Nine Circles ov… FINLAND! (Round 2: The Mainstream)

flag finland

Greetings! I hope you all enjoyed your extended weekend as much as we did. But now that we are back in the full swing of things, it’s time to pick up where we left off one week ago exactly. You may recall our write-up on Finland last week, where we introduced you to a slew of quality (albeit obscure) bands out of the Scandinavian nation. That, however, was only the first round (The Kvlt) of our coverage on Finland. So, without any further delay, it’s time for Round 2: The Mainstream.

Of course, there’s no chance in Hell we could cover this nation without paying some tribute to the metal giants that define much of the genre that we know and love it today. Where Manny-O-War was kind enough to introduce us to some of the more underground scenes in Finland, I’m going to touch on nine bands of my choosing that are perhaps more regularly recognized. And let’s be real, Finland is home to a lot of them. Also, just a heads up, there’s a lot of folk metal out of this area of the world. So get ready for that.

Amorphis

I have no choice but to start with one of my long-standing favorites. The melodic death metal giants are the creators of two of my favorite albums in Skyforger  and Silent Waters. With a nice folk influence to their music, they’ve come back in 2015 with another potentially memorable album in Under the Red Cloud. Click on the name above for a live performance of one of my favorite tracks off Skyforger titled “Sky is Mine”.

Insomnium

Sticking with melodic death metal for now, we move on to Insomnium, who is one of the most consistent metal bands out there today and a more recent favorite of mine. They seem to release quality album after quality album with basically zero filler. 2014’s Shadows of the Dying Sun was one of my top 10 albums of the year. Working off that album, check out the mesmerizing “While We Sleep” linked in the band named above.

Wintersun

Moving more in a folk metal direction, we have Wintersun. Jari Mäenpää’s project was started in 2008. While the group has released two groundbreaking albums, the time between releases is excessive. 2012’s Time I was one of the best folk metal albums ever released. Yet, nearly three years later, there is practically zero sign of Time II. Regardless, clicking on the band name above will get you to a lyric video for “Time” off the most recent album. Which is an awesome track.

Children of Bodom

We all knew Bodom would end up on this list eventually. Another melodic death metal outfit, yet one with far more technicality and pace, Children of Bodom have been active since 1993. After reaching the pinnacle of the metal world after 2000, the late 2000’s weren’t as kind to Alexi Laiho’s group. However, with 2013’s impressive Halo of Blood and 2015’s anticipation for I Worship Chaos, it seems Bodom have found their stride again. The band name above includes the music video for the classic “Everytime I Die” off of 2000’s Follow the Reaper.

 Ensiferum

Ensiferum translates to “sword bearing”. Naturally, their songs are built around concepts of battle and victory. While their take on folk metal is lively, it is also difficult to take seriously on occasion. No matter, Ensiferum are a fixture on the metal scene with good reason. They’ve cranked out quality music for almost two decades, most recently with this year’s One Many Army. But click the band name above for the title track off 2009’s From Afar.

Korpiklaani

I wanted to include these guys in here because I respect the fact that they are one of those groups that was initially a folk band before turning metal, rather than simply using folk music to develop their metal. Plus, a large enough percentage of their discography is about drinking and partying, which is how they caught my attention in the first place. As such, the music video linked in the band name above is the one for “Beer Beer” off of 2005’s Voice of Wilderness.

Moonsorrow

Moonsorrow differs from some of the bands previously mentioned because of their added pagan themes and their far more progressive song structure. With six studio albums released since their inception in 1995, Moonsorrow has settled in their own particular niche of Finnish metal music with their use of some more melodic black metal elements. Speaking to this, I have linked “Jotunheim” from 2005’s Verisäkeet in the album name above.

 Convulse

Convulse has been around for awhile, but only really made a resurgence in the past three years or so. My first experience with the death n’ rollers was at Maryland Deathfest 2013, and they certainly left an impression. Long considered one of the founding members of extreme Finnish death metal, the band released Evil Prevails in 2013, their first studio album since 1994. Taken from the most recent album, “God is Delusion” is linked in the band name.

Apocalyptica

There are a number of symphonic/power metal bands I could have included in this list. Despite it’s prominence in Finland, it’s not my particular brand of metal. That said, there’s something impressive about Apocalyptica’s classical cellists and how they impact what ends up being an extremely powerful sound. For that, Apocalyptica gets the nod for my final spot here. Worth noting is their impressive performance at Wacken last summer. You can find the opening three songs from that set linked above.

Well, that just about sums it up. Is it the best of the best from Finland? Probably not. And I’m sure many will miss the likes of Sonata Arctica, Stratovarius, Nightwish, and hell, maybe even Lordi. But unfortunately none of that matters to me. So, I invite you to enjoy the above. Or not.

“Ein Bier… bitte.”
– Corey

2 thoughts on “Nine Circles ov… FINLAND! (Round 2: The Mainstream)

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