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10 Criminally Underappreciated Finnish Bands To Add To Your Playlist

Featuring Ajattara, Sentenced, Behexen, and more!

Finnish Bands

Finland has been dubbed the "capital of metal." This great country is respected for its emphasis on music education. The Finnish people are defined by their sisu, or "grit," as well as their massive intellects. Thus, it is no surprise that Finland allegedly boasts the most metal bands per capita of any nation. Yet, it is the quality of Finnish music that truly astounds us. We all know and love bands like Children of Bodom, Finntroll, HIMInsomnium, Omnium Gatherum, Ensiferum, and Amorphis. What sane human being could so much as glance upon a bottle of vodka without experiencing a nagging longing for "Korpiklaani and chill" time?! Fear not: If you need to pray for forgiveness for your "Vodka"-fueled misdeeds, metal can also be your salvation. Thanks to the popularization of groups like those mentioned above, Metallimessu, or "Metal Mass," has become a phenomenon among the Finns. Whether you like brutal, fire-breathing outfits like Azaghal or power metal titans like Stratovarius, Finland has something to suit every palette.

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Lovers of extreme music can be quick to dismiss a book based on an unusually glossy cover. Finnish metal teaches us not to do so. Hanoi Rocks, which was founded in Helsinki in 1979, rose to international fame in the ’80s due to their unique brand of punky glam rock/metal. The good looks and flamboyant fashion choices of vocalist Michael Monroe certainly garnered attention. Sadly, however, most people associate Hanoi Rocks with the tragic loss of their English-born drummer Razzle, who died when an intoxicated Vince Neil crashed his car in California. Hanoi Rocks was so awesome that Darkthrone’s Fenriz has their logo tattooed on his skin. The frontman of the second, ultra-savage band on our list has stated that a Hanoi Rocks vinyl was the first record that he ever acquired. Today, outfits like Santa Cruz continue to carry on Finland’s tradition of ’80s-inspired music. Interestingly, Santa Cruz’s frontman, Archie Cruz, played in a group called The Local Band with the likes of ex-Reckless Love’s Olli Herman Kosunen; Samy Elbanna of Lost Society, which was originally founded as a thrash group by teenage prodigies in 2010; Jussi 69 of the goth n’ roll stalwarts The 69 Eyes; and CoB’s late mastermind, Alexi Laiho, who was one of the greatest guitar players of his generation. Among Laiho’s many heroes, he particularly admired an influential speed/thrash metal band called Stone, of which many non-Finnish metalheads are unaware. Speaking of technically gifted musicians like Laiho, guitar nerds are bound to love Wintersun for frontman Jari Mäenpää’s technical abilities.

Do you like your metal black? The Bathory-inspired, pagan black metal band Havukruunu was formed in 2005. They created a small sensation with their most recent album, Uinuos syömein sota (2020). Havukruunu's latest release is the EP Kuu Erkylän yllä (2021). You can't go wrong with Barathrum and Azazel, which have endured since the early '90s. If you favor symphonic black metal, try Alghazanth. By contrast, Catamenia is a fairly well-known group that transitioned away from black metal.

Death metal enthusiasts will enjoy ObscurantBlack Sun AeonSotajumala. Similarly, Paraxism was an underground death metal band that didn’t receive enough credit. Tomi Koivusaari co-founded the historically significant DM band Abhorrence in 1989. Abhorrence broke up in 1990 and Koivusaari became an original member of Amorphis. An Abhorrence cover song, “Vulgar Necrolatry,” made its way onto Amorphis’ debut, The Karelian Isthmus (1992). Abhorrence was reformed in 2013. The lineup currently features Koivusaari, ex-Bodom After Midnight’s Waltteri Väyrynen, etc.

Perhaps you prefer off-beat music? Trollheims Grott and Turmion Kätilöt are definitely two of Finland’s strangest industrial outfits. To change things up, check out the pioneering funeral doom band Skepticism. Although Finnish metal frequently smells of the crypt, it can also be as refreshing as a gust of northern wind. There is a strong sense of freedom and experimentation in Finnish music.

