WEEK 115 – PARADISE LOST

Welcome my HeadBangers from Halifax, West Yorkshire, the Death/Doom/Gothic, you pick, Band:

Paradise Lost

“Fall From Grace”

This one hits home my HeadBangers.  This world has fallen from grace, look around, millions dying, but not from war from a virus.  Listen to this song, WE’RE ALL ALONE, exactly what’s happening now.  People dying daily ALL ALONE.  The Earth is taking her due right now.  Wake up and look around to what we mortals have and are doing to this planet.  Do we deserve to be here?  You tell me!

“One Second”

That’s right HeadBangers, so much can happen in just one second, thoughts or words that you can not take back.  Think, say, and do carefully cause in just “One Second”, it will be to late to go back….

Before I get into their bio I have to say, this band has been around for 33 years and this is the first time I have heard them. WTF you say, what can I say.  There are thousands and thousands of bands on this planet, that’s why I write this blog.  I just happened upon them today, that’s right, just today.   I love their music and whoever does their videos, they are 100.  Now on to the bio…..

Lost Paradise is an English Death/Doom/Gothic band that formed in 1988 in Halifax, West Yorkshire. They are considered by some to be the pioneers of the death-doom genre, and regarded as the main influence for the later gothic metal movement. Bands that have cited Paradise Lost as an influence, or have covered them, include My Dying Bride, Anathema, The Gathering, Amorphis, Cradle of Filth, Katatonia, Moonspell, Lacuna Coil, HIM, Nightwish, and many others.  As of 2005, Paradise Lost have sold over two million albums worldwide.   Also HeadBangers in all these years the band has only changed drummers, which is really amazing to me.

After their formation in 1988, Paradise Lost released three cassette demos, Paradise LostFrozen Illusion, and Plains of Desolation, before being signed to Peaceville Records in 1989. They recorded their debut album, Lost Paradise, at Academy Music Studio in December of that year. The album was released in February 1990.

In November 1990, Paradise Lost returned to Academy Music Studio to record their second album, Gothic, which was released in March 1991. The band began to move away from the death/doom sound of their previous releases by adding keyboards and female vocal accompaniments.

Paradise Lost left Peaceville and were signed to the Music for Nations label and released Shades of God in July 1992.  The band’s musical approach continued to evolve with this album as evidenced by the addition of quieter passages in the song’s compositions, the softening of vocalist Nick Holmes’s death grunt, and Gregor Mackintosh’s incorporation of acoustic guitar to his sound. The album contained the song “As I Die”, later released as a single/EP.

“As I Die”

In summer 1993, the band recorded their fourth album, Icon, released in September of the same year. The band continued to develop their sound away from their doom roots and more towards the dynamics and sound of “As I Die” from their previous album. On Icon, Nick Holmes abandoned his death grunt and started using a “James Hetfield-style bark.”  It was after this album, in December 1994, that original member Matthew Archer quit and was replaced by drummer Lee Morris.

The band entered the studio in January 1995 to record their fifth and most successful album, Draconian Times, which was released in June 1995. Mackintosh says about Draconian Times, “that it’s the album by which everything else we do gets judged. Rightly so, as it’s the backbone of our career and sound.” The album charted in the Top 20 album chart in a number of countries including the UK and Germany.

Following the success of Draconian Times, and after four years of continuous touring, the band began to get bored with their signature sound and started to experiment with Depeche Mode-esque  synth-pop and electronica.  This new direction shaped their next album One Second, released in 1997, and was most epitomized by the lead single, Say Just Words. The album was one of the band’s most successful releases, particularly in Northern Europe, cracking the German, Swedish, and Finnish top ten charts.

“Just Say Words”

The band moved to EMI Electrola in Germany for its next album, Host, released in 1999, on which they continued to experiment with new sounds, appearing to shed their metal roots. While this album continued to alienate their traditional fanbase in places like the UK, it was their highest charting album in Germany, entering at number 4 on the Album Chart.

On the next album, 2001’s “Believe in Nothing”, Paradise Lost continued this synth direction but adding rock elements to the music, forcibly by EMI at the time. Due to the loss of creative control, Mackintosh said that the album “doesn’t really exist for him.”

In May 2002, the band signed to Gun Records, and on the album that followed, Symbol of Life, the metallic roots of the band began to resurface; the band decided to work with producer Rhys Fulber to reestablish their metal sound.

In March 2004, Lee Morris left the band due to “personal and musical differences” and was replaced by Jeff Singer.

