Concerts Music

Review AC/DC. Tampere concert. 1 June, 2010

AC/DC was basically the biggest band in the world that I still had not had the chance to see live. So it was a double pleasure when I could finally check them out in Tampere. For those of you who know a minimum of rock history, there is no need of presentation: AC/DC is probably the biggest hard rock band in the world nowadays. After they visited Helsinki the previous year, it was now time for Tampere to enjoy the visit of the legendary aussie band. Ratina stadium was almost fully packed, but not totally sold out. Probably the combination of the high ticket prices, the current economical crisis and the fact they were one year ago in Finland had to blame for those empty seats around the stadium. In any case, Tampere paid good respect to its reputation of rock city, with the streets turned into a big rock party. AC/DC fans with t-shirts all around, and even hundreds of people with no ticket took advantage just to sit close to the stadium and enjoy a beer and good weather.

AC/DC Tampere

The concert was programmed to start at 20:30, but it finally kicked off at 21:10. Although the official name of the tour is “Black Ice Tour”, the band has been clever enough not to abuse playing songs from the last album, but melting a few perfect in the setlist with their classics. All in all, most of the people who go to see AC/DC expect something like this, and among the audience you could spot many parents with their children (who had the famous devil horns on their heads), so an AC/DC concert has now become a kind of family event, when the youngest of the families can also listen for first time to some of the most classic tunes in the history of rock.

Classics like Back in Black, Thunderstruck, You Shook me All Night Long, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap were heating up the atmosphere until guitarist Angus Young provoked the climax with his famous strip tease during The Jack, ending up showing not his butt, but his AC/DC boxers. Obviously Angus together with singer Brian Johnson lead the show, while the other 3 members are in the background. The formula gets repeated concert after concert and it works. It is pretty clear that they cannot perform at a physical level exactly the same than 2 or 3 decades ago, but for musicians who have more than 60 years of age, it is still amazing to see them running from one side of the stage to the other. The main stage was connected by a corridor with a secondary smaller platform located almost in the centre of the stadium, which in my opinion was pretty wasted during the show. The musicians seldom came close to it, and only in the end Angus fully used it while getting crazy and crawling on the floor while playing the riffs of Let There be Rock.


After a short pause, the Australians returned to the stage for an encore with the unmistakable Highway to Hell, one of the biggest anthem of rock history, and the cherry on top of the cake with For those About To rock and the symphony of cannonballs that explode after every line of the song.

It was maybe a little bit too short concert, I would have not minded 20 or 30 minutes more of good rock, but being realistic, you cannot expect much more than what the Australians can offer nowadays. They still can put together a hell of a show, and outcome many of their younger rock fellows when giving a concert. As I said at the beginning, watching AC/DC is a kind of once in a life experience to be told to your grandchildren, so if you still have chance to see them during the current tour, go for it!


Rock N’ Roll Train
Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be
Back in Black
Big Jack
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
Shot Down in Flames
Black Ice
The Jack
Hells Bells
Shoot to Thrill
War Machine
High Voltage
You Shook Me All Night Long
Whole Lotta Rosie
Let There Be Rock


Highway to Hell
For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)

Concerts Music

Review Efterklang concert in Tallinn – 08/04/2010

Efterklang is a generous band. Before even starting their set at Von Krahl, they showered their love of Tallinn upon the audience, instantly putting everyone at ease. The tension that had built up before the sold-out show, as the crowd waited to hear Efterklang, gave way to a positive energy that fueled the band. They are dynamic performers, and most (if not all) of the band members are multi-instrumentalists. A talented bunch, and I’d happily go to several of their shows during this tour (come back to Tallinn, Efterklang!).


The new album, Magic Chairs, is strong and beautiful. And the live performance of those songs added an extra dimension. My personal favorite on the album and during the show was Modern Drift (which you can listen to on the band’s website: Give it a listen, and then imagine it live and ten times better. Or get thee to one of their shows (, as they’ll be touring through August.

Aside from the enthusiastic performance, the two highlights of the show were the unveiling of a new light system (something you’ll just have to see in person) and watching the bassist climb from the stage up to the balcony where he waded through the crowd, stopping right in front of me before he began clapping to add a bit more electricity to the set. I admit I was slightly concerned that the balcony railing would not hold his weight during the climb. Fortunately there were no catastrophes, and it was easily the best concert I’ve been to this year. I have a feeling I’ll be saying that even in December.

Efterklang performing Full Moon at Von Krahl

Features Interviews Music

Interview with Zachary Hietala from Tarot

Tarot was originally formed by the Hietala brothers in the early 1980’s. Their first single Wings of Darkness saw light in 1986 and during that same year they released first full length album titled Spell Of Iron. Tarot has been active for over 20 years and now they released their eighth studio album called Gravity Of Light. The band describes their new album on their web page as the following: “The album feels like meeting an old friend. Some things are the same but your friend has gained weight. He shows new scars and tattoos. The beard is longer and he projects a meaner and faster temper. At the same time there’s still a big heart at the center. When you heard Gravity Of Light you will believe.”

