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  • Finland's Raskasta Joulua to Release "Ragnarok Juletide" in November

    Wed, 15 Oct 2014 14:25:45

    Finland's Raskasta Joulua to Release "Ragnarok Juletide" in November - It's a Finnish and fresh take on rock 'n' roll Xmas

    Marco Hietala Photos

    • Marco Hietala - BERLIN, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 13:  Marco Hietala, singer and bassist for Nightwish, arrives for the fifth Metal Hammer Awards at Kesselhaus on September 13, 2013 in Berlin, Germany. The annual prizes are given by Metal Hammer, a German music magazine specialized in Heavy Metal and Hard Rock.
    • Marco Hietala - Marco Hietala of the Finnish group "Nightwish" performs on June 8, 2008 at the music festival "Rock im Park" (Rock at the Park) in the southern German city of Nuremberg. The annual festival is scheduled from June 6 to June 8.
    • Marco Hietala - Marco Hietala of the Finnish group "Nightwish" performs on June 8, 2008 at the music festival "Rock im Park" (Rock at the Park) in the southern German city of Nuremberg. The annual festival is scheduled from June 6 to June 8.

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    Happy Holidays, headbangers! It's not going to be a "White Christmas" this year. Instead, it'll be a "Heavy Christmas," thanks to a fresh, Finnish take on festive Xmas anthems and holiday hymns.

    Finland's annual, all-star symphonic Christmas rock project, dubbed Raskasta Joulua, which translates to "Heavy Christmas," is enjoying its 10th year running. To celebrate, the project, which tours every holiday season, will release a new studio album this year. The album, titled Ragnarok Juletide, releases this November via Spinefarm Records. [iTunes link]

    But this is not just another set of ho-ho-ho-hum takes on holiday songs nor is it a collection of predictable, safe versions of seasonal jams! For the first time ever, these versions of Finnish and international Christmas classics will also be recorded in the English language.

    So many rock and metal Xmas comps are boooooorrrrrrring – they are basically familiar festive tracks with turnt up guitars. They are the musical equivalent of Ambien. Zzzzz.

    This, this is something new, awesome and different. And we are going to crank it at all of our holiday partays! You should, too. It's a nice, fresh take on festive classics. It will sound amazing when chased with a cup of spiked eggnog.

    Raskasta Joulua are inspired by Trans-Siberian Orchestra and the participants view the project in serious fashion, which is not always true of Christmas-themed collections. There is nothing novelty or jokey about this project or this release. Don't expect familiar holiday favorites to be given a weak makeover or merely amplified by distorted guitars that have been added to give the Christmas jams a "rock" feel. That would be a Christmas cop out.

    Instead, the record truly and effectively captures the majesty, the wonder and the glory of the holiday season; the songs are carefully arranged and executed, with flawless musicianship and world-class vocal contributions.

    Ragnarok Juletide will put headbangers in the most festive of moods, regardless of which metal subgenre he or she prefers, from speedy power metal to symphonic epics to dirgey doom. It's all here on this year's Ragnarok Juletide.

    Marco Hietala (Nightwish, Tarot, Northern Kings), Tony Kakko (Sonata Arctica, Northern Kings), Elize Ryd ( Amaranthe), Jarkko Ahola (Teräsbetoni, Northern Kings), Antti Railio (2013 Voice of Finland winner) and more lend their throats to the project.

    "It's amazing that we're still doing this and that it has grown to these proportions," said founder/producer/arranger/guitarist Erkka Korhonen. "Every year has been bigger for us and now the tour is one of the biggest annual treks in Finland."

    Indeed, the accompanying tour is an event and a highlight on the annual holiday calendar for fans of all age groups. The project has progressed in size and scope each and every year, in both popularity and the prestige of the participants. The concert tour now runs for more than a month before the holiday season and plays to full arenas and ice stadiums.

    Overall, Ragnarok Juletide is the definitive collection of holiday hymns for headbangers. This is how you've always wanted to hear Christmas music, but most artists have lacked the balls to do it this way.

    Korhonen furthered, "Even people who haven't celebrated Christmas for years have found its spirit again through what we do. Since we've expanded the vocalist lineup every year, the audience wants to hear our new vocalists on the record. It'll be fantastic to bring these songs into other countries too!"

    Ragnarok Juletide Track Listing:

    1. "We Celebrate at Christmastime"
    2. "The First Noel"
    3. "Here on the Hay"
    4. "Little Drummer Boy"
    5. "The Elf"
    6. "Christmas Is Here"
    7. "Sylvia's Song"
    8. "White Christmas"
    9. "Home for Christmas"
    10. "A Sparrow on a Christmas Morning"
    11. "Christmas Has Come"
    12. "Ave Maria"

    The Voices Lineup:

    Elize Ryd
    Marco Hietala
    Juha-Pekka Leppäluoto
    Tony Kakko
    Jarkko Ahola
    Ari Koivunen
    Pasi Rantanen
    Antti Railio
    Ville Tuomi
    Antony Parviainen
    Tuple Salmela
    Kimmo Blom

    The Band Lineup:

    Erkka Korhonen —guitar, arrangments
    Tuomas Wäinölä —guitar
    Vili Ollila —keys
    Mirka Rantanen —drums
    Erkki Silvennoinen —bass

    Order it at iTunes.

    How many rockers and headbangers want to check this out? Do so at RagnarokJuletide.com.

    —The ARTISTdirect Staff

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    Tags: Marco Hietala, Tony Kakko, Jarkko Ahola, Ari Koivunen, Elize Ryd, Juha-Pekka Leppäluoto, Pasi Rantanen, Antti Railio, Antony Parviainen, Tuple Salmela, Kimmo Blom, Erkka Korhonen, Tuomas Wäinölä, Vili Ollila, Mirka Rantanen, Erkki Silvennoinen, Nightwish, Tarot, Northern Kings, Sonata Arctica, Amaranthe, Teräsbetoni, Trans-Siberian Orchestra

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