Paradise Lost released their tenth, eponymous album in 2005, also on GUN Records.

The eleventh album, In Requiem, was released in the spring of 2007 on Century Media; it was generally well-accepted and highly rated by both critics and fans, pleased to see the band returning to their heavier, gothic metal sound similar to that of earlier albums like Draconian Times. The full-length was preceded by a single, “The Enemy” and on the single, Singer was finally listed as a permanent band member. In a recent video interview, Mackintosh and Holmes revealed that Singer had already auditioned for the band when Archer left, but they chose Morris instead because Singer “had a pink drumkit.

“The Enemy”

In November 2007, Century Media released the DVD Over The Madness, which documents the impact Paradise Lost has had on gothic metal and provides insight into the mindset and workings of Paradise Lost. Disc 2 includes further interviews, rehearsal footage, plus backstage and memorabilia sections.

On August 13, 2008, drummer Jeff Singer announced his departure from the band on the Paradise Lost official website. He wanted to be with his family, had an upcoming job, and the then-upcoming South American tour would interfere with that. As a result, Paradise Lost had to cancel the South American tour dates that they had planned. Soon after, on August 28, 2008, the Paradise Lost official website announced that the canceled South American tour has been reconfirmed and that Mark Heron from Oceansize would take over on drums.

At the beginning of 2009, Paradise Lost recorded an album with producer Jens Bogren at Fascination Street Studios in Örebro, Sweden. At the time there was no full-time replacement for Jeff Singer and drums were played by Swedish drummer Peter Damin. On March 16, 2009, when recording for the album was already finished, the band recruited Adrian Erlandsson (At the Gates, ex-Cradle of Filth) as a full-time drummer for the band.

On June 18, 2009, Paradise Lost officially announced Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us as the title of their album to be released on Century Media Records on September 25, 2009 in Germany, on  September 28, 2009 in the rest of Europe and on October 6, 2009 in the US.

Paradise Lost headlined the Jägermeister Stage at Ozzfest 2010 on September 18, 2010.

In late 2011, Paradise Lost began recording its 13th studio album Tragic Idol in The Chapel Studios in Lincolnshire. The album was released on 23 April 2012.   Adrian Erlandsson was unable to play a few live shows for this album so the band got Jeff Singer again to fill in.

They performed some of their songs at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods awards with Cristina Scabbia on Paradise Lost’s song  Say Just Words and with Gus G. of a Black Sabbath cover, Into the Void.

On 15 August 2013, the cover and artwork were released for their compilation album of b-sides titled Tragic Illusion 25. From September to October 2014, some of the songs from the album were released, such as a new song entitled Loneliness Remains, and older songs that were remade such as Our Savior 2013 from Lost Paradise and the self-titled song Gothic 2013 from Gothic. The album was released on November 5, 2013.

On October 27, 2013, it was announced that the writing for the 14th studio album will begin after their 25th-anniversary tour and the recording to the album will start in June 2014.  On December 29, 2014, it was revealed that The Plague Within would be the title for upcoming album. On January 26, 2015, the release date for June 2, 2015 was announced, along with the producer , Jaimie Gomez Arellano and the recording location of Orgone Studios, London.   Speaking to Rock Sins, Nick Holmes stated that the new album would have elements of all previous Paradise Lost material including a return to the death/doom of their early output, stating that “there’s some songs that could’ve been written in 1989, a couple of really old school doom/death songs which are gonna surprise a couple of people when they hear it.” The Plague Within is considered by many traditional fans to be their best and most complete album in many years, as well as being a true return to their signature sound.

On September 1, 2017, Paradise Lost released their 15th studio album, Medusa.  The band continued their return to a much heavier, more doomier sound. Singer Nick Holmes said “…definitely our heaviest album; the heaviest we’ve done.” Medusa was well received by fans and critics alike.

2018 marked the band’s 30th anniversary and was celebrated through select dates around UK and mainland Europe, including their first gig in the hometown of Halifax, as well as a South and North American tour with Solstafir and The Atlas Moth.  In November 2019, Decibel Books issued the band’s authorized biography, No Celebration: The Official Story of Paradise Lost. The book was authored by American journalist David E. Gehlke.

In March 2020, Nuclear Blast announced the release of the group’s 16th studio album, Obsidian, on May 15. Nick Holmes described it as “one of the most eclectic albums we have done in some time, we have miserable songs, sad songs, slow songs and faster songs. Did I mention miserable?”. First single, Fall from Grace premiered on 20 March, along with a music video.

