Bloodred Hourglass


“Dude! We’re gonna take you to the final walk!”


Interviewed And Photographed By Ismo Korhonen / March 2009brhg2

© Ismo Korhonen


Where from:
Mikkeli, Finland
Thrash & death metal meets rocking grooviness
Line-up: Jarkko Tiilikainen (guitar), Jarkko Hyvönen (drums), Jarkko Koukonen (vocals),
Jose Moilanen (bass), Antti Nenonen (lead guitar)
Releases: Relevant Annihilation demo (2006), Under The Black Flag EP (2008), Verdict EP (2009)

Ismo: The story of Bloodred Hourglass begun in the year 2005. At first, could you name the most important milestones from the past few years, which have made the band look and sound like it does in 2009?

Koukonen: Maybe one of the most remarkable things was that we found a rehearsal place at some point. Especially the situation that we actually did record the first demo Relevant Annihilation about a one year before we had a place for rehearsal was quite awkward.

Hyvönen: After that came the need to get better instruments and gear, because we finally could start playing together for real.

About the fact concerning your rehearsal place – was it really that tough task to find a place for the band? 

Koukonen: Generally the whole situation in Mikkeli region is quite awful. It really took something like one year to get this small and cozy room. The city itself ain’t doing much for the bands, so that’s why the place we have is from a private company that rents storage rooms for everyone.

Hyvönen: Also it was really important for us, that we actually did practice over a year before we played our very first gig. It was planned on beforehand, because we weren’t that good musicians back in the days – not like we’d now be perfect musicians, but at least we have gained much more experience since we started doing this stuff.

Antti: It also helped a lot that we practiced for some time, because at first we basically had only four songs already written, and those went on our first demo. But soon we had a bunch of new songs for gigs, so it was much smarter to hold our horses for a while back then .

Hyvönen: And basically we’ve never wanted to consider any cover song possibilities, so that’s also one reason why we needed to wait and create more of our own material.

brhg1© Ismo Korhonen

Jose: Besides, we’re so bad musicians that we couldn’t even play songs from other bands… (laughter)

Koukonen: In my opinion it just feels weird to sing some stranger’s lyrics, if it’s a BRHG gig. There ain’t much motivation to even try songs, which are not made by us.

Antti: Basically if we would even consider making a cover song, the song should be out of our musical genre. It’s really boring idea to play something which would anyway sound almost the same as the original song.

Hyvönen: And back to the original topic…concerning the most important happenings in the band. Maybe the latest is that Tiilikainen joined our group as a full-time member. The guy before Tiilikainen…we didn’t share the same kind of opinions about the musical stuff anymore. So Tiilikainen came and played something like ten gigs with us, and finally we managed to talk him into the band, which is nice.

BRHG’s musical line is mainly influenced from thrash metal, but there’s a lot of groove and death metal mixed up with it. How come you started to do this kind of music?

Antti: I guess there wasn’t any actual reason why we started to play this kind of music. All the time when

we gain more experience, we definitely try to come up with something new as well. Influences come from other’s music and from our personal lives… so it’s hard to know what we are up to next. But mainly it was rather easy to start making metal music with the guys, because we do share the same kind of musical taste, at least when it comes to metal.

Hyvönen: Being a genre puritan would be really dumb. It would be really boring to start doing just pure thrash metal – then it would be the same shit for all eternity. At least I like the way our music has been going forward. Lately the melodies have taken a bigger role and it seems to be ok for everyone of us. Also the chorus lines are nowadays more catchier than in the debut demo.

And could you name some musical and maybe even some outer musical influences? 

Hyvönen: Well musically it’s definitely Lamb of God – that’s the band, which has been one of our favourites. Personally my musical idols are Chris Adler from the same band and also Vinnie Paul from Pantera. But otherwise, musically, our band shares lots of non-metal acts as favourites. Besides it’s been a really long time since I got really excited about some metal band…maybe the last one was Stam1na something like four or so years ago?

Jose: Don’t forget Dead Shape Figure! Those guys came out of nowhere and they really do kick asses big time!

Hyvönen: Yeah sorry! Almost forgot them. One of the greatest newcomers from Finland!

To change the topic a bit – how important part do the lyrics have in your songs and how does the creation of lyrics happen? 

Koukonen: Lately we’ve spent more times on the lyrics. At the beginning the lyrics weren’t in that important role – just that we had some texts for the music. Generally the atmosphere in lyrics is mostly something from those awful moments which most people experience in their lives at some point. Back in the day I was the only one who wrote the lyrics, but in Verdict-EP every song’s lyrics are written by a different guy. There ain’t that much variation between the texts, even if the writer is different – but at least having more lyricists gives more depth for the stories.

