Again this winter and spring season, massive quantities of great new Finnish music will flood record stores and streaming services alike! So grab your earphones and adjust your set, as we take a look at what’s new in Finnish pop, rock, indie, electronic, metal, jazz and folk in the first half of 2023. And scroll down to find a Spotify playlist of choice cuts and advance singles from these albums, embedded after the article!
Is the list missing an important album? Let us know and we’ll add it!
VV: Neon Noir (out Jan 13th on Spinefarm/Universal)
HIM frontman Ville Valo’s first solo record topped the chart in Finland and debuted in the top five in the German album chart. The critics have been favorable and the fans are loving it. And why not? "Neon Noir" sounds and almost feels like a continuum to HIM’s last albums, "Screamworks" (2010) and "Tears on Tape" (2013). It’s love metal, baby. Welcome back, Ville.
Turmion Kätilöt: Omen X (out Jan 13th on Nuclear Blast)
”Omen X is the culmination of 20 years of ugly words and terrible thoughts. Omen X is the revelation of our disco.” There’s not much to add to MC Raaka Pee’s comment. Turmion Kätilöt, known for their distinct brand of industrial metal with huge choruses even non-Finnish-speakers can sing along, wreak havoc and wreck venues while preaching their violent gospel like they’ve done the past decades.
Tuomo & Markus: Game Changing (out Jan 13th on Grandpop Records)
"Game Changing" is the long-awaited follow-up to Tuomo & Markus’ debut "Dead Circles" (2016). Their blend of Americana, soul, folk and jazz has been welcomed with five star reviews and sold out gigs. Rolling Stone magazine’s David Fricke describes their music as ”psychedelic Helsinki sound breezing through Laurel Canyon”. Game Changing is produced by Jonathan Wilson and features for example legendary guitarist Marc Ribot but also Finnish talent like Pekko Käppi and Verneri Pohjola.
Shereign: Ghost Diaries (self-released, out Jan 20th)
Shereign is the new vessel of Sara Strömmer, the former vocalist of Fear of Domination and End of Aeon. Shereign’s long-awaited debut album "Ghost Diaries" is musically as versatile as Strömmer is as a singer: a modern mixture of alternative rock and grunge, melodic, almost symphonic metal and even some screamo and thrashy riffage.
…And Oceans: As in Gardens, So in Tombs (out Jan 27th on Season of Mist)
Fun and fantastic aren’t usually the first attributes when describing black metal, but on the other hand …And Oceans isn’t your typical black metal act. The band’s creative flood gates opened when they returned from their hiatus in 2020 and their second album after the comeback is on par with …And Oceans’ classics. "As in Gardens, So in Tombs" is a joyride of grand melodies and stark atmospheres, symphonic black metal at its finest.
Dark Sarah: Attack of Orym (self-released, out Jan 27th)
Dark Sarah has found its niche: the band's fifth album continues the storyline of Dark Sarah’s journey in the cinematic metal universe. The tempo is a bit faster than on their previous efforts and there’s more flashy synths but Dark Sarah is recognizable immediately. Orym’s role is sung by Mark Jansen of Epica fame. Beast in Black’s Kasperi Heikkinen pays also a visit to the album.
Yotto: Growth (out Feb 2nd on Odd One Out)
Yotto is one of the most renowned Finns in the electronic dance music circuit. He has remixed artists ranging from Coldplay to Gorillaz, recorded to Above & Beyond’s imprint Anjunadeep and moved crowds at Coachella and Tomorrowland. His sophomore album "Growth" is now out on his own label Odd One Out. "Growth" contains 50 minutes of emotionally touching, melodic deep house and even some ambient tracks. The Growth Tour sees Yotto transform American and European dance floors to pure bliss.
Valtteri Laurell Nonet: Tigers Are Better Looking (out Feb 3rd on We Jazz Records)
Valtteri Laurell Pöyhönen, the leader and composer of Dalindèo and Ricky-Tick Big Band, released the first album of his career bearing his own name. The 60s cool jazz influenced melancholic music is written especially Antti Sarpila’s masterful clarinet in mind. Pöyhönen’s nonet is by far the most stylish, timeless, intimate, magical and beautiful sounding group he’s led.
Pastis: Pastis (out Feb 3rd on Stupido)
Mersey Beat, Britpop and Noughties indie is Pastis’ formula. The Helsinki based band has gotten airplay on BBC Radio 6 Music by the legendary disc jockey Steve Lamacq. Pastis’ eponymous second album is wistful guitar pop ready for big stages.