And I was so lucky to get an interview from Zachary Hietala – founder, guitarist and music writer from Tarot.

Your eighth studio album titled “Gravity of Light” is due out on April 23 in Europe. How is the new album different from your other albums?

In my opinion, it’s combination of FGON (For The Glory Of Nothing), SOP (Suffer Our Pleasures) and CFB (Crows Fly Black) albums. It has progressive edge, put down heaviness and super melody. The best this far.


In Finland it was already released on 10th of March. How has the acceptance been? What have been the reactions so far?

We took second place on the official Finnish top 40 charts… So there’s something to go for the next album… he he! Reactions from the fans have been quite fine, so hardly can wait to play the new songs live on stage.

Was it a hard album to make or did it come quite easily?

This album was the easiest album ever made. We got demos and everything together so easily, compared to few latest albums somehow. We just put up my, Janne’s and Marco’s ideas together, and everything was there. We let the Pecu and Tommi train with the demo tracks and then went to studio to record the album. It went without problems, just few times our Macs crashed, but that’s normal shit with computers.

On March 31st starts the “Gravity Of Light” tour. What are your expectations regarding this tour? Will you be touring outside of Finland also?

Sold out gigs of course… he he! First we do three weeks touring here in Finland and then we are doing some gigs in Russia, Japan, USA and Mexico. More South American gigs as well as European gigs are on their way, but cannot tell more this far, sorry.

I understand that you, Marco and Janne are doing bits and pieces of your own and then you introduce the parts to each other and put things together musically. But who of you writes the lyrics? Is it also a “group-effort” or is it clear from the starting point that for example you or Janne writes the lyrics?

Marco does all the lyrics, surely I read them all, but he knows the stories what to tell and what makes a good story for the songs, so I don’t need to change his ideas at all lyrics wise.

Who did the artwork for this album?

Toxic Angel is his artist name, Janne Pitkänen has done all the cover work for us since Suffer album. Surely he is a great artist indeed.

Where did the main inspiration for the songs come from? From your own lives, society in general, history, literature or something else?

We just let it flow… For me, I don’t need specific mood or don’t try to find something, I just play and when something useful is coming out from the fingers, I put it on the hard disk. Later me, Janne and Marco will put the ideas together, the old story…

Can we expect a video to a song from the new album? Maybe for I Walk Forever?

Surely… Tommi and Marco did the video of I Walk Forever in Cairo Egypt, they shot some camel riding, singing by the pyramids, wandering in the desert and so… I’ve seen some splits of the video and it was terrific and great, hopefully it will come out soon.

I know that Tarot is performing at Tuska Open Air (annual open air festival in Finland, Helsinki) which is very awesome but what are other plans for the summer? Where else could one see Tarot live?

You will find us from almost every worth mentioning festival here in Finland. We are playing on more than 10 big festivals, to mention just a few like Sauna Open Air, Tuska Open Air, Ruisrock, Nummirock, Ilosaarirock and so on.

Will you do another live DVD like “Undead Indeed”?

This soon, why should we? It just came out last summer; I think we should do some studio records more before the third live album.

Tarot has already done eighth studio albums. What is your favorite out of these? Which one was the easiest/the hardest to make?

Always the newest one is the best, before you get some time between the release date and then you can listen to it objectively. If we don’t count the GOL (Gravity of Light) album here, in my opinion “To Live Forever” is the best because Janne was there in the first time and it changed our style to the way we are still on.

GOL album was the easiest to do for me of all Tarot albums somehow. I got the riffs, bridges, solos and so together easily. Hardest was surely Stigmata,we got so many problems and shit, this interview has not enough space to put all out… he he!

If I mention a few shitty situations – When I needed to start my guitar parts, I was so drunk at the party that I went through a glass door. So my right hand was cut badly and I couldn’t play in several months. Right after my hand was ok, the mixing desk broke out and the repairing of the mixing desk took a couple of weeks. When it was repaired, Marco got some serious lunge problems, like tuberculosis and almost half of liter water in his lungs, so he couldn’t sing in the next year and a half. And this was just a start… It took almost year and a half to do the album and when you listen that album, you can hear the pain behind the songs in the atmosphere.

What is your favorite Tarot song to play live?

Definitely Warhead. Pure metal with the progressive edge and beautiful melody.

I was so drunk at the party that I went through a glass door

What is your best live performance? (Name one that you’re in the performer role and one you’re in the listener/fan role)

2009 Undead Indeed winter tour had so many brilliant events, so cannot say which one was the best, but there it was. As a fan, there are so many, but Michael Jackson’s 1995 Dangerous tour at the Gröna Lund stadium and Rammstein in Provinssirock 2005 are on the highest places in my book.

Your brother Marco is playing in Nightwish and sometimes it takes up most of his time. Does it bother you that sometimes you can’t play shows or rehearse new songs because of Nightwish?

Not exactly. I can perform the songs, as much as I need, without Marco and me, Tommi and Janne have our hands full of different projects as well. Me and Janne are doing Marenne and I do producer work fo rnewcomers, Janne is playing with Turmion Kätilöt and Eternal Tears Of Sorrow,Tommi does vocals for the different groups and I do have a day job, so enough work indeed.