I have just one question:  Why do they have such a problem with drummers?  6 drummers, but I don’t have the answer to that question.  So let’s meet the band:

Left to right:

Nick Holmes – Vocals (1988-present)

Gregor Mackintosh – Lead Guitar & Keyboards (1988-present)

Aarpm Aedu – Rhythm Guitar (1988-present)

Stephen Edmondson – Bass (1988-present)

Walterri Väyrynen – Drums (2015-present)

My Thoughts:

Well my HeadBangers, to those of you who have never heard them, tell me what you think.  I am so glad I found them.  As I write my thoughts and listen to their music it makes me think of what is happening in the USA right now and the world.   It’s bad enough that we have this shit Covid killing people off right and left.  Not to mention the political bullshit, but I think America has turned that corner.  What happened over the last 4 years will not happen again anytime soon.  I know people on the other side of this planet think we Americans are crazy, and maybe we are, we are still a young country compared to the rest of the world.  We make mistakes, but as you can see that has all changed and we look toward the future with hope now.  This song Fall From Grace, that line We’re All Alone, it is so true.  We are born into this world alone and we will leave this world alone, no matter how many people are around you, in the words of Jim Morrison “No One Gets Out Alive”, and we leave this existence all alone.    I am always so amazed how these bands come up with the songs that fit every aspect of our daily lives and the situations that are happening around us at any given moment.   “Something inside me the eyes don’t show”, this is such a great song, great meanings in every line.   We all have something inside us that we don’t want others to know, so we keep it buried inside, I don’t think it’s best to do that, what you hold inside, when you do let it out, you could explode so don’t hold it back, let it out and move on.  Remember my HeadBangers, the world may be in chaos now but you always have me and all the rest of our Metal Family.  We are not alone, only inside, and we are always here if you need to unload, don’t let it eat you alive.  Thank you to the band for eye opening and thought provoking songs.  I just love these guys.

Well that’s it for this week my HeadBangers.  Join me next week for another band and another song.  In the meantime don’t stand to close to the fire if you can’t handle the burn…..

Ques/Comments From My HeadBangers

This weeks comment is from:

Malik B.

Howdy! I simply wish to give you a huge thumbs up for your great info you have got here.  I’ll be coming back to your site for more soon.

Thank you Malik, I appreciate you taking time to leave a comment.  Spread the word, I can always use more HeadBangers and their comments or questions.

