Features Interviews Music

Interview with Tom Brumpton, vocalist of Akarusa Yami

Today FREE! Magazine has the pleasure to offer you an exclusive interview with Tom Brumpton, vocalist of the British industrial metal band Akarusa Yami. Tom is a person who totally “breathes” metal music, combining his band with his career as publicist (among his clients are infamous names such us Iggy Pop or Maroon 5) and freelance journalist. He kindly answered our questions to enlight us with interesting info about the metal scene in his hometown, some curious anecdotes from the backstage and overall, what we can expect from his exciting project with his own band!

Hello Tom and thanks a lot beforehand for your answers. You were one of the founders of Akarusa Yami a couple of years ago in Nottinghamshire. How did the idea evolve to create this band?

Hey Antonio, not a problem. Thanks for having me. I was indeed, basically it came from a mutual frustration that myself and Tom Clarke (Guitars, co-founder) shared. We’d been in a lot of bands before that, for one reason or another, hadn’t done much. So we discussed working together and over time its morphed into Akarusa Yami.

Had you played in other bands before? Do you currently play in other projects?

I did, and the other guys all have and do but I don’t really have time for any other bands at the moment. I used to sing for a Pantera-esque band called Kallous a few years ago. Tom and our bassist Jake Bennett play together in a death metal band called Cacodaemonic, our drummer Adam Jones plays in a rock band called Scarlet’s Wake, our second guitarist Damian Lee produces bands and does some DJ work under the moniker Mean iDeal, and our Keyboard player Lee Dowling plays in a band called Krossfire. So all of us are usually pretty busy.

Akarusa Yami

You are also connected to the metal industry working in PR with many different bands. Does it help this to promote your band, or actually is it difficult to find free time to combine both activities?

It’s fairly straight-forward really, because I deal with a lot of metal bands so I’m already talking to the kind of people that Akarusa Yami would appeal to. So it’s not a big deal, and its never caused any trouble.

Probably not the first time somebody asks, but certainly the name of the band is peculiar. Where does it come from?

(Laughs) No. Tom came up with it and it translates to “Opposite of Darkness, Opposite of Light” which we read as Balance. We felt it described our overall sound very well.

How is the industrial metal music scene in Nottingham area and in UK in general?

It is pretty good, but I’d say the big scenes in the UK at the moment are probably indie music (Stuff like The Foals, etc) and Djent (Bands like TesseracT). And Dubstep, of course.

In your band´s FB site, it is mentioned the Finnish band Swallow the Sun as influence. Do you follow the metal music from Finland closely? Have you ever visited or played here before in Finland?

I’ve never visited it, no and I don’t believe any of the other guys have. We’re always open to new bands from across the world, and Finland has some amazing artists. Swallow The Sun are an awesome, very distinct band and I love their melancholic sound. I think its brilliant. If you held a gun to my head though, I’d say my favourite Finnish artist is probably HIM. I own every record and I think Ville is a great writer and singer.

For a person who would be a first time listener of your band, how would you describe in one sentence what they are about to hear?

We’ve described our sound so far as industrial music with elements of progressive and extreme metal. It’s served us well, as I think we appeal to a wide spectrum of metal fans.

So far the band is still unsigned, isn´t it? Have there been any conversations with major record labels for the future?

We’ve not approached any labels. We’re not against the idea, we’ve just not done it as of yet but we will be doing so very soon.

Akarusa Yami

Now you have almost ready your second EP “Trace Element Rebirth” that will be released on April. How do you compare it to the debut one “Ouroboros”?

I think it’s a massive leap forward for us; performance wise, compositionally, lyrically, production wise. It’s a bit of a re-invention. Ouroboros as a record was very much a band learning and finding its feet, and dealing with a large chunk of chaos at the same time. This record is more focused and substantially more refined.

The band has already been on stage in some big festival like Bloodstock. What are the plans for 2013? Anything big coming up?

We’re talking to a few management companies and whatnot, and we’re discussing festival options. Once we’ve got something confirmed we’ll make an announcement.

What is the craziest thing you have seeing in a gig´s backstage?

One time when I was 18 I went to a show at Rock City in Nottingham. The band playing was US Industrial outfit Society 1. The show was small but awesome, and afterwards me and a few friends got chatting with the band and we helped them with their gear. I went to check to see where our ride home was and when I came back all my friends were grinning ear to ear. Turns out while we were helping, the singer was back stage filming a porno. Three days later the girl he was making it with added me on myspace and we became friends. That was pretty crazy.

If you could choose a band or an artist to join Akarusa on stage, who would be?

That’s tough. Maybe Trent Reznor or Mike Patton. They’re so unique in their approach to music and such outstanding work horses that I think it’d be amazing to do something with them both! Outside that, for me I’d say Rammstein.

You breathe music as passion and work, but what other things you like doing in your free time?

(Laughs) Thanks. Honestly, I’m a work horse myself. Outside the band and running a PR company I’m a partner in a radio company in the US, I write for Zero Tolerance magazine in the UK and I act and write. I’m not good with time off.

Anything you want to add for the readers?

Thank you for the support and we look forward to coming to Finland in the future.

Check out Akarusa Yami´s Youtube channel:

Concerts Music

Concert Review: Europe + Mustasch at The Circus, Helsinki. 21.12.2012

Just before Christmas Helsinki got ready for a doses of great hard rock coming from the neighbouring country Sweden.

As headliners, a living legend: Europe! I still remember being just 6 years old and seeing Europe performing The Final Countdown on the national Spanish TV. It was maybe at that time the most popular foreign song heard and sang in Spain during that year… For many children of my generation, the first approach to see and listen to guys with long hair, electric guitars and leather jackets.

I would have never suspected to see them finally for first time in my life 26 years later in Finland, but life always has surprises awaiting for you. The venue was The Circus, and this was also the first time for me to see a concert there. On the positive side, I must say that it is spacious and with great acoustic, and its location in the heart of the city in Kamppi square makes it really easy to reach. On the less good side, the lines to wait at the entrance for giving or taking back your jackets from the wardrobe are pretty chaotic, and ordering a drink can take ages…


But before Europe, for warming up the environment, we had another great Swedish band that enjoys great popularity in Finlan: Mustasch. Also first time for me to see them live, and I must confess that their popularity is well deserved. Ralf Gyllenhammar and his boys gave a high voltage performance, making the crowd go wild with some of their anthems like Double Nature, Down in Black or 6:36 while the vocalist sprayed the first rows with beer, sharing great chemistry with the audience while trying to say some dirty words in Finnish or inviting some girls around for “funny times” at the backstage. They acted and sounted raw, wild and powerful, like a hard rock band with attitude should act on stage. Even when I was dreaming of seeing Europe live, I must say that at the end of the night, my feelings were that Mustasch had stolen the show.

