Karelia was founded seven years ago with a deep will to play a popular and multi-layered metal, staying away from clichés or genre-typical settings. Next to Matt Kleiber (founder vocalist and composer), the current line-up consists of Jack Ruetsch (guitar), Erwan Morice (guitar), Loïc Jenn (drums) and Gilles Thiebaut (bass).
Following the release of their self-produced demo and shows with acts like Kamelot, At Vance, Vanden Plas and Dyslesia. Karelia signed in 2003 with Drakkar/Sony-BMG and released their debut, Usual Tragedy, in spring 2004. Music was opulent, it included driving drum parts, progressive rhythms and hard-as-nails guitar riffs, anthemnic choir parts, imposing strings arrangements and numerous cross references to the time of the great classical composers.
Usual Tragedy met great success as a debut, and especially in Japan (ranked 4th in the “Burrn” magazine metal charts), Germany, Russia and Brazil. Reason enough for Drakkar/Sony-BMG to sign up a new Karelia’s recording with even more ambition. But the band cannot stay motionless, and they changed some stylistic aspects of their music: vocals get really personal, songs turned into mid-tempo numbers, fast double bass and technical virtuosity almost disappeared. Some classical arrangements turned into electro sounds. It was dealing with Nazi’s rise in the 30’s Germany, religion wars, US McCarthyism… Songs were more versatile and dynamic than their debut. It also included an amazing Pink Floyd cover. The album was called Raise. A press conference gathered the whole German metal press for a listening session and the album was greeted with full applause. But at time of release (spring 2005) it clearly seemed that the audience was very surprised by Karelia’s new work, heavy-metal fans were obviously disappointed by the band’s transformation. Sales were not as high as the debut. Still, Karelia shared the stage with The Gathering, Crystal Ball, Nightmare, Dagoba.
Still in move, Karelia composed a third album… turning out dark electro and pop at the same time. Symphonic heavy metal is obviously miles away. Guitars get loud and aggressive, lyrics get really insane, but all songs get a head bangin’ groove and obsessive gimmicks able to reach anybody… still having phobia about clichés, they added “Moby” and “R.E.M.” covers in the album. The band signed up with the US/French label Season Of Mist. In the same way, Music For Ever, the French management production company, decided to put Karelia right under its wing and to place the band in opening of all Scorpions French gigs. Then Karelia had incredible opportunity to play in front of thousands people. The band could also notice that their catchy new songs get incredibly attractive on the audience, and that the appeal goes far beyond the metal borders as well.
News gigs on tour with Scorpions will come, and the third album, called Restless, will be released by Season of Mist on 21st April 2008… and you can bet that successful or not, the audience reactions will be radical once again anyway.