Weekly Band List

  •  
  • Week 115 – Jan 22 – Paradise Lost – Death/Doom/Gothic Metal – Halifax, West Yorkshire
  • Week 114 – Jan 15 – Wintersun – Power/Folk/Melodic Death Metal – Helsinki, Finland
  • Week 113 – Jan 1 – Dark Tranquillity – Melodic Death Metal – Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Week 112 – Dec 25 – SepticFlesh – Greek Symphonic Metal – Athens, Greece
  • Week 111 – Dec 18 – Die From Sorrow – Melodic Death Metal – Beijing, China
  • Week 110 – Dec 11 – Fireproven – Progressive Metal – Finland
  • Week 109 – Dec 4 – Wolfheart – Winter Metal – Myrskylä, Finland
  • Week 108 – Nov 27 – Angelus Apatrida – Thrash – Albacete, Spain
  • Week 107 – Nov 20 – Gojira – Heavy Metal – Bayonne, France
  • Week 106 – Nov 13 – Enslaved – Prog/Black/Viking Metal – Sveio, Norway
  • Week 105 – Nov 6 –  Like A Storm – Metal – Auckland, New Zealand
  • Week 104 – Oct 30 – Firewind – Power/Heavy Metal – Thessaloniki, Greece
  • Week 103 – Oct 23 – Shiraz Lane – Rock – Vantaa, Finland
  • Week 102 – Oct 16 – The Agonist – Metal – Montreal, Canada
  • Week 101 – Oct 9 – Butcher Babies – Heavy Metal – Los Angeles, CA
  • Week 100 – Oct 3 – BaYaT – Alternative Rock – Novi Sad, Serbia 
  • Week 98 –  Sept 25 – Dirt – Rock – Heksinki, Finland
  • Week 98 –  Sept 18 – Unearth – MetalCore – Boston, Massachusetts
  • Week 97 –  Sept 11 – Stratovarius – Power Metal – Finland
  • Week 96 –  Sept 4 – SynlakrosS – Mel Death Metal – Valencia, Spain
  • Week 95 – Aug 28 – Striker – New Wave Heavy Metal , Canada
  • Week 94 – Aug 21 – Turisas – Metal –  Hämeenlinna, Finland
  • Week 93 – Aug 14 – Tyr – Metal – Faroe Islands (Part of Denmark)
  • Week 92 – Aug 7 –  After Release of EP – Interview with WuF, Kasperi Merilainen
  • Week 91 – July 24 – Review of EP – Wake Up Frankie – Helsinki, Finland
  • Week 90 – July 17 –  SPECIAL ON THRASH METAL BANDS
  • Week 89 – July 13 – SPECIAL ON MELODIC DEATH METAL BANDS
  • Week 88 – July 10 –  Hinayana Band – Melodic Death/Doom – Austin, Texas
  • Week 87 –  July 3 –   Viikate – Rock/Metal – Kouvola, Finland
  • Week 86 – June 26 – Lumberhead – Metal – Leipzig, Saxony (Germany)
  • Week 85 – June 19 – Nidhoeggr – Pagan Death Metal – Bern, Switzerland
  • Week 84 – June 12 – Aetherian – Dark Melodic Death Metal – Athens, Greece
  • Week 83 – June 5 – Frosttide – Epic Dark Folk Metal – Jyväskylä, Finland
  • Week 82 – May 29 – Amthrya – Advantgarde Death Black Metal – Italy
  • Week 81 – May 22 – Suicidal Angels – Trash – Athens, Greece
  • Week 80 – May 15 – Heart of Jordan – Alter Metal – Lansing, Michigan
  • Week 79 – May 8 – Parasite, Inc. – Melodic Death Metal – Aalen, Germany
  • Week 78 – May 1 – Wake Up Frankie – Grove/Trash/Rock – Helsinki, Finland
  • Week 77 – Apr 24 – Abbath – Black Metal – Bergen, Norway
  • Week 76 – Apr 17 – Entombed – Dark/Rock Death/Metal – Stockholm, Sweden
  • Week 75 – Apr 10 – Cruish-Nir – Gothic/Doom – Romania
  • Week 74 – Apr 3 – [Amatory] – MetalCore – St. Petersburg, RussiaWeek 73 – Mar 27 – Njord – Viking Rock – Sandviken, Sweden
  • Week 72 – Mar 20 – Mystic Prophecy – Metal – Dortmund, Germany
  • Week 71 – Mar 13 – Astralborne  – Melodic Death Metal – Toledo, Ohio
  • Week 70 – Mar 6 –  Shakra – HardRock/Metal – Trub, Switzerland
  • Week 69 – Feb 28 –  The Browning – Metal – Kansas City, Missouri
  • Week 68 – Feb 21 –  Tempting Fate – Hard Rock/Metal – Los Angeles, California
  • Week 67 – Feb 14 –  Dynazty – Hard Rock/Metal – Stockholm, Sweden
  • Week 66 – Feb 7  –  Dreyelands – Melodic Progressive Metal – Budapest, Hungary
  • Week 65 – Jan 31 – HoundWolf – Heavy Metal – Witten, Germany
  • Week 64 – Jan 24 – Shadecrown – Melodic Death/Doom/Thrash Metal – Finland
  • Week 63 – Jan 17 – Sea of Treachery – Heavy Metal – Cincinnati, OH
  • Week 62 – Dec 21 – Immersed in Darkness – Black Metal – Brownsville, Texas
  • Week 61 – Dec 14 – Skälmöld – Metal – Reykjavík, Iceland
  • Week 60 – Dec 7  –  The Local Band – Rock – Helsinki, Finland
  • Week 59 – Nov 30 – Re-Armed – Melodic Death/Thrash Metal – Kerava, Finland
  • Week 58 – Nov 23 – Ashen Crown – Metal – West Midlands, UK
  • Week 57 – Nov 16 – FEJD –  Swedish Folk – Trollhattan, Sweden