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That said, the first thing that people usually note about Finnish metal is that it is often full of doom and gloom. It can be very emotive in the best of ways. Nevertheless, Finnish groups tend to know how to lighten up and party. Even Alexi Laiho liked to blow off steam to Bon Jovi, whom he occasionally covered. For the most part, Finnish metal is what you want to play when you are having a good time with friends. Of course, some of Finland’s lo-fi Satanic bands present an exception to this rule. For the most part, such bands are best enjoyed in holy solitude. Rather than focusing on a single subgenre, today, we aim to present you with a varied selection of groups. Enjoy our list of underappreciated Finnish metal bands that are bound to leave you frozen in awe.

Ajattara 

Darkthrone has waged war against the sad state of 21st-century music: “Destroy their modern metal and bang your fucking head.” Ajattara is one updated black metal band, however, that won’t make you reach for your anti-poser weapons. Paradoxically, Ajattara will disarm you with their unique sound and bloody, Satanic imagery, which announces the death of all sheeple. Frontman Pasi Koskinen, who goes by “Ruoja,” offered Terrorverlag the succinct explanation of the essence of his lyrics: “Hostile chaos created by man.” Koskinen’s lyrics are written in the beautiful Finnish language. He composes Ajattara’s music as well. Koskinen formed Ajattara in 1996. Although the group split up in 2012, they reunited in 2016. This band has released 8 full-length albums.

From 1995 to 2004, Pasi Koskinen served as Amorphis’ vocalist. Koskinen left Amorphis because he wanted to focus on brutal music. Koskinen’s work with Amorphis was truly amazing. He contributed both clean and uber-harsh vocals. Yet, when listening to hits like Amorphis’ “Alone,” which has a sweet quality, despite its pessimism, it is difficult to think that it was performed by the same man whom you will hear giving the on “Ave Sathanas” below. The latter song is sure to become your new favorite track. Koskinen is enigmatic beyond measure and shows how things ought to be done. Throughout the years, Ajattara has been the perfect vehicle for Koskinen, who has been involved with other bands as well.

Koskinen is an atheist. He told Obscura.cz that he was strangled by a friend and died for a minute and a half. It is clear that Koskinen is a man who has stared the void in the face and experienced tragedy. He lays his cards on the table. Although his candid music may be as black as the nothingness that he saw while dead, he enjoys painting. He created the colorful artwork on the cover of Ajattara’s latest last album, Lupaus (2017).

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Beherit

Beherit is a pioneer like no other. This group is known as one of the leaders of the second wave of black metal. As such, Beherit remains one of the most important BM voices of all-time. Sadly, however, black metallers rarely receive the love that they deserve. Although he may not be a household name, frontman and multi-instrumentalist “Nuclear Holocausto Vengeance,” or Marko Laiho, is one of music’s most ingenious men. As incredible as it may seem, Holocausto actually attended the same school as Demonos Sova of Barathrum. Holocausto co-founded Beherit in 1989. He and “Demon Fornication,” or Jari Vaarala, first met that year. Drummer “Sodomatic Slaughter,” or Jari Pirinen soon joined their undertaking. Surprisingly, Beherit’s first demos date to 1990.

The fact that Beherit came from Finland contributed to their status as an anomaly. And yet, this group from Lapland had many of the same influences as the bands that were about to ignite Norway. Holocausto was influenced by Venom, BathorySarcófago, Slayer, etc. In Slayer Mag Vol. 9, which was published in 1991, Metalion wrote: “I assume this band Beherit is pretty well known as a Blasphemy clone…” During this interview, Holocausto actually expressed his admiration for Mayhem. Although a small rivalry existed between the Norwegian and Finnish black metal scenes, Holocausto denied accusations that he made prank calls made to Norway.

The fact that Beherit drew inspiration from Anton Lavey could be seen as a cause for disgust among Norwegian metallers, who tend to dismiss Lavey as a fraud and instead espouse theistic Satanism. Nevertheless, no one will doubt Beherit’s cock and might. The “Suck My Blood” band was known for their outrageous antics, which included making use of animal heads (like Mayhem) and drinking blood. One of the strangest legends about Beherit comes from Shining’s Niklas Kvarforth. The saintly Niklas attempted to skeeve out the authors of Blood, Fire, Death: The Swedish Metal Story (2018): “Do you know what he [Nuclear Holocausto] did? He sharpened his teeth and ate the flesh of his own arm while he was recording vocals!”

