In The Spotlight: Mikko Kotamäki
Mikko Kotamäki is a Finnish metal vocalist who is known for a diverse range of styles from low grunts, black metal shrieks and a beautiful calming mid-range singing voice. He frequently employs all of these, sometimes even on the same song, and I place him very highly on my list of favorite vocalists, no matter which project he’s singing for.
I was first introduced to Mikko’s work on Swallow The Sun’s album Hope, where his cleans and grunts absolutely blew me away, along with his lyric-writing. Unfortunately, I never thought to check out any other projects of his, but the 3 albums at the time tided me over in the melodic doom category, and the recent one New Moon (unfortunate title given the abominable movie that emerged at the same time) reaffirmed my love of them. Below is one of my favorite songs by them, in a much shortened form, entitled “Don’t Fall Asleep”.
Fast forward a few years, and an exciting new band emerges. Despite avoiding the term themselves, they are considered a supergroup. Made up of members from Swallow The Sun, Amorphis and Moonsorrow, newcomers Barren Earth quickly made an impression with their début EP and album, and I believe a new album is due out from them at some point in the future. For now, here’s a taster of their style with “The Leer”.
After doing some digging, I was surprised with just how many pies Mikko had his fingers in. At one point or another, he’s been in 8 bands not counting his own project Verivala, impressive given his relatively young age. One previous band that showcases a different style of his is Alghazanth, a black metal band which he appears to have left this year, but not without releasing a new album. This track, taken from Vinum Intus, was a particular surprise for me. Enjoy “With A Thorn In Our Hearts”.
And so, to conclude this whirlwind tour of Mikko’s vocal styles, I’ll end on a track taken from his own project Verivala where, as if it’s not enough that he has such a diverse vocal range, he plays most of the instruments as well. From Voittomme, I give you “Liekkeihin”.