  • Week 56 – Nov 9 – Forever Still – Hard Rock/Metal – Copenhagen, Denmark – This is where it all started.  ONE YEAR AGO, THEY WERE THE FIRST LET’S REVISIT
  • Week 55 – Nov 2  –  Krigere Wolf – Black Death Metal – Catania, Sicily
  • Week 54 – Oct 26 – Aephanemer – Melodic Death Metal – Toulouse, France
  • Week 53 – Oct 19 – Infected Rain – Nu Metal/Nu Metalcore – Chișinău, Moldova
  • Week 52 – Oct 12 – The Veer Union – Hard Rock/NuMetal – Vancouver, BC
  • Week 51 – Oct 5 – Ligature Marks – Metal – Portland, Oregon
  • Week 50 – Sept 28 – AEolian – Metal – Palma, Spain
  • Week 49 – Sept 21 – Smorrah – Thrash/Death Metal – Gelsenkirchen, Germany
  • Week 48 – Sept 14 – Beyond the Styx – Hardcore Metal – Tours, France
  • Week 47 – Sept 7 – Brackish Tide –  Metal – Somerset County, MD
  • Week 46 –  August 31 – Kryptos – Old School Heavy Metal – Bangalore, India
  • Week 45 – August 24 – Spyder Volt – Alternative Rock – Laredo, Texas
  • Week 44 –  August 17 – Descent of The ArchAngel – Underground Metalcore – US
  • Week 43 –  August 10 – Dark Messiah – Heavy Metal – Winnipeg, Canada
  • Week 42 –   August 3 – Arcsin -Modern Melodic Progressive Metal – Miami, FL 
  • Week 41 –  July 27 –  Methane Metal – Southern Thrash Metal – Sweden/Jersey
  • Week 40 –  July 20 –  Bloodred Hourglass – Melodic Death/Thrash – Mikkeli, FI
  • Week 39 –  July 13 –  Atarka – Metal – Birmingham, UK. 
  • Week 38 –  July 6   –  Silverbullet Band – Symp Heavy Metal – Riihimaki, Suomi
  • Week 37 –  June 29 –  Hammer Down Hard – New Age Hard Rock/Metal
  • Week 36 – June 22 –  Syth Glasgow – Old School Metal – Glasgow, Scotland
  • Week 35 –  June 15  – Virtues – Metalcore – Brisbane, Australia
  • Week 34 –  June 8  –  Vovkulaka  – Dark Angry Evil Metal – Odessa, Ukraine
  • Week 33 –  June 1  –  Executioner  – Hardcore Thrash – San Antonio, Texas
  • Week 32 – May 25 – Night Shadow – Power/Speed Metal – San Diego, California
  • Week 31 – May 18 – Primitive Machine – Rock, Dublin City, Ireland
  • Week 30 – May 11 – Daggerplay – Punk, R&R, Power Pop, Helsinki, Finland
  • Week 29 – May 4 –  Kalmo – Finnish Doom Metal – Kerava, Finland
  • Week 28 – April 27 – Repaid in Blood – Pure Fucking Geek Metal – San Jose, CA     
  • Week 27 – April 20 – Arch Enemy – Melodic Death Metal – Halmstad, Sweden 
  • Week 26 – April 13 – Falling Into Red – Hard Alter Rock – Pittsburg, PA
  • Week 25 – April 6 – Tulsadoom – Evil Barbaric Heavy Thrash – Vienna, Austria 
  • Week 24 – March 30 – Dream Troll – Old School Rock – Leeds, England
  • Week 23 – March 23 – The 69 Eyes – Goth & Roll – Helsinki Finland
  • Week 22 – March 16 – Ghost Season – Alternative Metal – Athens, Greece
  • Week 21 – March 9 – Vane – Pirate Melodeath Metal – Poland
  • Week 20 – March 2 – Ravenscroft – Rock – Orange, California
  • Week 19 – Feb 23 –  Love Machine – Heavy Rock – Milano, Italy
  • Week 18 – Feb 16 – Children of Bodom – Melodic Death Metal – Espoo, Finland
  • Week 17 – Feb 9 – 10 Gauge – Hard Rock – England, UK
  • Week 16 – Feb 2 – Everlit – Hard Rock – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Week 15 – Jan 26 – Victim of Illusion – Progressive Rock – Turin, Italy
  • Week 14 – Jan 19 – September Sky – Alternative Metal – Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Week 13 – Jan 12 – The Edge of Reason – Post Hardcore – Regensburg, Germany
  • Week 12 – January 1, 2019 New Years Day – The HU BAND – MONGOLIA
  • Week 11 – Dec 29 – Apocalyptica – Rock/Metal – Helsinki, Finland
  • Week 10 – Dec 22 – Hidden Scars – Prog/Indus Metal – Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Week  9 –  Dec 15 – In Hell – Black Death Metal – Lille, France
  • Week  8 –  Dec 08 – Fireproven – Prog Death Metal – Tampere, Finland
  • Week  7 – Nov 30 – Amon Amarth – Death Metal – Tumba, Sweden
  • Week  6 – Nov 23 – Chernobyls Uterus – Grindcore Metal – Pripyat, Ukraine
  • Week  5 – Nov 17 – Five Finger Death Punch – Metal – Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Week  4 – Nov 10 – Universal Theory – Gothic Metal – Madrid, Spain
  • Week  3 – Nov 03 – Mawcore – Hard Rock/Metal – Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
  • Week  2 – Oct 27 – Sin7 Band – Heavy Metal – Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Week  1 – Oct 20 – Forever Still – Hard Rock/Metal – Copenhagen, Denmark

