Last updated: 07/18/2010 12:00:00 PM
The history of UNHOLY started in 1988, by Jarkko Toivonen and Pasi Äijö under the shape of a band called HOLY HELL. The band released a debut tape titled "Kill Jesus", but soon after decided to change name into the definitive UNHOLY. A second demotape has been recorded and released under name "Procession of black doom" then in 1990. The band started to get a precise and original image musicwise with the following and successfull tape "Demo 11.90", which showed already a band with an incredibly original and personal sound, and a lot of weird ideas. That was a year of death metal "boom", and UNHOLY was too strange and weird to be completely understood by fans of main stream brutal metal music. A fourth and last demo "Trip to Depressive Autumn" was then recorded in 1991, and got a good response. It was even taken under license and distribution by Lethal Racords in Europe, and Wild Rags in USA. The sales of this tape, as for the previous one, was high.
Soon after that UNHOLY signed a long-term deal with the same Lethal Records, and the album "From the Shadows" was released in early 1993. Music was incredibly heavy and original with a gloomy atmosphere. The term "Avantgarde black-boom metal" was given appropriately to band's music. The CD, despite a not perfect distribution, did sell several copies. During this time, the band got serious arguments with the label, so that they decided to break the deal, and were immediately purcheased by Avantgarde Music, maybe the perfect label for the most "avantgarde" band in the moment.
The second album "The Second Ring of Power" was then recorded in Spring 1994, in a highly professional studio in Imatra, Finland. The band explored even weirder fields, with violins, keyboards, female vocals, obtaining an unreal atmosphere: dramatic and mentally altered. The album The Second Ring of Power got a very controversial welcome among the metal press. The band felt they had finally produced a very good piece of music, but obviously the unholy style still was too weird for critics and bigger audiences.
When the hard work and dedication did not produce such feedback as was desired, the band felt frustrated and suffered from the loss of creative energy. A planned tour failed and other minor disturbances took place. After several serious setbacks in a very short time the band finally felt they have had enough trouble for the time being, and decided to withdraw from the metal scene. This happened in December 1994. Unholy was never buried, but it was left to wait for the right time to come.
After the decision to withdraw the members of the band started to work with their individual projects. Jarkko Toivonen's project was the most successful. His new band "Tiermes" got on so well that he considered it wise to leave Unholy and go on with Tiermes, in which he could best execute his musical and other ambitions.
In midsummer 1996 three other members of Unholy got together to discuss about the future of the iced band. Everyone agreed it would be okay to start the band again. Jarkko was out but they felt confident to carry on without any new members. Lots of new ideas were brought up and the band decided to consult the Avantgarde Music, their former record label, about the new recording contract. Avantgarde Music was very interested to produce the third Unholy album, and the band strated to write and rehearse new material in September 1996. Reunion was very successful in a sense that band produced lots of new material, some of which was quite different from the old unholy style, while others continued along the heavy and gloomy paths familiar from From the Shadows and The Second Ring of Power, digging even deeper and heavier into those dark fields. A new deal with Avantgarde Music was signed in early spring 1997.
In July 1997 the band entered the studio to give birth to their heaviest and meanest album so far, titled "Rapture." Released in February 1998 "Rapture" broke the silence that had covered the band since 1994. With "Rapture" Unholy did not necessarily take any huge leap forward, but now the band was back on its feet again, facing the future with more vigour than ever before.
Post-rapturian euphoria did not last long, for the band felt immediately great urge to write new music. By the end of May 1998 they had completed several new songs for future release. During that time Veera had joined the group for more permanent basis, and the Unholy left behind the trio and returned to the more comfortable quartet mode.
In the mid-July 1998 the band entered Astia Studio, an excellent recording studio in Lappeenranta, Finland. The recordings took few weeks, and after the last mixing session in early September "Gracefallen" had came into existence. The change of climate did good for the band; the new material sounded quite unlike anything Unholy had done in the past.
The release date for "Gracefallen" was set for March 1999. Meantime, Unholy started to rehearse for live shows, adding one more member to the line-up - Jade Vanhala - to play the rhythm guitar.