And it is not that Europe´s concert was bad. Joey Tempest, John Norum and the rest of the band gave quite a decent show, and I certainly got goosebumps listening to some classics that will endure in the history of rock music forever such as Carrie, Rock the Night or of course The Final Countdown that ended the night. But still I noticed that same than for me, for many in the crowd they did not know some of the new songs and also the acoustic part of the concert left the people cold, so in general it was a concert with more up and downs than the previous of Mustasch, where every song was lava from a raging vulcano.

All in all, you cannot ask for much better than this before Christmas. Legends still keeping the flame alive plus one of the strongest current Swedish bands gathering more and more fans in Finland. Santa Claus did not give me a guitar pick as a present, but who the fuck cares when you walk to the bus stop still humming “The Final Countdown” inside your head…


Europe. Setlist at The Circus 2012

Riches to Rags
Not Supposed to Sing the Blues
Scream of Anger
No Stone Unturned
Demon Head
Acoustic set
The World Keep on Turning
(Fleetwood Mac cover) (John Norum on vocals)
Drink and a Smile
Open Your Heart
Love Is Not the Enemy
Girl From Lebanon
Sign of the Times
The Beast
Rock the Night
Last Look at Eden
The Final Countdown

Mustasch. Setlist at The Circus 2012

Heresy Blasphemy
Down In Black
It’s Never Too Late
Deep In The Woods
Bring Me Everyone
Damn Its Dark
Speed Metal
Double Nature
I Hunt Alone

Photos: Antonio Dìaz

Albums Features Misc Music

Competition!!! Get for FREE! one CD from the Finnish metal band 2 Wolves!!!

FREE! Magazine gives away 2 copies of the latest album from Finnish metal band 2 Wolves: “Men of Honour“.

Men of Honour

If you want to be one of the lucky winners, it is just as easy as sending the right answer to our editor antonio.diaz(at), writing in the subject of the email “2 Wolves Competition”. Good luck and horns up!

The name of the band is “2 Wolves”. What was the biggest influence on Aleksi Susi when he was thinking how to name his group?

A. An old Cherokee Legend of Two Wolves
B. His last name (Susi means wolf in english)
C. He has own wolf that lives in his house
D. Continuous dreams of protective wolves

Concerts Music

Concert review: Reckless Love & Santa Cruz at Nosturi. 08.09.2012

Helsinki suffered a night of good old glam rock with the presence for first time of the band from Kuopio, Reckless Love, at Nosturi, one of the most famous concert venues in the Finnish capital excepting Tavastia club.

Reckless Love

It was the first time for the band from Kuopio to be present at Nosturi and they were nervous about it as they recognized later during the show. But for warming up, nothing better than the local band Santa Cruz, featuring their debut album Anthem for the Young and Restless. With a very direct classic hard rock style and a fun attitude on stage, they left the audience more than pleased during their 45 minutes performance. Maybe they still carry a bit of an “amateurish” attitude on stage, but you cannot deny either that they are still very young and these kind of gigs are a perfect proof for them to gain more experience for future bigger goals.

A few minutes later appeared on stage the main band of the night: Reckless Love. Having harvested very positive answers from critics and the crowd with their latest release “Animal Attraction”, the band led by charismatic singer Olli “Twisted” Herman made the crowd have a very good time. A lot of young sexy rock chicks among the spectators, but also mother with their daughters and even small children, all enjoying the same and raising their arms with hits like “On the Radio”, “Animal attraction”, “Beautiful Bomb” or “Badass”.

Santa Cruz

It is no secret that many of the tunes of the band are aimed with deference to the female audience that see in Reckless Love a sort of replacement for Negative and their another Finnish sex symbol Jonne Aaron; the figure of their lead singer with long blonde hair, a body of a young Apollo and androgynous facial features turns a sector of the crowd crazy wherever he goes. Olli knows perfectly how to take advantage of this, with studied poses or giving the gift of removing his t-shirt until 3 times during the concert, throwing in one of those occasions his t-shirt of MTV to the mass below him.

Even though, the band also showed enough humble attitudes to thank repeatedly their fans for their support, the hours that some of them spent waiting to be in first row and the opportunity to play in one of the most charismatic Finnish venue, a compulsory place that every band that counts in Finnish music scene has to test. Reckless Love passed with a very high mark during their introduction to Nosturi, and maybe this is just a warming up for bigger ventures waiting for them in the next years.

Photos: Antonio Diaz

Santa Cruz
Reckless Love
Reckless Love
Reckless Love
Reckless Love
Reckless Love

Features Music

Flow Festival 2012

Flow Festival is certainly a different festival from most of the other important ones held in Finland during summer season. While most of the others are focused on rock and heavy metal (Finnish and international), Flow festival bets for a more eclectic bandlist, where you can find a bit of everything, pop, indie, reggae, blues…

Besides that, its great location near the heart of Helsinki, in Suvilahti, makes it perfect for the masses of hipsters from Kallio an other areas of the capital storming into this former power plant complex. Assisting to the festival has become a kind of a tradition for the youth Finnish people of the capital, topping the assistance during this year 2012 in a total of 63.000 visitors during 4 days. Not bad eh?


As any other festival, Flow has its good and bad sides. The array of activities displayed is truly great: apart from music you can just chill out in some terrace drinking champagne, play ping pong, check art exhibitions and movies, eat exotic food or have a good coffee with delicious cake, listen to some of the most famous DJs in Finland… At some point, I would say that half of the visitors do not really care much about listening to the bands performing there, but they just go for the good atmosphere, and why not to say, because it is full of good looking young people eager to party, to look and be looked at, and because more than one single guy or girl will get lucky at the end of the night after the alcohol beverages have made some effect on the blood pressure.