Hyvönen: Basically if someone is writing some new lyrics we do check them out together. And see if those lyrics would fit into some song. So there is no certain dictator in the band, someone who’d decide how things should go – in lyrical but also in musical sense.

BRHG’s vocals have always been just pure growling. Have you ever tried how clean vocal lines would fit in your music? 

Koukonen: We have tried it several times and it just doesn’t fit – at least not for my mouth.

Hyvönen: In Verdict EP we thought about one clean vocal part for one song, but it just didn’t work out anyhow.

Koukonen: Of course, if at some point there’d be a chance to sing clean vocal lines that would fit in the music – yeah why not… But for now at least my throat doesn’t manage any golden tunes, so it doesn’t matter that much.

In Finland BRHG is kind of enjoying it’s fame in the underground metal scene. Many demo bands are completely lost in the manners of how to get attention for the band and how to make people more excited about the material. At least in your case this part is quite well done… how the things work at this level. 

brhg3© Ismo Korhonen

Hyvönen: I could say that our gang has assimilated the fact quite well. We have to promote ourselves all the time if possible. It’s obvious that no one is going to get you or your band from your home, so that’s why you have to put some effort in your work. My opinion is that the graphic design of our homesite and the cds’, logos, shirts and stuff has always been really superb, and that also draws people’s attention towards us.

Antti: Mainly the whole scenario for the band is made out of small ingredients and coincidences, which we have been collecting for a few years.

Hyvönen: And we know also that, at least in Finland, the circles are really small and it’s really important to take a chance on every possible contact and offer that you get. It’s not smart to hesitate and wonder too long – or especially become too picky if there’s a possibility to get a gig or something else that will help a band out a bit.

Guess it’s been also important for BRHG that you haven’t been rushing for a record deal and stuff like that? 

Hyvönen: Yep. To be honest if there would have been a chance – especially something like two years ago, to sign some deals, it would have been really stupid. Considering we didn’t have that much material to offer a while ago and our skills weren’t so great. It wouldn’t have worked out immediately. And personally I wouldn’t want to make the same mistake many other small bands have made. In meaning of signing papers with a some big record label, before they even have enough experience to do certain things. That makes things only half-way ready, and the outcome ain’t all that great then. So basically it feels as a better choice to sit still and wait for a moment.

Today here at Mikkeli’s Night Bar Vaakuna you’ll have the record release party for Verdict. The atmosphere will be obviously really great and energetic. Before the audience will hear the new songs could you tell which kind of changes there have been since your latest EP Under The Black Flag? 

Everyone: The songs are just much more better than before.

Antti: Generally the structures are much more better and clearer.

Jose: And there is Tiilikainen…

Hyvönen: …and especially there is Tiilikainen!

Antti: All of the new for songs felt immediately really strong and well-balanced, so it’s been really hard to decide which songs we’re going to serve as samplers for the audience via the Internet.

Koukonen: I would also like to mention the lyrics, which have been improving all the time, maybe because the case which we talked about earlier.

Hyvönen: I also think that the songs sound almost the same as we play them live. Personally I hate really puffed up death thrash bands, which serve half of their live music from computer generated tracks or so. I’m really proud that we don’t need to use that kind of thingies.

Jose: It was also really weird that now, for the very first time, the studio sessions were alcohol free! But maybe we are going to settle this matter later on this evening… heh.

One of the milestones of the year was probably the release of Verdict. But what kind of other things would you like to achieve later in 2009 – and even after this year? 

Hyvönen: At least for this year it would be nice to get some more visibility for the band… some more gigs – especially it would be a blast to get a gig on a summer festival! Much more practicing and hopefully some new songs also. In the future it would be a nice thing, if we wouldn’t always need to ask if we could come to play a gig somewhere – in other words it’d be great to have someone else asking whether the band could come and have some fun with people!

What would you like to say for those readers who still have suspicions whether it’s necessary to take a try on your music? 

brhg4© Ismo Korhonen

Koukonen: The most optimal situation would be, if you have a possibility – come and check out our gig! Of course it’s a long way for us to other countries, but if you ever come for a visit on the Finnish soil and we might have a gig somewhere nearby – you know where to head!

Hyvönen: Our material isn’t fit for genre puritans, but who don’t have trouble listening metal between modern and old fashioned styles – I highly recommend to try our music out. If our music could at least reflect a bit of the way how I feel on the gigs…oh yeah!

Antti: “Music for broad-minded persons”

Any last words? 

