Best of 2009

As we dry all those booze bottles, watch the confusing lights in the Christmas tree, devour the candy and text our friends like mad, we can’t forget to turn on the player and pump those songs that have been blasting throughout the year… Yes, it’s the time for all that we’ve listened in 2009 and that we will probably keep listening to!
It was not a bad year in music… even though CHARON & WINTERSUN didn’t release any new material, not even now! ūüė¶ Northern Finnish bands such as EToS, however, were present in the charts and, as expected, they’re featured in the final ones also! Big names have been around, hitting the scene with new releases, some of them disappointing, unfortunately… But this is only my subjective post and no official thing. 2009 was rich in new music, not everything being of top quality.
Let’s take a look at the events and releases:
It happened in 2009…

Lower the flags,
a good man has passed…

Miika Tenkula, the amazing guitarist of SENTENCED (1989-2005), died on 19 February, bringing grief to countless metal fans all over the world. One of the greatest talents of Finland was lost, but we have his ever-charming music to remember us what once was…Related websites, forums and MFF itself were flooded with hundreds of messages from fans – reactions and proofs of care that one can never forget!
EMBRAZE, featuring the member of CHARON, guitarist Lauri Tuohimaa, calls it quits.
In January, DEATHLIKE SILENCE is back with an amazing album that points out their original style even more (Saturday Night Evil, review here), while ENTWINE doesn’t shine much with Painstained.
TRACEDAWN, the very young melodic death metal band which got noticed from the debut, plays at WACKEN.
In April – NORTHER, left behind by Petri Lindroos, finds replacement – Aleksi from MEDICATED and make new appearances as soon as possible, including a show at TUSKA. The black/dark metal band AJATTARA comes by with Noitumaa, definitely one of the weirdest creations out there.
May is the month of the big releases, the strong move of the Finnish metal in all its splendor – AMORPHIS make it big time with the world-praised Skyforger, another Kalevala-based album with touching melodies and amazing production. A clear #1 in Finland’s charts. STRATOVARIUS comes with Polaris, a nice work but which didn’t move me much, because it had nothing of the former glory. And finally, ETERNAL TEARS OF SORROW are back with what I consider to be my #1 for 2009: Children of the Dark Waters (entering the national charts at #19, review here). Symphonic and deep, dark and powerful, it proves that this band can reinvent its own style and come with excellent composition ideas.
A much-praised effort comes from INSOMNIUM, the band that has been in a constant good shape and established itself as a worthy name. Across the Dark was probably the most anticipated album among the Finnish metal fans – and far from being a disappointment! Also SWALLOW THE SUN, now closer to the Finnish gothic mood and sound, launches the interesting New Moon (I wonder, is it connected to the Twilight series?!), which has become a true and maybe eternal love for me.
AMBERIAN DAWN, THE 69 EYES and SONATA ARCTICA had their new materials released too, but failed to make an impression on me. Only SA’s single & video Flag in the Ground was somewhat catchy. Looks like it was much more for the Finnish scene, since the album (The Days of Grays) was certified gold in day 1. This was in autumn, about the same time when ENSIFERUM hit the market with the exciting From Afar, entering the charts at position 9. From this, we also benefit of a delightful video with fine Nordic warriors… The album is good enough, dynamic, typical for the band. No step forward, no step backward, just a more symphonic, pompous sound. Too bad it kind of lacks a sort of anthem song which I hoped for.
The autumn is also the moment when THUNDERSTONE strikes. Yes, strikes. In my opinion, they’ve been around every now and then, but never hit any sensible spot. With Dirt Metal, however, there’s a boost that can’t go unnoticed. I Almighty is a singletrack with no flaw! TS is highly capable of very heavy riffs and bass, as well as a great vocal performance! This tune has become one of my personal anthems and from now on I keep an eye on this band.
Looking forward to 2010 now… Have a wonderful, very metal and happy New Year!!!

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