Following his departure in 2002 from Finnish viking metal outfit Ensiferum, former Arthemesia vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Jari Mäenpäa started a new project called Wintersun, with drummer Kai Hahto (late of grindcore band Rotten Sound). Fusing the folk-littered influence of countrymen like Amorphis and Finntroll with the technicality, speed, and high melodic content present in neo-classical power metal, Wintersun's eponymous debut album was released in 2004 by Nuclear Blast. After eight years of virtual hibernation, Wintersun reawakened and released their sophomore album, Time I, in 2012, also on Nuclear Blast. “Sons of winter and stars - rise!" This short but significant excerpt of the track "Sons Of Winter And Stars" not only is the wake-up call for everyone interested in music, it´s the battle cry of a band that released their self-titled debut album eight long years ago and had had to live up to the highest expectations and pressure of time for the eagerly awaited successor ever since. As Wintersun turned out to be a critically-acclaimed masterpiece of musical art, the band unintentionally found themselves facing the situation of having to out-do their previous work, and soon. In 2012 Wintersun released second full-length album Time I. Over the course of eight years the band have taken both music and visuals to yet another level and while listening to their new effort you´ll be taken on a journey through the doors of time, a journey beyond the stars, beyond the birth of the worlds to an infinite universe. Epic metal that breaks through the boundaries not only of music, but the universe. The main goal was to make an album that would be really astonishing to listen to, because the concept of time itself is simply just that: astonishing, overwhelming, staggering. So the lyrical concept of the album is naturally about time but it´s also about the human experience and consciousness in this vast universe and how short the time we have in this life is. It´s about deep emotions and overwhelming feelings between birth and death we all share in our lives. Love, hate, sorrow, despair, wistfulness. From capturing the outstanding musical performance of the band to making all the breathtaking layers of orchestrations the original vision was captured with an uncompromised quality. The whole production process was taken to a great extend to ensure the album staying very dynamic through the whole epic journey. With a wide scale of varying dynamics between soothing quiets and exploding highs, Time I is like a movie soundtrack experience as the album unfolds all its magnificence, power and beauty step by step with every listen. As the complete "time saga" with more than 80 minutes total playing time being very complex and full of details would have been too much to digest in one piece, it´s been divided into two parts named Time I and Time II. Treasured details, epic orchestration, the musical and lyrical concept - all of these give the record a tremendous profoundness. Now, you take your time and allow yourself to get deep into the album and enjoy the epic journey of time.
Turisas is a Finnish folk metal band from Hämeenlinna. It was founded in 1997 by Mathias Nygård and Jussi Wickström and named after an ancient Finnish God of war. Turisas is a folk metal band, incorporating elements of power metal, with some influences taken from symphonic metal. Turisas is known to play all of their solos on electric violin, as opposed to traditional guitar solos. The album title ''Battle Metal'' has given rise to the term "battle metal" being used as a description of folk metal (used mainly by ''Metal Hammer'' magazine and its readers) but it is not a canonical metal subgenre. On October 28, 2005, guitarist Georg Laakso was badly injured in a car accident and due to the extent of his spinal cord injuries, on July 12, 2006 issued a statement of his permanent resignation from the band on the official website. Nevertheless, the band continued to work on their second album, titled ''The Varangian Way'', which was released in early 2007. Jussi Wickström recorded all guitars on the album. Mathias Nygård revealed in the January 2007 edition of Terrorizer magazine that the touring musicians Hannes Horma, Olli Vänskä, Janne Mäkinen and Antti Laurila had been added to the band as full-time members, taking them up to an 8-piece act. It later turned out that of the two accordion players, only Mäkinen had become an official member. Laurila is no longer a touring musician for the band. On February 19, 2007, keyboardist Antti Ventola posted a message on the Turisas discussion forum announcing that he and the band had parted ways. This was later confirmed by the rest of the band. Mathias Nygård performed the keyboards on ''The Varangian Way'' and Turisas are presently using backing tracks to replicate them on stage. In January 2008, accordion player Janne "Lisko" Mäkinen disappeared mysteriously in Amsterdam. For the upcoming tour dates in spring 2008 Turisas announced Netta Skog as a step-in accordionist. She had already helped the band on the European tour in October-November 2007. Netta was soon after added to the band on a full-time base. Turisas were part of the US Paganfest tour in 2008, which was headlined by Ensiferum and also included T?r and Eluveitie. After a string of festivals in the Summer of 2008, in September the band started a long tour through the United States and Europe in support of DragonForce. This tour ended in March 2009, and the band then took part in a new European tour with Cradle of Filth and Moonspell, dubbed the "Filthfest Tour 2009", in April and May 2009. The band played at Wacken Open Air in early August 2009 and also played at Bloodstock Open Air in Mid August 2009. Also there are plans for them to take a year out at the end of 2009 to make a new album and then return as fully-fledged band no longer supporting others. As of March 2010, they announced they are in the studio working on their new album.