WEEK 114 – WINTERSUN

My HeadBangers, welcome from Helsinki, Finland, the Power/Folk/Melodic Death Metal Band:

WINTERSUN

“Time”

“Land Of Snow and Sorrow”

After missing last week, I was kind of in a state of shock over the passing of Alexi Laiho, I had to have some Folk Metal to take me away from all the things happening this week.  When the world is in such a state of confusion, Wintersun can take me away to another place.  Let’s look at some bio on these guys.

Wintersun is a Finnish Power/Folk/Melodic Death Metal band from Helsinki originally formed as the side project of Jari Mäenpää,  who was then vocalist and guitarist of folk metal band Ensiferum.

For those of you who don’t know what Folk Metal is:

Folk metal is a fusion genre of heavy metal music and traditional folk music that developed in Europe during the 1990s. It is characterized by the widespread use of folk instruments and, to a lesser extent, traditional singing styles (for example, Dutch Heidevolk, Danish Sylvatica and Spanish Stone of Erech). It also sometimes features soft instrumentation influenced by folk rock.

In 2003, Mäenpää began pulling together songs that he had been working on since 1995. These songs followed specific themes described by Mäenpää as majestic, “spacy”, and melodic. While Mäenpää planned to perform and record each instrument for the first album himself, he still required a drummer. He sent demos to Kai Hahto, former member of Rotten Sound, who agreed to perform the drums.

After obtaining a record deal, Mäenpää scheduled studio time to record the first album. Ensiferum’s tour to support their 2004 release was scheduled at the same time, which forced Mäenpää to request time off from the band. The band instead fired him, and Mäenpää was free to go ahead with the production of his self-titled album, Wintersun.

After the release of Wintersun, the band found permanent members to perform shows and promote the album, although a keyboardist would never be found. In 2006, Wintersun began work on their second and third albums, Time I and Time II, which were initially intended to be released as a single album. Recording began in May of that year, but the albums would be the recipient of years-long delays for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which was the complexity of each song’s mix.

Jari wanted  “to make songs that make you feel like you are floating in space.” Mäenpää chose the name “Wintersun” from a list a friend had produced, later explaining, “Winter reflects the cold and stormy side of the album and also the Finnish melancholy and magic. Sun is related to the ‘universe, space and stars’-feel of the album, which is also strongly connected to the lyrics.” Although the songs that would appear on Wintersun had been written between 1995 and 2004.  Mäenpää and Hahto recorded demo versions of “Winter Madness”, “Beyond the Dark Sun”, and “Death and the Healing”, which were sent directly to Nuclear Blast. The label offered a contract for several albums stipulating that a three-song demo must be approved before each new album is recorded.

“Death And The Healing”

Even after obtaining a record deal, Mäenpää intended on keeping Wintersun as a side project during his tenure as lead singer and guitarist for Ensiferum.  Unfortunately, to support the 2004 release of Ensiferum’s Iron, Spinefarm Records had  scheduled a European tour with dates that conflicted with studio time Mäenpää had booked to record Wintersun. After requesting a break from the band, Mäenpää was fired from Ensiferum.

Mäenpää focused his energies on recording Wintersun despite the lack of formal band members. The vocals, guitars, bass, and keyboards on Wintersun were performed solely by Mäenpää, who was already adept at recording multi-instrumental songs, having grown up with 8- and 16 track equipment.   Three studios were used in the making of Wintersun: drums were recorded at Tico-Tico Studios, Mäenpää’s vocals, synth, and guitarwork were recorded at Sundi Coop Studios, and Nino Laurenne mixed the album at Sonic Pump Studios. Mäenpää recorded additional synth and guitar solos on his 16-track recorder. Wintersun was released on 13 September 2004.

