Villieläin were a symphonic / power metal band from Tampere, Finland. They formed in 2006 and released a demo the same year. Three years later, on August 19, 2009 they released their first studio album named Julma Satu, which means Cruel Fairytale.
The band was formed in 2006 by Emilia Rantasalo, Jani Hölli, Timo Niemistö, Janne Juutinen and Dimitri Martinov. The name of the band means Wild Animal. The group's lyrics centre around the idea of "He who makes a beast of himself, gets rid of the pain of being a man". Their music is inspired by the original gloomy fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm and their lyrics also contain references to these stories. They incorporate female coloratura vocals, heavy metal riffs and industrial sounding keyboards into their songs and are progressively gaining more fame through internet forums and promotional videos. They toured regularly but were not signed to a record label until 2008, when they were swept up by Universal Music. Another change was made in 2008. Janne Juutinen was replaced by Mikael Hakamies as the band's drummer.
Their first single "Kaiverrettu Hiekkaan" ("Engraved in Sand") has been widely played on Finnish mainstream radio stations and is a download only release. It featured on the Soundi 2009 compilation album. Their second single, "Voittamaton" ("Invincible") was released on May 12, 2009 and entered the Finnish top 20 singles charts at position 12, on the week beginning at August 2, 2009. The third single "Kuoleman Suudelma" ("Kiss of Death"), was released in August 2009. They sound similar to bands like Nightwish, Elis, Lunatica and Visions of Atlantis.
The band's debut album, Julma Satu (Cruel Fairytale) is a mixture of heavy power metal, industrial sounds and acoustic influences. It was released on August 19, 2009 and reached position 27 on the Finnish top 40 album charts, where it stayed for one week. Many Finnish musicians have been involved in the songwriting and production of the album, including Manzana vocalist Piritta "Lumous" Vartola, Entwine drummer Aksu Hanttu and former Soulrelic vocalist Raymond Pohjola.
The album Julma Satu can be described as a concept album. The lyrics of the tracks on the album are epic stories, which are a part of the main tale. The plot tells of missing humanity, love, revenge, anger and death. In the sleevenotes the story of the characters, that the band members portray is described. They appear in their own fairy tale. A mystic shaman has gathered outcasts to avenge the evils, that humanity did to them, when they had the feelings of a human beings. It tells of a time, where people only find feelings and emotions of the past, it as though there is no future and that the world is standing still.
Villieläin was one of the 30 entries taking part in SMS voting, which ran from 1st till 15 October 2009. Only three performers proceeded to the live selection phase. The band were entry 30 and entered the song "Ei Minua" ("Not Me") for selection as a song choice for Finland in the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest, which will be held in Oslo, Norway. The song received a large number of votes and thus finished in the top 10 of the web voting. However, since it did not finish in the top three, the band were knocked out of the running and so will not progress to the live semi-finals of Euroviisut 2010. The band have no plans to release "Ei Minua" as a single or to include it on any future album releases at the moment.
Villieläin have been criticised for creating music, that does not take itself seriously. They have been described as a cheap Nightwish copy and a "low cost version of Spinal Tap". Petri Klemetti remarked, that although putting fairy tale style lyrics to the sounds of metal is an original idea, it doesn't work because the music is too terrifying for children, but yet too childish for adults, therefore it does not appeal to any specific target audience. The overall mixing of "Julma Satu" (Cruel Fairytale) has been criticised as being "bland, dull, tasteless and colourless", although Aksu Hanttu has been commended for his involvement.
However others are of the view, that the overall production of the album is "a fresh extract of sounds previously demonstrated by Poisonblack" and an example of "fantastic modern heavy rock".
Emilia "Nemilia" Rantasalo - vocals (Mystic Opera),
Jani "Jay" Hölli - keyboards, (Snakegod, Soulrelic, Technical Justice),
Timo "Tinke" Niemistö - guitar (Anthriel, Soulrelic, X-Tacy),
Dimitri "Dimmu" Martinov - bass (Two Witches),
Mikael "Miguel" Hakamies - drums (Snakegod) (since 2008),
Janne Juutinen (2006-2008) - drums,
Kirsi Hanelle Siren (2007-2008)- backing vocals,
Capri - backing vocals,
Aksu Hanttu (Entwine) - backing vocals,
Jaakko Teittinen - growls on Voittamaton,
Mika Tauriainen(Entwine, ShamRain) - male vocals on Kuoleman Suudelma,
Janne Juutinen (Masterstroke) - drums,
Petri Alanko - flute,
Songwriters and collaborators:
Piritta "Lumous" Vartola (Manzana),
Aksu Hanttu (Entwine),
Tommy Suomala (Soulrelic),
Raymond Pohjola (Soulrelic),
Anna-Eerika Guzejev (Dean),