On the other hand, the festival is pretty expensive, 160 euro ticket for the whole 4 days and 110 euro if you just wanted to assist 2 days. Just buying a bottle of pepsi costs 4 euro plus 1 euro that will be paid back to you if you remember to return the empty plastic bottle. Food is not much cheap either, so it means that if you go for the 4 days of festival and drink and eat there, it will cost you probably the same than spending 1 week of fully paid holidays in some nice resort in Turkey or Greece. But no pain, no gain right? Of course people try to cheat the system trying to smuggle drinks inside, although security at the gates and inside the festival area is tight, sometimes actually can be even too annoying. But remember, this is Finland and rules prevail over the fun.

Rules make also the different areas and stages to be sorrounded by fences, like the typical areas where you can drink and where not, where you can smoke and where not… etc. So sometimes an easy task of moving from one stage to another ends up being quite a quest trying to find the path where you just find your way blocked by fences all the time.

The Black Keys

And what about the music? Well, honestly, also this year, the musical offer from my point of view was weak. Even if the festival has the tag of being “alternative”, if you are paying that amount of money mentioned before, you expect a few big international names thrown there. Some artists really made up with the expectations such as Black Keys, Feist or Lykke Li (who had cancelled her appearance at Flow the previous year) or Saint Etienne. But for example the main headliner Björk left most of the audience quite cold with her new live concept “Biophilia”.

So resuming, if you like a nice youthful trendy party atmosphere and you have the money to pay for it, Flow is for you. I personally would prefer that the organizers could throw some bigger names in next editions of the festival like Sigur Ros, Radiohead, Placebo… Because for what is offered musically compared to the prices, I consider it a bit overrated. All in all, the event is still a milestone for most of the young Helsinki people to put the cherry on top of the cake of the fun before winter arrives, so if you like the bands performing, great, and if not, just relax and go with the flow!

Albums Music

Album Review – Jetbone

From Punksvall, Sweden, come these 6 guys who have played together apart from being close friends since 2008. And being honest, they have turned to be one of the few new bands I have heard lately that made me play their homonymous CD , Jetbone, more than once.

I receive copies often from bands, and I usually lack the time to review or listen to them several times, but with Jetbone it was love at first sight. I like the simple but stylish desigh of the CD, and of course I also love the music inside.


The point is that actually Jetbone does not sound originally at all, just classic rock with blues influence, classic guitar riffs, clasic lyrics… but maybe that is its charm, it feels like if this would be one of your favorite bands even from the first time you listen to them. The album already starts with 2 very catchy tunes, Dancin`On Your Grave and Baby It`s Your Time, and continues with a very high level. Actually some songs like Time by Time reminded me a lot of their Swedish fellows The Hellacopters, while in other compositions like Dead City Fire you can really feel the influence of The Rolling Stones.

I can imagine myself dancing in some small dark concert hall that smells of sweat, cigarettes, beer and in the background the music of Jetbone. If an album can inspire you those feelings, it means this is really rock & roll. And I like it! One of the surprises of 2012!

Rating 5 out of 5


1 Dancin’ On Your Grave
2 Baby It’s Your Time
3 Time By Time
4 Dead City Fire
5 I Don’t Know (Which Way To Go)
6 Ride The Riot
7 Take Me Down
8 Tonight
9 Perfect Mess
10 Runnin’ Around

Jetbone – Baby It´s Your Time

Albums Music

Album Review: “Lizard Dusk” – Tracedawn

Written by Elena Paraschiv

Tracedawn is a Finnish melodic death-metal band formed by Tuomas Yli-Jaskari in 2005. Initially the project was called “Moravia”, but eventually it was changed in “Tracedawn”. So far, the band has released three studio albums: “Tracedawn”(2008); “Ego Anthem”(2009) and “Lizard Dusk”(2012). The band will also release an Unplugged EP for “Lizard Dusk” songs, including an acoustic video for the song “Arabian Nights”.

Lizard Dusk” was released on February 15, 2012, via Redhouse. The album was produced and co-recorded by Tuomas Yli-Jaskari, Perttu Kurttila and Vili Itäpelto at Seawolf and Redhouse Studios, mixed by Henrik Udd (Dimmu Borgir, Dark Tranquility, Arch Enemy etc.) at Studio Fredman in Sweden, and mastered by Mika Jussila at Finnvox. Tracedawn has released so far two music videos, one for the song “Breed Insane” (on December 30, 2011) and another for “Machine” ( on February 10, 2012, via Radio Rock).

This third album marks the band`s first material without singer Antti Lppalainen and also, the first with Niko Kalliojärvi ( Lithuria, ex-Amoral), who`s now sharing the role of lead-singer with guitarist Tuomas Yli-Jaskari. The current Tracedawn`s line-up is: Perttu Kurtilla (Lithuria)-drums; Pekko Heikkilä (Attempted Life)-bass; Vili Itäpelto (Seraphiel, Friends with Enemies)-keyboard; Roni Seppänen-guitar; Tuomas Yli-Jaskari (Lithuria)-guitar/clean vocals and Niko Kalliojärvi (Lithuria, ex-Amoral)- growls.

Lizard Dusk” kicks into gear with the first track of the album “Arabian Nights”, a song where the Tracedawn`s mark can be sensed, a high-energy one. After listening to the album multiple times and after digesting all the songs, this one is the perfect opener for the album, mixing the guitars and keyboards in some ways a little different from what I heard before on the other Tracedawn`s albums. The guitar solo doubled by drums it`s really, really good. This one is definitely an enjoyable listen.

Lizard Dusk

Arabian Nights” it`s followed by “Breed Insane”, reminiscent of the old days but with a sound that brings contribution to Modernism Era in melodic death-metal. While listening to the song you can hear and feel the subtile electronic vibe throught the song that surrounds perfectly the drums mixed with strong bass. The guitar solo feels very inspired, exactly like the clean and delicate keyboards that can be noticed at the end of the song. Niko is doing his job growling like he used to back in the days, valorizing those super-catchy lyrics. This song is also one of the highlights of the album and it`s already part of the band`s live set.

