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A. Särkioja playing a bass solo
|Genres||Melodic death metal
|Years active||Since 1991|
|Labels||Dark Balance, Facedown Records|
|Past members||Jupe Hakola
Immortal Souls is a melodic death metal band from Kokkola, Finland, formed in 1991. They released a split album and their debut on Little Rose Productions in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In 2002 Immortal Souls signed with Dutch label Fear Dark which released their second and third album as well as a compilation. They have performed at Tuska Open Air Metal Festival. Their musical style is characterized by their use of melodic guitar riffs and singing which shifts between growls and shouting. Their music has been called winter metal since Immortal Souls utilizes frosty metaphors in their lyrics and usually creates a cold, wintry atmosphere. The album Wintereich was released in 2007 in Europe on Dark Balance and in the USA through Facedown Records.
In December 1991 Aki Särkioja (bass, vocals) and Esa Särkioja (guitar) founded Immortal Souls. During the years 1992-1994 Immortal Souls recorded some demo tapes including a tape called Vision of Hell (1993). These demos have never been officially published. In 1994, the drummer Antti Nykyri joined the band. At the end of January 1995 the band recorded a demo tape called Immortal Souls, which included six songs. 100 copies were made of the demo tape and it contained straightforward heavy metal with growl vocals. After the Immortal Souls demo, all of the band's album covers have had a wintry theme in the artwork. Nykyri left the band after one year due to other personal interests.
Doom metal period
During the years 1995-1996 Immortal Souls wrote new songs and shaped their musical style. At the time, the band members were interested in doom metal style, and with that influence they recorded their most depressing and oppressive demo called Reflections of Doom in November 1996. The most stylish output of the doom metal experiments was a song called “Realm Of Hatred.” In the recording sessions Immortal Souls had to use a drum machine, because a new drummer Jupe Hakola was signed in a couple of months after the recording sessions. The song “Hate Sender” was published in the TOB zine's 7- inch vinyl record. The song “I`am Me” was published later on the From Kaamos To Midnight Sun compilation album. Also songs "Hate Sender", "I am Me" and "Realm of Hatred" were later published on the Once Upon A Time In The North compilation album as remastered versions.
Record deal with Little Rose
After the release of the demotapes, Immortal Souls signed a record deal with a Finnish record label called Little Rose Productions. At that time the band had already left behind the doom metal influences and their musical style had changed to fast, melodic death metal and the winter theme in the lyrics had settled as a regular. Their first recording with the new style was Divine Wintertime EP, released in 1998. It was published as a split-CD with the dark metal band called Mordecai (Through the Woods, Towards the Dawn EP). This publication got a lot of appreciation among the metal fans and the song “Snow Soul” became one of the most top-rated Immortal Souls song.
Growing amount of concerts required additional members to the line-up. In 2000, Pete Loisa (rhythm guitar) joined the group when the band was preparing to record their first full-length studio album. From the material of the February 2000 studiosessions at the Studio Watercastle was first published the Cleansing EP which gave a taster of the forthcoming album. The debut album Under the Northern Sky was published in 2001 and it is perhaps still the most top-rated Immortal Souls album. At that time Little Rose Productions was closing their operation, and therefore the band started to search for another publisher.
Record deal with Fear Dark
Immortal Souls had already connections (as a distributor) to the record label called Fear Dark from Netherlands, and therefore the deal was easy to make for both the band and for the record company. After signing the deal, the band made a Central European tour. They also became a regular performer in the record labels` annual Fear Dark Fest events. After the tour Immortal Souls started to write new material and in November 2002 they went to Studio Sonic Pump to record the next album called Ice Upon the Night. This album made the band more known also in Finland and it opened the opportunity to perform in the Tuska Open Air metal festival in Helsinki. This album is licensed to the US and Canada by the Facedown Records in the year 2004.
Band made occasional concerts through the year. The drummer Jupe Hakola decided to leave the band and he was replaced by Jukka-Pekka Koivisto. But Jukka-Pekka Koivisto had to leave the band after Germany-Switzerland tour because he was busy with his other band Silent Voices new album recordings. The band found a new drummer from the close friends circle, in early 2005, when Juha Kronqvist joined Immortal Souls. Because the Immortal Souls publications had been sold out long time ago, the Fear Dark decided to publish them as remastered versions on the Once Upon A Time In The North 2 CD-compilation album at the end of 2005. From the label request, Aki Särkioja wrote the publication history into the compilation CD cover booklet.
Wintereich and The Requiem for the Art of Death
The band started to write new material and played occasional concerts at the same time. In 2006, Immortal Souls announced at their website that they were working on a storybased concept album, which was to be called Wintereich. The band went to the studio in December 2006. The album was mastered in the first quarter of 2007. The new label Dark Balance based released Wintereich on June 1, 2007. Like the album Ice Upon The Night in 2004, Wintereich has been distributed by Facedown Records and was released in the U.S. on August 21 of 2007.
On May 22, it was announced that the band is working on an album titled The Requiem for the Art of Death.
Immortal Souls' music is typically fast, technical melodic death metal of Scandinavian school. The lead guitar solos sets as a part of the accompaniment in both singing and virtuoso riffs and fast playing techniques. Riffs, tones and licks are melodic and stick to classical harmonies. The lead guitarist Esa Särkioja usually performs "darkly melodic riffage with power metal undercurrents." The drumming is based on double bass and blast beats. The songwriting is influenced by 1980s metal and sometimes Danzig-type blues-rock. The vocals are guttural and atonal in the middle pitch. Occasionally A. Särkioja represents some raspy, black metal stylish vocals. According a Vampire Magazine interview, Immortal Souls' music is somewhat more aggressive and less commercial than the typical Gothenburg-style death metal bands, and their compositions omit the usual keyboards for the style.
- 1995 – Immortal Souls
- 1997 – Reflections of Doom
- 1998 – Divine Wintertime
- 2000 – The Cleansing EP
- 2001 – Under the Northern Sky
- 2003 – Ice Upon the Night
- 2004 – Ice Upon the Night - US Version
- 2005 – Once Upon a Time in the North
- 2007 – Wintereich
- 2011 – IV: The Requiem for the Art of Death
- Aki Särkioja – Vocals, Bass (1991–present)
- Esa Särkioja – Lead Guitar (1991–present)
- Marko Pekkarinen – Rhythm Guitar (2011–present)
- Juha Kronqvist – Drums (2005–present)
- Antti Nykyri – Drums (1994–1995)
- Jupe Hakola – Drums (1996–2004)
- Jukka-Pekka Koivisto – Drums (2005)
- Pete Loisa – Rhythm Guitar (2000 - 2010)
- Van Pelt, Doug (May–June 1999). "Indie Album Reviews: IMMORTAL SOULS / MORDECAIB". HM Magazine (77). ISSN 1066-6923. Retrieved 2007-04-24.