Check out HOME OF THE WIND, the forthcoming documentary about Moonsorrow's first 20 years of history, based on this biography. Crowdfunding campaign starting in May!

28 August 2010



Mitja Harvilahti

Mitja was born in Helsinki on December 29th 1979. As a kid he studied classical guitar and music theory for something more than ten years, but he declares himself seriously obsessed with electric guitars since he knew the Beatles, being four years old; actually, being that age he did an acoustic guitar concert with his father. He lived for couple years in Italy and surrounding countries when he was a child; already as an adult, in Finland, he studied cinematography, and currently he works as a cameraman, gaffer and as a freelance photographer.

He joined Moonsorrow as a live guitarist in 2000, and a short time later he was already an official member. He has also participated in other bands, like Tyrant, his first band; Milkweed, who later changed their name to The Sinkage (Janne played here as well); Shadow Cut, in which Mitja played the bass; and more weird things like Itäväylä. Finally, he has appeared as a guest in albums by other bands, either singing or playing guitar. He's endorsed by Amfisound Guitars.


Evil elf goes metal
(Kemi 2006)
2008 (UK)

Shadow Cut - Throatcuts nine

20 August 2010

Chapter 6.2

In the spring of 2005, Henri and Marko recorded a demo with a parallel project they had created, also featuring two more guys I don’t know, called Ukkosenjumalan Pojat (Sons of the God of Thunder), in a clear allusion to Suden uni’s opening track, “Ukkosenjumalan poika”. This recording was uploaded to the Internet; their style was a tongue-in-cheek mixture between folk and punk, in the vein of Ireland’s Dropkick Murphys; Marko described it with a word I find quite amusing: folkcore – yeah, without L. Henri called it folkish-oi!/streetpunk. The demo was called Viikonloppu Valhallassa (weekend in Valhalla) and contained six tracks, three of which had extracts uploaded in the internet. In

Ukkosenjumalan Pojat cover
Marko’s words, “All I can say we did this one demo for ourselves just to know how this new band is sounding and if it's gonna work. So far we've been more than satisfied although it's been made in a huge rush and alcoholic state of mind. One Swedish UG-record label [UG=underground] contacted us so maybe we'll put some mini cd out from that session.” But that never happened. The next time something was heard about them was one year later, in June 2006, when they told they had decided to write the songs in English, so they had also changed their name for Thunderdogs, by swapping letters from thunder gods I guess. Trollhorn informed: “We have changed our lyrics to English and thought about changing the band- name also. More about that when it's official. But the point: We're definitely not dead. But at the moment we've got our hands full of Moonsorrow (and other shit, like Finntroll for me) so we really haven't had time to concentrate on the band lately. However, we will activate in october or so, so have no worries!!!!!!!!” Then October came, and October passed, and the months that follow October passed, and nothing was heard about this project again. The

Raah raah blääh cover
following time they were asked about this matter, already in March 2009, Marko’s answer was simple: “The lack of time happened.” The few minutes they uploaded can still be found here: Ukkosenjumalan Pojat.

The Raah Raah Blääh story didn’t finish when Verisäkeet came out. In autumn 2004, short after finishing the recording, an impatient fan asked for a sample of the new material in the forum. On November 1st, Henri said: well, here’s your sample, and linked to a real song recorded by the band, called “Kuolema taidehomoille… ja muille!”. The track was short and lacking any musical quality – they had apparently recorded it during some spare time they had. People played along with them and some said they could make a whole album like that; then Henri revealed: “We were just talking last weekend […] that maybe we should do it. You see, as the song took me and Ville 5 minutes to "compose" and 10 minutes for everyone to learn, we could basically reserve Jukka's studio for... say, two days and actually make that "Raah Raah Blääh"- album. There.” And that’s what they did. In the end of April 2005 they recorded the album and uploaded some pictures in their website; finally, on September 19th they uploaded they whole thing to the internet in mp3 format together

Lakupaavi: audio terrorists
with the lyrics in Finnish. They obviously didn’t want to “stain” the name of Moonsorrow with these twenty-something grind punk chaos tracks (more than one fan got scared), so the material came out under the name of Lakupaavi, meaning “liquorice pope”. Henri made a horrible artwork which was uploaded too. For some reason, Markus wasn't a part of the "official" line-up, however he wrote and performed the outro for the album. So the line-up consisted of the other four, plus Janne, plus Jukka Varmo, their sound engineer. In Lakupaavi, the six members had a nickname:

Henri - The Sieg Heil Man;
Ville - Dead Editor;
Marko - Pate Perestroika (Perestroika Head);
Janne - Luxus Kristus (Luxurious Christ);
Mitja - Vitun Mitu (Fucking Mitu);
Jukka - Pentti Orvokki (Violet Boy or something).