On Tarot official web page you have listed a band called Marenne as a side-project. How are things with Marenne? Are you still active?

Hopefully yes…Now I’m so busy with Tarot and of course Marenne is doing new songs, so when I get my summer vacation, I do Tarot gigs only at the weekends and then have free time during the week to put down the new ideas for her and for the future. If everything goes as planned, we can demo the album this year and release it next year, but that’s just the plan yet.

On a personal level I read that you’re a youth instructor and music teacher. How did you become involved with youth work and teaching?

I did my 12 month civil service, instead of the army, back in the early eighties in the rehab sanitarium. That made me to get educated on this kind of profession and I’ve been in this field of work more than 20 years now. Mostly I work with teenagers between the ages 12 to 18, who have problems with controlling their lives by different reasons. Music wise, I learned musical theory by myself and I’ve been a teacher for the 8th and 9th grade students of comprehensive school, as well as given personal guitar lessons to advanced young players for years.

Zachary Hietala

A lot of bands that have been active for many years are releasing their biographical books. What do you think about it? Can we maybe expect a Tarot biography in future years?

Big noo… hehe! Surely I like to read them, but never ever would want to read my life between the sleeves. My mother and father still live and I don’t want to humiliate them. Wild wild eighties….

I must also say that I totally liked you song Antz on the Guitar Heroes album. Will there be a Guitar Heroes 2? Would you be willing to participate in such a project again?

That was very interesting project and if there’s the place and need for the second album, I will be ready for it, if the producer people ask me. “Antz” was made in the way of the eighties guitar solo albums and ‘cause I knew all the guitarists of project, I wanted to something different, to get noticed. I didn’t do as many notes as they did, but I surely had melody parts and enough fast playing to get my speech done memorable and stand out from the other players.

Which band do you think is the “father or mother” of heavy metal musicin general?

Black Sabbath.

There is a new documentary The Promised Land Of Heavy Metal. It’s exploring why Finland has become the country of heavy metal. What do you think is the reason that heavy metal is so big in Finland?

Long cold winter, you must be aggressive by that, heh!

Are you glad that heavy metal has reached a wider audience or would you prefer it still to be more “underground”?

I prefer wider audience, you can make the living by it. If I’m correct, what is the point to do music, if there’s no audience or buying crowd? None.

Since I’m from Estonia I can’t help but to ask – do you know any Estonian metal bands? Maybe Metsatöll?

Yep, I know their music, but don’t know the guys personally; maybe we meet at the festivals and have a good party?

How would you describe Tarot to someone that maybe doesn’t know anything about you or has just discovered your band?

Foundation stone of Finnish heavy metal.

Any last words to the fans all over the world?

Hell knows, Satan is dead, rise all the Tarot fans!
Yours Zachary/Tarot

“Gravity of Light” came out in Finland on March 10th 2010 and will be released in Europe on April 23rd 2010.

Tarot is:

Zachary Hietala – guitars (other bands: Marenne)
Marco Hietala – bass and vocals (other bands: Nightwish, Sapattivuosi)
Pecu Cinnari – drums
Janne Tolsa– keyboards (other bands: Turmion Kätilöt, Eternal Tears Of Sorrow, Marenne)
Tommi Salmela – vocals and samples

Find out more about Tarot:

1) Official page:

2) MySpace –

3) Facebook-

Concerts Music

Review Metallica concert. Tallinn 18/04/2010

Many people were as excited to see the opening bands, Gojira and Fear Factory, as for seeing Metallica itself. The legendary American metal band had given their last concert in Tallinn 4 years ago in front of a massive audience of 90.000 souls, but this time, it was going to be something different, in a close stadium, Saku Areena, with the 360 degrees stage in the middle.

Metallica Tallinn

And actually, although the set list they played 4 years ago was amazing, I enjoyed this concert more. The stage gives the chance of much more proximity with the band, and you always have a member walking around in front of you. Honestly, I am not much into Gojira and Fear Factory, so although obviously part of the audience was very pleased, and other part felt like their style was quite different from Metallica, I dedicated myself to the healthy sport of sipping a cold glass of beer.

I have to say also that I have not paid much attention to their latest album Death Magnetic, so although it is a great comeback for the band, and made the audience vibrate at the beginning with tracks like That Was Just Your Life or The End of The Line, for me, the really exciting moments were when they played classic tunes like Harvester of Sorrow, Fade to Black, Sad but True, One or Master of Puppets. Unfortunately, opposite to their gig in Riga, they did not play For Whom the Bells Toll, but this was compensated with The Unforgiven, a very special song for me, because it was basically the one that introduced me to Metallica when I was a teenager.

James Hetfield was especially talkative with the audience, and the all the band in general seemed to be happier on stage than in previous occasions, probably a result of the success they have achieved with Death Magnetic. The lightning and special effects all through the concert were matching perfectly, not going over the top, but just helping to create an unique atmosphere, and even the sound quality was better than expected.