Anna Murtola: la Tierra Blanca (out Feb 3rd on Nordic Notes)
Anna Murtola, the northernmost flamenco singer in the world, is one of the pioneers of Finnish flamenco. She has found her own strong voice as an interpreter of the intense Spanish music style and has established herself as one of the most famous performers of the music style in the Nordic countries. "La Tierra Blanca" ("The White Land") is her second solo album. On her new album, Murtola combines flamenco with the sound and soul landscape of his home region in an unusual way.
Tjango!: Pohjantähti (self-released, out Feb 8th)
It’s an impossible task to pinpoint Tjango’s music even to a single continent or decade, but it takes you to a certain atmosphere: to a smoky bohemian club where you’ve had the time of your life and maybe fell deeply in love. Tjango plays an ambitious blend of gypsy jazz, tango nuevo, bluegrass and Nordic folk. It’s warm, organic, timeless and humorous. "Pohjantähti" is Tjango’s third album and the songwriting has matured but at the same time the band seems to be having more fun than ever.
Emmy June: The Spring (self-released, out Feb 10th)
Emmy June’s soulful pop pays tribute to the American singer-songwriter tradition. Her personal stories and heartfelt vocals are paired with compositions ranging from minimal ambient guitars to widescreen string arrangements.
Pussies: Pussies (out Feb 16th on Bestial Burst)
Sami Hynninen (Reverend Bizarre, Opium Warlords) and Harri Kuokkanen (Hooded Menace, Ride for Revenge) are Pussies who play raw, primitive, noisy and dirty rock’n’roll in the vein of the Stooges. From pummeling punk to doomy agony, the songs are nihilistic outcries about addictions and sex.
Teksti-TV 666: Vapauden tasavalta (out Feb 16th on Svart)
Teksti-TV 666 is probably the world's first band to make a Spacemen 3 reference in a song about free pizza. "Vapauden tasavalta" ("Republic of Freedom") showcases the never too serious Teksti-TV 666’s whole sound spectrum from repetitive motorik rock to proto metal and shoegazey guitar walls. Catch these guys live and leave with a smiling face and ringing ears.
Insomnium: Anno 1696 (out Feb 16th on Century Media)
Anno 1696 is a concept album based on Insomnium mastermind Niilo Sevänen’s short story. It takes the listener to the center of famine and witch trials of the 17th century Nordic countries. These morbid tales can be easily interpreted from today’s perspective: “Humankind hasn’t learned a lot in these couple of centuries”, Sevänen stated in Inferno magazine’s interview. Insomnium’s melodic death metal is as epic and beautiful as ever.
Polymoon: Chrysalis (out Feb 16th on Robotor)
Polymoon’s debut "Caterpillars of Creation" (2020) caught the attention of the European psych rock scene as the band managed to bring fresh elements to shoegaze. Their sophomore record sees Polymoon reaching a couple of decades further in psychedelic history. The shoegaze guitar storms have calmed down and given room to lysergic visions of space and progressive rock.
Plastic Tones: Power Pop Testament (out Feb 17th on Vox Populi / Plastic Records)
DIY power pop foursome Plastic Tones have been describes as "Blondie meeting up with Thin Lizzy in New York ´76". The Helsinki based band released their debut album "Wash Me With Love" in 2017 on Svart Records. Its follow-up comes now in the form "Power Pop Testament", a collaborative release between the band and Japanese record label Vox Populi, who will put out the physical vinyl and cd pressings of the album.
Oceanhoarse: Heads Will Roll (out Feb 18th on Noble Demon)
Heavy metallers Oceanhoarse release their highly anticipated sophomore studio album “Heads Will Roll” containing eleven brand new tracks. According to Oceanhoarse, the album seamlessly picks up where its predecessor, “Dead Reckoning” (2021), left off: an album packed with tense arrangements, vocal harmonies, and crushing riffs. The band's guitarist Ben Varon reckons that “‘Heads Will Roll’ is literally Oceanhoarse 2.0. We kept all the elements we liked the most from our first album, and kept building on that. I think ‘Heads Will Roll’ is richer in dynamics, hooks, attitude, and dirt.
Antti Lötjönen Quintet East: Circus/Citadel (out Feb 24th on We Jazz Records)
Stereogum’s Phil Freeman wrote: “This is an all-star band featuring some of the biggest Finnish names around at the moment, and what they’re putting out is genuinely exciting.” Bassist Antti Lötjönen’s compositions play with the dynamics of the five-piece: there’s an all-out quintet attack lurking behind every corner of a duo dialogue. "Circus/Citadel" is a coherent album but at the same time wild, lively and fresh as they come.
Terveet Kädet: Kaikki kaikkia vastaan (out March 3rd on Svart)
It's safe to say that Terveet Kädet is globally the most influential Finnish band so far. Talk to a punk rocker anywhere in the world and they will know two things about Finland: Santa Claus and Terveet Kädet. Led by Läjä Äijälä since 1980, the hardcore punk institution doesn’t show any signs of softening – if anything, they sound even meaner than before. "Kaikki kaikkia vastaan" translates to "All against all", and that’s the spirit. The songs clock approximately 80 seconds a piece and are escorted by Äijälä’s signature “Ugh!” bellows. The album is ‘82 hardcore in its purest form, enjoy.
