"The God behind the God", Spiritus Mortis' latest album (released on Firebox Records), is one of the best Doom Metal releases of this decade. No doubt about that. The band stems from the dark woods of Finland and, what a shock to the system, has been around for ages (without having made too many waves up until now). Spiritus Mortis were formed in 1987 and proudly call themselves "the oldest Doom Metal band in Finland." Bassist Teemu finds a simple reason for the band's overwhelming obscurity: "We were so god damn lazy ... And nobody around here understood what we were. When Vesa Lampi, our former singer, joined in 2000, it was a massive boost, at least to me. I started taking the whole thing more seriously." Guitarist Jussi adds: "Slow in music, slow in music business, heh. When we started, there was no big Metal scene in Finland (which might surprise metalheads all over the world). Everybody just wondered what we were playing, our music was so slow and brutal and did not sound like Iron Maiden at all. Now the time is right for Spiritus Mortis (O tempora! O mores!). Modern technology like the internet and e-mail communication has helped us a lot."
In contrast to a lot of current Finnish bands Spiritus Mortis is not from one of the big cities like Helsinki, Tampere, Turku or Oulu. Far from it, actually, as Teemu explains: "We're from Alavus. It's a small rural city in Ostro-Bothnia, the Texas of Finland. Nowadays we mainly rehearse at Alavus, since the band is scattered all over Finland. It is a really nice place to live." Jussi is of the same opinion: "Yes, a nice place to grow up and live. Just after a great gig in Helsinki I told a new fan a few facts about Spiritus Mortis: 'For how long have you been playing?' Answer: 'For 22 years'. 'Where do you live?' Answer: 'In Alavus, Etelä-Pohjanmaa'. A long doubting silence followed my answers … The poor fellow thought that people from my part of the country just want to wrestle and fist fight ..."
As Spiritus Mortis has been around for ages, they probably witnessed some of the classic Finnish Metal bands first hand. Have they been influenced in any way by Oz, Ossy, Tarot, Sarcofagus, Peer Günt or Statue? Teemu: "They are all great bands and we have most of their records. But influenced, no. They are so far away from us musically." Jussi adds: "You know so many good ancient Finnish metal bands! Great bands to listen to (especially Oz, Tarot, Sarcofagus, and Statue. Peer Günt was and still is great live act) but no influence to Spiritus Mortis' music which is penetrated by Black Sabbath and Venom." We probably all agree that Reverend Bizarre is the most popular Doom Metal band from Finland. So it must have been quite a coup for Spiritus Mortis to snatch up their singer Sami Hynninen for the new album? Teemu explains: "After the fall of Black Lotus Records, Vesa had lost his interest in the music business, so we let him go. During the gigs with Reverend Bizarre we had some drunken blabber with Sami that 'you're gonna sing on next album!' So when the time came, we contacted Sami and he was interested."
"The God behind the God" was released on the biggest Finnish Doom label and must be rated Spiritus Mortis' strongest effort to date. It is a wonder Rise Above Records has not been in contact with them. Teemu is not really sure: "There was some talk about Rise Above, just can't remember if it was directly with them or through mutual friends." Jussi knows better: "A friend of us has contacted them, but nothing serious." Instead, High Roller Records is proud to announce the limited edition vinyl release of the band's self-titled album (originally released on CD in 2004 on Rage of Achilles). Teemu is very pleased with the way the vinyl project turned out: "We just listened to the test-pressing and it sounded greeeaat. And the versions of the LP cover we received are really cool!" Jussi is also enthusiastic: "The music is better than on CD: clearer, 'warmer', more 'alive'!" As Teemu knows, there is even some bonus material on there: "Yes, it is a double album, S/T on sides A, B and C and bonus stuff on side D. The 2000 demo, our version of Trouble's 'At the End of my Daze' plus a live version of 'Wasteland' with Tomi Murtomäki singing, taken from the Turku gig of the '20 years of Spiritus Mortis' tour. Something special for this very special vinyl release!"