It is very early in the morning and still dark outside. Next to two enormous heaps of luggage on trolleys which can barely hold, we find a unusual group. Some of them sip coffee; others drink the last bits of luke beer and tell lame jokes. This is the band Korpiklaani and they are waiting for their plane to catch after a long and exhausting tour. The first for your eyes to meet is Hittavainen; the enthusiast violinist of the band, who fell asleep at the table with his head resting on his arms and with a cup filled with an unknown substance next to him. Not far off stands bass player Jarkko, flipping through a catalog in search of a fine red wine to buy at the tax-free shop. The other band members are more likely to buy cigarettes and beer though. Jonne, vocalist and lead guitar player, looks pale and not too well. As usual, he is recovering from the flue that he always seems to catch when on tour. Despite his bad shape, he still pulls off hilarious stories to Matson, the drummer, who is even now drumming with his hands on the edge of the table. Guitar player Cane, who suffers from a slight hangover, laughs and turns to look at accordion player Juho, the junior of the band. Juho does not notice, he seems to be totally occupied by his own thoughts. Passengers walking by, turn their head to watch the unusual looking group. A single fan recognizes them and runs to them for autographs and some mobile phone pictures, which are granted friendly. Most people however, are unaware that they just passed Korpiklaani, the Finnish folk-metal band that started in 1993 under the name of Shaman, and changed their name in 2002 to Korpiklaani (Clan of the wilderness). Their music consists of metal with a happy folky base. So does their choice of instruments, they use a mixture of electric guitars and drums as well as violin, woodwinds, jouhikko, djembé, and the typical Finnish folk instrument: the accordion. They reject synthesizers (of course), and use only genuine instruments. To most people their music is so cheerful and lively that they cannot resist dancing, laughing and feeling happy. Maybe that is why fans call it 'beer-metal' (it certainly has the same effect as beer), but it could be also due to the many songs about this all-time favorite drink of Korpiklaani. The first Korpiklaani albums contained merely English lyrics, but nowadays most lyrics are in Finnish. These lyrics are often written in the Kalevala-style (a special metre, from the Finnish national epic) and tell about nature, history, partying and the already mentioned beer of course! At first Korpiklaani was just another unknown Finnish band. Nowadays they are widely appreciated for their unique and cheerful music. But it was a hard road to travel. In the beginning they were happy if they got a gig set, any gig... even for just some beer and travelling costs. They could not afford a proper place to sleep after a gig; often they had to spend the rest of the night stuffed together in a small room in a crappy and cheap hotel. They slept on the plain floor or in the bathtub. If they were lucky they could stay at some friend´s home. Their instruments were not of any quality, and if one got broken, there was no replacement. Of course they all had a job, because they had to make a living. It was hard to combine a job with a band; gig planning was really tough, and the band members always suffered a severe lack of time and money. But... these friends had a lot of fun together, and loved to play. Some milestones came by: the first gigs abroad, the first time headliner at a small festival, a bigger festival, a big festival. Another milestone, the first time at WOA in 2006, and this summer they occupied the Party stage in Wacken again, at the 20th Wacken Anniversary! Things grow slowly in the right direction for this band with its original sound. In 2009 one of the big wishes, the first US-tour, came true.and in 2010 another US-tour and the first South-America Tour, the Vodka Revolution Tour took place. In many ways the hard days are over. Still it is not all sunshine. It is hard to go on stage if you are terribly ill and have high fever, if there is a family crisis, if you have a severe hangover, or if you have not slept at all because the damn hotel was closed, and you had to sit on your instrument cases all night to prevent them from being stolen. Once the nightliner broke down in the middle of a crowded highway, hundreds of kilometers from the venue, and it was too dangerous to leave the bus for some fresh air. The reparation took so many hours, that the band members had to be rushed at the venue in a dazzling speed by taxis, to arrive in the last minute before the gig. These poor souls have to endure a lot, sometimes they froze almost to death in nightliners with a broken heating, other times they almost suffocated from heat. Things got lost, broken and stolen. Fingers got cut by guitar strings, voices got lost by flue. The waiting is endless, the nerves go sky high and worst of all, sometimes they are even out of beer! Busses, people and instruments