The next three songs “Sick Fire”, “The Crawl” and “You`re fired!” do their job successfully and do not decrease the intensity or the energy of the album in any way. Actually, “You`re fired!” is one of the best songs of this material. A black metal influence is given by the film music present on the background of the song. After minute 2, it`s starting a soft guitar solo (which reminds me of Amoral`s “Warp”) followed by a sudden shift to growls and heavy drumming.

Machine” is the sixth song of the album. This one provides listeners mind-blowing guitars, pretty solid groove based-riffing, beautiful songwriting with catch lyrics, all this making “Machine” a real technical death-metal song with some pop-metal influences here and there. The final cut of the song where the keyboards are doubled by drums is simply beautiful.

Nothing and Nowhere”- the best song of the album. Why? Because the beginning is smooth, fine, in a jazzy style, pleasant and delicate (almost making you lay down and relax with a glass of red wine) and then, they really slip into their comfort zone. Clean and simple vocals entwined with Niko`s growls, beautiful keyboard and guitar solo make this song a masterpiece. Even though it starts sweet and calm, the song is a delight of drumming and it`s not void of any real growls either.

Thanks for asking, I`m just obsessed” and “Taught my eyes to lie” are the last two songs of the album, reminding the listeners a little bit of the old days. The first one, ”Thanks for asking, I`m just obsessed” doesn`t need any description. When you read the title you know exactly what to expect. Electrifying guitars, heavy drumming, groovy riffs, perfect growls, all mixed with fine American sound, good songwriting, pretty powerful bass that makes your heart vibrate, make this song HEAVY AS HELL.
“Taught my eyes to lie” is a simple, pure and real melodic death-metal song. I would say that this is the best ballad-type song of the band so far, with its beautiful chorus brought to life by guitar riffs. The end of the song comes again to show that Tracedawn know what they are doing and where they are heading to, definitely this song was the best way to end a very good album.

No doubt “Lizard Dusk” is the best output material of the band so far. It`s an album that`s challenging the musical intuition of every listener, an album that has unforgettable tracks, an album that during the tracks hasn`t the energy putter down. While listening the whole album you can notice a change in style and sound. Well, this time is a good change. It seems to me that Tracedawn found their perfect formula, making an epic, superior material that merge elements from many musical styles(the pure jazzy, cosy style which is in perfect antithesis with the genre they`re approaching it`s amazing). And Niko coming and taking the role of lead-singer is a big plus for the band, because first, he is like the Master Of Growls and he is not shy in showing it everytime he can, and second because it`s well-known the fact that he is still loved by the old fans of his previous band, fact that brought Tracedawn more fans.

All in all, “Lizard Dusk” is a complete album that`s definitely worth buying, of a band who stays somewhere at the boarder between underground and commercial.

Rating 4.8/5

Track List

01 Arabian Nights
02 Breed Insane 03 Sick Fire
04 The crawl
05 You`re Fired!
06 Machine
07 Nothing and Nowhere
08 Thanks for asking, I`m just obsessed
09 Taught my eyes to lie

Tracedawn – Breed Insane

Concerts Features Music

Roskilde: Scandinavian Festival in Hot Summer

Written by Elena Paraschiv

Summer is already here and festivals of every kind are rising like mushrooms after the rain. Once the first ray of the summer sun hits the ground, everyone taste the flavor of…holiday. And how to get the maximum in the best way possible for your holiday? Visiting as many festivals as you can, having tons of fun and enjoy your favourite bands performing live. And if you choose to go to a festival that takes place in Scandinavia or in one of the Baltic countries is even better, because there you can find one of the largest annual festivals in Europe.

Roskilde Festival is a festival that takes place soyh of Roskilde in Denmark. Created in 1971 by two high-school students, Morgens Sandfær and Jesper Switzer Møller and promoter Carl Fischer, represents Denmark`s first real music-oriented festival. It was originally for hippies, but nowadays this festival covers the Scandinavian youth and not only.

Is a festival that brings together people of different ages, different cultures o see playing live on stage the best musicians of the world. Until the mid `90s, Roskilde used to attract mostly Scandinavians, but in recent years this festival witnessed an increasing number of large Germans, Australians and British ready for fun.


During the years, at the festival bands and artists like The Kinks, Jeff Beck, Dr.Hook, U2, Robert Palmer, Metallica, Neil Young, Guns N` Roses, Nirvana, Radiohead, Black Sabbath, RHCP, David Bowie, Slayer and many, many other great musicians wrote the history of Roskilde Festival, performing in front of thousands of people. The festival covers a wide range of musical styles, from electronic to Norwegian black metal, so that everyone can have the chance to see their favourite artists performing live.

Roskilde Festival, 2011 edition, took place between June 30 and July 3, with warm-up and camping from June 26, presenting 180 acts from all over the world, including headliners such as Arctic Monkeys, Iron Maiden, Mastodon, Kings of Leon, The Strokes and PJ Harvey. It was a 4 days celebration of youth, colorful, with many good artists, all sprinkled with plenty of alcohol.

This year’s edition of the festival is no exception to the rule. Roskilde Festival 2012, will present 200 acts performing on 8 stages ( Apollo, Pavilion, Pavilion Junior, Cosmopol, Odeon, Orange, Gloria and Arena) during 4 days of continous party. Headliners like “The Boss” Bruce Springsteen, The Cure, Bon Iver, The Roots, Jack White, Mew and Björk will heat the atmosphere , transforming the festival in an enormous party. The warm-up opens on June 30, and the day before the festival itself begin, a treasure hunt will be organized. It will test competitors creativity, dexterity and why not their dorkyness.

Roskilde Festival has many attractions besides good music and camping life. For the development and support of culture, the organizers have arranged different types of areas such as orange zone, urban zone, graffiti zone (where some of the world`s greatest graffiti artists will spread their paint in an artistic manner on the walls in the area), and may others. If you love to play games, at the festival you will have the opportunity to play Volley, Beachminton, PingPong, Boardgames, social gaming, Street Sports and others. The highlights of this year are Green Foosball (will take place in the Odeon Area), a 3 days football tournament only for girls ( men are allowed to cheer and to hydrate the girls after every football match), Crossbox, Bingo(old-school style in Game City) and the craziest game ever called The Big Game, where competitors can win tickets for next year’s festival. And because people have to eat too, they will have a wide range of delicious foods, snacks and drinks that will delight their taste buds : from Denmark to India and from Italy to China.

