“Fear of Domination serves industrial elements mixed with some fierce and energetic metal. The band’s performances have been praised as ambitious and impressive, a truly spectacular show.”
Fear of Domination, shortly as FoD, is a shock metal band from Finland and is notorious for its energetic approach and impressive visual performances.
The band was originally founded in Finland in 2006 by Saku Solin (vocals), Jan-Erik Kari (guitar) and Jaakko Arteli (drums 2006-2010). The early line-up also consisted of guitarist Marko Salmikangas, who played lead guitar for a year and Lauri Ojanen (bass) who was the inventor for the bands name “Fear of Domination”. Originally the name “Fear of Domination” was supposed to be a title for a song, but it had such a nice tone to it that it ended up to be the name for the whole band. Hence, FoD was born.
In the early days the band managed to get a handful of shows and started to generate some positive feedback at local contests and events. In 2007 the band parted ways with their lead guitarist Salmikangas and continued as a four piece for the rest of the year. Later on a new guitar player was found and so Johannes Niemi joined the band. As it were that Niemi, Solin, and Ojanen had been friends since their childhood and this bond made it possible to establish a clearer vision of what they wanted to achieve, and where they wanted to go as a band.
Initial material started to solidify and a demo version of the song “Fear of Domination” was created. Although the band chemistry was coming nicely together, it felt that something was “missing from the mix” and so began the search for a new member. Then a keyboardist Niina Telén (2008-2011) was found, whose vocals also augmented many songs by adding variation to the material. From here began a period of composing and rehearsing until the band were ready to hit the studio. D-Studio in Klaukkala was chosen as the location to record all of the older songs and in addition some more recent offerings until a 9-track disk was completed of original pure FoD material.
Furthermore, Petja “MC Raaka Pee” Turunen from the band Turmion Kätilöt signed FoD as a part of Osasto A-records and soon after this FoD released their debut album by the name of “Call of Schizophrenia” in 2009. With the release of the debut album, FoD were now comfortable and confident enough to began the process of formulating their own “sound”. This formed out to be a somewhat melodic metal with strong vocals with distortion and grunt, punctuated with a mix of elegant female vocal parts and electronic sounds.
“Call of Schizophrenia” debut album brought many new shows for FoD around Finland including Tuska Open Air Metal Festivals after-party, and supporting slot for Deathstars (Swe) on their Finland tour in the beginning of 2010. After the Deathstars tour, FoD began the process to make demos for the next upcoming album and recorded a small EP including songs like “Coma” and “Modify”. However, the EP was never released because in the summer of 2010 the band decided to start recording the second full album. Sadly, just before entering the studio to begin recording, Jaakko Arteli decided to part ways with the band. A difference in artistic goals between Arteli and the band was cited as the cause of the split, and an amicable separation was agreed.
Percussion responsibilities were immediately covered by Vesa Ahlroth who had already been helping FoD as a drum tech in the past and had filled in a couple of times in times when Arteli was unable to attend for a gig. This change was a smooth and natural progression which didn’t cause any disruption for the recording process. With Ahlroth’s talent and familiarity with the band members and material, the recordings of the second album “Create.Control.Exterminate” began in a very swift way.
Although there had been some major difficulties with producing and publishing the second album “Create.Control.Exterminate”, it was finally released in 2011. The release awoke the attention of some of the more major media connections in Finland and the EU. Notably the single “Pandemonium” from the album was the most downloaded song on Finland’s biggest rock radio store. In addition, songs like “Tool of God” and “Control Within” brought positive havoc in Finland’s, and more importantly, Europe’s metal scene.
For a while things ran smoothly and FoDs ambition for a bigger and more visually stunning live-show kept on growing. The philosophy of the band was to give the audience a well rounded real show, and not just a standard gig. However, a major problem was that most local venues were too small and the paychecks were insufficient to cover the cost of a larger show. Fortunately at this time Matti Remes stepped in to take care of promotion and management, which really helped FoD to find its place in the Finnish metal music scene.
Shortly, the band acquired another highly important crew member when Papa Wilska joined as sound technician. Wilska took the sound of the live shows to a whole new level and the youngsters learned a lot of valuable tips from this hard-boiled musician, predominantly what it really means to play in a band. Even to this day FoD still consults with Wilska when tour planning. It was around this time the whole band, crew and closer supporters started to form a tight knit group which is nowadays called the “FoD family” because of the intense team spirit which dwells inside of this ever-growing group.