No band sounds quite like Beherit. Their avant-garde music has an abstract quality. Whereas Fenriz of Darkthrone stated that he decided to avoid anything futuristic once he began to transition towards black metal in 1991, Beherit’s work is saturated with precisely this quality. Yet, it is still primitive. New listeners may find it challenging listening to the sparse instrumentation, slow pace, and minimalism that you sometimes find in Beherit’s space-like music; but for this reason, Beherit is all the more exciting and rewarding. Very few black bands can make electronics and synths work for them without sounding like commercial posers. As Fenriz explained to Black Metal Chronicles, 99% of bands used synths the wrong way.

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Yes, Beherit’s lyrics became a bit cartoonish every now and then. Nevertheless, to utter an ill word against this band is “The Ultimate Sin’’ because Beherit, which means “Satan” in Syriac, is actually as good as God. Nuclear Holocausto has one thing that many “believers” do not: Faith. Holocausto, who has found meaning in Buddhism in more recent years, revealed that Beherit worked on “no budget” in the old days. He explained to Death Metal Underground that he had to sell many of his possessions to fund Drawing Down the Moon (1993). Holocausto became homeless. Fortunately, Drawing Down the Moon has been canonized as one of the greatest moments in the history of metal. During a 2009 interview with Metal Hammer, Darkthrone’s Fenriz weighed in: “I didn’t hear Beherit until some years ago… But Drawing Down the Moon must, for me, in hindsight, be one of the nineties’ ten most important metal albums.” This was the effort on which Beherit found their sound.

After Drawing Down the Moon, Beherit fell apart as a band. Holocausto moved to Helsinki, where he worked at Spinefarm’s record store. As a lone wolf, Holocausto made two electronic albums under the Beherit moniker in 1994 and 1996: H418ov21.C and Electric Doom Synthesis. A band was later reassembled that featured Holocausto, Sodomatic Slaughter, and two additional musicians. In 2008, Beherit recorded Engram (2009). This fun, black metal album is a pure delight. By the end of songs like the hit “Pagan Moon,” your hair will be a complete mess. Engram was mastered by Tonmi Lillman, whom we will discuss later. Beherit has since published releases like At the Devil’s Studio 1990 (2011) and the ambient electronic album Bardo Exist (2020). On Bardo Exist, Holocausto again handled all instruments. For quite a while, Holocausto has been alternatively known as DJ Gamma-G due to his involvement with hardcore techno and house music. Suuri Shamaani was the name of one of his side projects.

After enjoying the classic “The Gate of Nanna” from Drawing Down the Moon below, you can watch a teenage Beherit lineup perform for mothers, babies, and so forth at a strip mall in the second video below. How would people react if martians touched down in Lapland? One girl, who walks past, covers her ears as if trying to give imagistic representation to the sound best portrayed by Edvard Munch. However, one young man in particular clearly understands the meaning of art: he bangs his head. Given Beherit’s disturbing sound in this clip, it is shocking that Holocausto’s parents were kind enough to allow him to practice in his room. It’s incredible to think that this timeless icon will already be turning 50 this June.

Sentenced 

Sentenced adopted their name in 1989. The band was founded the previous year as as Deformity. Before there were hits like HIM’s “Join Me in Death” and “When Love and Death Embrace,” there was Sentenced’s brutal death metal debut demo, When Death Joins Us… (1990). As “Descending the Curtain of Death” goes: “Life is not real, only death is.” Yet, death metal would only be a phase for this band. After shifting in a more melodic DM direction, Sentenced eventually moved towards a style that has been described as “gothic metal.” However, this label does not do Sentenced justice, even if it applies to some of their themes. Sentenced’s lyrics often focused on the dialectic of love and hatred. Sentenced’s songs were pretty catchy at times, but they could also be aggressive as hell: “I have dreams of hammering your skulls, fantasies of bashing your brains.” The “My Slowing Heart” band will freeze “your feelings to ice.” Sentenced’s work has a robustness. Weak is one adjective that does not apply to this group. If you want masculine music with a heavy dose of suicidal ideation, Sentenced is your band. Sentenced has created some awesome instrumental tracks throughout the years. Their guitars are absolutely wicked.

