Spoiler Alert – this is NOT some sort of alcohol-fuelled musicians’ collaboration with a British brewery! This particular brew of Green King is in fact a Finnish heavy metal group, and Hidden Beyond Time is their debut album! And exceptionally good it is too – in fact any self-respecting fan of NWOBHM bands (Iron Maiden in particular), and The Originals a.k.a. Black Sabbath, really ought to bend their lugs around this at least once, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!
The members of Green King have long been part of the Finnish music scene, playing in bands such as Black Lizard, Rokets, United Seafood and Rusty Triggers. Formed in Helsinki as a side project for these guys to play heavier stuff, Green King quickly developed into a vehicle for traditional heavy metal. Drawing influences from their many obvious heroes, Green King fills their songs with monumental riffs, colossal guitar harmonies, stacks of energy and great fun. They have made their mark on Finnish metal underground by playing fierce live shows filled with musical mojo and speedy guitar solos. Their first EP Rock Alley Tapes was released in early 2022, and it brought the band attention around Europe. Although Hidden Beyond Time had been recorded at Beach House rehearsal studio and at Dullas sauna cabin during the year 2020, it was subsequently mixed by Sakke Vänttinen at Rock Alley Studio and completed in 2022. It’s released on The Sign Records on 16 December on vinyl, CD, and all streaming platforms.
The album itself varies from hard-hitting cuts fuelled by chugging, galloping riffs and duelling gee-tars that bring to mind the great metal era of the 70/80s; to relentless, stoner metal infused adrenaline shots – via more mellow, experimental tracks featuring folk inspired melodies!
Gates of Annihilation – phoaargh, what a starter! To me, this is pure Maiden and puts a whopping marker down for the rest of the album. A high-speed express train riff-fest with some superb guitar licks above… and beyond!….Hard to describe, except to say this is moreorless the perfect heavy metal track, great stuff!
Godkiller is just a massive, massive riff Motorhead style, that rumbles relentlessly around and around – it’s totally addictive! The lyrics speak of Wheels of fire, but Julie Driscoll it ain’t! There’s a very tasty bridge section before the riff’s back again, heh heh! Prelude to Massacre follows, a gentle 82 seconds’ worth of acoustic guitar and multi-layered, semi-spoken mantras washing over the listener before…Steel on Ice actually starts slightly quieter than what you might be expecting, it comes in with what for me is classic Sabbath and does the comparison full justice! Think Children of the Grave and you wont go far wrong…
Then we have Taunter’s Theme, another brief little work-out, continuing the Sabbath parallels, complete with rain falling and a touch of thunder in the background…Tervakiituri chugs along, perhaps slightly less in yer face than some of t he other tracks but a pacey work-out nonetheless. Trying to work out what the title might mean, I came across a very decent looking Finnish metal e-zine called Metalliluolan….but try as I might, I couldnt find the “in english” button so its delights remain a mystery – always makes me wonder why so many sites remain inaccessible like this…hey ho!
Where Speedian Dwells is, according the band, an ode to removing a neo-nazi audience from their old rehearsal room (called Hellhole!), having let a young band perform in their space. Not sure who Speedian is/was, I dont think its either mega-cool gear or a brand of cycling gear! Anyway, this is the second single off the album and it’s suitably energetic!
Lifetakers brings this collection to an end, in time-honoured fashion it’s the longest rack at 8:39 minutes, based around another classic pacey riff. Maybe sounds like a studio work-out to start with, three minutes in unleashes some wonderful lead licks – these guys really can play so well! I particularly like the second, steely-edged guitar break, and the later twin lead work. Just to show off their total mastery of all things string-related, the final minute features some tasty Spanish guitar to boot!
With traditional heavy metal at its heart and soul, Hidden Beyond Time sits on a foundation made of killer riffs, melodic dual guitar arrangements, gritty vocals and (apparently) occult, mystical lyrics (I’ve not seen these). It truly is an exceptional 34-minute long showcase for heavy metal that displays the energy, variety and sheer musical ability of this Finnish four piece – I absolutely loved it!
PS – if you like what you’ve heard so far, the earlier EP Rock Alley Tapes is also an essential listen, you can catch it in its entirety on YouTube.