Inspired by Wintersun’s musical direction, Kai Hahto left Rotten Sound and joined Wintersun as permanent drummer, and Jukka Koskinen, of Norther, joined Wintersun as bassist. Oliver Fokin, former drummer for Ensiferum and whom Mäenpää credits as inspiring him to start playing guitar.  The music video for Beyond the Dark Sun was shot over a period of two days: 3 and 4 July 2004. It was produced and directed by Maurice Swinkels.

“Beyond The Dark Sun”

I love this!!!!

In October 2004, Wintersun announced the departure of Oliver Fokin as guitarist, and a suitable replacement would not be found until 27 December when Teemu Mäntysaari joined. The search for a keyboardist continued, and Wintersun was forced to use backup tapes for their  performances.

Recording for the second album, tentatively titled Time, began on 2 May 2006. Wintersun entered Sonic Pump Studios with Thunderstone’s Nino Laurenne as sound engineer. Recording of Hahto’s drum tracks began on 3 May. Rhythm guitars and bass were also recorded during the session. Mäenpää would record synthesizers and sampling, guitar solos, acoustic guitars, vocals, and Mäntysaari’s guitarwork at his apartment studio. The album was planned to have seven songs and an intro and outro. The songs’ compositions are complex, being composed of 200 to 300 tracks each.

Time” would face more setbacks, delaying the album’s release for years.  In October 2006, Wintersun released a statement that, because recording was continually delayed, the dates for the album’s mix would be pushed back to May 2007, causing Wintersun’s appearance at Ragnarök Festival that same month to be cancelled.  A tentative release date for August 2007 was given.

In April 2007, Mäenpää released a statement updating the status on the album, detailing that difficulties with hardware failures caused further delays in the recording process. The mix dates were cancelled, and because Laurenne’s schedule at Sonic Pump Studios was full for the remainder of the year, the album’s release was pushed back further. By this time, all guitars, including solos and acoustic, were recorded, and the intro was completed. Mäenpää had begun composing and arranging the synth layers, but stress and frustration had been hindering his creativity.

Hahto issued an update in June 2008, explaining that the album’s delay would be indefinite.  Difficulties with computer hardware due to limited amount of RAM Mäenpää’s ability to compose orchestrations in real time.  However, the band appeared in Metalcamp in July 2008.

While technical difficulties pursued Wintersun into 2009, problems impeding the album’s progress would eventually include Mäenpää’s actual apartment. The increase in stress caused Mäenpää to have writer’s block. Wintersun cancelled all 2009 promotional tours to focus solely on the album’s completion.

On  November 17,  2010, the Wintersun official homepage was updated stating that they would again be playing live shows. Three events, Metalfest, Bloodstock, and Metalcamp were announced. The reason stated for these shows was that a deal with their label provided money for new computer hardware in return for playing the shows.

On March 16,  2012, Wintersun announced via their official homepage that they would headline the Heidenfest Tour in October 2012. The band also stated that the mixing of their new album, Time, was going well and that a release was planned for late summer of the same year. They also stated that Time would be split in two albums. On July 18, 2012, Wintersun announced on their official homepage that part I of Time would be released on October 12, 2012 (Time I was actually released on 19 October 2012). In support of the new album, Wintersun embarked on their first tour of North America, supporting Eluveitie  along with Varg, starting in late November.

Mixing for Time II began in early 2013. The band stated the album “will continue where ‘Time I’ left [off]” and include seven guitar solos. The album was expected to be released in early 2014.  In August 2013, Wintersun embarked on a second North American tour. Support was provided by fellow Nuclear Blast artists Fleshgod, Apocalypse, Arsis, and Starkill, with Wintersun headlining.

On January 29, 2015, Wintersun announced via their official Facebook page that Kai Hahto would be unable to perform in upcoming live shows, due to his obligations to Nightwish. Timo Häkkinen was named as his temporary replacement for live performances. In November 2016, Wintersun announced that they were looking for a second guitarist for the band so Mäenpää could focus solely on vocals during live performances.

On January 4, 2017, the band announced on their Facebook page that the recording for their third studio album was completed and that it would be released later that same year. The album is not going to be “Time II”, but rather a new project. On 11 January 2017 the band announced the name of their third studio album, The Forest Seasons.  On March 1st, the band started a crowdsourcing campaign on the Indiegogo platform, the first of three projected campaigns, aiming to raise funds for their own studio. The first campaign was successful, surpassing the minimum objective of 150,000 euro in a single day, and raising 464,330 euro in total.