The spirit of FoD started to spread around Finland even more as this was an act with a difference. Sadly, as the band’s profile got bigger, Niina couldn’t keep the pace because of her studies, and thus in spring 2012 FoD and Niina decided together, that it was mutually beneficial that she focuses all her efforts into her studies, and FoD started looking for a new keyboard player. This search didn’t take long though when FoD discovered Lasse Raelahti, the mastermind of synths and programming, and asked for him to join up. Lasse had been on the road a few times with FoD as a helping hand and merchandise seller and the band agreed that he would definitely be a good choice. Lasse gave the offer a lot of thought before joining the band, knowing that being part of FoD was a serious commitment. At last he happily decided that he wanted to be a part of FoD.
FoD was once again complete with six members and the music and the show got a fresh new perspective. After all these little changes in the line-up, FoD was able put the focus back onto the shows and made some big performances in Myötätuulirock 2012 and soon after that a little tour with Swedish “Mass Murder Agenda” in Finland and in Sweden. During that tour FoD acquired new members for the FoD family as Pyrostar wanted to start to promote and help FoD in their ambitious hunger for bigger shows. A noteworthy mention has to be to Helena Haaparanta who sang female vocals during Myötätuulirock and her performance provided that little something extra to the show and the music. Also a very skillful light-technician at Kuopio’s Henry’s Pub came onto the FoD radar. Her passion for lighting and making the show “look good” was phenomenal, and so FoD understood that having that kind of person in the crew would be a real asset. Hanna Niskanen gladly joined the FoD family and the shows continued to grow in stature and ambition.
In 2013 FoD started to pre-produce new songs for the up-coming album at D-studio with producer Jarno Hänninen. The singe “Paperdoll” came out in the spring and again managed to generate lots of new hype focused on the band profile. Media and audiences seemed to genuinely enjoy the new single and it emerged into a hit. FoD performed their new material on a number of gigs during the time of album pre-productions and the single “Paperdoll” instantly became an obvious winner.
During the summer of 2013 FoD isolated from the outside world and entered D-studio to start to record the new album. In the studio many new ideas were tested as Helena Haaparanta coached and produced Saku’s vocals. This really made a huge difference which raised the bar to a whole new level. By the end of summer 2013 the band members were able to say for the first time ever that they had enough time, skill, budget and the right people to make their album the way it should be done. As the mixing and fixing of the album started, the whole band was really satisfied with their creation.
In Autumn of 2013 FoD released yet another single “Legion” with their first music video and again that single was a relatively big success. They also had a little tour in Finland with Russian XE-None which brought a bunch of new fans and prepared Finland for the up-coming, groundbreaking album “Distorted Delusions”. Around the same time Ismo Korhonen from the NEM-Agency noticed this rising star and booked FoD to their roster. Finally FoD had a booking agency, a whole crew and family behind them; a motivated and well trained band which had a whole new show planned for the next year.
In February 2014 the moment finally arrived and third album “Distorted Delusions” came out. The album got numerous top reviews and very good feedback from audiences, media, and colleagues alike. At the same time FoD started their “Double D-tour” which contained many shows around Finland with them headlining the night. During the tour the performances grew even bigger as the whole crew now contributed something to the show. In the summer 2014 FoD brought their show to a whole new level again at Nummirock where the whole crowd was stunned and thrilled because of the music and fire-hot show. UV-lights, pyrotechnics, featured artists, random moments, freaky figures, custom-made lights, theatrical elements and the list goes on. In fall 2014 FoD had its first European tour.
In August 2015 FoD released a music video of the single “El Toro” (Atlas). It was quite clear to the guys that they didn’t want to make just a basic music video with the band members playing in it – they wanted to have something bigger. Lyrics being the main inspiration for the music video, the grand Spanish styled bullfighter video was created. Junkyard films was chosen to make the scene work and the result was a great success! Another single “Adrenaline” from the album Atlas was released in May 2016 to prepare the for the upcoming release of the album “Atlas”.
The fourth album “Atlas” was released on May, 6th of 2016. As a composition “Atlas” went in a slightly different direction from past albums in terms of atmosphere as there’s often a sense of darkness that wasn’t always tangible on “Distorted Delusions”. The making process took a while because it weaved around the ambitious idea of a tribe in a post-apocalyptic setting and how the band would portray that both musically and lyrically. This meant lot of orchestrations and rhythmic electronics combined with huge metal band sound. The songs lyrics deal mostly with the struggles within and the pressure and burdens the band members had to face in their lives. In that sense the title of the album ”Atlas” brings this all together.
In the beginning of 2017 the long-term friend, live vocalist and producer Helena Haaparanta announced that she wanted to set her mind and resources into other musical projects. Haaparanta suggested that FoD should take Sara Strömmer to fill in the female vocals in live shows. As it turned out to be an insane and fruitful coalition, FoD decided to recruit Strömmer as a full-fledged member and officially as the second lead singer alongside with Saku Solin. The band dropped the bomb to their live vocalist and to the audience in the middle of their show in Tuska Open Air Metal Festival.
