Battlelore at Tuska Open Air 2008
|Genres||Gothic metal, folk metal, power metal, melodic death metal|
Battlelore are a Finnish heavy metal band from Lappeenranta, founded in 1999 by guitarist Jyri Vahvanen and bassist Miika Kokkola. The name derives from the union of the words 'battle' and 'folklore'. Many of Battlelore's lyrics concern J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth sagas and their stage costumes and live shows are largely inspired by the themes and characters of fantasy literature. The band had many changes of personnel during their twelve years of activity and had a long hiatus after the completion of the tour supporting their latest release Doombound in 2011. In January 2016 they announced that they would be performing at Metal Female Voices Fest XIII in October 2016.
Battlelore's first demo Warrior's Tale was released in late 1999, the same year of the founding of the group, but Battlelore attracted the attention of the Austrian record label Napalm Records only after the publication of the second demo Dark Fantasy in late 2000, which featured for the first time long standing members Kaisa Jouhki as female singer, Henri Vahvanen on drums and Maria Honkanen on keyboards. Under request from the label, the band recorded an untitled 3-tracks demo before finally signing the contract.
In the fall of 2001, the band was at Music Bros. Studios to record their debut album with producer Miitri Aaltonen.
Around this time, guitarist Tommi Havo left the band for personal reasons and was replaced by the current lead guitarist Jussi Rautio. The debut album, ...Where the Shadows Lie, which includes re-recorded songs coming from early demos, was published in 2002 with good success. A video for the song "Journey to Undying Lands" was shot to promote the album. However, Battlelore are best known for their second album Sword's Song, registered like the first one at Music Bros. Studios with Miitri Aaltonen as producer and released in the spring of 2003, defined by many as their best. The album was successful and led the group to their first European tour.
In 2004 singer Patrik Mennander left the band, because of lack of time to devote to Battlelore, and his place was taken at first temporarily and then officially by the former frontman of the band Evemaster, Tomi Mykkänen. Mennander's last concert was at a show as headliner band at the RingCon (the official festival of The Lord of the Rings in Bonn, Germany). Bassist and founding member Miika Kokkola also left the band for personal reasons and was replaced by Timo Honkanen, a former tour roadie.
With this new line-up, the band released in 2005 their third studio album, Third Age of the Sun, recorded at Sound Suite Studios, in the spring of 2005 and produced by Terje Refsnes, for the promotion of which the video for "Storm of the Blades" was filmed. Music critics judged Third Age of the Sun inferior compared to previous records, partly due to the defection of Mennander and Kokkola. However, the album presents a more varied and ambitious songwriting, mixing folk tunes and a symphonic vein, rendered through the more prominent use of keyboards and the temporary waiver of clean male vocals, which, however, reappeared in the next album.
The album entered in the Finnish charts at number 38.
After attending the Wacken Open Air festival of 2006, in the fall Battlelore started recording their fourth album, again with Miitri Aaltonen at Music Bros Studios, which was published in early 2007 with the title Evernight, anticipated by the video for the song "House of Heroes". Many defined Evernight the darkest album of the Finnish group, but also their best since Sword's Song.
In January 2007, guitarist Vahvanen temporarily left the band to travel through Asia for six months, and was replaced by Tommy Lintunen, which appears in the video for "House of Heroes". On his return in June, Vahvanen took back his place as guitarist.
In September, it was announced that the Finnish band would open the November dates of After Forever in Helsinki and Tampere, but the dates were deleted by the promoter and in November Battlelore were also excluded from the European tour with Korpiklaani, scheduled for December. On October 20, 2007 the band was at the Metal Female Voices Fest and the performance was recorded to be part of a live DVD.
In the period from April to May 2008, their fifth album The Last Alliance was recorded at Sound Supreme Studios in Hämeenlinna with Dan Swanö as producer. The album was published in September, preceded by the video for the song "Third Immortal". After a week from release, the album reached position twenty-sixth in the best-selling albums chart in Finland. Battlelore were part of 'The Finnish Fire Tour' along Korpiklaani, Falchion and Kivimetsän Druidi, but singer Mykkänen had to be replaced by Harri Hyytiäinen, a member of Avathar for personal problems. The album was also released in a special edition with a DVD, including the recording of the Metal Female Voices Fest 2007 concert
In July 2009, it was announced that the group had renewed the contract with Napalm Records, ended with The Last Alliance, providing label support for the band's next album and its promotional tour.
In late September 2009, the band embarked on a brief tour of six dates in England together with Finntroll and in December it was announced that the sixth album was in preparation and Battlelore would have entered the studio around June-July 2010 for the recordings. The publication was intended for October 2010 and then moved to early 2011.
Doombound was recorded again at Sound Supreme Studios with Janne Saksa, with Dan Swanö at mixing duties. Stylistically, the album marked a return to the sound of the first records and it was Battlelore's first concept album, focusing on the figure of Túrin Turambar. The album contains eleven songs, including one instrumental and one sung in Finnish language to celebrate Finland and the Finnish epic poem, the Kalevala. The special edition of the album contains the DVD 10 Years of Battlelore, with many special features.
On 23 October 2011, the group announced via their website an indefinite break from the music scene, indicating that this is not a final farewell.
Battlelore mixes female vocals with harsh male growling in "beauty and the beast" duets, backed by heavy guitar riffing and occasional keyboard interludes. The band's style takes elements from gothic metal, folk metal, power metal and melodic death metal. Because of the variety of Battlelore's music, different reviewers have labeled the band with each of these genres, as well as idiosyncratic terms such as "epic metal" or "fantasy metal". Guitarist and founder Jyri Vahvanen described the music of Battlelore as "fantasy metal" and "very bombastic, epic and melodic metal".
According to Battlelore's official MySpace website, Bolt Thrower, Emperor, The Gathering, Kyuss, Black Sabbath, Morbid Angel, Katatonia, Anathema, My Dying Bride, Iron Maiden, W.A.S.P., Zakk Wylde, Dissection and Theatre of Tragedy are some of the artists who influenced the music of the band.
Battlelore's lyrics are about Middle-earth characters and events described by the British author J. R. R. Tolkien in The Lord of the Rings trilogy of books and in The Silmarillion. More lyrical inspiration comes from medieval literature and the Kalevala. Starting with the album Evernight, the band deliberately decided not to use names or places taken from the imaginary of Tolkien, although his works remain the main inspiration for their lyrics.
The same inspiration marks the band's distinctive pseudo-medieval stage show, in which each member is dressed up in costumes and fantasy makeup to look like "ferocious warriors", "dirty thieves" or "beautiful female elves".
|Year||Title||The Official Finnish Charts|
|2002||...Where the Shadows Lie||--|
|2005||Third Age of the Sun||38|
|2008||The Last Alliance||26|