On  August 17,  2017, the band posted their future tour dates and notified fans that drummer, Kai Hahto, is still recovering from hand injuries and cannot tour. Hahto will be continuing his tour with Nightwish. Wintersun announced its new session drummer will be Rolf Pilve of Stratovarius.

On July 15, 2019, Hahto was announced as Nightwish’s permanent drummer following Jukka Nevalainen’s decision not to return to the band.

There we have it, but still between 2019 and now 2021 there we still a few changes in band members.  Personally I don’t see how you can have a band member on hiatus since 2017.  But that’s just me.

Now let’s meet that band as it is now:

From left to right:

Asim Searah − rhythm guitar, backing vocals (2017 – present)

 Jukka Koskinen – bass, backing vocals (2004 – present)

Jari Mäenpää – lead vocals, keyboards, rhythm guitar (2003 – present)

Heikki Saari – drums (2017 – present)

Teemu Mäntysaari – Lead guitar, backing vocals (2004 – present)

 

My Thoughts:

Where do I begin with Wintersun, there are many Folk Metal bands in the world, but add in a little Power and Melodic Death Metal, such a perfect, winning combination.  There is just so much shit happening in the USA, that it is truly overwhelming at times.  You can’t comprehend everything that is happening or you will just shut down.  That is when I let the music take me to a distant place in another world and another time.  

“Loneliness”

This song says it all for me.  It doesn’t make me feel lonely.  It makes me think of being in the North, in a cabin deep in the forest.  A fire in the fireplace, far away from this crazy society and  at peace inside.  If a song sounds sad, embrace it, make it yours and the sadness will disappear just like the snow melting in spring.   My Nordic Folk Metal always takes to me a land of wizards, dragons, forest elves, when being alive at that time was felt to the bone.  No tv, cell phones, etc.  Times when your word was all you had, your honor, and people accepted that, unlike today when so many people just say anything and people have no honor.  It’s hard to have honor and have your word stand for itself.  If we all did that there would be no problems, but alas most people are not.   The world can be so much better, but it is up to us, are you up to the challenge??  Listen to the music then make your decision…….

That’s it for this week my HeadBangers, join me next week for another band and another song.  In the meantime don’t stand to close to the fire if you can’t handle the burn…..

Ques/Comments From My HeadBangers

This weeks comment is from:

T. Balcok

Thanks-a-mundo for the blog.  Really thank you!   Keep writing.

Thank you for taking time to comment, I appreciate it.  As I always say I will be here till the last song is played.  Pass the work along and thank you again.

A Word My HeadBangers On Alexi Laiho

Last week I heard that Alexi Laiho had died.  No way you’re lying to me.  No he wasn’t lying.  I was in shock and stunned when I heard this.  As a member of the HateCrew I am still numb, and all I can do is show how I feel with his music….

“Angels Don’t Kill”

I know this is an old one but it is a great one.

I saw him perform twice while I was in Finland.  Once with COB and once with The Local Band.  I remember telling the Metal Man, when I look at Alexi, I always see a darkness in his eyes, something that I could never get out of my mind to this day.  It will be with me all my life.

“Sunglasses At Night”

This is my absolute favorite, listen to that guitar.

Alexi received widespread acclaim for his guitar work. In 2004 he was ranked #96 out of 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Guitarists of All Time by Guitar World. Guitar World magazine has also ranked him as one of the 50 fastest guitarists in the world.  In addition, Roadrunner Records ranked him at #41 out of 50 of The Greatest Metal Frontmen of All Time Furthermore, Total Guitar conducted a public voting poll to determine the greatest metal guitarist of all time; Laiho was voted #1 out of 20 metal guitarists, with over 20% of the vote.

There’s so much more that could and will be said about Alexi.  His music will stand the test of time, it will always be here.  I know a lot of my HeadBangers are just as devastated as I was when I heard the news.  We all want to know what happened, all I can tell you for sure is that his managers said he had been ill for several years and that’s it.  Eventually it will come out, it always does.  Until then out of respect for his family and Alexi time needs to pass, to heal the wounds of someone so young being taken from us.   We HeadBangers are as I always say “Family”, the shock will pass and we will find comfort in his music, that is something no one can take from us.   Until then remember the good times, sit and listen to the music, reflect on your own life, that saying “Tomorrow is not promised”, think about what you want to do with your life, what do you want to leave behind.  We are a family, don’t forget that, if you need to talk, I’m here…..

 

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