During the summer 2017 FoD started working on the new material for the fifth album and future plans with a new fierce mood. To nicely finish off summer 2017, FoD played a wildly praised gig at SaariHelvetti in Viikinsaari, Tampere. At the same time some changes took place, while Saku Solin was confirmed as the second lead singer in the band Turmion Kätilöt.
In December 2017 at MetalOrgy Fear of Domination announced an eighth member percussionist Miikki Kunttu. With his outrageous energy and mad stage diving skills, Miikki was a perfect addition to the band. For over two decades Miikki had been playing drums in bands such like V For Violence, The Ragged Saints, The Salvation, Anzi Destruction, Stereo Junks, Vanity Beach and Cold Cold Ground. His professionalism in drums and entertainment really lifts the whole level of FoD.
In January 2018 Fear of Domination finished the recordings for the fifth album and moved to the next stage with Fascination Street Studios in Sweden for the mixing process. In the beginning of February, while waiting the mixing results, FoD headed out to a small tour in Southern Finland with Pain. Just before the tour FoD announced their first single “The Last Call” from the upcoming fifth album.
In the end of February 2018 FoD released a second single “Obsession” along with the title “METANOIA” for the fifth album. They also released dates for a larger tour in May 2018 including gigs in Finland and a tour in the Baltics with Amaranthe.
In April the band announced a third single from the full-length, titled “Face Of Pain”. The new single offers a look in to the darker and starker side of the album. Face Of Pain sinks into the question of what pain looks like, how it shows itself and how it feels, and also how easy it is to hide behind a smile, to stand strong and pretend being able to cope with it. We all feel pain, but how we express it is a far sadder question – how we are like unfinished paintings, trying to complete ourselves.
The fifth album “Metanoia” was released in May the Fourth 2018 via Ranka Kustannus and Out of Line Music. With this, Fear of Domination cranked up a higher gear in everything – carrying a greater punch, groovier and wilder than before, the latest stage of their evolution reveals a band who are having the time of their lives. As multi-faceted as they are riveting in their delivery, “Metanoia” is literally what it says in the tin: a new mindset, a new form, yet still Fear of Domination in its core. “Metanoia” shamelessly flaunts the best assets of FoD, the singer duo’s dynamic performance with double the oomph in both clean and harsh parts not being the least of them. Add in the collective showmanship, and you’ve got yourself a freak show of the best kind, ready to wreak havoc near you.
After “Metanoia” the band started to explore with new ideas and styles. Thus the single “Dead Weight” was born and released in July 2019. The same exploration expanded to the song “Call of Schizophrenia” since the band was celebrating 10th anniversary of their firstly released album. The song was re-released carrying the name “Call of Schizophrenia (2019 Version)”.
In April 2020 after 10 years of sharing the road of Fear of Domination, the drummer Vesa Ahlroth and the band part ways. This decision was made in mutual understanding and we’ll continue the journey as friends. In the honor of the past decade we made a tribute video for Vesa:
Vesa’s words for the band and fans:
“In 2007 I first joined FoD as a drum technician and helped the first drummer Jaakko Arteli. I still remember that phone call in January 2010, when my good friend Johannes Niemi called me to let me know that now there is a drummer chair open in FoD. I didn’t hesitate at all and said yes. The fact that I knew Saku, Johannes, Jaakko, Jinkku, Lauri and the synthesizer artist / vocalist Niina Telen in person before joining the band made it easier. My friendship was already there and the most wonderful thing was to get to execute musical visions with these guys.
So many things have happened in these ten years that I can’t even start to list them here because of the amount of words would start to be epic. However, all our studio sessions, band rehearsals, promotions, gigs and “meet & greets” have been memorable and I wouldn’t give up a single moment. I want to thank you all for sharing this over ten past years. This is an intellectual capital and I’ll cherish and remember with warmth.
Thank you Lasse Raelahti, Lauri Ojanen, Johannes Niemi, Jan-Erik ‘Jinx’ Kari, Saku Solin, Sara Vanhamäki, Miikki Kunttu, Tapio ‘El Padre’ Wilska, Hanna ‘Valoirma’ Niskanen, Niko ‘Merkkarimies’ Marttinen, Annica ‘Loistokäsi’ Tomminen, Niina Telén, Jarno Hänninen from D-Studio, Tuomas Kokko from Eletric Fox Studios, Santeri Pienimäki (Impression Cymbals), Janne Komppisorvaamo, Jami Huovinen, Mauro Garganano, Aileen Skara Bäus, Riku Pääkkönen (Ranka Kustannus), Out of Line Music and all you fans, friends and acquaintances.
However, now is the time to move indefinitely aside from the duties of being the FoD drummer. Our paths may separate with the band, but one thing that doesn’t change or disappear is friendship. Everything is built on it and it carries on from now on!”– All the love with Vesa