Radio Supernova: Paratiisi (out March 3rd on Soit se silti)
Tampere-based Radio Supernova has branded their sound as "Mansegaze", combining their hometown nickname (which ties the city with UK's Manchester) with shoegaze. Mansegaze is heavily effected shoegazing, sometimes borderline post-rock. The prolific band’s third album "Paratiisi" showcases a leap of maturity in their songwriting but the overall foggy atmosphere hasn’t disappeared anywhere.
Läjä Äijälä and Albert Witchfinder: Ordeal & Triumph (out March 10th on Svart)
Läjä Äijälä (Terveet Kädet) and Albert Witchfinder (Reverend Bizarre) are among the most uncompromising figures of Finnish underground. Their sophomore duo album stays true to their artistic vision: it’s nihilistic to the core, merciless to the bone. Released only a week after the new Terveet Kädet album, "Ordeal & Triumph" is undistilled hatred towards mankind.
Pääkallo: Pääkallo (out March 10th on Svart)
Pääkallo is a group veiled in mystery but known to feature members of Jess and the Ancient Ones. Sounding like a late 50s Californian rock band playing Ouija with Coven, Pääkallo has it all – esoteric atmospheres, surf guitars and occult themes.
Listen to "Pääkallo" on Apple Music or Spotify.
Olimpia Splendid: 2 (out March 17th on Fonal)
Olimpia Splendid is back and so is the ever-eclectic Fonal Records! Formed in Helsinki in 2010 by Heta Bilaletdin, Jonna Karanka and Katri Sipiläinen, the trio's members are illustrious underground art figures each on their own as well. Olimpia Splendid’s music is made with weirdly tuned guitars, muddy drum machine loops, whispering vocals and trash can delays.
Marianas Rest: Auer (out March 24th on Napalm Records)
This year marks the 10th anniversary of Marianas Rest and the band celebrates it by releasing "Auer", their fourth album. The Kotka-based death-doom titans sound massive and epic as ever, nothing has eased their melancholy nor anguish. Doom royalty Aaron Stainthorpe (My Dying Bride) pays a visit on the haunting closing track Sirens.
Xysma: No Place Like Alone (out March 24th on Svart)
Xysma is as cult as they come. Founded in the late 80s and started as a grindcore band Xysma soon evolved to death’n’roll, stoner grooves and alternative metal before calling it quits before the Millennium. They’re back, already pulverized stages and now ready to unleash their first album since "Girl on the Beach" (1998). Get on the Xysma wagon.
Emma Salokoski & Jarmo Saari: Viileässä virrassa (out March 24th on Music Box Helsinki)
Both singer Emma Salokoski and guitarist Jarmo Saari are versatile, visionary and exceptional artists on their own. "Viileässä virrassa" is their first collaborative album even though they’ve toured together for 15 years. The intimate, soulful and jazzy album features Samuli Kosminen, who has worked with Björk and Múm.
Timo Alakotila & Johanna Juhola: Amicum (Out March 29th on Åkerö Records)
"Amicum" (latin for “friend”), the new album by pianist Timo Alakotila and accordionist Johanna Juhola features compositions by both instrumentalists, as well as traditional folk tunes, and improvisations based around them. On this album, the duo relies on the power of only two musicians and the freedom that duet playing brings. The result is a record showing the combined virtuosic skills of the duo, with colourful melodic lines and lively, jazz-inspired rhythms. "Amicum" is Alakotila's and Juhola's first collaborative release in 16 years.
Rotten Sound: Apocalypse (out March 31st on Season of Mist)
2023 marks the 30th anniversary of Rotten Sound. "Apocalypse", their first album in seven years is 20 minutes long and on its title track Keijo Niinimaa sings: “Darkness surrounds us / There is no future/ Everyone will die / Apocalypse will come”. This is grindcore, bleak and violent.
Lordi: Screem Writers Guild (out March 31st on Atomic Fire)
It was only two years ago when Lordi released seven (yes, 7) albums at once. This time the only Finnish Eurovision winner and the most terrifying monster band stick to more orthodox plans and release only one album. "Scream Writers Guild" is a theme album radiates the glory of horror productions of Hollywood’s golden era. The music is KISS-esque as ever, so if you love zero bullshit hard rock with singalong choruses, buckle up!