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Although Sentenced’s transition seems radical, it is not all that surprising. The ’90s was a difficult time for metal bands. Many death metal outfits even switched to black metal because the former subgenre had become streamlined. Darkthrone, whose DM track “Cromlech” has been covered by Sentenced, is one obvious example. Unfortunately, black metal would also suffer from an influx of “plastic” bands during this decade. Thus, it is a good thing that did not hop Sentenced on that bandwagon, for example. Guitarist Sami Lopakka admitted that Sentenced copied their idols, such as White Snake, early on before finding their authentic voice. Sentenced’s evolution suited their changing dynamics. Lead vocals were originally handled by the late guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Miika Tenkula. Responsibility soon switched to bassist Taneli Jarva, who was his relative. (Fact: Taneli actually tattooed Alexi Laiho.) After Taneli’s departure, Ville Laihiala took over in 1996.

Ville Laihiala’s best known song with Sentenced is “Killing Me Killing You” from Crimson (2000).  Sentenced tore veins which tore veins wide open with songs like “Suicider” and “Bleed.” Yet, Ville told Metal Rules that Sentenced changed their approach to self-harm over time: “We just don’t sing about ‘cutting-your-wrists’ themes that much anymore, even if we have a song called ‘Excuse Me While I Kill Myself’ [and the likes of ‘Cross My Heart and Hope to Die’] on this album [The Cold White Light, 2002].” Ville speculated that rhythm guitarist Sami Lopakka, who wrote the song, meant for it to be ironic. On Cold White Light, there are, nevertheless, lines like: “The axe, the bottle, and the rope. The feeling there really is no more hope.” The lyrics to “Noose” from Down (1996) had been pretty similar: “I’ll drink booze to depress myself. Then, I take the rope and express myself. I’ll leave this world without shedding a tear. Without hope, without fear.”

Sadly, Sentenced disbanded after The Funeral Album (2005). Ex-Sentenced’s Sami Kukkohovi and Sami Lopakka continue to play with Antti Karihtala from the next band on our list and others in a group called KYPCK, which is cyrillic for Kursk. KYPCK, which was founded in 2007, is unique in that their lyrics are performed in Russian. Ville’s project S-Tool was put on hold last year. This year, Ville plans to release a solo album.

Shadows of the Past-era Sentenced (1991):

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Frozen-era Sentenced (1998):

The Cold White Light-era Sentenced (2002):

Charon

When Charon was founded in 1992 as a death metal band, who would have predicted that they would become famous for songs like "Little Angel"? Like our previous pick, Charon was another group whose style morphed into vaguely gothic metal/rock. After Charon completed two demos and two promos, singer Juha-Pekka "JP" Leppäluoto took over on vocals from bassist Teemu Hautamäki. JP Leppäluoto remained present from Charon's unusual debut album, Sorrowburn (1998), until the very end. This "Northern King" may just be Finland's greatest voice. Of course, Finland has many incredible singers, but JP's low and beautiful vocals are simply eargasmic. Charon's work feels like an "endless carnival of lust." There's a great retro factor to this band. People have likened Charon to HIM. Although this comparison is not really valid, it is a shame that Charon never really tapped the international market like their Valo-fronted comrades.

Songs for the Sinners (2005) was Charon’s final studio album. The effort contains songs like “Colder,” “Ride on Tears,” and “Bullet.” In 2011, Charon disbanded. They released a public statement: “… we even wrote a full album of songs. But we did not have enough heart and passion to light up the final fire and to finish the record. Years of hanging loose from the noose had eaten up most of our energy and creativity.” On October 31, 2015, Charon reunited for a one-off gig with The 69 Eyes and the seventh band on our list.