So, if you want an unforgettable experience that you will remember with pleasure throughout your life, take the train, plane, car or ferry and go to Roskilde! The party is going to start this Saturday!

Roskilde 2012

Concerts Music

Concert review: Motley Crüe at Kaisaniemi (Helsinki). 07/06/2012

Legendary American rock band Motley Crüe visited Helsinki and FREE! Magazine had to be there to let you know how it went! Personally, I had a special motivation to see them, because they are basically one of the few big bands I still had not had the chance to review live. They were scheduled to play two years ago at Sonicsphere in Pori, but a huge storm made them cancel the show (a polemic decision, becasue others such as Alice Cooper or Iron Maiden stayed and played, but well, let´s not enter into that).

Motley Crüe

So there I was, two years later, ready to enjoy their show without cancellations in a week where Helsinki had seen 3 days ago another huge event with the Sonicpshere concert happening on Monday, and then this Rockin Helsinki festival organized on thursday. Although being organized on a working day, assistance was pretty good, although not a totally sold out. Also weather turned to be sunny and nice (during the morning it seemed that it would be cloudy and rainy), which helped to keep the spirits up.

Before Motley, a couple of bands to warm up and please the crowd. Honestly I arrived a bit late and paid more atenttion to getting beers in the drinking area than listening to Crashdiet, but during their 40 minutes of show they seemed to entertain the audience and displayed good high energy. They already seem to have a good fanbase in Finland, so all good for the young Swedish band.

After a pause, another Swedish band hit the stage, the quite well known in Finland Hardcore Superstar. I had had the chance to interview them and see their gig in Tampere a few years ago, and once again they did not dissappoint. They seemed pretty comfortable with the audience and enjoying playing in Finland, and although they did not have much time to play, they gave a solid show where of course they could not miss in their setlist classics like Dreaming in a Casket or the ending Don´t Celebrate Sundays.

About the organization of the festival, I had to say that had pros and against. The place is certainly great to organize concerts at Kaisaniemen Puisto, just a few metres away from the main railway station of Helsinki. Super easy to reach by transportation. But although held in a park, basically there was no chance to sit on benches or on the grass, and the queues to order drinks were long beyond exhasperation. Besides, organizing big shows in the centre has another downside: you cannot make any noise after 22:00. If the concert is starting as scheduled, that should not be a problem, but the point is that Motley Crüe entered the stage almost half an hour later than scheduled, at around 20:30. So that means they only played for one hour and a half.

Press pass

And how was the show? Well, I have mixed feelings about it. The beginning was promising, starting with one of my all time favorites Wild Side, with 2 sensual girls on both sides of Vince Neil. But once the show was advancing, I kind of had some moments a feeling that I would not have expected, and it is feeling a little bit bored in some parts of the concert. The setlist was good, and I really felt goosebumps with some classic songs like Dr. Feelgood or Girls, girls, Girls, but I still could not get rid of the feeling that the band was not connecting with the audience and was just there to complete their short setlist and leave. Audience was actually behaving quite cold, maybe cause the sun had set, or maybe cause there was not much of special effects, no fireworks, etc to warm the show. The biggest feature on that side is the classic 360 degree drum set of Tommy Lee turning around during his solo, and the invitation to join to a young female Finnish fan to sit there with him for a few seconds.

I don´t know, maybe I would have enjoyed the show more at an indoors arena with more pyrotechnical effects, or maybe Motley is (expectingly) not as wild as some years ago, with no more Jack Daniels bottles appearing and being drunk magically on stage… It was nice to see them once in a life, but for an audience that pays more than 60 euro for a ticket, enjoying such a short show of 1:30 hours with no encore after they had cancelled their previous visit to Finland felt like too little. I honestly almost enjoyed more watching Hardcore Superstar than the main headliners…

Motley Crüe. Setlist at Kaisaniemen Puisto 2012

Wild Side
Live Wire
Too Fast for Love
Saints of Los Angeles
Shout at the Devil
Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
Same Ol’ Situation (S.O.S.)
Looks That Kill
Piece of Your Action
Primal Scream
Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room
Drum Solo
Dr. Feelgood
Girls, Girls, Girls
Home Sweet Home
Kickstart My Heart

Features Interviews Music

Interview with singer Lucie Niemelä

FREE! Magazine has a great interview with Lucie Niemelä, a Czech musician located in Finland who is about to release on the 16th of March her debul album Doses. Do not miss this interesting reading for all of you who want to discover new artists as well as for young artists aspiring to make their dreams come true!

Thanks for attending us Lucie! Could you explain us a bit when started to passion for music and how was the process to put together this debut album Doses?

I started composing when I was eleven and I played and sang every day but just for myself. I put over 150 of my songs into a drawer. Then I came to Finland and met amazing musicians. I even studied at a conservatory for one year but then I quit and didn’t write any songs for two years because I thought I was not good enough. I chose the easier way of getting an academic job.

Fortunately step by step I found the courage and started performing here and there again. Then in late 2010 it suddenly hit me: my music was good enough, I had a lot to say and I was meant to do this. I recorded a demo and sent it out to Finland and Germany and six months later I was in the studio! The result is now in my hands, on the internet, on the radio… So basically the journey to Doses happened once I arranged in my head who I really was.


You are Czech with Finnish surname, and living in Finland now. Can you tell more about your history and how you ended up in Helsinki?

I was born in the Czech Republic and lived a calm life until I decided to learn Finnish when I was fifteen. That happened after I heard Janne Ahonen on tv say “hyvää huomenta”. I won a grant to go to a Finnish language course in Jyväskylä in 2001, that was my lucky year that changed everything. Since then I kept coming back to Finland, then I met a Finnish guy and fell in love… I moved to Jyväskylä in 2004, three years later to Helsinki.

What are the most difficult and easy things in your opinion for making it happen to release a first album? I suppose to see your ideas and hard work materialized in a CD is already fulfilling but were also things that could happen to be much harder than you thought beforehand?

For me the most difficult thing was to choose the right mic to record my voice  Of course there were lots of time and money management issues but I don’t think about them anymore. Everything worked out perfectly.

I have seen that in some other interview you said that the album is overall about emotions. Have you poured a lot of personal own experiences or real experiences based on people you knew in your album?

