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Twilight Ophera

Vorige maand besprak ik een uitstekend album van het Finse Twilight Ophera genaamd 'Descension'. Het album staat bol van vreemde elementen en avant-gardistische uitspattingen. Een origineel album dat zowel vooruitstrevende als goede nummers bevat die blijven boeien. Een puike plaat dus en het waard om een nader te belichten middels een interview met zanger/tekstdichter Mikko Häkkinen.

Door: Roel de Haan | Archiveer onder black metal

First of all congratulations with your new album 'Descension'. So how are you doing after all the hard work?
Thank you, it sure was a struggle, like giving birth to a rabid demon porcupine, but now the child is released to the audiences and we are so very proud of her. Reviews have been various, from praises to insults, just the way we expected. It seems to be music not for everyone, and it requires more effort to get into, so in every perspective a fine lady that needs lots of patience but the rewards is sweet as sin.

'Descension' is a very diverse record compared to a lot of black metal albums. A lot of influences emerge during the album, how do you make sure that the album still sounds as a whole?
Toni Näykki is the mastermind behind all music and in my opinion he has managed to keep that bloodred line through all the songs. Of course there are moments in this music that it evolves into dimensions unexpected and break some boundaries that usually limit this kind of music, but still those songs as a whole contain the same weird atmosphere and twisted sound through out the record.

Comparing is a natural thing to do when hearing music. I would say that the album has similarities to Dimmu Borgir, Arcturus and Morgul. How would you compare your music to others?
Finally some interesting comparisons, I'm so fed up with reviews that always bring out Cradle of Filth etc. I can definitely hear some spirit of old Arcturus and the madness of Morgul and that is the company I want us to be recognized with. And yes, I guess most people with more mainstream taste can associate us with fresh Dimmu Borgir. What then makes us unique and worth listening? In my opinion our expression is more theatrical, diverse and progressive (curse word for some) than bands usually playing this style and it has some distinctive Finnish witchery that is hard to pinpoint.

Most of your musicians are involved in other bands as well. Should people consider Twilight Ophera to be a side project or a full-grown band?
To us three core members (Toni, Timo and Me) Twilight Ophera will always be the most important way of expression. Nothing can change that. Mikko Kaipainen, one of the founding members of TO, saw himself heading for different direction after last album and started to consider our band as one of his side projects. That wouldn't do and now he is no longer part of this brotherhood. This separation was best for both parties and I wish him good luck with his future projects. We don't require so much dedication from our session members but we who create the art should do so with full heart.

How would you compare 'Descension' with your previous albums?
Our previous album “The End of Halcyon Age” was recorded after a long period of slumber and line-up changes so it is not as mature project as “Descension”. You can hear auguries of deeds to come but it was a sleeping giant with its fatal wounds. We can truly say that this new album is what have been after all these years. It contains the same symphonic elements and aggression as the verses of the past but with more skill, fire and violent lunacy. We have dropped some traditional heavy metal patterns and brought in new methods of composing metal music.

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What Is “The Order Of The Sanguine Diadem”?
As I mentioned before Twilight Ophera consists of only three members. We create the music and the poetry that supports it. We cherish and evolve the vision that is behind all movements of this art. During the composing of “Descension” we noticed how the music was turning so huge in many ways that it would require large group of people to perform. We embraced that idea and contacted people we know had talent, skill and passion to bring this album alive. It was some kind of fiendish cursed opera we were after with raving singers and possessed musicians who battle to summon the script alive. This idea was then continued with the covers and the “name” of the album. “The Order of the Sanguine Diadem” is the circle of people involved in this endeavour. The name implies to some kind of order that sacrifice their lifeblood to enthrone that which is meant to rule.

You are from Finland. Now Finland seems to be an endless source of metal bands. Why do you think that metal is popular in Finland?
All the northern countries seem to have strong metal scenes. Maybe it is because of long cold winters or strong mythologies that lay hidden suppressed by newer tame religions. The more popular rock and mainstream music in Finland has always contained melancholy and sorrow. In few last years metal has turned into some kind of trend in Finland which is good and bad in many ways. Of course it helps us to get resources and support we need to continue TO, but it also lures greedy parties to pillage and stain the scene. These clones and opportunists and the marketing machines behind them are just there to leech money from metal until the trend once more turns.

Is Twilight Ophera going to perform live any time soon?
We won't go touring unless we have means and resources to bring the music of “Descension” alive. It depends on how well the new album sells. We hate to think too much about money on this issue, but there is no way we would do some half hearted touring just to promote the album. It is either the whole package or we stay studio band and don't disgrace the vision of TO. We sure have the fire and the will to make it happen.

Which bands would you prefer to go on tour with when given the chance?
It doesn't really matter. The best would be to tour with some groups, which draw open-minded listeners. Maybe Arcturus would be an ideal partner, or Emperor if they would tour once again. Sadly both those bands have disappointed me with their newest albums. Or maybe I'm just an old fart with welded taste.

What are the future perspectives for Twilight Ophera?
We are all excited about “Descension” and it has really inspired us to aspire for new heights or dare the darkest depths. I believe there will be shorter wait this time for new TO album but it depends on our record deal situation. Our contract with Low Frequency Records ends with this album and we are searching for new opportunities.

Thank you for your time. The final words are for you.
We hope those with patience and passion for music with more depth could dwell into deep waters of “Descension”. I guarantee it won't be an easy journey but it will leave you forever changed, for better or worse. Thanks for this interview and stay true to yourself.

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