01. Pelon Lait (Neon Knights) 03:52
02. Maalaistyttö (Country Girl) 03:58
03. Uneen Hukkuneet (Children of the Sea) 05:39
04. Tuli Ja Maa (Heaven and Hell) 06:20
05. Laki 666 (Mob Rules) 03:23
06. Valtaa (Voodoo) 04:46
07. Yö Saa (Die Young) 04:35
08. Ihmisen Merkki (the Sign of the Southern Cross) 08:31
Sapattivuosi (Sabbatical Year) is a band that plays Black Sabbath
songs in Finnish. The band started out as a spare time activity
between a few old-time mates, who thought that playing Black
Sabbath purifies one’s soul, clarifies one’s thoughts and eases
one’s body. Initially, the idea of forming a band took place in a
backseat of a car shared by guitarist Janne Halmkrona (member of
the prominent Finnish rock band, CMX), singer Hannu Paloniemi
(prominent for his eloquence) and drummer Simo Vehmas (prominent
for no reason whatsoever). And like some many other things bred
in a backseat of a car, Sapattivuosi came into existence with
excitement, noise and very little thought.
At some point, someone (nobody knows who, and nobody wants to
know who) came up with an idea to translate the original lyrics
into Finnish. After some pondering, and few pints, it was agreed
that the idea was worth exploring. The singer of the band, Hannu
Paloniemi, produced some apt, and even beautiful Finnish
translations. It was decided that the band should do some gigs,
and make a demo. At this point, the original bass player, Mara
Salminen, got himself a job, and was replaced by Antero
Aunesluoma (well-known from the Finnish bands Blake, Kivireki and
So the band went to Inkfish studio in Helsinki to make a demo.
After hearing two songs, the engineer and producer Gabi Hakanen
screamed: “We’re not making a demo, we’re making a f**king
album!” And so we did.
The eponymous album got glorifying reviews, and went to number 7
on the official Finnish charts. The single “Hautuumaan
lapset” (Children of the Grave) went to number 4! This all goes
to show that Finns are surprisingly tolerant people. There are a
lot of die-hard Sabbath fans in Finland and only few of them
threatened to break our fingers for ravishing the sacred music.
In the case of the album Sapattivuosi one can talk about moderate
success. However, when it comes to gigs, they have been a huge
success! This was especially the case in northern Finland where
Sapattivuosi turned towns like Oulu and Kemi into big happy-
clappy clubs (this could have been partly due to the consumption
of alcoholic beverages).
The band was not supposed make another album. And quite frankly,
there were not too many requests from the fans to do it. We just
did it. Why? There are no rational reasons for this endeavour.
This band is based on one criterion only: pleasure. Thus, this
band is a hedonistic project which is based on the aim of
maximising our own pleasure and minimising our own suffering.
Some twisted utilitarianism, as it were.
So, the second album entitled Vol. 2 was released in March 2005. The single
“Kännin piikkiin” (Sweet Leaf) was another #4 for the band. The
following gigs, as always, were carried out with dedication,
piety and good humour. The singer Hannu Paloniemi had at this
point moved to Rovaniemi, a Lapp town that refuses to cease to
exist despite the cunning use of matches in 1940s (by the
Germans), inhumane climate and lots of inbreeding with reindeer.
This would have been a highly appropriate ending for the
biography of Sapattivuosi, as it was originally agreed. But music
(and some people) just will not comply with the dramatic demands
of narrative (i.e., tragedy). Hence, Halmkrona, Aunesluoma and
Vehmas started to cherish the idea of making an album of Dio-era
Sabbath songs. Now all that was needed was a singer with
superhuman vocal capabilities, and someone to translate the
lyrics into Finnish. The latter was solved by some very unlikely
types: Tuija Takala and Matti Häyry, Finnish philosophers and
fans of traditional heavy rock, got to work, and in the end
managed to capture the mystical, heroic humanism of Ronnie James
The singer issue was a hard nut to crack. Marco Hietala,
the singer and bass player of legendary Finnish heavy metal group
Tarot, and the internationally acclaimed Nightwish was the
ultimate choice. To our great surprise, he accepted the offer with enthusiasm.
After endless timetable hassle, and a long waiting period, the
album “Ihmisen merkki” (The Sign of Man) was finally finished in
the early 2009, and will be released in April 1.
The band members and the producer whole-heartedly believe that
this project can contribute to your well-being, and to your
pursuit of a good life. In other words, buy the album “Ihmisen
merkki” (and the two previous albums), to yourself, to your
friends, to your enemies and to just about everybody. This would
surely enhance tolerance regarding bad taste, and thus make the
world a better place to live in.