltz put everything that Children of Bodom ever put out to shame and they make some of the later Ensiferum stuff look pretty weak, as well. While For the Revolution was a pretty big letdown for many fans, Kalmah has returned in 2010 with a scorcher called 12 Gauge.

Finntroll – Nifelvind Review

Finntroll – Nifelvind Review

I remember the first time I ever got to hear Finntroll. It was shortly after Jaktens Tid had been released and it absolutely blew my mind. It was like the most ridiculous thing I’d ever heard: oompah and metal, all tied up in one over-the-top packaging, complete with joik! Many have approached Finntroll as though they’re a joke band, but honestly since Nattfödd, they have been a very serious band in my mind. They took it to the next level with Ur Jordens Djup, which was as dark as anything the band had produced up until this point. And honestly, I don’t think a lot of fans were sure of what to expect next from these Swedish speaking Finns. The answer to that question is Nifelvind… which may be Finntroll’s finest record yet.