|THE STORY SO FAR…
Everybody seems to know The Lord Of Rings saga. The Middle Earth is familiar to millions, as well. But we are happy to inform you, that more and more people are also familiar with The Land Of The Crystal Mountain. They might even know that there is a place called Stone Woods or Stone Forest, whatever you like. In this forest there lives a druid, namely Druid Of The Stone Forest - Kivimetsän Druidi in Finnish.
The good and the evil are fighting their everlasting fight over the power and the means of power and might. One brother deceives another, nobody honours one's neighbour's property and anger blinds and blackens one's mind. But do you remember where and when this all began?
Two brothers from a small Finnish town called Kouvola, Antti (keyboard) and Joni Koskinen (guitar, growling vocals) decide that they have had enough of playing cover songs and end up writing their own songs. The most influential album that innovates their song writing and they both love and cherish is Moonsorrow's 'Voimasta ja kunniasta' (Of Strength and Honour).
While jamming at their home garage they write their first folk metal song. Joni writes the lyrics and the song is named "Viimeinen Peikkokuningas" (The Last of the Troll Kings). They wonder how to call their two-man project and finally decide to call it Kivimetsän Druidi (The Druid of the Stone Forest), because the lyrics are based on the fantasy novel, that Joni is writing. The novel tells a story ftom The Land of the Crystal Mountain and Stone Forest.
Come the end of the year and Antti and Joni have written more songs. They record a homemade seven song demo and call it 'Kristallivuoren Maa' (The Land of the Crystal Mountain). The seven songs are 1. Hvel Efangon (prelude), 2. Viimeinen Peikkokuningas (The Last of the Troll Kings), 3. Kristallivuoden Maa (instrumental) (The Land of the Crystal Mountain), 4. Neljä Kansaa (Four Nations), 5. Tulitanssi (instrumental) (Fire Dance), 6. Scrunin Taru (Tale of Scrun), 7. Kotimatka (Outro) (Way Back Home).
Antti Rinkinen (guitar), Lukas Pearsall (keyboard), Jani Rämä (drums) and Jouni Riihelä (bass) join Kivimetsän Druidi and with this line-up the band begin intensive reheasals at the Ratamontie garage in order to get their first live gig.
In June Kivimetsän Druidi takes part to a local band happening at the Kouvola city centre. The audience vote Kivimetsän Druidi as their favourite band of the evening and as a reward Kivimetsän Druidi is invited to play at the Tykkimäki Amusement Park's season's closing down party.
Annika Laaksonen (clean vocals) joins Kivimetsän Druidi and makes the sound more versatile and colourful.
At the Tykkimäki Amusement Park the attendance of more than 200 comes to see Kivimetsän Druidi. There can be seen the signs of local hype.
Through intensive reheasals the band's music has evolved significantly. The band's music is now a mystic and epic mix of heavy riffs, medieval and celtic melodies that has a tendency to stick to one's mind like tar, cheerful humppametal, beautiful folkish vocals, dark blackmetal kind of growls that rise from six feet under and majestic double keyboards.
Kivimetsän Druidi's fame began to grow at the Finnish web site for unsigned bands - the Mikseri.net (www.mikseri.net/kmd). They get quite favourable feedback.
Kivimetsän Druidi supports a top Finnish popmetal band Uniklubi at the Valkeala-talo concert.
When the band attend a real recording studio for the very first time in December to record their first demo ep, expectations are high up. Their debut ep 'Taival' (The Journey) is recorded at the Carelian Corner Studio by Jani Huusari. The three songs are 1. Kristallivuoren Maa (The Land of the Crystal Mountain), 2. Veljet (The Brothers) and 3. Viimeinen Peikkokuningas (The Last of the Troll Kings).
"Taival" ep gains great reviews. It is praised not only in metal and rock web sites, but also in metal and rock magazines. Indierockpunkmetalzine Sue and metal mag Hamara publish interviews, too. But this is only the beginning. Very soon foreign web sites began to ask for the demo to be reviewed. 'Taival' is praised also in foreign web sites in spite of the fact that Kivimetsän Druidi sings in Finnish!
