The Raskasta Joulua (Heavy Christmas) project provides an alternative to Christmas music performed in the traditional manner. When international and Finnish Christmas carols, transformed with a heavy metal touch, are performed by a group of Finland’s leading heavy metal vocalists and musicians, the effect can only be outstanding! Raskasta Joulua has increasingly gained popularity, expanded its format and become a tradition, attracting new fans with each passing year.
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The Raskasta Joulua project is the result of Erkka Korhonen’s creative inspiration to celebrate Christmas incorporating the sound of metal. The debut album, Raskasta Joulua, was named after the project and released for the 2004 Christmas market season. The popularity of the album enabled a small pre-Xmas tour in 2005 featuring J. Ahola, Marco Hietala and Ville Tuomi as the vocalists.
The success of both the first album and the tour in 2005 expedited the recording of a second album, Raskaampaa Joulua (Heavier Christmas) in 2006. The album came close to selling gold.
J. contributed to the album with two Finnish Christmas carols: En Etsi Valtaa Loistoa and Ilouutinen. In particular, Ilouutinen received a considerable amount of airtime on Finnish radio stations during the Xmas season of 2006.
The vocalists of the Christmas tour 2006 included J. Ahola, Marco Hietala, Tony Kakko, JP Leppäluoto, Antony Parviainen and Ville Tuomi. The whole concept and tour was well received by the public, and the guys performed heavy Xmas carols from both albums to appreciative audiences in 10 shows encompassing 9 cities.
The success of the Raskasta Joulua tour in 2006, along with the great support and enthusiasm of the audiences, unified the members of the project and as a result, everyone associated with it was eager to tour again in 2007.
Marco Hietala and Tony Kakko had previous commitments and were unable to participate in the tour that year (Marco was available for one show only). Ari Koivunen (Idols winner 2007) was a welcomed new addition to the Raskasta Joulua team. The balance of the vocalist line-up was the same as in the previous year: J. Ahola, JP Leppäluoto, Antony Parviainen and Ville Tuomi. The tour expanded to 16 shows being performed in 14 cities around Finland.
Once again, the Raskasta Joulua project got underway when approaching the Christmas season of 2008. This time, exhibiting the Xmas spirit of giving, the guys came up with some changes in respect to the shows’ musical content in order to keep things enticing for audiences.
Many have expressed the opinion that J. has the voice of an angel, and Christmas is certainly the season for angels! Appropriately, J. spread his Christmas cheer through the use of song participating in three gigs that year that would have been five if his vocal cords would have let him.
The vocalist line-up that year was comprised of J. Ahola, Marco Hietala, Ilja Jalkanen, Tony Kakko, Ari Koivunen, JP Leppäluoto and Antony Parviainen. Additionaly and as a special treat, Luca Gargano participated in two shows.
Raskasta Joulua’s popularity has kept on increasing year by year, and every season is more successful, bigger and better than the previous one. Because of this, there are always some new places to visit and the guys prepare new songs to play.
The line-up for the tours has been mostly the same as previous years, but there were also new additions that came to stay, such as Tommi “Tuple” Salmela, Pasi Rantanen and Kimmo Blom.
In 2011, Raskasta Joulua released an EP. It contained a new recorded song performed by Tony Kakko, Jouluksi Kotiin, as well as four live versions of previously released songs, one of them being Ilouutinen performed by J.
After seven successful years since the release of their last album and with the new incorporations to the line-up, it was time to make a new record. J. did his vocal contribution in four songs: Valkea Joulu and Mielenrauhaa, both shared with Pasi Rantanen; Pieni Rumpali, performed by the Northern Kings; and Tulkoon Joulu, a song featuring every vocalist involved in the project.
The release of the album has been naturally followed by the already-more-than-traditional Raskasta Joulua tour.