Meet The Band: Shade Of Sorrow

M-Theory Audio

In this week’s Meet The Band spotlight is the Finnish one-man melodic death metal project Shade Of Sorrow. Their debut album is Upon The Fields Of Grief. Mainman Mika Kankainen introduces us to his band.

Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of Shade Of Sorrow.
Mika Kankainen: I started write my own material after we put Warceremony on hold, it was somewhere around 2011. For many years I did music for my own joy, but in 2017 I had some pretty decent demos and I sent them to Tuomas Saukkonen (Wolfheart, Before The Dawn, and more) since I´ve always liked his approach to metal music and I thought it would be awesome if he could produce my solo project.

He said yes, but it still took couple years to really get it going since he was very busy with his own bands. That was actually really good thing since I got a chance to further evolve my music and the brand around it. Then, in 2020 we got a chance to record my two first singles “No Return” and “Fabricated Hope” and I released them myself. That´s where it started officially. The journey has been long and slow, but now I got the gears on full steam!

Describe the songwriting process for Upon The Fields Of Grief.
It all starts with the feeling or emotion. My music is very much affected by personal experiences and the emotions they awake. Songwriting itself is quite basic, I write riffs or melodies based on those feelings and emotions and record a demo of them. Then I start to write lyrics and see how they fit in the overall atmosphere of the music, and it evolves around these factors. Sometimes a song title is inspiring me to write a song, example for “Fabricated Hope,” it started with the song title. Everything else was build around that, and it was really interesting approach and worked well for me.

What will be your strongest memory of the recording of the album?
Those very hot summer days at the studio, since it was so hot in there and I was growling ”BUUUURRRNNN” for the track ”Fields Of Grief!” (laughs) Then those amazing feelings when I was composing melodies and harmonies and we felt like damn this sounds good. However, I still remember very well those frustrating moments where I couldn´t nail the riffs as tight as I wanted…That memory have made me train harder, so I won´t face that situation again.

What was the biggest challenge in its creation?
Financial side and money. I was funding the recordings myself and did only have so much time for the recording, so it was sometimes a challenge, but on the other hand, I love challenges, so it was just something I had to overcome in a way or another.

How would you characterize its style/sound?
Heavy, brutal and savage with really atmospheric feel to it and beautiful but melancholic melodies. Melodic death metal, but I think my music has a little bit more contrast and layers comparing to basic style melodeath. Example with the vocals, there are so many different styles and feelings in them and that is definitely something very unique for Shade Of Sorrow.

What lyrical topics do you cover?
Basically all the human emotions and actions they create. Love, hate, disappointment, bitterness, disgust, self hatred, etc. Also a strong topic is the insanity and horrors of war. These kind of lyrical topics seems to be inherited from Finnish culture and for me, they feel really natural and authentic. I think those are also something that people can relate to.

How did you come to sign with M-Theory Audio?
I got contacted by Scott Coonan, who is the head of sales and distribution at M- Theory Audio. Scott has liked my singles I had released earlier and asked if he could forward them to Marco Barbieri (the boss). Of course I said yes! Then after a while Marco approached me and asked if I would like to sign to M-Theory Audio. The rest is history apparently. (laughs)

What are your goals and expectations for the album?
My goal is to make this album as successful as possible! Not less than the debut album of the year. I think the album has all the potential to be very successful, but I need to work hard for it and that´s 100 percent what I´m going to do.

What has the response been to the singles you’ve released so far?
The response has been amazing! Very positive feedback and praise from everywhere. That is one reason for big expectations for the album, and now I just need to make sure that all the metalheads reach my album.

Do you have plans to play live?
For sure! Live performances will be definitely a big part of Shade Of Sorrow, no question about it. I have alot of very talented musicians who can help me with live shows and it will be worth to check out!

How did you get started in music?
My parents used to listen to music a lot, and especially heavy and rock music. I think that is the base for everything and the roots can be found in there. Then I started to play drums at the age of six and guitar at the age of eleven. Very soon I was writing my own music and recording them to my cassette player. There are a lot of musicians in our family and relatives so I think the music is in our genes very strongly.

Who were your early influences and inspirations?
Metallica for sure, and also Motörhead, Manowar and so on. Then a little later on I found Pantera, Sepultura and Sentenced. I think those are the the most influental bands for me.

What was the first metal concert you attended?
I think it was Sentenced on their Down album tour. I was sold instantly, it was great show and the teenager I was back then was very impressed!

Who are your all-time top 5 favorite Finnish metal bands?
That´s a tough one since there so many. Of course Sentenced as I mentioned earlier, then Before The Dawn, Wolfheart, Insomnium and Diablo. All of those bands have given me something for my own music.

What are some of your non-musical interests and hobbies?
I´m an iron lover, so weight training is very much present in my every day life. I also am super fanatical about martial arts and have trained different kind of disciplines for about 35 years. Currently, my back is a strong limiting factor regarding to vigorous martial arts training, but I try to do it as much as I can. Drawing is also very close to my heart, but unfortunately I lack the time to do it as much as I would like to.

What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
Rotting Christ, Fractal Gates, Hypocrisy and Imperium Dekadenz to name a few.

Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
First of all, thank you for this interview, it was nice to answer these questions! Secondly, go check out my so far released singles and pre-save the upcoming single ”Blackheart” and the album Upon The Fields Of Grief. Also follow my social media on Facebook and Instagram for further information about live shows and releases.

(interview published June 29, 2024)

Watch Shade Of Sorrow – “Blackheart” Video


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