might break, but the show must go on. On stage Korpiklaani has an endless energy; being on stage and playing is sheer fun for these guys. The teamwork is excellent: if someone gets in trouble, it is fluently taken over by another band member. These Finns not only do love to play, they also love their audience; one of the greatest things a band can have is a cheering and happy crowd, loyal fans that show up whenever they can, and heartwarming feedback. The huge support boosts the gigs, and makes fully up for all exhaustion during touring. These Korpiklaani guys play because they really like to, they write songs because they cannot resist it, and they enter the studio because it would be waste not to do anything with the endless stream of songs. Therefore they released two albums under the name of Shaman, and as Korpiklaani already seven full length albums. There seems no end to Korpiklaani's victory march yet. Despite the amount of countries visited, many fans are still waiting for Korpiklaani to visit their country, Korpiklaani loves to play everywhere, as long as their very tight schedule allows it. ...But this story is partly in the past now, because Korpiklaani had a recent line-up change. Hittavainen left because of health issues. He was a great band member and still is a great violin player who composed among others Pellonpekko, one of the liveliest and famous songs the band plays on stage. So, a new violin player had to be found. On a chilly morning the band of Korpiklaani left their wooden cabins with the rising sun to hunt. They traded the smoky scent of last night´s fire for the dense and dark forest, looking for game. They were just tracking down young doe, when suddenly an unearthly sound broke through the silence of the early morning. The Band members froze to the ground. It was only after a minute they heard Jonne utter: ´Darn me if that ain´t a violin!´. Juho chuckled and waved the others to follow him as they made their way towards the gentle melody. They soon arrived at a sunstrewn clearing where in front of an old shack an angelic young man sat with a violin on his shoulder playing, as they only just recognized it, ‘Spirit of the forest’. The enchanting music stopped abruptly as the young man’ s eyes widened with surprise when these five men approached him. Korpiklaani greeted the young man and asked who he was and why he was playing here in the forest, where none could hear him elict these heavenly tones from such a simple instrument. Hours of talking went by, they learned his name was Teemu and that he had lived alone in the forest as long as he could remember. When he was a boy he visited the local markets every now and then to play with other boys his age, and to sneak fruit from the stalls. In one of these adventures he encountered an old grey lady, who in a creaky voice spoke to him: ‘This instrument is for you, it will be your future’. Teemu never forgot the old lady and he mastered violin quicker than a bird learns to fly. The violin however never brought him the great fortune he had hoped for. His dream to become one of the great violinists of his time was forfeit and though he enjoyed playing, he did no more than playing at local pubs from time to time to have some coin to spare. When Teemu finished speaking, the band members shared a long glance. Jonne scraped his throat: ’How would you like to come with us? We have a band but lack a violin player, we would be honored if you’d join us…’. Teemu stared in the distance, he did not know what to say. Would his dream to become famous come true? After a long moment he grinned and answered: ‘Hell yeah! I’d love to!’ And so, unfortunately that is not exactly what happened. Jonne found Teemu through the internet. But all the same Korpiklaani is very happy to have him on board! In 2011 their seventh album “Ukon Wacka” was released. KORPIKLAANI took things even further: seven-string guitars, mandoline, mandola and jouhikko are just a few of the instruments that were used on “Ukon Wacka”. The album title refers to “a pagan sacrificial feast from ancient times, on which a special made beer richly flowed. As can be expected from the title, this album has an ancient and very folky feel and is totally in Finnish“, frontman Jonne explains. One title doesn`t seem very Finnish though: the drinking anthem „Tequila“ which is dedicated to all South American fans of the band. „Ukon Wacka“ also features a guest appearance by famous Finnish singer Tuomari Nurmio! All in all a joyous affair in the traditional and beloved KORPIKLAANI vein, „Ukon Wacka“ boasts ten party tracks that make you wanna raise that drinking horn up high! Also make sure to grab a limited edition copy of „Ukon Wacka“ to check out the brilliant MOTÖRHEAD cover version bonus track „Iron Fist“! Believe Jonne when he says: „A big folky feast for all!“ After releasing their eight album "Manala" band went through some line-up changes again. Tuomas Rounakari is playing the fiddle nowadays and Sami Perttula shows you how to play accordion. Be sure to check them out live!