Antonio at Metallica concert

As it was to be expected, the band left the stage after Enter Sandman for a great encore with the cover from Misfits Last Caress, Whiplash and the ending Seek & Destroy. At the end, hundreds of guitar picks thrown to the audience (I got 2 of them luckily for my personal collection), and even Lars Ulrich stayed a bit longer talking to the audience and reading a poster some fans have written for him.

In general, the band sounded powerful and left a good taste to the fans. For some moments, I would even say that at the start of a couple of songs they were even a bit sloppy, but that was actually not a minus, but a feeling that you were listening to a more authentic band that enjoys facing the fans. Maybe they do not create masterpieces like in their first period, but certainly, no one can´t deny that Metallica can still give a hell of a live show!


1. That Was Just Your Life
2. The End Of The Line
3. Harvester Of Sorrow
4. Ride The Lightning
5. Fade To Black
6. Broken, Beat And Scarred
7. Cyanide
8. Sad But True
9. The Unforgiven
10. All Nightmare Long
11. One
12. Master Of Puppets
13. Blackened
14. Nothing Else Matters
15. Enter Sandman


16. Last Caress (Misfits cover)
17. Whiplash
18. Seek & Destroy

Features Interviews Music

Interview with Daniel of Hadouken

Hadouken is a band that probably will appear in many magazine covers in the future. They combine talent, energy and a fresh style that makes you jump on your feet even without noticing it. Compared by many with well established bands like Chemical Brothers or Prodigy, which is undoubtedly a good sign, their guitar player Daniel “Pilau” Rice attended kindly our questions just after the release of their follow up album For the Masses.

First of all, thanks for your time answering our questions! If you are so kind, please explain a bit more in detail how were the beginnings of the band in Leeds, and how did you all end up playing together in Hadouken.

James, Alice and I all went to Leeds Uni, though James and Alice had already met at Art College. James is background is in UK garage and other British dance music genres, once he came up to Leeds though he also got into a lot more guitar based indie and rock bands and started writing tunes that drew influence from both styles. The band came together pretty easily as James got his girlfriend Alice on board to play synths and I invited my younger brother to take up drumming duties who in turn asked his friend Chris to place Bass.


Hadouken is a word well known for gamers around the world, being a movement in Street Fighter. Were you the kind of teenagers that spend all their money and hours at the arcade saloons trying to defeat Mr. Bison? What are your favorite videogames that you are playing lately?

Yeah we were all big into gaming as children. Since being the band we haven’t had as much chance to play as we would like but we do have a Playstation 3 on our tour bus so we play a lot of Fifa on there and we have Xbox’s at home which are used mostly for Call of Duty and Assassins Creed at the moment.

You have just recently released your follow up album “For the Masses”. What can the listener expect from it, if you have to resume the spirit of the album? In what ways is similar or different to your debut one?

We like to think this album is a big step forward from our debut release. It has a darker and aggressive tone and it is hopefully a lot more sophisticated musically. We’ve learnt a lot from the last three years of touring and we’ve grown up and changed as people so it’s naturally that the album is different to the one we made three years ago.

Why did you decide to record it in Holland?

We recorded in Holland because that’s where Noisia, who produced the album, have their studio. Noisia remixed a couple of our tracks on the first album and we really liked what they did so they seemed like the obvious choice to get involved in the new album. They are phenomenally talented guys and so we were really pleased when they agreed to work on the whole album.

During the last months, you can read and hear always comparisons of Hadouken with bands like Prodigy or Chemical Brothers. Do you consider this good (being compared to these huge successful bands) or do comparisons annoy you?

We’re obviously big fans of those bands and they influence our music in a big way, we’ve got a long way to go before we’ve achieved anything like what they have.

How did it come the idea of creating your own record company, Suface Noise Records, even before Hadouken would have any album released? Did you have clear you did not want to depend on any other company?

The Leeds music scene that surrounded us at that time was very DIY based with lots of small record labels and bands looking after stuff for themselves so it seemed like the natural thing to do really; we saw plenty of other people doing and thought there was no reason why we couldn’t do the same. We really like having the freedom to do whatever we want and be fully in control of the music we release and how we come across to our fans.

“The new album has a darker and aggressive tone and it is hopefully a lot more sophisticated musically”

What is your opinion about the music business nowadays, and the large amount of illegal downloads of music?

The music industry is obviously in a rough way and old fashioned record deals with big record labels no longer work for the vast majority of bands. If you are a massive pop act and sell millions of records you can get by but most bands need to find a new way of doing things. The illegal downloading is a shame but at the end of the day there is nothing that can be done to stop it so as a band you just have to be pleased that people are listening to your music and hope that they financially support the band in some other way, by coming to a gig or by buying a t-shirt for example, as without some sort of income no band could afford to record or go on tour.

Your music finds a great way of finding audience using new technologies and websites like for example YouTube, where your videos get a lot of visitors. Is it easier nowadays for new bands to find their own place, even without a big company backing them up? Are you assiduous users of social networks like Facebook, etc?

Yeah we use social networks a lot; it’s something that comes naturally to us because of our age. I think the vast majority of people who know our music discovered us through word of mouth online, by people sending links to our Myspace or to our videos. It is definitely great for bands that this is an option and they don’t have to rely on a record label to put expensive adverts on TV or big billboards up for people to discover their music.

