Bloodred Hourglass (also referred as BRHG) is a Finnish melodic death metal band from Mikkeli. Formed in 2005, the group consists of vocalist Jarkko Koukonen, drummer Jarkko Hyvönen, bassist Jose Moilanen, and guitarists Lauri Silvonen, Joni Lahdenkauppi, and Eero Silvonen. The band is currently signed to Out of Line Music. BRHG has released five full-length studio albums: Lifebound (2012), Where the Oceans Burn (2015), Heal (2017), Godsend (2019) and Your Highness (2021). Band is mostly considered as a melodic death metal group, but their fifth studio album Your Highness showed them moving towards a more modernised approach in their sound, bringing in elements from metalcore and alternative metal as well as the introduction of clean vocals for the first time in their history.
Origin: Mikkeli, Finland
Genres: Melodic death metal, metalcore, alternative metal
Years active: 2005-present
Labels: Spinefarm Records, OneManArmy, Ranka Kustannus, Ward Records, Out of Line Music
Associated acts: Wolfheart, MyGrain
Antti Nenonen (guitar)
Jarkko Tiilikainen (guitar)
Ilkka Jähi (guitar)
Bloodred Hourglass was founded in 2005 when vocalist Jarkko Koukonen and drummer Jarkko Hyvönen wanted to start something more serious, after sharing a history of playing in mutual elementary school band courses and performances. Bass player Jose Moilanen was asked to join the project, together with their now former guitarists Antti Nenonen and Ilkka Jähi. After recording and releasing a few self-produced demos, replacing their guitar player Ilkka with Jarkko Tiilikainen in 2008 and playing around 60 shows in Finland between 2006-2010, the band started to focus on their debut album in 2011.
In 2012 Bloodred Hourglass recorded their first full-length studio album and signed a record deal with Spinefarm Records. Lifebound was recorded and mixed by Jori Haukio from Ansa Studios and mastered by Svante Forsbäck from Chartmakers. The album was released on August 24th 2012, securing #22 on the official Finnish album charts. The band was a familiar sight on many festival stages in Finland in the following summer of 2013, including Sauna Open Air, Tuska Open Air, Nummirock, Q-Stock and Jurassic Rock festivals. According to the band, at the time of the debut album they were still seeking their own sound.
Where the Oceans Burn (2015)
In 2014 BRHG recorded their second album Where the Oceans Burn, which showed the band's music developing into a more serious and melancholic melodic death metal sound. Before the composing process and entering the studio, the band replaced their guitar player Jarkko Tiilikainen with Lauri Silvonen. This album marked the start of a co-operation with Juho Räihä and SoundSpiral Audio, who recorded and mixed the record. The album was mastered by Svante Forsbäck. The album was released on October 9th 2015 via OneManArmy, a small label run by Tuomas Saukkonen (Wolfheart, Before the Dawn). Where the Oceans Burn was considered a turning point for the band and further determined their sound, as well as the introspective and personal experiences-based lyrical approach present on all their future releases.
In 2016 the band recorded their third album Heal with SoundSpiral Audio and Juho Räihä, and signed a record deal with the Finnish record label Ranka Kustannus. The album was released on October 20th 2017, reaching #5 on the official physical Finnish album chart (#13 in overall charts), as well as #5 on the German metal album chart. Heal was also released in Japan by Ward Records and licensed to Out of Line Music for further territories to be taken over with distribution and promotion. After the release, the band played their first international festival shows at Greenfield 2018, Summer Breeze 2018 and Metal Hammer Paradise 2018. Henry Lunabba from the Finnish metal magazine Imperiumi gave the album a full 10/10 rating, stating that "never has this great quality of melodic death metal been played in Finland to date."