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Poisonblack

To borrow a metaphor from The Funeral Album (2005), Sentenced was a flower that grew from shit. Similarly In the words of “Alone,” Poisonblack was “the pearl in the trashcan of my life.” Yet, as deep as Poisonblack may have dug in the dirt, their artistic integrity lends a purity to their art. Like the last two bands, Poisonblack focused on the topics of love, death, and suffering. Poisonblack was founded in 2000 as a means for Ville Laihiala to play guitar, since he only sang in Sentenced. Poisonblack’s first album, Escapexstacy (2003), which came out on the 9th birthday of Darkthrone’s unromantic Transilvanian Hunger (1994), stands out as Poisonblack’s “gothic” album. Escapexstacy is the perfect music to pair with latex and absinthe. JP Leppäluoto acted as Poisonblack’s frontman during this period, but he soon left to focus on his work with Charon.

Poisonblack was unable to find a replacement for JP. Thus, Ville eventually stepped up as the band’s vocalist as well. Ville happened to be the best possible candidate for the job. Whereas JP may have made a hit with “Love Infernal,” Ville crushed expectations with “Rush,” one of the sexiest songs of all-time, on Poisonblack’s next album, Lust Stained Despair (2006): “I can’t help but follow in spite of going insane. For I know you’ll swallow the whole of my pain.” (Note: Ville wrote both songs.) Like JP, Ville has an unbelievable voice. Ville’s vocals are raspier, however, which makes him seem like a total beast in the best way possible. On The Dan Chan Show, Ville revealed that people have told him that he sounds like Pantera’s Philip H. Anselmo (No way in hell!) and “Rod Stewart with AIDs.” Whom does Ville really sound like? God.

As Poisonblack’s lyricist and primary songwriter, Ville put his heart into the band. The father made music that became less sexual for the most part as the band aged. Lust seemed to become the prey “Of Rust and Bones.” Ville explained that as he grew older, he became more hesitant to discuss death as well. He used music to cleanse himself of his negative feelings. At times, Poisonblack’s maggot-infested songs have a groove that will make you want to dance. For instance, “Sycophant” from Drive (2011), the biggest hits of which were “Mercury Falling” and “Scars,” will pump you up while imparting valuable life lessons: “Better to be hated for what you are than loved for what you’re not.” By contrast, the previous track, “From No-Here to Nowhere,” is so slow that it evokes an agony that is bittersweet: “The table is set for three: Indifference, you, and me…”

Poisonblack’s final album, Lyijy (2013), begins with “Home Is Where the Sty Is”: “Hey honey, don’t care what your name is. There is just one thing I crave. Take off that dress. I’m your man.” In “Blackholehead,” Ville elucidates the mental torture of someone who is “completely hollow yet full of shit”: “What if I’d let you in [my brain], threw you to the wolves and showed you the darkest corner here? What if I’d gave a fuck and spoke the truth? Would it be too much for you to hear? … Come on, explode inside my head and break these walls of pain.” “Maybe Life is Not for Everyone”? The cynical, observational Lyijy dares you to “Pull the Trigger”: “Your suffering ends no matter what you do.” This metallic, bluesy album will awaken your inner hard rocker. There is a bit of a punk attitude at play here as well. Lyijy makes you feel as though you are roving around the American South, rather than Finland. The cover, which depicts a glass of liquor, calls to mind that of Mark Lanegan’s Whiskey for the Holy Ghost (1994).

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Poisonblack with JP Leppäluoto:

Poisonblack with Ville Laihiala:

Behexen 

“Lucifer” means light-bringer. Behexen will enlighten you with their Satanic mysticism. In “Sword of Promethean Fire” from The Poisonous Path (2016), Behexen’s vocalist, Hoath Torog, proclaims: “Lucifer’s scalding blade brightens and slits a passage through everything. Cutting open the reeking lairs of lies. Bringing forth nothing but the truth. This dagger of Satanic darkness shall sever the manacles of imprisonment and cut the chains of life. The impulse of godly light.” “Baphomet’s Call” from Behexen’s third demo, Support the War Against Christianity (1999), and their debut album, Rituale Satanum (2000), begins: “Alone I walk under the freezing moon. The meaning of my life is broken. I wonder the insanity of mundane travelling. The knife of distress ripping my heart… I want to die. A shadow of fear descent upon me. I feel the burning hate inside. The master Satan has come forth for me…” Behexen’s poetic lyrics are not only out of this world, but they also reflect a whole new level of intellectual prowess.

