Jari HurskainenVOCALS Timo NybergGUITARS/ BACKING VOCALS Kimmo AroluomaBASS/ BACKING VOCALS Nalle OstermanDRUMS/ BACKING VOCALS
|Gandalf were formed in 1993 at Helsinki, Finland by drummer and main songwriter (then guitar player) Nalle Österman, guitarist Timo Nyberg and vocalist Jari Hurskainen helped out by a session drummer Mika "Gas Lipstick" Karppinen, who nowadays plays with the acclaimed HIM. After a few years of rehearsing, gigging and demoing, with Nalle changing over from guitar to drums, it was on the "Cradle" (1995) and "Snakebite" demos that Gandalf's music finally bloomed.
Both demos got full points in Terrorizer among others and all reviews were very enthusiastic. So much that they eventually got contacted by Wicked World. A contract was signed and their debut album "Deadly Fairytales" was recorded in Spring 1998 at Astia Studio in Lappeenranta, Finland by Anssi Kippo (Children Of Bodom, Sinergy, Impaled Nazarene).
The foundation of "Deadly Fairytales" was based on the best tracks taken from "The Cradle" and "Snakebite" (The Cradle, Dark Memories, Marionette, Forlorn), mixed with some newer tunes making it a recommendable piece for fans of melodic death groove and bands like In Flames, Sentenced and Carcass. Although "Deadly Fairytales" got good reviews when it was released in Autumn 1998, it lacked the energy and power of the acclaimed demos. Even if the playing was flawless, too much polishing had rubbed the edge of the music, which eventually led many people writing "Deadly Fairytales" off as "just another melodic death metal record."
Eager to prove otherwise, Gandalf is now striking back with their second offering, the wonderfully titled "Rock Hell", which simply does just that, ROCKS HELL! For this record Jari, Nalle and Timo were joined by bass virtuoso Kimmo Aroluoma, who brought in some sweet new air into the music with his 70's style of playing.
"Rock Hell" contains only new material, the only exceptions being revamped versions of The Dragon and Morning Sun. Morning Sun was rearranged and re-recorded for the new Gandalf album "Rock Hell" and became eventually the first video to be picked from the album. However, as a special treat from Gandalf for the buyers of the Immortalised DVD, the video you are seeing here is in a slightly different form than on the version seen on TV!
"We didn't give a shit to what people would expect from us, we just went in the studio to make great music. We didn't bow down to anyone, because by doing that you show your ass to someone else. The only people we might have bowed down for were ourselves by don't caring how other people would react to "Rock Hell". We just went into the studio to rock hell and the record is a result of it. And if we're proud of this record? Well, let's put it this way, I can now die in peace", comments Nalle Österman.
Mixing up the different eras in metal into something fresh and unique, "Rock Hell" was recorded during the Spring and Summer of 2000 at Seawolf Studios in Viapori, Finland with producer Hannu Leiden. Hannu is an old hard rock veteran, who has worked for several decades playing and producing music. Before concentrating on producing bands he made quite a career as the lead singer and main songwriter for Havana Black, who sold several hundred thousand records in the United States alone in late eighties/early nineties. Nalle has only good things to say about Hannu:
"I can probably speak safely on the behalf of rest of the guys by saying that with Hannu we finally were able to work with a person who seemed to understand our vision and what our music needed. It felt like finally we found a home for our music - just like Iron Maiden with Martin Birch or Entombed with Tomas Skogsberg. This was simply the best and most enjoyable studio session we've had at the same time as it was the most challenging and most difficult."
"We recorded the album in very poor circumstances and every day was a struggle in getting money for food and beverages, at the same time as it felt like different forces around us tried to make and wanted to see us fail. But I think the problems we had made "Rock Hell" an even stronger album because of the fact that we didn't give in. For me it felt like David fighting against Goliath or the Finnish soldiers fighting against Russians during the winter war! So if you like our video, then don't hesitate to give a listen to "Rock Hell" as well!"
After Gandalf split following a UK tour with Katatonia in 2001, mainman Nalle Osterman eventually joined something of a Finnish metal group in the form of Chaosbreed. Featuring members of Amorphis and Sentenced, Choasbreed's debut album 'Brutal' is due imminently on Century Media.
For more info check www.chaosbreed.net
Update: After Gandalf split following a UK tour with Katatonia in 2001, mainman Nalle Osterman eventually joined something of a Finnish metal supergroup in the form of Chaosbreed. Featuring members of Amorphis and Sentenced, Chaosbreed's debut album 'Brutal' is due imminently on Century Media.
For more info check www.chaosbreed.net