Jose: Let’s head for a cigarette! (laughter)

Hyvönen: “Couldn’t do this while being sober…”

brhg_levy stamp

As the very first Grinder pick out of Finland there couldn’t be any better choice than a true newcomer act. Bloodred Hourglass are from southern parts of Savonia, from a city called Mikkeli. There haven’t been that many successful metal bands coming from Mikkeli for many years, but at long last, Bloodred Hourglass gave some hope for this critic. The band’s musical landscape runs through old fashioned thrash metal combining bits ‘n pieces from more modern day thrashers. And not becoming a too linear thrash metal band, their songs include a really nice groove in them with small death metal pieces adding another great spice on the whole portion.

“Verdict” is BRHG’s third self-financed EP-release, and so well packed and produced one – in musical and outer musical ways – that it could’ve been easily released via some big record label. So as the handsome guys do have a cute outfit for the record, how about the music itself?

The band has taken a nice attitude leap from their last EP “Under The Black Flag”; the attitude part comes from a certain changes to sound even more unique than offered by other respectful death thrasher collegues. Still, a small part of the band’s music reminds the listener about their influences from Lamb of God and certain The Haunted style riff-knocking, but there are still lots of new great additions in BRHG’s style. The previously mentioned groove has taken a great leap forward and there is no need to mind a black metallish style guitar picking – which is made in good taste.

“Manners of Mace” starts and kicks the rollercoaster on its tracks immediately and head nodding is unavoidable. At the first glance it seems that lead vocalist Jarkko Koukonen has gained some more power to his yet great – but not too extreme – growls. Generally it’s easy to say that Koukonen’s vocal work is stabile, unlike some of fellow growlers who have the “garlic effect” – some love it, some hate.

As the EP proceeds to the next track “Lex Talionis” it’s nice to hear some more backing vocals, a swinging guitar solo and some simple, but still neat keyboard elements. As the running track continues on to the next song, “Gloria” it just keeps on pushing some more tempo to the engine. The elusive ending track “The Final Walk” leaves a good taste of blood into the listeners mouth, as the pounding of instruments lasts for about 20 minutes.

Bloodred Hourglass is yet not superior, yet not flawless, but these young fellas from Mikkeli definetely know how to go forward and keep their attitude wicked and cool as is necessary. I bet we are going to hear some more stories from these guys later, so better stay tuned and check out free sample songs from the band’s homepage!

– Ismo Korhonen


February 27th, saturday night. 24 hours before this date and time I had no hunch I’d be in Mikkeli listening to the soundcheck of the town’s groovy headbangers – Bloodred Hourglass! As the band finished their soundcheck, the dinner and all the necessary deeds we took for our short interview made the guys even more nervous about the whole evening. The night club of Vaakuna hotel is normally filled with techno dingies and all sort of gogodoos, so it was more than necessary to fill the place with long haired, ugly guys to keep things well-balanced once in a while.

brhg_live2Before BRHG, strange fellas from Helsinki – Äänekoski regions made the audience go wild with their extreme metallish abomination. Nice & Evil, have to say. But still the real spark was just waiting to be unleashed at the backstage area. After midnight the babes of bloodreddinesh finally got their chance to start some serious ass-kicking! And when the main band finally shoved itself on the stage it seemed that the audience wasn’t a bit tired anymore – massive cheers filled up the dance floor and the show was ready to begin.

After the intro the band started to immediately command the crowd as the song Manners of Mace made people go nuts. After a few seconds the moshpit was already on and even this reporter himself got a helluva nice bruise for a souvenir from the event! After this training of manners, the infernal trinity of tracks EmpiriaDown To The Wire and Gloria showed the real insides of the band – and also the audience. Temperature rose rapidly and also the guys from the club security had their own problems handling the situation and keeping their over reacting attitude out of the scenario.

The one man comedy club of mr. Koukonen, the lead vocalist, kept the things not-too-serious and soThe Demanded Path lead to Lex Talionis, both being real riff shattering tracks. The guitar heroes Tiilikainen & Nenonen pushed out their very best and the beat factory bass-Jose and drum-Hyvönen kept the beat (and the heat?) up.

brhg_live1As usual, everything good ends at some point, and so did the show of BRHG. The remaining two tracksmade a huge blast in the audience – first came the hit song Lilith, which made even the BRHG merchandise guy freak out as he suddenly left his post and headed to the moshpit. Sweet! The Final Walk made the last pieces of sanity go away and all that remained was shattered bones, spilled beer and a certain type of wackiness, which lingered in Vaakuna’s dance floor until the club finally closed it’s doors.

Bloodred Hourglass made clear once again, that they can play amazingly at live situations, which is really necessary, because their records are supposed to sound the same as the playing on the stage. Huge thanks to all the great people at Vaakuna, Mikkeli itself and the Romo residence’s sofa, which seemed to be even better than my own bed…

– Ismo Korhonen