According to guitarist Hoath Torog, Behexen was formed in 1995 as Lords of the Left Hand. Original members Hoath Torog and drummer Horns attended the same school, whereas bassist and guitarist Reaper, who has since moved on, did not. How should black metal sound? Exactly like Behexen. The “Black Metal Baptism band” is bestial bliss. It is a bit puzzling that such a stellar band is so slow to emerge on the tongues of metalheads nowadays. Perhaps, this is because in this watered-down age, black metal is often viewed as threatening unless it is cut with the friendly face of Viking caricatures or softened by layers of nature sounds.

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Behexen’s members truly put their lost souls into their work. Hoath Torog discussed his about his creative process for Behexen’s fourth album, Nightside Emanations (2012), with Iron Fist Zine: “The spiritual charge that I shed into it on a personal level was so big, that sometimes I needed to collect myself together all over again.” He also expressed the position to this zine that Satyricon are “circus clowns.” Whether you admire or abhor Satyricon is irrelevant. The point is that such a bold claim to artistic truth over and above popular bands is proof of the kind of against-the-grain elitism that will make you fall in love.

To/Die/For

To/Die/For may not be your typical metal band, but they will become your newest guilty pleasure. This goth rock/metal gem has actually existed since 1993. In 1999, they changed their name from Mary-Ann. To/Die/For suffered a brief breakup in 2009. The group broke hearts when they parted ways again in 2016, but they reunited in 2019.

We have already noted that Finnish metal bands can be incredibly refreshing; however, this is especially true of To/Die/For. The “Wounds Wide Open” outfit is absolutely irresistible. What’s more is that they will have you scratching at your wrists in no time: “See my life written all over my arms. White strokes of misery. I call ’em diaries, some call ’em scars…. No, no one will miss me, no one at all. Lay down and sleep forever.” Vocalist Jarno JapePerätalo has an amazing voice that is both hypnotic and distinctive. To/Die/For’s cover songs have earned them much recognition. They have put one on each of their full-length efforts from their third album, Jaded (2003), onward. You will hear one of their best covers below.

The great Tonmi Lillman served as To/Die/For’s drummer from 1999 to 2003 and from 2009 to 2010. In his memoir, which was organized into a coherent whole by Petri SilasAlexi Laiho recalled meeting his beloved friend for the first time: “Tonmi Lillman looked and sounded so perfect right from the off that everyone present realized we were standing in the same room with the new Sinergy drummer. He played like Tommy Lee but with an incredible amount of technical prowess. When he joined the group, it became one of my favorite line-ups of all time.” Lillman passed away in 2012. The 38-year-old had also been a member of groups like Ajattara. In 2010, he had joined Lordi, in which he was known as “Otus.” Lordi’s album To Beast or Not to Beast (2013) was dedicated to Lillman.

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Norther

If you like Children of Bodom and/or Wintersun , you are likely to appreciate the nostalgic outfit Norther. This defunct group featured Wintersun’s current bassist, Jukka Koskinen, from 2000 to 2012 and Alexi Laiho’s partner in crime Daniel Freyberg towards the end of their reign. One of Norther’s early supporters was now ex-CoB’s Alexander KuoppalaEnsiferum’s Petri Lindroos sang with Norther from 2000 to 2009. Finntroll’s Heikki Saari featured on drums from 2005 to 2012. Needless to say, the quality of Norther’s members was exceptional.

Norther may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but they are a great gateway drug into metal. This band had their hits and fleeting fame in Europe. Yet, Norther was one of those sensations du jour that you might not remember unless specifically reminded. For reference, Norther took their name in 2000. The collective was founded in 1996 as Requiem and later became Decayed. Norther’s debut the demo, Warlord (2000), included a cover of Skid Row’s “Youth Gone Wild,” which somehow reveals almost everything about this band that you need to know. Norther played their final concert in 2012.

Norther’s style was melodic death metal meets power metal. Like CoBNorther incorporated a black metal influence. Yet, this ensemble of thoroughly nice boys was about as far from black metal as a rainbow is from darkness. Norther almost feels like a boy band. Stone Temple Pilots wrote a song called “Ride the Cliché.” Did Norther do this? Yes. Did they make it work? Of course. Their production was polished, professional, and modern; they used keyboards; again, they oozed talent; they were pretty; your girlfriend will love them!