Being James and Alice a couple out of stage, and you and Nick brothers, does this change anything in your work and everyday life? Do you have a special bond with more things to share being part of the same band, or does it turn hard sometimes to separate the band and private life offstage?

I think having a couple and also two brothers in the band is actually advantage as because we all know each other so well anything that needs to be said in a rehearsal room or in a meeting can be said and there isn’t any awkwardness.

What are your hobbies or other activities when you do not dedicate time to the band?

James is really into art & design, Alice is a big film fan and I’m really into video editing, but I think outside this band we still probably spend most of our time on music, we all have various other projects under way which we spend time on when off duty with Hadouken


Is there any particular band you would specially like to tour with?

I think we’d really like to tour supporting Pendulum, we’ve done some festivals with them and they’re an amazing live act and we can learn a lot from watching them. I think we have a lot of shared fans so it could work out really well

Being videogame fans, and with those catchy tunes, it seems that some of your songs could fit very well in a videogame soundtrack. Any project of working with the videogame industry in the near future?

Yes we’re in talks with various companies about using our tracks on their games and also potentially performing at gaming events. We always see people putting up videos on Youtube of them playing games like Call of Duty with our tracks playing in the background so people obviously think they make good soundtracks to big killing sprees.

What are the plans for Hadouken for the rest of 2010?

We’ve got our first few summer festivals coming up in the next few weeks which we’re really looking forward to. After festival season is over we might go back out touring on our own or we may just get on with the third album as the first few songs are already being demoed at the moment.

Anything you want to add for the readers?

Thanks for reading & if you don’t know us check out our new album For The Masses!

For more info, visit:


Interviews Music

Interview with ELMAYONESA

Usually, in a small country like Estonia is, the music you listen to around is the one created by native artists, or the big international and well known super stars. However, there is a new artist that has gained the sympathy of the Estonian audience with charisma and good doses of humor. His name is ELMAYONESA, and his song Liigutage Peput could perfectly be the official “Estonian summer song”, if we would be lucky enough to enjoy a proper summer… FREE! Magazine contacted this interesting Argentinean musician and artist, located in Barcelona, to get to know more about him and the story behind one of the most refreshing “Estonian” songs of the year!

Thanks for answering our questions! Please, tell us a bit more about your connection with Estonia. Have you ever lived there? What is your opinion about the country?

I have never lived in Estonia, but I went there to play after creating Liigutage Peput in December 2009. I loved the country! Being Argentinean in Estonia is a total success!; getting tones of attention by so many beautiful women, you can imagine! Maybe the only negative thing I do not like is the weather, I am not used to cold weather.


Can you explain us more in detail who is ELMAYONESA, and your reasons to start creating music? What other hobbies do you have?

ELMAYONESA is an artist! I play music since I was 13. I started playing drums in heavy metal bands, and now I also produce electronic music. Music is not only my hobby but my passion and my job; I founded my own record label a couple of years ago and I work on it every day. Obviously, being Argentinean, another of my passions is football, I also play it.

How the idea for creating Liigutage Peput come up? Did you know anything about Estonian language beforehand?

The project behind ELMAYONESA was always not only mixing different music styles, but also different languages; LIIGUTAGE PEPUT was born like any other song made by ELMAYONESA; I had been learning Estonian for a while, and I thought it was the right time to create a song using that language.

Mixing reggae, Spanish and Estonian language is something totally different to what you can usually listen to in Estonian musical scene. Do you know of anybody who has made anything similar? Have the Estonian media shown you a lot of attention?

What ELMAYONESA proposes is something totally innovative in the way of mixing Latino rhythms, electronic music and different languages, always keeping it fun. I personally thing that you can feel more and more in modern music that there are no frontiers, no limits of style or language, this is how the world is nowadays; ELMAYONESA is a perfect example, an Argentinean boy whose family is Italian-German, who lives now in Spain and who creates music in Estonian.

One cannot notice in the song your love for the Estonian women. Have you had personal experiences with them, like girlfriends of any love affair?

Yes, of course I have had experiences with Estonian girls. I love the women from Estonia! I think they are some of the most beautiful in the whole world.


The videos are shot in Barcelona. So do you live there permanently?

Yes, I have lived in Barcelona for 3 years. Most of the videos where shot there, except of the official one for Liigutage Peput, that was shot in Canary Islands. Everybody can watch it at

Are the girls appearing in the video Spanish or Estonian?

The girls appearing there are my best Estonian friends.

Will ELMAYONESA create in the future more songs in Estonian?

Yes, I am nowadays preparing a new hit that will be released on summer, and some more songs.

If you would have to choose one, what Estonian woman would you like to see moving her “pepu” while dancing your songs?

I would love to see Kerli doing it. She is very beautiful, and her music is great.

Is there anything you want to add for our readers?

I send warm greetings to all the Estonian people, I hope they listen to my music and get ready, because in July and August I will be in Estonia on tour introducing my new hits!

Suur aitäh!


