Thursday, October 16, 2014

"Ragnarok Juletide" in November

Metalnews Power of
Happy Holidays, headbangers! 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. "Ragnarok Juletide” will be released on November 7 in GAS, Benelux and Finland and November 10 in the rest of Europe via Spinefarm Records.

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.

The first single “We Celebrate At Christmastime” can be heard on Soundcloud here

Raskasta Joulua is 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. Also for the first time ever, these versions of Finnish and international Christmas classics were recorded by the band in English.

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.

"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."

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 in Finland.

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:
01. "We Celebrate at Christmastime"
02. "The First Noel"
03. "Here on the Hay"
04. "Little Drummer Boy"
05. "The Elf"
06. "Christmas Is Here"
07. "Sylvia's Song"
08. "White Christmas"
09. "Home for Christmas"
10. "A Sparrow on a Christmas Morning"
11. "Christmas Has Come"
12. "Ave Maria"

The voices line-up:
Elize Ryd
Marco Hietala
J.P. Leppäluoto
Tony Kakko
Jarkko Ahola
Ari Koivunen
Pasi Rantanen
Antti Railio
Ville Tuomi
Antony Parviainen
Tuple Salmela
Kimmo Blom

The band line-up:
Erkka Korhonen — guitar, arrangments
Tuomas Wäinölä — guitar
Vili Ollila — keys
Mirka Rantanen — drums
Erkki Silvennoinen — bass

Raskasta Joulua (2004)
Raskaampaa Joulua (2009)
Raskasta Joulua (2013)
Ragnarok Juletide (2014)

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