The 12 songs on Doses are all about people that I’ve known or about my own experiences. These songs were written over the period of 12 years and they contemplate fates of teenagers and young grown-ups as well as middle-aged and elderly people. I really wanted the album to be for everyone, regardless of age, and I feel I’ve achieved that.

How would you briefly resume the album to a person who has never heard any of your songs about what they can expect when pushing the play button on their CD player?

It’s a romantic and slightly melancholic album full of contrasts: heart-wrenching ballads (Miners) meet joyful rock songs (Doses) and then there are a few uplifting songs to balance it all (Seconds Fly Like Feathers). The main thread of the album is receiving and giving doses of different emotions. Some of the songs carry a harsh message but we managed to preserve the empathy and hope. The album sounds warm and soothing but at the same time awakes thoughts.

In Finland on the other hand, people try often to avoid showing too many emotions in public. How do you find this environment, for a person who considers emotions so important?

In first five years of living here in Finland it really tore me apart. The pressure of the environment to restrict myself, follow the rules, blend in with the crowd, the hypocritical shyness and avoiding praising myself in fear I would seem arrogant. Then I realized the pressure is all in my head. I don’t have to adapt to everything this culture has to offer. People will always be scared to lose their public face, that’s the same in the Czech Republic, in Germany…

I feel the Finnish society is changing, though. People are loosening up, opening up for doses of emotions. Nowadays it’s much more ok to start crying or laughing out loud in the public without having people around you feeling extremely uncomfortable. During my concerts I can see that people are hungry for emotions. Some people seem to be thankful that I dare put my heart on my palm, some seem to be scared and some look like they don’t know what to think of me because I take an emotion and sing it into their faces. That’s why I love singing live!

Your album will be released by a German label and will get distribution in different countries in Europe. Was it more difficult to reach the Finnish record companies for being a foreign artist here in Finland?

I don’t know if it’s because I’m foreign or because my songs are in English and the genre is not metal Songs in Finnish are more likely to succeed. Finland is full of talented musicians and it’s a small market so the competition is fierce. I don’t mind my album is released in Germany first but I’m hoping to get a good distributor in Finland as well.


Apart from this being your first released album, you also collaborate with other projects and bands, right?

At the moment, I collaborate with Jaakko Laitinen & Väärä Raha. I sang on their first record. Their second album is about to be released. I co-wrote a few songs and I’m featuring in one. The release party will be on 17th March in Gloria as the part of Balkan Fever. I will be singing a few songs with them in the Culture tram as well. I can’t wait, they’re great guys.

Are there other musicians or artists you feel inspiration from?

I don’t consciously draw inspiration from other artists but I’ve certainly been influenced at least by these: the Beatles, Queen, Sting, David Bowie, Stevie Wonder, Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, Beady Belle, Torun Eriksen … just to name a few.

What do you do apart from your musical career? Are you also studying or working? Other hobbies and passions?

I graduated from University of Helsinki in late 2009, majoring in Finnish language and culture. I worked in CIMO for a year and now I’m pursuing my music career only. Music used to be my hobby and now that it’s become my job I don’t even have time for hobbies… I go swimming and jogging, I do yoga, I love reading and writing. My most important hobby, though, is philosophizing about life with my friends. Listening to each other and helping each other out, that’s the best way how to spend our free time.

What are your future plans for the rest of 2012? Anything you want to add for the readers?

My goal is to get as many concerts as I can. A tour in the Czech Republic is definitely coming up and a tour to Germany is planned for autumn. And for the readers: a big melodious dose of love!

Photos: Michaela Kei

Lucie Niemelä – Miners

Concerts Music

Concert Review. Rammstein at Hartwall Areena. Helsinki. 15/02/2012

Sometimes you go to a gig and you feel that you did not get what was worthy the ticket. This is not the case with Rammstein. The Germans visited Finland again, and gave proof of why they are nowadays one of the most amazing bands in the world to see live.

It does not matter if you speak and understand German or not. They have been able to connect with the international audience not singing in English, which is already a merit that not so many bands can be proud about, and the theatrical perfomance that accompanies their show is just outstanding. I can just imagine how difficult must be to rehearse their tours before starting. That is Rammstein, a band with a solid career that entertains you song after song while their music makes elevate your feet from the ground almost unconsciously.


During this Made in Germany Tour, they just played safe shooting hit after hit of their already 17 years of career together. But the schenario was up to the challenge. The band appeared from one lateral side of the arena with the band walking slowly, holding both their flag and the Finnish flag. Without losing time in speeches to the audience, frontman Till Lindermann and his boys just went straight to business to play amazing song after amazing song: Sonne, Keine Lust, Asche zu Asche, Mutter, Du Reichst so Gut… The Germans sound and act still as powerful as when they astonished the worldwide audience with that already far in time classic live concert Live Aus Berlin. Of course it could not be missed in the setlist their most popular hit Du Hast, whose chorus was shyly chanted by the Finnish audience when Till lent them the micro.

If the audience was a bit cold, excepting the first rows of unconditional fans, the band did not let the temperature drop, coming for a first encore crawling all over the bridge (and that short trip had members of the band humping on each other and getting whipped included) that linked the main stage with a smaller stage in the middle of the arena, ready to perform Bück Dich with Lindermann soaking the first rows in water with a fake penis. And that is what Rammstein is about, powerful catchy music, fireworks, masculinity with muscular Apollonian bodies displayed, sense of humor and sexuality mixed in an explosive cocktail.


The big surprise of the night came at the start of the second encore, when Rammstein was joined at the stage by Finnish cello virtuosos Apocalyptica to play together an amazing version of Mein Herz Brennt.

More classics like Engel or Amerika delighted the audience, with the band putting the cherry on top of the cake with Pussy to finish a rounded concert. Well, more than the cherry, we could say that putting the cream on the cake, because Lindermann took control of a giant mobile cannot painted like a penis that bathed on foam half of the areena. Is there any better way of making the audience reach a climax at the end of a live perfomance?

You can love them or hate them, but in my personal humble opinion, if you want to see a band that offers something unique, raw, powerful and provocative in the rock scene nowadays, you should not miss this tour. Rammstein is still a must see live!