Features Interviews Music

Interview with Taka from the Japanese band MONO

MONO has been around for more than one decade, not afraid of wandering around the world outside the Japanese borders to spread their unique musical style. They will be soon visiting Estonia, stopping in the city of Tartu. Taka, their lead guitar, kindly talked to FREE! Magazine about his view on music and the last experiences touring around the world.

Thanks a lot for your attention guys! For a person who would have not had the chance to listen to your band before, how would you describe the musical style of MONO?

The underlying energy in our songs is meant to be positive. The layers of heaviness and melancholy sounds on top are just the same things we endure in life to reach a higher place. We want our songs to mimic this balance of dark and light. As we grow older as a band, I think we want our songs to be more meditative.


How did you get to know and started to play together in 1999?

Takada and I became friends and we played a show together one time before forming Mono. I knew Yoda from the music store so he joined us shortly after. Then, a mutual friend introduced us to Tamaki because we needed a bassist. I’m lucky to have met each of them. It’s like fate because we all work well together and share the same vision.

After more than 10 years as a band, is there anything different from the beginnings, or the basic spirit remains the same?

We’ve grown tighter as a quartet and we are now more confident in taking risks in our music. Our basic spirit remains the same though.

I have read in previous interviews that you always give a great importance to remain independent, and you are not so happy about how capitalism affects the music business. How do you see the situation with the current economical crisis?

I’m not too familiar with the music business but it seems to me that most areas of mainstream entertainment are still doing well in most countries, especially Japan. The main thing that I enjoy about remaining independent is the freedom to create what we want to. The mainstream music business has a tendency to mold bands into what they view as marketable.

Is now even a better option to remain independent instead of depending on the fluctuations of the music market and the companies? Now for example Internet has opened the door to many bands to spread their music with a very cheap cost, just having a MySpace or Facebook page…

It really depends on what kind of musician you are and what kind of musical career you are going after. There have been several indie bands who have reached a wide audience with networking and touring.

Many European and American bands affirm that their craziest audience is in Japan. For you, as a Japanese band with a broad experience touring abroad, how is the European audience?

“I am a huge fan of Arvo Pärt”

The European audiences have already been wonderful to us. They are always enthusiastic and kind to us whenever we visit. Some of our greatest memories are in Europe.

It seems also that Japanese bands are getting more attention lately in North Europe than years ago, with other rock/metal bans like MUCC or D`Spairs Ray having a great legion of fans, for example in Finland. Have you noticed an increasing interest from Europe to Japanese music in the last years?

Unfortunately, I have not been able to keep up with the music scene lately.

You will be playing at the end of March in Estonia. I think you were here playing 2 years ago. What do you think of Estonia and Tartu? Did you have time to visit the city before?

Yes, we have played before at the Plink Plonk festival. Tartu is a very special for me, especially because I am a huge fan of Arvo Pärt. I am excited to visit to there again.

Plink Plonk club in Tartu is pretty small. Do you feel more comfortable playing in small clubs, or in bigger venues?

Both of them have good things about them. Playing in a small setting is more intimate which is nice. But playing in a large venue or festival is also great because we can reach a wider number of people.

The orchestration of your music could suit pretty well as soundtrack for movies. Have you received offers recently to participate in any movie soundtrack?

Yes, we’ve receive a few offers. We love film and it is a field that we are looking into.


You have always given a great importance to travelling around the world to promote your music. What is the best country or venue so far where you have stayed? Any place you would really love to visit, but never had a chance yet?

Such a difficult question because each country is so different. We’ve found something positive about every place we’ve visited.

What other hobbies and activities do you enjoy when you are not on stage or touring around the world?

Taking naps, reading, watching films, spending time with friends,

What will be the plans for MONO for the rest of 2010?

We still have a long tour ahead of us and when that is over, we will start to create new material for the next album.

Anything you want to add for the readers and fans?

Thanks for reading and hope to see you in a city near you soon.

MONO Setlist Tartu March 2010


1. Ashes in the Snow
2. Burial at the Sea
3. Kidnapper Bell
4. Pure as Snow
5. Sabbath
6. Yearning
7. Follow the Map
8. Halcyon (Beautiful Days)
9. Everlasting Light


Photos of the Tartu gig by Evert Palmets

Albums Music

Frida Andersson – Busy Missing You

If just in our previous album review we talked about a great female singer, here comes another one from Finland. Frida Andersson is a 22 years old Finnish singer and songwriter who lives in Helsinki, although having spent time in the past living in Sweden (and having Swedish surname).

Together with her guitar, and a great orchestration (her producer Hannu Korkeamäki has done a great job here), she features her debut album, released at the end of 2009. A collection of 10 tracks that exhale a classy aroma of good music.

Frida Andersson

Although the melancholia is a predominant feeling in Finnish songwriters, Frida’s album has a great cheerful general tone, even when talking about sad things. The songs could be perfectly used more like the soundtrack of an entertaining musical in Broadway than for crying alone in the darkness of your room. Tracks like the first Love Candle, Busy Missing You, Indian Summer (my favorite) or October Blue are just some highlights of this well-balanced album, mastered perfectly by Frida’s candid and beautiful voice.

