Evemaster – On Hallowed Ground
By: David E. Gehlke
Completing an album is not as easy as it looks. Just ask Evemaster mainman Tomi Mykkänen, who with a little help from his friends, spent the better part of three-plus years trying to complete the band's third album, III. The original plan was to have Children of Bodom drummer Jaska Raatilkainen hit the skins, but touring commitments with Bodom (read: Slayer) prevented Raatilkainen from recording. After a drunken chat with Moonsorrow's Ville Sorvali, Mykkänen secured part-time Battlelore (who Mykkänen also is a part of) drummer Enkku Khert-Neter's services, and thus drum recordings were completed all the way back in June of 2008. Bass, guitars, and vocals (by only other full-time member Jarno Raskula) were subsequently completed in February of 2009, and shortly there afterward Omnium Gatherum gunslinger Markus Vanhala provided a pair of solos, while My Sweet Sorrows keyboardist Ismo Monola added synths.
According to Mykkänen, the proverbial icing on the cake came in the form of the mixing/mastering services of Dan Swanö, who not only added his trademark sheen to III, but also lent his mystical clean vocals on "New Age Dawns." With all the guest appearances, one would never surmise that Mykkänen jumped through so many hoops, for III is a decisive, cunning melodic death metal platter, stocked with prime Finnish melodies that is on full display on world-beating numbers like the aforementioned "New Age Dawns," along with "Humanimals" and "Losing Ground." And as it stands at the present time, it’s perhaps the year's best pure melodic death metal album, and subsequently improves upon the black-death combo heard on 2005’s rather intoxicating MMIV.
Since III has yet to lose its muster, we figured it would be a good idea to rope Mykkänen in a for a chat. And luckily for Blistering, the multi-talented guitarist responded in kind. Have a gander...
Blistering.com: To start with the obvious, why such the long layoff between MMIV and III?
Tomi Mykkänen: We (I) kind of worked on the album for a long time even though not like every day or anything like that. It was on and off. But, I was not in a hurry and recording on my own equipment gave me the freedom. After everything was recorded I gave Dan (Swanö) a nice surprise and told him that the material was finally ready to be mixed. He was waiting for it, so he started working on the material straight away. I had recorded a few clean vocals here and there myself, but as I hate my own voice, I wanted someone to re-record them. So Dan was nice enough to do it when I boldly asked him if he wanted to.
When the first mix of “New Age Dawns” came from Dan, I almost cried when I heard the middle part with his vocals. I was so proud of myself, Jarno, all my friends and Dan. Finally, the album is getting to be readied. After that it took a few emails and the album was mixed and mastered. Then I asked my other dear friend Timo (Honkanen, Death-Illustrated, Battlelore, Dark Elite) if he was up to making the covers for the album, and he was. So after a while, we had a full album with artwork ready for a release. So I started checking for possible labels to work with. It took some time and then we got in touch with Johnny Hagel (Tiamat) of Supernova records and then all the label-stuff was handled and finally in June 2010, the album was released in Scandinavia. Supernova was also able to do the digital release of the album but they were not going to release it as a CD worldwide which I of course, would have preferred. So after long waiting, we finally got the word from the label that we are free to work on the worldwide release so then we enter the time being. We contacted Inverse records and started working on the new release. And now it's finally out so that anyone can get it.
Blistering.com: What ultimately brought the two of you back together for the recording of III? Was it easy to get back into the swing of things?
Mykkänen: Well, me and Jarno we've known each other since 8th grade (we were 13-14 years old back then). Been through a lot since. So, basically the delays have been because of me. Jarno would have worked a lot faster but it takes so much time for me to come up with new songs and demoing them so that Jarno can start rehearsing vocals. But as you can see from above, that we've been working for a long time and we also made a few gigs so it was no problem getting back into the swing of things. Now we are trying to do it again; Jarno is kicking my ass about new songs and I'm trying to do something but it seems that I have so many other things happening in life at the moment that it's hard to find some free spots to sit down and start writing new material.
Blistering.com: Your sound has certainly been refined since MMIV. Do you think you’ve fully shed the black metal elements from your early days?
Mykkänen: III is kind of different, I share your point of view. I have a few song ideas brewing at the moment and I have to say that the black metal elements are not fully shed yet. We'll see how it will turn out to be, but I'm not making any decision to any side, what comes out comes out and we'll see if it works.