Some good cheeses, some nice-looking windmills, fancy wooden shoes, and winning the European football cup back in 1988… is that really all a Dutchman can be proud of? In the summer of 2002, six young men from the Dutch province of Gelderland who had been digging for their roots decided to show the world there's more to their heritage! Sharing a common desire to create music that would express their passion for nature, Germanic mythology, folklore and the history of Gelderland, they joined forces and thus Heidevolk ("folk of the heath land") was born. The music of Heidevolk can best be described as pounding metal combined with epic and melodic folk music. The band features two clean vocalists and incorporates folk instruments such as mouth harp, violin, and blowing horns in its songs. Since language is the vehicle of the mind, Heidevolk conveys its thoughts in their purest and most authentic way: their native tongue. Their unquenchable thirst is matched only by their hunger to play live, and as soon as their repertoire permitted, they took to the stage. Swords, shields and their attire create a medieval atmosphere on stage, and over the years, the band has established a name for itself as being a very energetic and entertaining live act. Their campaigns have taken them to Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and of course the Netherlands. Heidevolk has opened for bands as diverse as Nile and In Extremo, and supported Kampfar on the final leg of their "Ravnferd" tour in 2006. In 2005, Heidevolk released the MCD "Het Gelders volkslied", soon followed by the self-financed debut "De strijdlust is geboren". In 2007 the "Wodan heerst" Digi-MCD was released as a prelude to their upcoming second full-length, which will be released through Napalm Records. On the new album, titled "Walhalla Wacht", Heidevolk's music has evolved with more diverse vocals and guitar parts, while deepening the folk element. With a very distinct sound and an eagerness to deliver a good show, Heidevolk has proven to be a force to be reckoned with... In their veins flows the blood of their Frisian, Frankish, and Saxon ancestors. In their hearts they carry the love for Gelderland, nature and history. In their minds lives the ancient pagan spirit…
The heavy metallic quest for the Holy Grail has been lasting for more than 5 years until today, but the sluggish arch enemy of the Grailknights, Dr. Skull, keeps on snatching the precious chalice away from the four coloured superheroes. It's up to the Battlechoir, the loyal hordes of Grailknights fans, and the noble beer-supplying steed Zapf Beauty to reconquer the Holy Grail at the end of every battle. But Dr. Skull is wide awake, and has made two myrmidons his subjects: The malodorous orc Morph the Swarf and a gargantuan dragon, simply named Urks. There was only one possible solution for the Knights: Record a new CD as soon as possible, and use the power of their filed battlehymns to show Dr. Skull and his subjects their limits. "Alliance" is the synonym of the indestructable pact between the Grailknights and their powerful Battlechoir, as well as Melodic Death Metal at it's best. “Join the Choir and get well tanked up in the ancient halls of Castle Grailskull! Grails high!" Those who have already seen the Grailknights in battle know that it is a feast for ears and eyes. A visual firework combined with formidable battlehymns. The show, which pictures the costumed fight for the Holy Grail versus Dr. Skull, is the framework for intensive interaction with the audience. Nevertheless, one should take nothing more than a winking look at the show, as the music, that goes without saying, is the spotlight and the main reason for uncountable positive feedbacks and a constantly growing number of members in the Battlechoir! The four Knights have already played many concerts and festivals, which have given proof to the superb reputation of being an unforgettable live band. Here one can mention the Dong Open Air 2006, the Kielowatt Festival 2006, the Last Night On Earth Festival 2006, the Steel meets Steel Festival 2007, the Winternachtstraum Festival 2008 and the Queens of Metal 2008. The band has the potential to become a true cult band, as there are more and more warriors in „Grailknights-armour" in front of stage. In fall 2008, the Knights supported Sabaton on their "Art of Live Tour 2008" across Europe. Side by side, 20 cities in 11 countries were conquered, amongst others London, Glasgow, Copenhagen, Vienna, Hamburg and Warsaw. Grails High!