In August "Veljet" is included in Metal Storm net sites' compilation 'Follow The Storm' and later in October in Miasma Magazine's second compilation cd. Kivimetsän Druidi wins over lots of fans from all over the Europe and even from Costa Rica, Morocco, USA and Australia.
Joni Koskinen and Antti Rinkinen serve their military service during the first half of the year.
Kivimetsän Druidi is playing more and more gigs. They even attend for the very first time the rock festival, when they are asked to play in Koria-Roll festival in July. This gig is a success. Despite of early appearance time, the frond of the stage is full of audience many of whom sing the songs along.
In November Jani Rämä decides to step aside and move on to become a technician for the band. The band arranges a try-out to find a new drummer and finally Ville Ryöti is chosen. Ville's very first gig is played a couple of weeks later at Iltatähti in Lappeenranta supporting Battlelore. This is the first gig outside their home county and the response is enthusiastic. 'Taival' cd-ep is sold out during and after the gig.
In December they are heading to Jani Huusari's Carelian Corner Studio again.
The second private pressing ep 'Mustan Valtikan Aika' comes out in January. It gains even more interest from all over the Europe than 'Taival'. The reviewers give this ep praise and top points. There are four varied and powerful songs on this ep: 1. Pohjoinen Mahti (The Northern Might), 2. Koston Miekka (The Sword of Revenge), 3. Pedon Loitsu (The Spell of the Beast) and 4. Mustan Valtikan Aika (The Era of the Black Scepter).
More and more metal people, both professionals and fans, appear to know the band. This is evidenced at the Heavy Metal Expo fair in Helsinki.
"Pedon Loitsu" receives most attention. It is chosen again to Metal Storm's 'Follow The Storm' web compilation in April and is downloaded almost 450 times. For the first time Kivimetsän Druidi's song is chosen as the 'Choise of the Week' in Mikseri.net. At the beginning of May "Pedon Loitsu" peeks the Mikseri.net chart as a new number one song. It holds the number one position for five weeks and end up staying in the Top-40 for eleven weeks and so earn a place in Mikseri.net's "List Heaven". "Pedon Loitsu" has been downloaded incredibly more than 15.000 times so far!
'Taival' ep is voted the third best demo record of the year by the members of Metal Storm net site. Kivimetsän Druidi is the only Finnish band among the ten nominees.
The record companies both in Finland and in Europe begin to show interest in Kivimetsän Druidi.
More and more gigs are offered to Kivimetsän Druidi. In May they are invited to support Korpiklaani at the legendary Klubi in Turku and in July they play once again at Koria-Roll feltival.
After the Turku Klubi gig Jouni Riihelä move over and Simo Lehtonen from a small place called Sulkava replace him as a band's new bass virtuoso. Simo's first gig is played at the Dico in Espoo.
After the Koria-Roll festival the band's leading lady Annika Laaksonen decides to concentrate on her studies and to move over. She had told the news already in May so that the band could have enough time to look for a new female singer. It is a long and eventful process. They arrange numerous try-outs and finally they find what they heve been looking for.
At the beginning of August Jenni Onishko from the nearby town of Kuusankoski joins Kivimetsän Druidi.
The latter half of the year 2006 sees Kivimetsän Druidi touring more intensively than ever. They will play a three gig mini-tour together with Korpiklaani (at Kouvola, Kotka and Lappeenranta) in November and also have gigs in Helsinki Hevimesta (in October) and Lahti (in December).
At the end of October Kivimetsän Druidi heads once again to studio (NoiseCamp Studio in Turku) to record a new three song promo ep. This time they have promised to sing a couple of songs in English.
After three, meanwhile sold out demo CDs, "Taival" (2004), "Mustan Valtikan Aika" (2006) and "The New Chapter" (2007), which received massive media and fan praise, the fourth demo CD "Taottu" was the one that convinced Century Media Records to take Finland's probably most promising new act under their wings.
