Monday, January 14, 2008

The start

OCTOBER 22nd 2007. For Spinefarm Records UK, this was effectively The Start, the day the first releases from the label were exposed to the light of day, and those with Rock & Metal writ large on their CV as both lifestyle & love will certainly have felt the earth shift a few degrees on its axis.

But remember. Being a label with roots sunk deep into (frozen) Finnish soil, we’re not talkin’ about
any old ‘Rock’ & ‘Metal’ here. Dear me, no. There’s something about Finnish music that reflects its country of origin, and it’s a point that’s especially true of music from the tougher end of the spectrum. Which isn’t to imply that it’s always cold & dark in Finland, because that simply isn’t the case… just that it’s cold & dark enough (and with sufficient intensity, despite the impact of global warming) for Rock & Metal artists from this part of the world to have a style and a sound that connoisseurs of crunch will instantly be familiar with. Let’s just call it a certain kind of atmosphere, a one-ness with natural & elemental forces, a dark thread woven throughout the scene, binding it together and causing it to stand out from the pack.

Could Children Of Bodom be from anywhere else? Or Nightwish? Or Sonata Artica? Or Tarja, for that matter? I think not. Finnish Rock (I hesitate to use the term ‘Northern Rock’ because of its current less than positive associations!) tends to embody a number of different forces, which – superficially, at least – would seem to be in conflict. In practice, however, it’s this particular blend, the head-on meeting of the contemporary and the classic, that makes the music special and gives it its edge.

As a veritable hot-bed for new hard rock talent, punching way above the size of its population (a mere five million), Finland currently occupies an influential position in the contemporary hard rock world; at the same time, however, it hasn’t lost sight of the traditions of the music – the desire to actually look like a rock band and to exert a certain mastery over your chosen instrument, such things are meat & potatoes to the likes of Bodom
et al. Combine these values with a country where weightier sounds are more a part of the mainstream than the underground, a country where long hair has happily survived the rigours of a post-Nirvana world, and you have the perfect setting for some of the most exciting sounds being made in anger today…

Hallelujah! And long may this continue!

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