In late 2004 a new band called Finsterforst was founded by Tobias Weinreich (Bass), Sebastian Scherrer (Keyboards), Marco Schomas (Vocals) and Simon Schillinger (Guitar). As the line-up was not complete, the band decided to concentrate on songwriting. In the first months many songs were created without being performed by the members. In Spring 2005 the band decided to work with an accordion player, Johannes Joseph, as all titles needed an accordion. Beginning May 05 the band started to practice their songs. However, the band still had not found a drummer or a rhythm guitarist. In October 05 David Schuldis, a rhythm guitarist, joined the band. After some scheduling the band entered the studios in December 05. Finsterforst then released an astounding 3 track EP entitled 'Wiege der Finsternis' in March 2006. The band remained without a drummer until Cornelius Heck, aka "Wombo" joined in October. After starting performing live in 2007 the band recorded their debut album "Weltenkraft" which was released by World Chaos Productions in July 2007. Continueing playing live and getting wasted by a lot of Mirabellenwasser the band recorded their second album during July 2008, again in the almighty Iguana Studios by Christoph Brandes in March/Buchheim (Freiburg). This second heathen epic powerful masterpiece will find its way to your ears in early 2009!
Hammer-forged from the hardest steel of the Bergisches Land, cast in fire, formed upon the anvil of metal, hardened by the water of the Wupper river. A battle axe, so deadly and sharp - made of the same material as the world-famous blades of Solingen... Something like this you could describe the birth of Obscurity in Velbert (Bergisches Land) in mid-1997. Five brave warriors (Nezrac, Agalaz, Arganar, Ziu und Dornaz) - though musically inexperienced but full of bellicosity and united in their passion for heaviest metal - formed a force named Obscurity. The first two years were marked by the earning of the band's first stripes, the forging of two demos "The Rebirth of the Dark Empire" (1998) and "Christian Decay" (1999), and the finding of their own musical direction and style… ranging from death to black metal and culminating in the present sound of Obscurity. In 2000, now battle-scarred and more experienced, the first self-produced and much acclaimed album „Bergisch Land" was forged. „Bergisch Land" was named after the German region the band originates from and convincingly delivers heavy and fast songs full of rage, which are paired with melodic hymns of victory. Most suitable for riding into battle! Three years of glorious battles passed until the second self-produced and successful album „Thurisaz" was crafted in 2003. „Thurisaz" impresses with unrelenting heaviness as well as hymn-like melodies characteristic of the band. The album unleashes the hatred smouldering within everyone of us and calls for annihilation of all enemies. For this album Obscurity signed a distribution contract with Twilight. “Thurisaz" was followed by three years of extensive and successful raids taking place during numerous gigs and tours. However, in 2004 one event cast a shadow over Obscurity's development since the band lost a brother. Guitarist and comrade-in-arms Dornaz unfortunately had to put down his axe for occupational reasons. Even though this was a severe blow to the band another excellent axeman could be found as a worthy replacement: Cortez, who had been a longtime brother-in-arms of them. Cortez fit in very well with the line-up and added an even more powerful sound to the band. Dornaz has been, is and always will be a brother and member of Obscurity. The band still consisted of "only" five warriors, but from that date there would be six Bergisch lions. For the third album „Schlachten & Legenden" (2006) all aspects of Obscurity's previous records were combined to create a true manifest of heavy metal, which established the band firmly in the German scene. Their mixture of teutonic steel and hymns expanded the number of Obscurity's loyal followers many times over. The album release was handled by Massacre Records in 2007. After the release of „Schlachten & Legenden" Obscurity once again took up arms several times and always returned from the stages in triumph. In 2008 the band suffered a second serious setback when Nezrac, not only being the singer and frontman but also another brother, quit Obscurity. He retired from the squad due to changes of a private nature, which made it no longer possible for him to completely devote himself to Obscurity - a decision the band highly respects. Like Dornaz, Nezrac will also still be regarded as a part of the band and a brother. Since then Obscurity has consisted of four Bergisch lions with Agalaz now handling