EVERFROST – Mikael Salo & Benjamin Connelly, Helsinki 2017

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Everfrost are a fresh-faced group of symphonic power metallers, straight out of Lapland. Their melodic and epic compositions are laced with elements of fantasy and anime -inspired storytelling. Following their 2015 debut album, Blue Eyed Emotion, they grew eager to invade the stages, hearts, and minds of people all across Finland and more. We caught up with singer Mikael Salo and keyboardist Benjamin Connelly on their first-ever Helsinki show, celebrating the release of their new EP, Appetite for Candlelight.

 

I understand that this is your first gig in Helsinki and second gig altogether?
Mikael Salo: Yeah, the first one was the Wacken Battle in Jyväskylä.

Mikael, weren’t you also in Northern Seer?
MS: Haha, we actually had some members from Northern Seer in the audience tonight. The band is still together and playing but at the moment my active group would be Everfrost. As for Northern Seer, we’ll have to see once 2017 gets going.

The band’s name is quite curious. Everfrost as in, not permafrost. Where does that come from exactly?
Benjamin Connelly: Well, it’s actually the name of the place, the city in which the characters in our stories live. We also wanted to call the band that.

MS: It’s a lot like Rhapsody, how they have their own world. We wanted our records to have one too.

So what genre do you consider yourselves to be?
BC: We like the term ‘winter metal.’ Someone from the livestream of our last show called us ‘winter war anime metal.’ We really liked that, haha. Maybe simply melodic metal with elements of anime.

MS: Aside from these cute names, I guess a more official genre would be symphonic power metal.

Which leads me to the next question: what are your biggest musical influences?
MS: There’s a clear presence of Sonata Arctica, Nightwish, and even Turmion Kätilöt.

BC: …A little, yeah. And also things like Finntroll and Korpiklaani. It depends on the song, really.

So about this fantasy realm. Could you summarize it for us? What is it all about?
BC: The idea is that the story has a continuous arc that flows into the next album. We don’t know yet if we will always have the same characters but most likely it’s going to still take place in the same world. It’s always going to be about the lives of these people in Everfrost.

MS: And even the new EP has one song that has to do with the story. It reveals new information.

BC: Yeah, we wanted to give more exposition so that the next album would be easier to follow. Especially for newcomers. The first one was admittedly a tad cryptic and we’d like to be more straightforward in our storytelling.

Can you tell us a bit about the line-up changes from the first record?
MS: Yes, in fact, on the first one they had professional opera singer, Hew Wagner, on lead vocals. But since he has obligations in Australia, we needed a singer who could play live here, which is where I came in.

BC: Yeah, we altogether wanted to bring in many singers. We had this idea like how they do over at Avantasia; to have multiple singers playing different parts. It helps to establish the characters and further illustrates the story. As it is now though, Mikael is our main lead vocalist currently and will continue to be.

MS: That’s the first I’ve heard of it, haha. We also had a featuring artist on the first one, Swan Davies, doing the female vocals. We’ve been thinking of having three singers on stage in the future.

About these future plans, do you intend on playing more gigs here in the South?
BC: We have at least some festivals coming up here, including Korso Rock. I’m also writing and composing the next record.

MS: Tonight is, of course, all about the new EP we just released.

BC: Of course, the new album is still only in the works. We’re hoping to start recording maybe at the end of the year or maybe early next year. It probably won’t come out until, if I had to guess, summer 2018. We’ll of course be touring before that as well.

Great, we’ll be looking forward to it!

Photos: Miia Collander

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