As many of my readers know, I am a huge follower of bands from overseas. Whether it be from Sweden, Finland, Holland or anywhere else in the world….I believe that great music is great music no matter the country of origin. Sometimes it can be a little bit more difficult to find that music to appreciate. I am hoping to use this “rant” to assist in building a bridge to some of those bands. My own story is already known but I will re-visit it again for any new readers so they can understand where my passion for these bands have come from.
Back in the early 2000’s I had become very jaded and discontent with the music scene in North America. Even though my favorite band KISS had re-united in 1996, there was nothing else in the industry that had me even a little bit excited. The music was boring to me as it was dominated by performrs like Usher, Kanye West, Alicia Keys, Beyonce and Maroon 5. Although I respect what each of these performers have brought to the world of music, it is not my cup of tea.
So one day I was browsing the internet in 2004 and stumbled upon an internet radio station. They were broadcasting from inside a video game that I played online, City Of Heroes, and I heard something for the first time in years that not just caught my ears but also my imagination. I listened in amazement as “Wish I Had An Angel” by Nightwish captured my heart and filled my soul.
The haunting vocals, the heavy metal guitar riffs and the imagery that the song created had me excited about music for the first time since KISS re-united in make-up in 1996. I needed to know what else the band played and I needed to know everything I could about them. As I studied the band, I had no idea how many other great musical talents I would be exposed to thanks to my new love for Nightwish.
I wanted to highlight a few of the bands that I have grown very passionate about since Nightwish first opened the door back in 2004. Each of these bands have their own sound and looks, but they all are very talented groups of people who give us some of the most amazing music in the world.
I swore I would spread the word of Nightwish to anyone who would listen and I have extended that to any bands I have discovered since then. Let’s look at 6 bands (it was difficult to narrow it down to just 6 bands by the way) that I have enjoyed from overseas and that I want to share with as many people as possible.
The band that started my love affair with bands from other countries, Finland’s own Nightwish is the only band that has challenged KISS as my favorite band of all time. Even though the lead singer duties have changed from Tarja Turunen to Anette Olzon and now to Floor Jansen, the band is still one of the biggest bands in the world but not known as well as they should be. I am hoping that the band retains Floor as the vocalist as she combines the dynamic classically trained voice of Tarja and the rock and roll charisma of Anette, while also putting her own stamp on the Nightwish legacy.
If you have never heard of Nightwish I have three tracks for you to listen to. One featuring each vocalist. “Wish I Had An Angel” features Tarja Turunen on vocals. “Bye Bye Beautiful” features Anette Olzon on vocals and “Ghost Love Score” features Floor Jansen on vocals. I will share the most current video with Floor here for those curious.
The second band from Finland that captured my attention and my imagination was Lordi. A group that went to see KISS in concert during the re-union tour when they played Europe, Lordi decided to form their own band based on the inspiration they drew from KISS. Taking the amazing visual they saw on stage, Lordi upped it a few notches and wore full monster themed costumes and masks. Their musical style is similar to KISS in that they sing a hard rock style but the catchy chorus is what you most remember from the song. Lordi has a very unique look and a very unique sound and there is no one quite like them in music today. They have gone through many personnel changes as well but each new character has added something to the band.
To fully experience Lordi you should check out the videos for “Blood Red Sandman,” “Hard Rock Hallejuah” and the latest video from the band, “The Riff.” Just prepare yourself to be visually taken a back by the monsters of rock.
The third band from Finland that I will mention today is the little known group named Free Spirit. I included Free Spirit in a previous blog in which I explained how I discovered their music in the video game Rock Band. As you can see by the comments on that post, I was contacted by Sami from the band. He sent me the link to purchase the band’s cd and I reviewed it for this blog as well. I then contacted Sami and requested the chance to interview the band and when he said yes, I hit the highlight of this blog’s existence so far. A chance to interview the band!
The best way to describe the music of the band is that they are a throw back to the hard rock bands of the 1980’s. A very guitar riff driven sound with amazing vocals that sing in a tight harmony, Free Spirit is a true treat for any fan of music. The tracks I recommend to listen to are “Far Away From Heaven,” “Preacher Man” and “Until The Night.”
Delain of Holland is one of the bands that I discovered directly by exploring Nightwish as Marco Hietala contributed vocals to a few songs for Delain over the years on a few of their albums. This group started out as a very casual side project for many musicians of different bands that just recorded albums but evolved into a true band that would perform live. From the same musical vein as Nightwish, Delain offers a more “pop” vocal sound with lead singer Charlotte Wessels more mainstream voice. This is a band that has just started to receive recognition over the last few years for the amazing albums that have released and is becoming more well known.
Sweden’s own Ghost BC is a band that I have recently discovered as I was browsing acts performing at Hellfest 2013. They are another theatrical band but unique in that only the lead singer Papa Emeritus II has an individual look. The rest of the band all wears the exact same costume and are known as the Nameless Ghouls. The band is fairly new and only released their first demo in 2010. Ghost BC fits my bill as a very theatrical group of performers with hard rock music that also has a catchy chorus.
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