Archgoat

Do you like your black metal Satanic? For many people, there is just no other way, although Christian metal and all types of bland spins on black metal certainly exist. Archogoat is not for “those who enjoy pointless obedience,” as they croak on “I Am Lucifer’s Temple.” Archgoat has been making the world a more sinister place since 1989, although they disappeared for a bit before reforming in 2004. We can’t help but giggle about the fact that their demo may have been called Penis Perversor (1993). Archgoat’s latest album, Worship the Eternal Darkness, came out in (2021). This year, Archgoat plans to release the EP All Christianity Ends Here.

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Archgoat’s music is a “Sado-Magical Portal.” In “Nuns, Cunts & Darkness,” these “Angels of Sodomy” deliver the good news of immanent rapture: “Open up your angelic mouth that sang the Christ’s hymns. Eat the snake of wisdom. Swallow the nectar of rebellion.” “Phallic Desecrator of Sacred Gates” is a beautiful hard hitter that is so sublime that we are committing sacrilege by quoting it in full: “I’ll ride the flesh of the whore. The twin pillars of her supple thighs. Spit on the whore made virgin. Conceive the woman of Nazareth. The chalice of Sacred nectar. The altar between the silken thighs. Drink deep that heavenly wine. Worship and adore fleshy gate. Crushing the petals of sacredness. Pounded into oblivion again and again. Each strike of my phallic hammer sinks the heavenliness to lust.” “Sodomator of the Doomed Venus” is also guaranteed to make you horny. Archgoat’s track “Grand Marshall of the Black Tower” is dedicated to Gilles to Rais, the famous serial killer who was once Jean d’Arc’s right hand man. Gilles has been a subject of the works of the celebrated French, screwball authors Georges Bataille and Joris-Karl Huysmans. Yet, we can say Archgoat’s musings on the topic are no less great. Warning: Archgoat is so wicked great that they may make you want to resort to self-harm: “My kingdom is made from my sins. Freed by the blood in my veins.”

All of this seems extraordinarily militant. Yet, Ritual Butcherer, Archgoat’s co-founder and guitarist revealed to Blessed Altar Zine that he hates it when Archgoat is dubbed a “War Metal” band: “… we have never been about anything but openly Satanic and Blasphemous so just because we happen to have few fast songs we are labelled as band about extension of failed/successful politics??? No thank you…” Right on!

Rippikoulu

Rippikoulu only released two demos in the early ’90s: Mutaation aiheuttama sisäinen mätäneminen (1992) and Musta seremonia (1993). Nevertheless, they played a significant role in the history of Finnish metal. Rippikoulu was the first death metal band to sing in the Finnish language. Bassist Janne Ruohonen told Lords of Metal that he believes that Rippikoulu was formed in 1988 or 1989. Rippikoulu began as a punk band. They worked with mostly hardcore influences. Yet, as stated, they soon caught the death metal germ. The band’s guitarist, Marko Henriksson, tragically passed away in 1995. Despite attempts to make a comeback, Rippikoulu was unable to rebound after suffering such a profound loss and called it quits. However, Rippikoulu eventually began experimenting again in 2011. Guitarist Olli V. revealed to the zine Slowly We Rot that this reunion had been triggered by the 2010 reissue of Musta Seremonia. In 2014, Rippikoulu released the EP Ulvaja with Janne’s nephew Mikko Ruohonen on drums.

BONUS BAND: Aran

Aran is an under-the-radar, one-man atmospheric black metal band that was formed in 2018. Aran's mastermind, Juhani K, told Occult Black Metal Zine: "'Aran' doesn't particularly mean anything… Only thing where it could be related to, would be this old Nintendo game Super Metroid.'" Juhani K joked that naming a character after the video game protagonist Samus Aran, who was created in '86, is very black metal. In fact, this is a very black metal decision. Choosing to name one's band after a character who appeared the year before the release of Bathory's famous third album, Under the Sign of the Black Mark (1987), evokes a host of nostalgic associations. Aran threatens to resurrect a dead era in the history of metal. This is one group that actually knows how to use a synthesizer. Juhani K's raw vocals will make you remember all that's wrong with modern music.

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