not exactly a lifelong dream come true…

…but a couple of days ago I found out that Osku Ketola has apparently been the new singer for Elonkerjuu since September :)

I know, I know. For those who don’t follow the Finnish pop rock scene, neither name means anything. But you do remember at least that this scene is where I get my primary fix of non-metal and non-classical music, right?

Interestingly enough, some Finnish pop boasts way denser and heavier production values than some European metal bands.

So, Osku Ketola. Probably better known as the A&R dude at Warner Finland who signed Teräsbetoni back then in the mid-2000s. Internationally known as one of those percussionist barbarians for TB’s Eurovision-2008 appearance (the second being their roadie Antto Tuo Na… Tuomainen, a musician himself, but that’s a whole ‘nother story):

For the uninitiated: Eurovision is a “song contest” for, well, European countries (lately expanding to Australia, I think, which makes zero sense, unless they got really bored back there in Oz…). A pop song contest, to boot. Which got once (in 2006) pwned by a Finnish shock rock band Lordi. Yeah, you get the drift.

Actually Teräsbetoni used to fluctuate between the first and second spots on the Finnish national charts back then when they were active, so they kinda qualified for “popular music”, y’know. And yes, that left handed bass player is J Ahola, one of Finland’s top non-classical voices. These days he does way more covers than original material, but he used to be a songwriter as well. MMR is one of his songs.

Ahola maintains he is not a classically trained (or trained.period) singer. I don’t know if the same is true about Osku Ketola, but let’s just say that his instrument is equally outstanding in and out of itself.

And I don’t mean the violin. Oh yeah, Ketola also plays the violin. Kinda like a male version of Jonsu Salomaa of Indica, right.

Yes, that was a bootleg video. What, need more clarity? Enjoy some studio stuff, then:

Ketola’s band never really took off that big – the reason being that Finnish audiences likely perceived their style as a bit too derivative.

Derivative of what Lauri Tähkä & Elonkerjuu used to play.

Technically, Jaarli Paddington (Palava’s original name) was formed around the same time as Elonkerjuu, but, well, y’know, show business, the right place the right time, all that jazz.

Obviously, Elonkerjuu’s success was largely to the charisma of Lauri himself and Johanna Koivu, the violin player. As you can hear, as a singer Tähkä didn’t really hold a candle to Ketola, even in the studio.

Well, first Tähkä left and got a replacement, who then left along with the violin player.

Yup. Who else, right :)

I’m really looking forward to, well, anything that comes out of this. I have faith in Ketola in all his roles, and if they ever play Maailma on renki live, well… see, I’ve wanted to hear this song done by a real singer since the moment I first heard it.





this has been out for…

…a coupla weeks already, but hey I’ve been busy.

All in all, a quality Rantanen-penned track, although I still think they need a different lead singer. Okay, yes, more band members = less GDP per capita, so to speak, and yettttt.

Yes I know good singers are hard to find. Same as good songwriters. It’s a shame these two kinds team up so rarely.

half a Teräsbetoni, technically

All Rise, a relatively new metal band from Finland, featuring two ex-Teräsbetoni members: Jari Kuokkanen, the drummer extraordinaire; and Vili Rantanen, guitarist/songwriter/whaddayacallit (not the one with that glamorous mane – that would be J. Caven, author of this particular song).
All Rise singer, Niko Rauhala, may not be exactly as much of a jaw-dropping technique monster that Jarkko Ahola was (or is; his projects bore me to tears these days, so I just don’t follow him anymore), but he _is_ very good.
The video itself is also quite clever: stylish B&W, and a smart way not to show “real gore” but still invoke this psychopath vibe.

Speaking of psychopaths…