If you like artists like Katie Melua, you are going to enjoy this one pretty much. The CD shows good taste even in the art design, measured but with a touch of romanticism and class; an excellent debut album for a very promising and young talented Finnish musician.

Rating 4/5

Albums Music

Sarah June – In Black Robes

Sarah June is an American musician that will certainly leave an impression on you. It is not easy nowadays, with the tones of new albums released every month, to find something fresh or shocking in music bussiness, but certainly her sophomore album In Black Robes, it is something surprising the first thing you hear it.

Just with an acoustic guitar and her voice, Sarah is able to create a kind of oniric musical experience. She sounds like a mischiveous teenager about to whisper a dirty secret to the microphone, but at the same time the lyrics can be really dark and deep. Goth folk? Certainly the style is not easy to catalogue, and that makes this album even more interesting.

Sarah June

Maybe the best parts of the album is when the rythm turns to be more bluesy, as a perfect example you can listen to the sixth track Bluesy Melody, where June`s vocal skills just shine or in Fencepost. Some other highlights of the album are the introductory Cowboy or the tenderly beautiful Paper Lantern, my favorite of the whole album.

However, if I have to put a “but”, I would say that the album could fall into sounding a bit monotonous after listening to it a few times. Sarah is skilled enough to show a wide enough palette of registers in the 13 tracks, but still, it would be interesting to see her beautiful voice going more experimental in the future (for example with a electric guitar…). In any case, if you like good songwriting and a female voice with a delightful twist, this album can be a great discovery for your collection!

Rating 4/5

Concerts Music

Rammstein concert in Riga. Review.

This review should have had the title “Rammstein concert in Tallinn”. 2 weeks ago, I had everything planned and arranged to go to the Estonian capital when suddenly a stomach flu left me spilling my guts out, and totally destroyed the chances to go anywhere (and not only me, the virus affected to half of my job mates at the office).

Luckily, the Germans were playing 1 week later in Riga, relatively close from Tartu, and I convinced my Finnish friend Ilkka to come from Helsinki and drive to our destination of glory and rock.


Rammstein must have been on the top 3 of the bands that I still had never had the chance to check live and really wanted, so it was worth the effort; although I cannot really thank the promoters from BDG-FBI. They procrastinated in answering my emails, and gently denied me any press ticket, apart from not answering anything when I proposed farther collaboration for reviewing their events. How many publications do you have in English focused on culture and entertainment in the Baltics? I suppose that it must be more rewarding to sit all day at the office checking Facebook and Orkut than trying to do a good work. But well… if I start to talk about incompetent people in promoting and events management positions in Finland or Estonia, I would never reach to the point of talking about the concert….

Arriving in Riga became a little odyssey due to the heavy snow falling. After 3 hours of driving from Tartu, we encountered traffic jams everywhere, a lot of police and ambulances running from one place to another, and 4 or 5 small car accidents around the Latvian capital. The city seemed to be receiving a summit from the World Bank instead of a rock concert. Some of my Estonian job mates mentioned later that the car accidents were due to them being 6-toed Latvians, but I will remain impartial about the sticky subject ;)

But what it is true is that the organization of the concert in Latvia was awful. We encountered another more annoying queue for accessing the parking or Riga Arena, which turned to be full. Luckily, driving a few hundred meters away, a friendly Russian guy left us parked in his parking for just 2 Lats. We did not have Latvian cash, so gave him 5 euro. The E-Tickets that I had pursued in Internet worked (thanks god) and then I encountered the longest queue for a male toilet that I have ever seen in my life. So I decided my kidneys should have to wait until the end of the gig. With the traffic jams, we missed the first band, so accessed directly to see Rammstein show in an ultra packed standing up area of the arena. And when I say packed, I mean packed. Organizers again fucked it big time. There should have been easily at least 200 tickets less sold out there. We were at the bottom, very far from the stage, and we already could hardly move, a situation that I had experienced before just when being near the first row close to the stage. It is a miracle that not more people got into fights there or fainted. Chaotic!

Rammstein Till

The concert started with Rammlied, but being honest, the first 4-5 songs were closer to a nightmare than being a joyful event. I was literally feeling like a sardine in a box and very far from the stage with no chance to advance or move. Not helping that the old Murphy´s Law about taller guys always standing in front of you in a concert, and me being not the tallest in the world, made me literally almost break my neck to try to see something of what was going on stage. Latvian guys for your information are not the shortest of the world, so it does not help when you have a fucking basketball team in front of you.

The cherry on top of the cake is that there were no screens on the sides of the stage. For a band with the category that Rammstein has, and with tickets whose price started at 50 euro, a small fortune in Estonia or Latvia, I did not understand this either. What is the point to create amazing pyrotechnic effects on stage when half of the audience is not going to be able to see a shit if they are not in the first rows or in the seating places?

