Capital of metal




Thrash metal

Reindeer Metal from Kuusamo, Finland. Established in 1987.

With its roots firmly planted in the barren lands of Kuusamo, Finland A.R.G is a child of the Finnish mid- to late 80s thrash metal explosion. Started in 1987 as a pastime between a bunch of thrash crazed friends “on full speed with zero skills”, as Jari Kelloniemi puts it, with S.O.D. influences and hardcore punk attitude, A.R.G soon started gigging locally baffling the concertgoers with their two lead singers. An anomaly at the time, the 2-man lead was just a passing phase, however, as soon one of the vocalists decided to seek greener pastures in another local band. Tepa Karjalainen took it upon himself to handle the vocal duties and lo, the final form of A.R.G had taken place. And indeed it is Karjalainen’s vocal output, often likened to “the bellowing of a reindeer in heat”, in addition to the band’s locale, that formulates the band’s very own brand of thrash metal dubbed “reindeer metal”.

Winning the Northern Finland's band championship (playing drunk, one might add) in 1988 scored the band a deal to cut a single. All of a sudden “It started to get exciting, what's going to happen now? We were really motivated as things were moving forward. Our dream about playing real, longer gigs had suddenly started to feel more realistic”, Kelloniemi says. The next step forward was playing at a local festival supporting the trailblazers of Finnish thrash, Stone, who already had e.g. scored great reviews in UK’s Metal Hammer. The single held the #3 position place on Finnish single charts for a few weeks, largely thanks to the band’s friends who reportedly purchased up to 3 copies apiece just to help out their thrashing friends.

The single was the doorway to wider success, resulting in gigs in Southern Finland too and the band’s initial record deal with Megamania, a force in Finnish rock music at the time. The fruits of the collaboration were seen late 1989 with the release of A.R.G.’s debut album “Entrance”. In hindsight, the album’s sound may have been a bit of a letdown, but at least the band’s name was now out. More touring – and boozing – with Finnish thrash kings Stone and Airdash ensued.

With skills already a tad improved since the debut album, in 1990 the flock recorded their “Back To Life” 12” closer to home with a sound they could better subscribe to. Already an established name, they got to play on bigger stages like Nummirock, KuusRock and Giants of Rock, all the while learning more about professionalism and cutting back on the partying. Everyone but the band’s then-drummer, that is.

In 1991 recession hit Finland heavily. For the most part unemployed and broke, the band was under duress to write their sophomore album, despite having nothing but time on their hands. Making ends meet with the band wasn’t an option, but there wasn't much else to do either. Heavy rehearsing resulted in a diverse and accomplished album “One World Without the End” in 1991. Soon after the drummer’s life management became an issue and he was let go. Another skinsman joined, but the times were already a-changing. The speed/thrash metal fad in Finland fizzled out and the number of gig offers plummeted. Moreover, the band members had scattered all around Finland so joining for rehearsals became tough. There still was the occasional gig, but rehearsals – when there were any – were always a man or two short. Frustrated and disillusioned, after a couple of sloppy demos and a final show at RuisRock festival, A.R.G. faded away in the mid 90s.

But who once becomes a metalhead stays a metalhead. A.R.G. too reconciled and did a comeback in early 2011. So, after 15+ year hiatus A.R.G. is now alive again. The 1t show post-comeback was played at Jalometalli Winterfest, Oulu on 25th of March 2011. The lineup is the legendary one: Tenho Kareen (vocals & bass), Jari Kelloniemi (guitars & vocals) and Vesa Säkkinen (guitars & vocals). The drummer is Timo Hanhijoki. Sickness prevails again!

Now the elder statesmen of Finnish thrash, the band completed their “Poronormal Activity” demo (“Poro” translates to, yeah, you guessed it, “a reindeer”) in 2014. Having recorded a complete album, they shopped it around a bit and landed a deal with Ranka Kustannus. With “Redemption from Refaim” A.R.G. anno 2015 present to you an album with enough musical somersaults, hairpin curves and about-turns to delight a demanding aficionado of technical thrash, a firm grasp of brand of yet whipping brutal and in-yer-face to bang the head that doesn't bang!

In 2017 the band continued releasing new music the old school way by joining forces with Tampere deathsters Worthless and putting out a split album called "Hellcome Misery/Chaotic Nausea"

Reindeer metal to the hilt!