Rammstein & Apocalyptica. Helsinki. 15/02/2012

Concerts Music

Concert Review: Deep Purple at Hartwall Areena. Helsinki. 07/12/2011

Deep Purple visited the Finnish capital performing together with the Frankfurt Philarmonich Orchestra, a pre-Christmas gift that no real rock fan could miss!

I had seen the band some years ago in Madrid, and one of my first most vivid memories is remembering singer Ian Gillian wearing a horrible hawaian t-shirt… Well, this time Gillian just appeared onstage together with the rest of the members of Deep Purple in a more normal t-shirt, eager to please the Finnish audience.

It was the first time in my life that I assited to this kind of combo of rock band playing together with a philarmonich orchestra, and my feelings at the end of the concert were mixed. The name of the current tour is “Songs that Built Rock”, and certainly, when the band starts to play tunes that have forged the history of rock like Highway Star, Woman from Tokyo or Strange Kind of Woman, you fully realize that you are facing a piece of music history live.

Deep Purple

However, the general arrangements for the concert left me with a bit of “cold” feeling. Hartwall Areena is a cold place by itself to hold a concert (a venue where usually ice hockey matches are held). All the audience was sat, so nobody would stand up, and the organization, although polite and helpful, was as usually happens in events organized in Finland, too tight following the rules. Even at some point Gillian talked to the audience to say that he did not mind if they were taking pictures of the band, when some security person recriminated a spectator. The audience was in general lacking passion and non-reactive, and maybe during the setlist, there was an abuse of too many solo parts by most of the members of the band guitar solo linked to keyboard solo linked to a drum solo…

About the interaction with the philarmonic orchestra, it left some epic moments like when guitarist Steve Morse makes a duel with his guitar against the director of the orchestra holding his violin, or when the string section fully supported the classic Perfect Strangers, the only song that really moved me all over the show, sounding extra powerful. But in some other moments, the show turned to be too slow and lacking rythm. All in all, I have to praise the attitude of the members of the orchestra, that for some moments seemed to be having more fun onstage sharing moments with Deep Purple than the audience of the concert themselves. Of course, another peak of the night is when Steve Morse started to tease the audience playing some famous riffs to finally start the archifamous one for Smoke on the Water, undoubtedly one of the riffs that is forever inserted in rock history.

Deep Purple came back to the stage to perform a short bis including more classics like Hush or Black Night. As I said, if you are a truly fan of the band or a truly fan of rock music, you will enjoy the novelty of watching them perform together with an orchestra. But I miss a bit more of the “chaotic and wild” feeling that a rock concert should be about…

Deep Purple´s Setlist – Hartwall Areena. 2011

Highway Star
Hard Lovin’ Man
Maybe I’m a Leo
Strange Kind of Woman
Rapture of the Deep
Woman From Tokyo
Contact Lost
Guitar Solo
When a Blind Man Cries
The Well Dressed Guitar
The Mule
No One Came
Keyboard Solo
Perfect Strangers
Space Truckin’
Smoke on the Water

Black Night

Deep Purple plays “Perfect Strangers” at Hartwall Areena

Blogs Concerts FREE! Blog Music

Monster Magnet at Tavastia. 13-11-2011. Pics & Video

Monster Magnet
Monster Magnet
Monster Magnet
Monster Magnet
Monster Magnet

Monster Magnet – Space Lord at Tavastia 2011

Albums Music

Album review: Freeman 4

Leo Christer Friman, aka Freeman, is a legend in the Finnish music scene. Starting his music career in a band called Waterloo, he reached his peak of fame in the 70s with songs like Ajetaan tandemilla or Osuuskaupan Jane that are still very well known for the younger generations of Finnish audience.

Freeman only released three studio albums, the last one in 1986, dedicating himself later to other duties in radio and television. It does not happen every day that a legend releases a new studio album 25 years after the last one, but here we have Freeman 4. For celebrating such an event, Freeman gave a great release party gig at Tavastia where played old and new songs, with the good company of other Finnish famous musicians like Ismo Alanko or Lauri Porra. I was there, and I can say that Freeman is as much enjoyable live as when you listen to his new CD.

Freeman 4

Because yeah, Freeman 4 is highly enjoyable. Opposite to the melancholic feeling that dominates most of Finnish music, Freeman´s songs put you immediately I high spirit, a 60 years old musician who keeps the energy and cheerfulness of a teenager (maybe his predilection for running long distances in his free time keeps him like that). I would say that some of the best tracks of the album are just the initial ones, songs like Mitä sinulle kuuluu?, Sirkusihmisiä (my favorite one) or Mattiolaituri make you move your feet almost automatically, transporting you to a happy place with a cold beer in your hand and a smile on your face. I am sure they will become instant classics in house parties all over Finland during the next years.

Freeman looks and sings like a kind of nutty professor from a Disney movie who invites his pupils to leave the classroom and dance in the courtyard. And certainly it is an invitation to move your feet that you cannot refuse with such a brilliant comeback album! Very recommended!

Rating 5/5

Freeman – Ajetaan Tandemilla (1976)

Features Interviews Music

Interview with Tarja Turunen

Tarja Turunen is undoubtedly one of the most popular Finnish singers worldwide. This current year 2011 has been very special for her, with the release of her second official solo album What Lies Beneath and a chain of great collaborations and perfomances in a heterogeneous array of festivals around the world, having the cherry on top of the cream with the appearance together with the Brazilian metal band Angra at Rock in Rio festival. We reached Tarja who kindly explained to us more about her brilliant past, her brilliant present and her exciting future as an artist!

-Hello Tarja and first of all, thanks for being so kind to answer the questions!

Hi! No problem at all. Pleasure.

-You have had a pretty hectic summer. What of your concerts and appearances is the one you will remember as the highlight of the season?

I just wrote few days ago in my official blog that this summer was the best summer in my career so far. I had the opportunity to perform in several different kinds of concerts and jump into many new challenges, which I always love to do. To choose the best out of these it’s hard, but I feel that the concert with Mr. Jose Cura in Savonlinna´s Opera Festival, Finland was the exceptional one. It required a lot of work and preparation, but it was such an honor to sing with Cura.

Tarja Turunen

-You are the first Finnish artist reaching gold record in Germany both with a band and with a solo album. What do you consider that are the biggest advantages of a solo career? And on the other hand, is there anything you miss from your period with Nightwish?

