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Friday, January 18, 2013
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Although for a lot of us Broken may be the first time we hear of this Tampere, Finland based Modern Heavy Metal band, its foundation goes back to the Spring of 2002, when guitarist Niko Rauhala and drummer Janne Juutinen founded the band.

With changing members [singer Jari Tiura (formerly of Snakegod, he is a current member of Stargazery) was with the band between 2003 and 2004; keyboardist Mikko Viheriälä, whom apparently had been with the band from its beginning, left in 2004, never to be heard of again in other bands, apparently; second guitarist Markus Kekoni (a former member of Crystalic – of which Janne and Niko were also part at some time) was added to the line-up in 2003] the band recorded a threesome of demos between 2002 and 2004 (2002's Facing The Truth, 2003's Children Of The War, and 2004's Rainy Days), and even released a first DVD (2004's Masterstroke Live At YO). In Spring 2005 Niko again took over lead vocal duties, and with a line-up also including keyboardist Jussi Kulomaa (joined in 2004 as replacement of the aforementioned Mikko Viheriälä) and original bassist Arto Tissari, the band recorded its first full-length Apocalypse. Tissari actually left the band right after the recordings to concentrate on the other bands he was also playing in, and was replaced by current bassist Marko Kolehmainen (formerly of Cerebro and Status Minor). Although already finished that same Spring, it took the band's label a full year to release the album, and then only in Japan and Russia, instead of world-wide as originally intended.

A lot of bands would see that as a sign to quit, but with the strength found in their rejuvenated outfit, it made the band members even more determined to continue. During 2006, the band played a few gigs, and wrote new material in an even harder vein than before. Eventually the guys recorded a pre-production CD which they sent out to several labels. From the bunch that reacted positively, the guys then decided to go with Dynamic Arts Record...not only because they made the better deal, but also because they operated in their native language, and are housed in the same city as the band itself! To support the next two albums (2007's Sleep and 2009's As Days Grow Darker, the band played quite a few gigs, both in and out of Finland, and even toured Europe during 2008 and 2009 as support (along with Manticora) for John Oliva's Pain. Remembered additional highlights from the 2008 tour was to play support to none less than Scorpions in Madrid, and to Primal Fear at another opportunity.

For their 4th album, recorded during the band's 10th Anniversary Year, the songs were carefully selected. Now, if this can be an indicator of what you might expect, here's a couple of things the label said about Sleep: “Predators of Melodic Heavy Metal. Killer choruses, ultra atmospheric tunes packed with top quality production...,” about As Days Grow Darker : “Today's Melodic Heavy Metal. In the vein of Evergrey, Nevermore and the likes...,” and finally about Broken : “Lots of material was discarded during the composing phase to ensure the result is as good and compact as humanly possible. The catchy choruses and melodies are still there not to talk about the elegant guitar work and solos but just more unique than ever”! Sounds great, don't it? But in the end, I guess the end result would have to be to your personal liking. If indeed what you've read above does agree with you, you might listen to some songs posted at (www.) (also a video available of the new album's title track), or at (www.) (other songs available)! Hum...that “masterstrokefinland” being suggestive that there may be more bands by the same name around, I investigated and found a Speed Metal act from Italy and a Heavy/ Power Metal act from Brazil...but the first have long since split, and the second (who had their name taken down as Master Stroke) hasn't been heard of anymore after its '87 demo, so I guess there won't be any copyright issues any time soon!