Translations can be wrong, blame Google for that. Later on, Ville laughed when asked about this matter: “We did it for fun, it was a joke of drunks, we didn’t think it would be news, blame Blabbermouth or whoever published it.” Marko mentioned a couple of times that they would do two more albums in the future and complete a trilogy, but so far (August 2010) they didn’t do anything more. However, in Ville’s words: “Lakupaavi is NEVER dead”. Link to the site:

And this is basically what happened during 2005. Of fifteen concerts they did in all the year, seven were in Finland, and eight in other European countries; the tendency started to reverse.

Lakupaavi - Kuolema taidehomoille... ja muille!

Ukkosenjumalan Pojat - Demo medley

Chapter 6.1 - Index - Chapter 7

10 August 2010

Chapter 6.1

Chapter 5.2 - Index - Chapter 6.2

Sixth chapter:

Moonsorrow’s debut album, Suden uni, was liked by many people and earned them a contract with an important label. Voimasta ja kunniasta was a surprise for the public and soon became a reference in the genre, as well as attracted many people’s attention and earned them some new fans. For the third album, the expectation was relatively big, the result fulfilled it and hit the charts in a high position. Now, for the fourth opus, the expectation was high again, for it would be difficult to surpass Kivenkantaja. And again they surprised the public. But must be said

Verisäkeet artwork
that, if I’m not wrong, Verisäkeet was the first album that leaked in the internet before its official release, it actually could be found in p2p networks as soon as December, and this didn’t please the guys at all. Thus, the day of the release, many people with interest in the album knew it already; however, on February 25th it was released and, pre-listened or not, it turned out not to be an attempt to surpass the previous one, but something completely different to anything they had done before. It’s still epic, it still sounds like Moonsorrow and the songs keep getting longer and longer, but all the pomposity and the baroque style of Kivenkantaja were gone, replaced by much darker atmospheres and raw sounds. This time around, the influence of the second wave of black metal (aka Norwegian black metal) was more evident, including some blastbeats (the last had been in “Pakanajuhla”, the fifth song in Suden uni) and atmospheric keyboards, with less protagonism than before; they remind of

The case
Burzum in some moments. No Emperor here, though.

They had Hittavainen as a guest again, who recorded some bagpipe parts for “Karhunkynsi”, but finally they were not used, “because it sounded like a hundred drunken Scots invading our studio and exploding their bagpipes to ruin our majestic march”, said Henri. (If you’re curious, you can check out Arkona’s “Po syroi zemle” and you’ll get an idea of how it would sound... it’s incredible how much both songs resemble each other – and both were released the same year.) Not only the music is dark: the disc’s case is completely made of black opaque plastic, with the logo in golden letters in the front and a small sticker with the songtitles in the back. The booklet is austere, made of matt paper, and, for the first time in several years, it doesn’t have the translations of the lyrics, because they wanted to make it as austere as possible. In Ville’s words, “the booklet was left very simple, it would be too big with the translations. We have no compromises in our concept, it’s a way of showing it… this is what we do, take or leave it”.
Chap, chap
However, they can be found at their website. Besides, one can find a couple of references to the joke/lie: among the thanks, it says “Blabbermouth for the truth”, and the inner side of the inlay, in such a way that it can only be seen if you remove the black plastic, says “Raah raah blääh!” in one side and “Kuolema taidehomoille!” (the first title of the false tracklist) in the other. There was also a change in the promo pictures: they weren’t disguised as warriors in snowy landscapes, but this time they were made at Ville’s father’s basement, and the five of them appeared partly naked, splashing about in a pool of mud. One week after its release, the album was in position 18 of the Finnish charts.


Chapter 5.2 - Index - Chapter 6.2