#FinnishRhapsody “It’s A Hard Life” for #METALMOMENTUM

4 min read

Band: Finnish Rhapsody
Title: It’s A Hard Life (Queen cover)
Label: Self-Released
Release Date: 15 March 2024
Country: Finland
Format reviewed: HD Lyric Video.

“Essence of Majesty: FINNISH RHAPSODY’s Premiere Cover Single

‘IT’S A HARD LIFE’, a Glorious Homage Embracing the Eternal Spirit of Queen”.

“Join me as we uncover a hidden gem straight from the heart of Finland. This radiant jewel gleams with the timeless brilliance of Queen, complemented by Mikael Salo’s majestic voice and remarkable musicianship. Prepare to be enchanted as this treasure resonates deeply within, stirring emotions and leaving an indelible mark on the soul”.  (by Elyna Steel)

A new jewel has emerged from the northernmost reaches of the world, The Frozen Kingdom of Finland. This time, it brings familiar flashes, timeless and transversal echoes. It tells us of a glorious melody from a recent past, whose sounds persist and are treasured by millions worldwide.

Queen, the eternal British quintet led by the immortal Freddie Mercury until 1991, is the essence and reason for being of this wonderful adventure called FINNISH RHAPSODY – A TRIBUTE TO QUEEN, a studio project by Eero Kaukomies (ex-Gamma Ray keyboardist, drummer, and producer) and Mikael Salo (ex-Metal De Facto, ex -Dyecrest, ex -Everfrost). On March 15th, 2024, along with Heikki Venhola (bass), Leo Kaukomies (guitar), and Timo Pudas (piano), these five Knights, members of this golden brotherhood, released their first cover single: “It’s A Hard Life”, a song from Queen’s 1984 album titled “The Works.” It is available on all streaming platforms, it was mixed by Eero Kaukomies, mastered by Jaakko Viitalähde, and features a precious lyrics video clip designed by the Chilean master David Olivares. Furthermore, this debut also marks a milestone in the career of the great Mikael Salo, as it represents his first release from a project as an independent singer-his “Phase II”.

A breakup, a bleeding heart, someone who wonders why to live if the love of their life decided to part ways and go far away from them. The guilt, the deep pain of a love so immense that you must say goodbye is poured out in each line of this heartfelt track. You have to live on your own again, but you don’t want to; you don’t even remember how it was to live without that special person you love so badly. A tricky situation that may happen to anyone; each sorrow is unique and hurtful, though.

The only relief is thinking to oneself: “I did it for love”. Moving to the core!

The cover is marvelous. It kicks off with the dramatic desperate melody and the voice of Mikael Salo impressing from the first lines, singing heartbreakingly. The feeling of new familiarity that it gave me from the beginning is incredible – I could listen for many moments to Freddie Mercury himself, his soul, his spirit flowing through Mikael’s wonderful voice. As the song continues, the delicate nuances of the rhythmic base together with the voice recreate the vibe of the original song, but injecting it with life, freshness, ¡magic!

Guys, it is amazing the sensation of peace that this cover brings you while you are listening, especially at the ending of chorus lines and first lines from stanzas, where the music is softer and the voice resembles that of an angel. Curiouser and curiouser, for this song is about loss, pain, and all kinds of feelings far from the state of peace.

The choruses have the theatrical essence of Mercury. Added to this is the delicate power of the rhythmic base in charge of Leo, Eero, Heikki and Timo, and once again, Mikael’s voice. The truth is, to be able to interpret a Queen song you need to be a master of music in every sense, and these guys achieve it with flying colours.

Mikael performs impeccably, totally owner of the story, the melody and the spirit of Queen. Without exaggeration, you can imagine that voice singing any Queen song, whatever it may be, because it has everything necessary to honour Mercury, who, I am sure, is proud of these guys there in Eternity, and is dancing between the vocal cords of Michael, flying, as one of the adorable animated butterflies from the promo clip.

Besides, the verses, the choruses, the elegant piano and those harmonic guitars and solos evoke the hands of the great Bryan May, in a sound tribute of the highest quality, honest, heartfelt, perfectly performed.

Guys, you all rock! Kudos to everyone, you’re smashing it!

In wrapping up, FINNISH RHAPSODY and their first cover of “IT’S A HARD LIFE” is a blast, paying a wonderful tribute to Queen. Mikael Salo’s singing is just so passionate, so perfect and the whole band totally rocks! Together, as the incredible fellowship they are, make the song feel alive again, full of emotion and energy. It’s like they’re saying, “Hey, Queen’s music rocks and forever will!”

This cover is like a big hug to Queen and Freddie Mercury, showing how much their music still means to us. It’s proof that great music never gets old—it keeps touching our hearts and bringing us together, no matter our music preferences or how many years go by.

Therefore, I rank this outstanding debut of the Knights of the North and their FINNISH RHAPSODY. 10/10 Elyna Steel

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10/10 Immortal Classic
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