Raskasta Joulua - Ragnarok Juletide (2014)

Raskasta Joulua is annual musical project held by member of Nightwish and Sonata Arctica. They are the Finland version of Trans-Siberian Orchestra, in which doing Christmas theme songs in it most metal possible. Hence, Raskasta Joulua mean "Heavy Christmas" in Finnish. The project has been held every year, and this is actually their 10th anniversary.

The first opening is quite a faithful Christmas vibes in "We Celebrate At Christmastime". The real winter adventure begins in "The First Noel", where the guitar riffs and typical heavy metal act gets going. It is a straight medley to "Here on the Hay", which is borrowing melody from Noel but in continued in new song. "Little Drummer Boy" is heavily improvised but didn't lost its signature soul. "The Elf" is narrative song, by Marco, to be continued by Elize Ryd in "Christmas Is Here". "Sylvia's Song" is also rarely heard new song in mid tempo ballad. "White Christmas" is full heavy metal rendering yet again, very heavy one indeed. "Home for Christmas" is in standard metal rendition, the same on "A Sparrow on a Christmas Morning". "Christmas Has Come" and "Ave Maria" all in power ballad mode blanket with top notch arrangements.

Definitely a holiday gift to every metal fans. Music are heavy enough yet capture the spirit of Christmas theme. The vast array of voices contributor mean this album is has plenty of characters to listen to. This is kind of Trans-Siberian and Avantasia in holiday theme.

Metal Harem class: ********* eight stars out of ten

Raskasta Joulua - Ragnarok Juletide (2014)
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01. We Celebrate At Christmastime
02. The First Noel
03. Here on the Hay
04. Little Drummer Boy
05. The Elf
06. Christmas Is Here
07. Sylvia's Song
08. White Christmas
09. Home for Christmas
10. A Sparrow on a Christmas Morning
11. Christmas Has Come
12. Ave Maria

The voices:

Elize Ryd (Amaranthe)
Marco Hietala (Nightwish)
J.P. Leppäluoto (Northern Kings)
Tony Kakko (Sonata Arctica)
Jarkko Ahola (Terasbetoni, Northern Kings)
Ari Koivunen (Amoral)
Pasi Rantanen (Thunderstone)
Antti Railio (2013 Voice of Finland winner)
Ville Tuomi
Antony Parviainen
Tuple Salmela
Kimmo Blom

The backing musicians:

Erkka Korhonen - guitar, arrangements (Northern King)
Tuomas Wäinölä - guitar
Vili Ollila - keyboards (Northern King)
Mirka Rantanen - drums (Thunderstone)
Erkki Silvennoinen - bass (Omnium Gathering)

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