I would say that everything is different when it comes to having a solo career than in being a member in a steady, already known band. I had to find my own wings in the world of music in the beginning and it wasn’t easy, but I am so happy I went through all that. I definitely feel more comfortable right now than anytime before. The freedom I have got to choose the people to work with, to write and produce my own songs is unbelievable. There are neither boundaries nor frontiers that I need to fight with…. nor egos, because basically I am making decisions for myself! And no, I don’t miss anything particular from my band years.

-They usually say that for an artist, the second album is the most difficult one to put together if the first one was a success. Was that the case with What Lies Beneath? How would you compare it to My Winter Storm?

Not that is common, but my first record My Winter Storm was the hardest one for me for sure. After being in a band for 9 years and not having composed one single track before on my own, I went through a rollercoaster of feelings and challenges with the first record. I managed pretty well even though during the production happened things that made me constantly nervous. For example the fact how I needed to make all the new people around me, including the record label, producer and musicians, understand how I wanted my music to sound and who should play what and why. My Winter Storm was a huge learning process for me as an artist and also as a woman, since I faced several new challenges with it, but I loved all of it. In the end I can only say that I took a great step into unknown, meaning by this, to myself. I don’t have any regrets.

My second album What Lies Beneath sounds more secure and mature, so I cannot say I was having a hard time with it. Actually the whole process was such a fun time for me, since I even ended up producing it myself. I guess this tells a lot about my will to develop myself as a musician constantly.

“I don´t miss anything particular from my band years”

-You are really a versatile singer; you can both perform in an Opera festival like recently in Savonlinna or please a hardcore heavy metal crowd. Being the audiences so different, where do you feel more comfortable on stage? Do you prepare yourself mentally in any different way before going to the stage depending on the venue you perform?

As these styles are extremely different, also my preparation for them differs. I am definitely still more nervous in performing classical music, since I had not done it professionally before my career in rock started to bloom. Before a classical concert I do some breathing exercises and vocalize much more than before a rock show. I need to be sure that I can give my best from the start.

Also mentally my concentration is 100 % focused in thinking the technical parts of the program I am up to perform.It took me several years to learn how to use my classically trained voice for rock. I kept on taking lyrical singing lessons in the University and tried out different things before everything just clicked and I felt that I’ve found my way. Anyway, still today I keep on taking singing lessons privately because I feel it is vital for me. I feel very comfortable where I am today as an artist because I love singing rock and classical music. In rock I can have fun, do whatever I feel in the moment and just go with it. I love seeing the crowd excited about the performance and the people truly gives me a lot of energy.

-Being one of the most international famous Finnish artists, you spend a lot of time outside Finland. Because this publication is read by many foreigners, what is what you miss the most from your country when you are out, and what are your favorite places or activities to do when you are back in Suomi?

Finland is the country of incredible silence and the space of living. It is so easy to fall asleep in Finland! No sounds of traffic, or people, maybe you hear only mosquitoes in the summer time! When I return to Finland, I usually go to meet my family in Northern Karelia, because I miss them the most when I am away. That means a lot of laughing, cooking, sauna going and enjoining every minute giving to us. I also love to go out for a run in countryside of Finland, if the weather is suitable for it.

-If I am not mistaken, you are planning to release a CD/DVD at the end of this year from a live performance in a Christmas concert recorded in 2009. What can you tell us about this project? Is there any specific date of release set?

The CD/DVD is a live recording from one beautiful Christmas concert HARUS made in Sibelius hall Lahti, Finland in 2009. We haven’t done any overdubbing nor recorded anything again, so it is a real live performance. I wanted to give people the chance to listen and see what HARUS is all about. HARUS is the name of the line up of Finnish musicians including organist Kalevi Kiviniemi, guitarist Marzi Nyman, percussionist Markku Krohn and me. We have done concerts together since 2006, but having this first CD/DVD release opportunity now in hand, we wanted to give a name for the line up. HARUS is not based on only Christmas music performances, so you will hear us doing something else in the future too. Unfortunately, I have not been informed with the exact date of the release of the CD/DVD yet.

“I dream of sharing stage with Peter Gabriel”

-To put the cherry on top of the cream to the summer gigs, you are going to join Angra on stage in the huge Rock in Rio festival in Brazil. How this collaboration happened? Did Angra offer you to join them.. (Did you know them beforehand?)?

It is rather incredible to be able to stage Rock in Rio this year! I have known the members of Angra for quite many years already and even worked closely with their guitarist Kiko Loureiro on my first record. I was very happy to receive the invitation to take part in their show in Rio, so I immediately said yes! It’s going to be so much fun to perform together and to meet my beautiful Brazilian fans.


Tarja Turunen

-Can you tell us a bit more about how many songs you will sing with them together during Rock in Rio, and if you have previous experiences with Brazilian audience?

I am invited as a guest vocalist in Angra´s show, so I will be performing only few songs. I have been lucky to have several shows in Brazil before on my own. Not only rock shows, but also classical concerts. Brazil is a huge country and I have been able to see quite a lot of it through my visits. I also have important fan clubs in Brazil who are very actively supporting me.

-Is there any other artist of band you would really dream of joining on stage to perform together?

Peter Gabriel is my hero! I just adore him, that’s all. He has the voice, the charisma, the amazing career…all of us need to have dreams, right?

-After these busy months, will you take a break, or what are your future plans for the rest of the year?

Actually in the meantime I am practicing already for my first classical album recordings that are going to happen in the end of November in Finland. It is going to be an Ave Maria album. I will be singing along with organist Kalevi Kiviniemi whose idea this album originally was. It is a huge challenge for me, but I feel comfortable with the theme of the album. I have always loved to sing Ave Marias and now I feel that it is time for me to give my voice to few of them.

Right after the recordings I will have a long Christmas concert tour in Finland in December. When this tour is over, it’s time for the Christmas itself and that I will be spending with my family in Finland, hopefully with lots of snow!

-Anything you want to add for the readers?

I just want to say thank you for the amazing support you’ve been giving me through many years already. I really appreciate that. I hope that I can give a little bit of love back to you with my music.

With love, Tarja

Tarja Turunen & Angra. Rock in Rio 2011