Luckily and wisely, we moved to one side that was a little less packed, and enjoyed some of my favorite tunes like Keine Lust! or Weisses Fleisch. The middle part of the concert was a bit boring from my point of view, it always happens the same when a band I like releases a new album, I always think that they should not play so many of the new songs. For example, Frühling in Paris could have perfectly been erased from the setlist, while it was an absolute pity than songs like Spielt Mein Klavier, Du Riechst so Gut or Azche zu Azche were missed.

Undobutedly, the end of the concert was the best, with amazing tunes like Links 1-2-3, the unavoidable and always awesome Du Hast and the catchy Pussy. A great end that was followed up by an encore with Sonne, the surprising Haifisch (I was not expecting the keyboardist “Flake” surfing the audience on the inflatable boat with this one, but with the classic Seamann, which I think would have been still much better, and Ich Will for closing the first encore.

While it seemed that everything would be over, and more than 1 person in the audience started to exit, the band still gave an amazing present performing a second mini-encore with Engel, with a huge and beautiful white angel on flames displayed on the stage, that finished the show; a great end for a concert that left me a bitter sweet taste due to the chaotic organization.

Albums Music

For Selena and Sin – Primrose Path

Follow up album for the Finnish gothic band after their debut in 2007.


Primrose Path is a good album for those of you who like gothic melodic metal with female singers on the front, in the same line than bands like Nightwish, Lacuna Coil or Evanescence, for putting a few examples. The voice of Annika Jalkanen is crystalline and clear, straight to your heart, but sometimes I miss a bit more of risk trying to get higher notes.

As most of the Finnish metal bands, their style and musical skills are excellent, and the album sounds very mature for a band not so well known internationally. However, the saturation of bands in the same genre during the last years puts some doubts in my head if they will be able to breakthrough, although it seems things are going well so far for the Finnish guys, touring around Europe.


Listen to tracks like Countdown to the Starts, the initial one, or Rusty Rails of Yesterday, and get immersed in a surrealistic atmosphere of musical pleasure (and a little bit of sorrow).

Rating 3/5

Albums Music

I love Techno mixed by Crookers

Well, although at FREE! Magazine we are focused on rock and metal reviews, there is space for all kind of music like this interesting techno album!

I love techno

Crookers is an Italian duo of Djs that will make you move your feet from the beginning with this collection of 18 remixes. I am not particularly fond of techno music, although I do not mind visiting a club from time to time if the situation requires it. This remix is easy to listen, not too hardcore but not too soft, ideal for warming up at home having a couple of drinks before going out at night to hit the dance floors.

A good album to start feeling the party mood early in the evening!

Rating 3/5

Albums Music

Megadeth – Endgame

Mustaine is back with another awesome album that digs deep in the roots of the band!

Dave Mustaine is certainly not known for keeping silent and writing ballads (although you can find one in this album). His rage and ferocious guitar riffs are back at his best shape. Mustaine seems to be living a sweet moment in his career, and the addition to the band of Chris Broderick is also an excellent piece of news for the band.


What you have here is a classic Megadeth album, for some fans, one of the best in decades, with powerful tracks like This Day We Fight or Endgame.

Do not expect surprises here, this is another direct shot of metal in your head. But for all and new fans, this album is not going to disappoint you, so Megadeth shows once more that, although the changes in the members, they keep as one of the best act to see and listen to in the metal scene nowadays.

Rating 4/5

Albums Music

Agnes Pihlava – Redemption

The finalist of Finnish Idols 2005 is back with a second Studio album!

After her debut album When the Night Falls in 2006, Agnes, the Finnish singer with Polish roots, is back with another metal album. Actually, opposite to what happens in my native country, Spain, where all the Idols singers are cut by the same mainstream pattern, I even dig this singer! Finland is the country of metal, so people like Agnes and Ari Koivunen keep showing that you can even extract great metal singers from a TV show that anywhere else in the world would suck.


Redemption is a pretty fine melodic metal album. Agnes has great vocal skills and the songs are catchy and well structured. Powerful enough to catch the attention of big masses, although of course, do not expect raw melodies here. Everything is measured. Nevertheless, as I said, after listening to it a couple of times, I liked it very much, with great tracks like For Your Redemption, Don’t fall in Love or the final Tears with a Smile, sang with Ancara, that from my point of view is the highlight of the whole album.

A good melodic album, that can reach both the old metal fans or the young female Emo followers of Paramore.

Rating 4/5

Albums Music

Sonata Arctica – The Days of Grays

New studio album from one of the most consistent Finnish power metal bands.

Sonata Arctica has always been one of my favorite Finnish bands. It reminds me of those times when I was just a teenager and listened to Stratovarius and Gamma Ray, when I started to go to live gigs and everything was new. So because of that, I feel even more disappointed with their new work. I cannot say it otherway: the album is boring. Maybe it is the change with guitarist Elias Viljanen replacing Jani Litmatainen, maybe it is that the new experimentation with the vocals of Tony Kakko does not work out as it should be, but the point is that the album is much slower, darker, and with lack of spark than previous ones.


Apart from a few tracks like As if The World Wasn´t Ending, I found just an average slow metal album that any other rookie band would have released. But at this stage, you would expect more from the Finnish fellas. I hope they find their way back into track soon.

Rating 2/5