In 2018 the band entered SoundSpiral Audio studio again with Juho Räihä to record their next album. The band stated that they wanted to step up with the production level, and this time the album mixing and mastering was handed over to Henrik Udd from Sweden, who is known for his works for bands like Architects and Bring Me the Horizon. Godsend was released on June 28th 2019, again via Ranka Kustannus with a partnership with Out of Line Music. Godsend reached #3 on the Finnish physical album chart and #10 on the overall chart, staying on the latter for the following two weeks as well. Before the album release, in spring of 2019, Bloodred Hourglass also played their first ever European tour supporting the Swedish band Evergrey, and also played in Japan for the first time in their history. The band played in the UK for the first time as well, earning a slot on the Sophie Lancaster stage at the Bloodstock Festival 2019. Their main songwriter and lead guitarist Antti was unable to attend the shows during this period and decided to quit the band shortly afterwards for personal reasons. BRHG announced guitarist Joni Lahdenkauppi as a replacement member at the same time of Antti’s departure. Later in 2019 the band supported Insomnium on their Finnish tour, as well as Children of Bodom on their last farewell tour.
Your Highness (2021)
In early 2020, after the Covid pandemic took over and live shows started to get cancelled, the band announced they will use this time efficiently and immediately started working on their next album. After Antti's departure they decided to acquire some extra support for their songwriting and requested the brother of Lauri, Eero Silvonen (ex-Gloria Morti, The Final Harvest, RoutaSielu), to join the pre-production of the album as a songwriter and later made them a permanent member of the band. Later the band stated that it would have been uninspiring to write more or less the same albums again, and they felt that they wanted to slightly change their approach to a more modern and easily approachable, more straight-forwarded style. They brought in more dynamic song structures, more variation between the songs, as well as more ambient keyboard soundscapes. Your Highness was also the first album that introduced clean vocals from Jarkko, who stated that he wanted to keep them as fragile and emotional as possible to create contrast to the rest of his harsh-styled vocals. Your Highness was strongly themed around individual experiences, was described to be a catharsis and a diary type of introspective trip into lost chances of life and love, sadness and hope. Lyrically the album was described as being the most personal album of their history. The album cover art features a photo of model Kassi Smith, and the band stated that the title and the cover is an appreciation towards the female counterparts of their past and present. The album was recorded by Juho Räihä and mixed and mastered again by Henrik Udd. Your Highness was released via Out of Line Music on October 22nd 2021, receiving a highly positive response. The album reached #3 on the official Finnish album chart, #2 on the physical Finnish album chart, as well as #43 on the German chart.
Musical style and lyrical themes
Bloodred Hourglass's music is mostly referred to as melodic death metal, but on their homepage the band states that they have always taken influences from various other genres. Many of the album reviewers have stated that the band blends into the traditional Swedish Gothenburg melodic death metal sound together with characteristic Finnish metal music melodies. Since the very beginning, all of their songs have been highly guitar driven, including some acoustic guitars as well. Their music is also known for carrying metalcore and alternative metal elements, especially on their latest album Your Highness. The band does not have a dedicated keyboard player, but keyboards play a notable role in most of their songs, varying from orchestrations to sample beats and from modern ambient soundscapes to more classic electronic music sounds.
BRHG's vocal style is characterised by the use of growled vocals or screamed vocals complemented at times by clean vocals on their latest release. Jarkko is also known for his high-pitched scream technique used as an additional nuance. Guitarist Lauri also does backing vocals on the songs, starting from Where the Oceans Burn. Their lyrics have always had a realism based approach. In early albums, such as Where the Oceans Burn, the lyrics focused more on mankind, environmental issues and other global themes, whereas in later albums, such as Your Highness, lyrical contents are more about personal issues and experiences, thoughts, and other introspective themes.
To celebrate the release of Your Highness, the band organised their own indoor stadium festival Black Box Mikkeli, where the official album release show took place on October 29th 2021, and the band played their new album through from start to finish. Black Box Mikkeli is planned to take place annually in the future.
Bloodred Hourglass is nominated as "Metal of the year" in Emma Gaala, the biggest annual music event in Finland to take place on February 5th 2022 at Hartwall Areena, Helsinki.
• Lifebound (2012)
• Where the Oceans Burn (2015)
• Heal (2017)
• Godsend (2019)
• Your Highness (2021)