the vocals in addition to his guitar work. Agalaz has already proven his ability having taken over many vocal parts on previous records as well as having done background screaming live. Therefore, choosing him as the new frontman was just a logical consequence. Every once in a while Obscurity is supported by another longtime friend: Bony (Japanische Kampfhörspiele) has been a true and dedicated comrade of the band since 2000; he has assumed guitar and vocal duties in a couple of Obscurity's battles so far. Furthermore, Bony firmly stands by Obscurity as their producer! In mid-2008 the band won the label SMP/Trollzorn over to their side as a mighty companion. So they entered the studio again in September 2008 to compose a further piece of music history! The new album will be entitled „Várar" and the name says it all… „Várar" is Old Norse and means oath of strong company, which can be felt within the band more than ever. The new album features vocals by Agalaz and offers melodic and hymn-like arrangements as well as violent battle metal. It combines the musical skills of all the band's previous records to emerge as a brute masterpiece. This way the band is able to create an unprecedented intensity and atmosphere, far away from all NSBM-scum and kindergarten-keyboardmetal in the vein of Nightwish. For the album „Várar" Obscurity were assisted by two guest singers: while Arkadius of Suidakra took over some vocal passages in the song „Wer Wind sät", it was Manuel, another fellow combatant of the band, of death metal kings Path of Golconda who spit out some vocal parts for the track „Battle Metal"! The new album is expected to be released in early February 2009. It will be a call to all loyal followers of the band as well as to new warriors to prepare the weapons and to join the band one more time in their march onto the battlefields. The album "Várar" was released in March 2009 and took both press and metal community by storm. Supported by brilliant reviews and solidly high sales figures Obscurity are heading for a promising future. The next significant step onward was the return of founding member Dornaz to the band. In the release year of the 4th album the band's old companion, still a friend and comrade-in-arms, seized his axe again. The meaning of the album's title "Várar" was thereby implemented and renewed. Henceforth Dornaz officially took over Agalaz's guitar duties so that he could solely concentrate on singing. This was as well met with great approval of the press and metalheads. Now there were five real Bergisch lions again who had been and are still a sworn combat unit. In the following months the band fights numerous victorious battles at several festivals and gigs. The band's fame increases rapidly. Through dedicated live shows and professional realization of these in music and acting Obscurity obtain big support and praise beyond their metal genre and scene. Obscurity celebrate their music with blood, sweat and honest toil. The band's commitment has made them a nationally and internationally established and demanded act. Neither Obscurity's potential nor their will are yet exhausted, though. The merciless raid continues! Since the people in the Bergisches Land are a pugnacious bunch it was already in 2009 that Obscurity began working hard on new songs again. Then in May 2010 the upcoming album "Tenkterra" is forged. Professional recordings at 4CN-Studios in Wuppertal in the heart of the Bergisches Land spawn an album that exceeds all the band's expectations. Once more produced by fellow combatant Bony and fine-tuned by Jacob Bredahl's (ex-Hatesphere / Dead Rat Studio) mix and mastering "Tenkterra" marks a resolute continuation of Obscurity's course. With this album the band manages one more time to combine the musical skills of all previous records peaking in a true masterpiece and to take heaviness and sound quality to an even higher level. On top of that the band takes the plunge working out "Tenkterra" as a concept album. "Tenkterra" is the previous album's equal in every possible way. That's what the band vouches for!
Frosttide are a four-piece melodic/folk metal band formed by Joni Snoro back in 2009. Frosttide released their first EP called "Dawn of Frost" in 2010 and won the "Year's underground act 2011" trophy at the Finnish Metal Awards. Frosttide have already played shows with KORPIKLAANI as well as festivals together with the likes of SABATON, FEAR FACTORY among other bands and released second EP "Our Journey" - again single-handedly - in 2012. The first full-lenght album called "Awakening" came out 30th of August via Noise Art Records! After that FROSTTIDE played in HEIDENFEST tour with ENSIFERUM, TURISAS, EQUILIBRIUM, SUIDAKRA + extended show bands.