Even without a strong label in its back, Kivimetsän Druidi has already played almost 100 gigs, one third of them abroad during a first European tour in support of fellow Finnish folkmetallers Korpiklaani between October and November 2007. This tour marked an overwhelming debut on European stages as the band fronted sold-out venues in Berlin, Budapest, Milan, Paris, London and Amsterdam, and took them through 14 different countries.
For its Century Media debut, Kivimetsän Druidi entered Noise Camp studio in Turku with producer Esa Orjatsalo in early June. The result is a stunning opus telling tales about loyalty and love, defection and hate, darkness and light, bravery and fear. Ten epic, dark, wondrous, noble and cheerful, but all the way heavy songs with fantastic lyrics dealing with everlasting battle between good and evil, hatred and forgiveness, jealousy and willpower.
Leeni-Maria's beautiful female vocals are perfectly contrasted with Joni's brutal growls from six feet under. Antti's majestic and voluminous keyboard sound is already characteristic for the band while Rinksa and Joni attack your eardrums with extremely heavy riffs. However, the basics of Kivimetsän Druidi's accurate and hefty sound comes from the talented rhythm duo Atte (drums) and Simo (bass).
In September and October 2008, Kivimetsän Druidi will tour their native Finland incl. an album release gig with Korpiklaani and Battlelore, followed by a European release show on the 1st of November at Ultima Ratio Festival in Oberhausen, Germany and a massive European tour in November / December '08 with Korpiklaani, Battlelore and Falchion.
Eighteen months since their acclaimed Century Media debut album 'Shadowheart' and loads of gigs, mostly outside their home land Finland, have seen these up and coming Finnish Fantasy Metal shooting stars to mature into a firm crowd favourite. Kivimetsän Druidi's unmistakeable, heavy, drivingly fast and highly athmospheric sound has won them quickly a worldwide fanbase. Two successful European tours, recent North American tour - Heathenfest America in November and numerous festival gigs in 19 different countries. Now these youngsters have already a total of 140 gigs under their belt!
'Betrayal, Justice, Revenge' was recorded at MadMix Studio in Kivimetsän Druidi's home town Kouvola between September and December 2009 by Aki Väkevä and Jani Huusari. It was mixed by Aki Väkevä who also co-produced the album with the band members. Mika Jussila then mastered the album at Finnvox Studios in Helsinki earlier this year.
The new album is versatile, diverse and full of surprises. If the debut album was more or less a collection of songs from a lengthy period of three or four years, 'Betrayal, Justice, Revenge' expresses what Kivimetsän Druidi's music is right now. Although the brothers Koskinen (Antti and Joni) have once again been mainly responsible for the music, Atte Marttinen, Antti Rinkinen and Leeni-Maria Hovila have also taken considerably part to the writing process. And most of the lyrics were written by Leeni-Maria. So this time the songwriting process has very much been team work.
In addition to the strong set of songs it's easy to notice Leeni-Maria's vastly improved singing on this album. Her vocal work crowns the heaviness and epicness of the songs. With Joni's growling vocals the combination works wonders here. Joni's and Rinksa's guitar riffs attack the poor listener severely and Antti's majestic keyboards are supported by Atte's skilled orchestrations. The heavy and accurate basics are once again provided by the rhythm duo Atte and Simo.
The industrious touring can be heard on this album. They can really play their instruments. The Heathenfest America tour with Eluveitie, Alestorm, Belphegor, and Vreid convinced them that they have great support also in the USA and Canada, not only in Europe. This was concretely proved in San Francisco, CA where the audience knew the songs and sung along. With a new album to support Kivimetsän Druidi raise their horns and are ready for the battle. They will first tour in their home country, then conquer as many festival stages as possible in Finland and the rest of Europe and finally tour once again in Europe latest this fall. And if asked, they would love to go back to the North America as well!
(Source: http://www.kivimetsandruidi.com, http://www.centurymedia.com)