Whispered cover

Sure, we know that Japanese samurai warriors, with their bushido code of honor and their sharp katana swords, are seriously cool, right? Well, such warriors may be an existence of the past, but we can understand how they continue to hold a strong fascination for people not just in Japan, but abroad as well.  To our delight, we’ve found a group of such samurai fans, in far away Finland no less, and they’re making their fondness for samurai and Japanese culture heard very loudly indeed!

Meet WHISPERED, the Finnish heavy metal band whose look and work have a decidedly Japanese and samurai theme. And judging from comments online, Internet users who’ve heard the band’s music seem to have good things to say in this case of Japan meets Scandinavia!

Whispered のコピー

The four man band which features Jouni Valjakka on guitar and vocal, Mikko Mattila on guitar, Jussi Kallava on drums and Kai Palo on bass and backing vocal, have been active under their current name WHISPERED since 2004 (and as Zealot prior to that from 2001), They’ve released two albums to date, and even made their way to Japan in November of 2013, to perform at the “LOUD & METAL MANIA” festival held in Daikanyama.

The band members apparently have had a strong interest in Japanese culture since their youth, and it shows in their music, which uses traditional Japanese instruments such as the koto and shamisen to add a Japanese taste to the hard metal sound. Their first album, “Thousand Swords“, which was released in 2010, contains multiple references to a samurai theme, with song titles including words like “honor” and “blade”.

Their second album, titled “Shogunate Macabre“, came out in February last year and features song titles containing even more elements of Japanese horror and mythology, including mention of the legendary kappa (water imp) and the shinto goddess Amaterasu.

▼”JIKININKI”, another one of their songs in “Shogunate Macabre”, is inspired from a short story by Lafcadio Hearn, the writer also known by his Japanese name Yakumo Koizumi, and famous for his collection of  Japanese ghost stories.

The Japan-released version of “Shogunate Macabre” even has two bonus songs not included in the original album.

▼One is a cover of the theme song from the Japanese game Final Fantasy VII. We think it sounds totally cool and intense for a rendition of a fantasy RPG game theme.

▼The second bonus song in the Japanese version is a cover of the theme from the anime Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin,  which apparently is quite well-known in Finland by the title HOPEANUOLI. 

We were actually delighted that they covered this theme song, because the anime, which features a cast of speaking dogs that fight against a crazed bear, is one of our favorite old-school anime ever, and we even mentioned it in a previous article on the top five anime we love from more than 20 years ago.

So, what do you think of WHISPERED’s Japan and samurai themed music? The general opinion online seems to be that they’ve done a very respectable job of fusing Japanese elements with heavy/death metal music and that their passion for Japanese culture is genuinely deep and impressive. If the band’s Japanese-meets-Nordic metal style is to your liking, you can check out more of their work on their YouTube channel. Here’s to the “musical warriors with the samurai spirit” from the far north — we’re thrilled and honored to have our country featured in your music, and we look forward to more!

Source: Facebook (WHISPERED) via Japaaan Magazine (Japanese), Encyclopaedia Metallum
Photos: Facebook (WHISPERED)