|Sarcofagus was founded in 1977 by lead guitarist Kimmo Kuusniemi.
In 1978 the band managed to save enough money for one day's recording session in an 8 track studio. Seven songs came out of this session. Finnish radio station YLE played this tape and it received positive reviews.
This set the wheels in motion. The band signed a record deal and went straight back to the studio to record their first single Go To Hell/All Those Lies.
Kimmo instantly became the spokesperson for the repressed heavy metal movement. He appeared in numerous radio programmes and magazine articles explaining metal philosophy to sceptical reporters.
The band's live performances received rave reviews in the main newspapers and by the most acclaimed music critics. At the time when the popularity of metal music was at it's lowest ever, these good reviews led the record company to commission an album as soon as possible.
First album, Cycle Of Life was released in 1980 and received a very warm welcome from the media and critics.
Album was acknowledged to be the first Finnish heavy metal album ever. Kimmo continued giving interviews for TV, radio and magazines. The band was definitely on a roll.
In the 1980 Sarcofagus went back to the studio to record their second album Envoy Of Death.
The recording of this album encountered several big setbacks. The already recorded drum tracks were destroyed by faulty tape material.
These tracks had already created friction in the band as the band's drummer had tiny timing problems. Producers Esa and Kimmo decided that something needed to be done with the new recordings. Esa arranged the drums and closely supervised the new drum sessions. In the end this mishap worked in favour of the band.
These problems led Kimmo to decide to use talented session drummer Ronnie Österberg in the most challenging dark progressive metal track "Black Contract". This was unfortunately Ronnie's last recording due to his untimely death, soon after.
The next big problem was that there was still no replacement for the singer Hannu, who was doing his compulsory military service. Esa and Kimmo had numerous test sessions with singers, but at that time finding a good heavy metal singer was like finding a needle in a haystack.
Very young Jukka Homi was chosen: Esa and Kimmo thought they could try to get the most out of him.
The album was released in late 1980 and was highly acclaimed by the media and the critics.
Sarcofagus filmed two videos for the most popular TV music show at the time (YLE Tuubi). The songs were: "Deadly Game" and "Insane Rebels".
The band was gigging extensively and playing to full houses.
The band's dark metal looks and stage performance, spiced up with pyrotechnics, pyramids, flame throwing guitars and dark mythical lyrics were raising some controversy.
Stories in magazines suggested that death was following the band as three band members had already had an unnatural death. Also a mother of a young fan was accusing the band's music of driving her daughter to commit a suicide.
This of course didn't stop people traveling long distances to see the live performances by this now notorious band.
In 1981 Sarcofagus stopped gigging. Maintaining the pyrotechnics and extravagant stage show was too expensive, even when the band was paid relatively well for appearances.
Soon after this Sarcofagus was locked in a sarcophagus. Kimmo felt that the uneven band was hampering the quality of his music and that the latest album was seriously affected by compromises.
Learning from his mistakes Kimmo set up to recruit the most talented line up possible for his next album Motorbirds.
Due to record company politics the name Sarofagus was dropped. The band was called Kimmo Kuusniemi Band although the first suggestion was KGB (Kimmo Guusniemi Band). KGB was the Soviet Union Secret Police.
As Sarcofagus has always been Kimmo's project he has always felt that this band should also have been called Sarcofagus.
Motorbirds was the first Finnish heavy metal album sung in Finnish.
The album was produced and engineered by Kimmo. He also produced and directed a full album length video. This video was the first of it's kind in the heavy metal genre and well before MTV, video rental or sales, and even before home VCRs became household items!
The album received extensive positive media coverage and the video was shown in several TV programmes.
The album turned out being exactly what Kimmo set up to do, except for the worst metal album cover ever. There was an alternative cover made, but due to personal connection with the cover's artist Kimmo didn't have the heart to use it.
The record was made in Finnish with a plan to make an English version as there was some international demand for the album (mainly in Germany, Netherlands and Italy).
This never happened as Kimmo swapped his guitar for a film camera. Part of the reason for this career change was problems in the album distribution by the record company.
Life after Sarcofagus
Kimmo Kuusniemi and his partner Tanja Katinka Karttunen are professional film makers, and have internationally produced and directed hundreds of films from TV commercials to music videos. Kimmo's and Tanja's films carry his trade marks: high energy, music and fast action.
In 1986 Kimmo & Tanja released and extended single Automania under band name Exciter.
The song appeared in YLE TV series Automania which was directed by Kimmo.
A music video was made out of the title song "Automania". This was shown in movie theatres as a promotional video for the TV series.
In 1991 Kimmo & Tanja released single Double Vision: Dream On.
This was donated to WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature International). Kimmo & Tanja produced, composed and directed the music video, which was a critical statement about the state of nature around us. This video made the headlines in MTV (the 1st ever Finnish music project to achieve this) and was extensively aired in MTV Europe and Asia.
During the years Kimmo has composed and performed 100s of soundtracks for films. Kimmo & Tanja have made several rock videos (Vader, Lawn Mower Deth, Becki & Bombshells etc)
Kimmo has filmed many international super stars including Madonna, Grace Jones, Chaka Khan, Verve, Terrorvision, Van Morrison etc…
They have worked and lived in England since 1992.
By the year 2000 the tide had turned, and new Finnish metal bands were making waves internationally. In addition to the old Sarcofagus fans, also new audiences had found the pioneering metal band. Requests for interviews and come back performances were piling up and old albums and memorabilia were fetching record prices. The early 80's metal was back and young metal heads were looking up to the original guitar heroes.
In 2004 Kimmo Kuusniemi released a downloadable free web version of 1981 Motorbirds album with the original alternative cover.
Sarcofagus album Core Values came out in 2007, after 25 years since the early albums, with most of the original band.
In 2008 Kimmo released a limited edition CD of the previously unpublished studio tape Sarcofagus Live In Studio 1979, and a limited edition DVD of the 1982 full album length metal music video "Moottorilinnut".
Sarcofagus Anthology 1979-1982 double CD was published in Finland by Rocket Records in 2009, and it includes: the first single and 3 Albums, artwork and booklet with lyrics, history of the band, and a foreword by Kimmo Kuusniemi.
New vinyl releases of all the old albums are planned and Sarcofagus will be touring again soon!
Heavy metal is a full time job again. In 2008 Kimmo Kuusniemi produced a feature length HD TV documentary "Promised Land Of Heavy Metal" that tells the story of the Finnish metal phenomenon, and features many of the famous Finnish metal greats, including Sarcofagus. The film is directed by Tanja Katinka Karttunen. It is in worldwide TV and DVD distribution.
Source: Official Website