Mahti: Musiikki 1 (Out April 7th on Riot Season)
You'll know from the names involved, including Circle pair Jussi Lehtisalo and Tomi Leppänen that Mahti is in it to win it. The new four-piece group presents a unique mixture of ambient-rock, electronic music and traditional Finnish-Karelian music – and promised to be "a tripped out, ambient-hypnotic ride". Their lengthy semi-improvisational pieces are built on top of complex, hypnotic grooves which are layered with opaque guitars and strangely soothing noise elements. In the heart of it all there's kantele, an ancient Finnish string instrument played by Hannu Saha, who has studied Finnish folk music in theory and practice for nearly five decades. The line-up is completed by psychiatrist Teemu Elo. And while this is part one of the band's saga, their sophomore release "Musiikki 2" will follow the debut record already in June.
Listen to "Musiikki 1" on Bandcamp.
Ghosts on TV: Ghosts on TV (out April 14th on Soliti)
Ghosts on TV is one of the most arduous and high-flying bands in the Finnish indie scene. It’s safe to label the band as post-rock but that’s not the complete story. For their sophomore album Ghosts on TV say they wanted to create a “more traditional” album. It means that the band experimented and expanded their sound with blast beats, slowcore, shoegaze and ballad influences. Of course the album has to also have one 12-minute heavy krautrock track that repeats the same riff over and over again.
Alma: Time Machine (out April 21st on PME/Warner)
Finnish pop sensation Alma is ready for her sophomore album! "Time Machine" contains her latest single, deeply personal Hey Mom Hey Dad, and the UK radio hit Summer Really Hurt Us. "Time Machine" is mostly written in intimate sessions with Elvira Anderfjäld (Taylor Swift, Tove Lo) and Tove Burman (Au/Ra, Anna of the North). Alma herself says "Time Machine’s" theme is introspection and that the record is influenced by Elton John, MGMT and ABBA. Alma supports the album by touring in Europe this summer with Tove Lo.
Moshimoshi: Green LP (out April 28th on All That Plazz)
Moshimoshi is on a mission to rehabilitate post-hardcore, emo and mathrock. So far the operation advances really well: they are the most hyped Finnish band at the moment, thanks to a handful of frenetic singles, a couple of Spotify playlist placements and fiery gigs at intimate clubs. At least based on their music, Moshimoshi is ready to take their racket abroad.
Cyan Kicks: I Never Said 4ever (out in May 5th on Ranka)
Cyan Kicks have been growing year by year with their modern mix of heavy alternative rock and electronic grooves that embrace shameless pop and catchy hooks. The band grew their fanbase when they participated in the Finnish Eurovision qualifiers 2022 with the song Hurricane. The Rasmus won, Cyan Kicks came third but left audiences awestruck by their sheer live energy. This hurricane will tour Europe all through spring supporting the new, third album "I Never Said 4ever".
5th Season: 5th Season (out May 5th on Eclipse)
5th Season is the harbinger of classic progressive rock of the 70s and the band doesn’t shy away from stadium rock. You can hear echoes of Genesis, Procol Harum, The Band and Little Feat, and 5th Season underlines the influences of Pink Floyd and Finnish prog legends Wigwam by having Durga McBroom and Jukka Gustavson as guest vocalists and musicians.
Sleep of Monsters: III (out May 12th on Svart)
Finnish goth and death rockers Sleep of Monsters return with their singer, lyricist and author Ike Vil, of occult rock pioneers Babylon Whores, leading the troops. III is produced by Hiili Hiilesmaa (known from his work with HIM) and the band's guitarist and primary songwriter Sami Hassinen (from the stoner titans Blake). Sleep of Monsters say the album is grittier, earthier and more organic sounding and inspired by Greek mysteries.
Radien: Unissa palaneet (out May 19th on Svart)
Radien’s debut album was welcomed by the international doom/sludge scene. Their sophomore album "Unissa palaneet" takes their amplifier worship a bit further. The album is mixed by Sanford Parker (Yob, Eyehategod), and it features international guest appearances by Dylan Walker (Full of Hell), Mike Paparo (Inter Arma) and Italian multi-instrumentalist Lili Refrain.
Handshaking: There Was a Chance (out May 19th on PME)
Handshaking’s debut EP/mini album "Garden Clogs" (2021) received praise from the Finnish press, who compared and his poppy house tracks to the likes of Yaeji and Peggy Gou. Handshaking, previously known from Helsinki-based grime group Töölön Ketterä, said in an interview that he wants to reinvent the prevalent mindset among electronic music. That includes challenging both audiences and artists – and the results of this will be heard on his sophomore release.
Kalmah: Kalmah (out in May/TBA on Ranka)
Finnish swamp metal legends Kalmah took a few years of hiatus but are back on the metal circuit again! Their brand of melodic death metal has found fans all over the world and their self-titled album filled with killer riffs and melodic hooks, akin to Amorphis or Children of Bodom, should broaden the audience.