Monday, January 14, 2008
The date was December 20th, and this was the very first time the Singer Supreme had graced our shores ’neath the ‘Tarja’ banner, and I’m delighted to report that the next two hours positively flew by – sometimes on wings of purest gossamer, sometimes on wings studded with metal and fashioned from toughened hide – as the lady in question delivered a set crammed to bursting with material both new and old. She also managed to work her way through about four different costumes, all of them reflecting the ever-shifting pace and mood of the performance.
Watch out for a new video (‘Die Alive’), a new Remix (‘Lost Northern Star’) plus further UK dates, with April now looking the likeliest month.
More info soon!
Rather than go into a blow-by-blow account, however, let me simply state for the record that the task of building Spinefarm UK – in terms of both the bands on the label and the brand itself – is now very much underway. Already, we’ve established a chain of independent shops around the country (Spinestores by name) where all and any releases on the label will be sold complete with free bonus items (posters, etc) on a first-come-first-served basis, and you’ll be able to find a complete list of these stores elsewhere on this site.
Plus, in addition to the albums already put out (the aforementioned Nightwish catalogue followed by ‘My Winter Storm’, the debut solo effort from Tarja), there is now a healthy number of titles – both brand new and re-issues – lined up for 08, including super-strong outings from Rotten Sound, Brother Firetribe, the Reverend Bizarre, Kiuas, Tarot, Moonsorrow, Children Of Bodom and more. Many more. Indeed, we recently attended a launch party for the new COB album, ‘Blooddrunk’, over in a rather chilly Helsinki – a wonderfully organized event that saw much imbibing of alcohol (both hot & cold), plus an extended stint in the sauna (hot), swiftly followed by a nadger-threatening dip in the Baltic (c-c-c-cold), in addition of course to a full playback of the new album, which straight away sounded like an absolute winner, with rampant aggression and killer melodies very much leading the charge.
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!