VELVET OCEAN is an ALTERNATIVE MELODIC METAL band from Oulu, Northern Finland. The story of the band began a couple of years ago as a co-writing project of the main singer Riitu and her husband, guitarist Jarkko ‚Jake‘ Ronkainen.
As songs kept popping up the project soon evolved into a studio project with both session musicians and later band members joining in. Early in the pre-production stage Oulu symphonic orchestra cello players Arto Alikoski and Harri Österman joined as well as the established Finnish keyboard player Marco Sneck.
01. It’s So Hard 03:20
02. Tonight 03:47
03. Requiem 05:05
04. Butterfly 05:27
05. Truth Or Illusion 03:01
06. Elysian Fields 03:58
07. Broken 03:58
08. Innocent Eyes 03:28
09. Lullaby 04:14
10. Salvation 03:58
total: 40:16 min.
The debut album recorded in this way, which later got the title „Purposes And Promises“, was handed over to Johan Örnborg and Jens Bogren for mixing and mastering at the well-known Fascination Street Studios. „Purposes And Promises“ was released on February 7, 2020 via Helsinki Records and is distributed by Warner Music Finland.
The title of the album describes the motivation of the Ronkainens behind the album project. It has been the sole purpose of their lives for the last few years, says Jake, and the promise they made to complete it has held the project together throughout the hard work period.
VELVET OCEAN believe that music is a connection between their own feelings and the outside world, and that is why their compositions tell stories about things that have happened in their personal lives. The music style of VELVET OCEAN is basically derived from all the music the couple has ever listened to, and also incorporates influences from genres other than Metal music.
Riitu Ronkainen • Vocals
Jarkko ‚Jake‘ Ronkainen • Guitar, Vocals
Jani Lehtinen • Guitar
Tuomas Vesa • Bass
Jami Alaverronen • Synths
Arto Alikoski • Cello
Bastian Schallschmidt • Drums
The independent style reminds a little bit of other contemporary Melodic Metal bands with female vocals, but adds a touch of Pop and Grunge as well as distinctive drum beats and acoustic instruments.
„Our music is about honesty and dealing with certain emotions that have caused some difficulties or challenges in life. It’s about expressing yourself and dealing with negative feelings in a way that other people can identify with them,“ adds Riitu, who describes her attitude towards music itself as follows:
„Music is very important to me. It’s almost as important as the air that I breathe. Music gives a meaning to my life. It’s also a sort of therapy to me. With music I can express the thoughts and emotions that I go through. I’m the kind of person that I have a very vivid imagination and I feel that this is a quality that is very useful in making music. Music connects me very strongly to my emotions in a way that sometimes feels even a little bit excessive. It is very important to me to communicate with the people listening to our music. I mean an emotional level connection that would make the people try to understand the feelings we have put into the blend that has eventually made the music exist. I am also very visual in my composing. I would like the mere music and the sound to fill the whole inner space of the person listening with images and landscapes. Today the world is packed with visual information and leaves less to the imagination which is kind of a negative thing sometimes. In the end, I would love to think that our music will prevail after everything we’ve gone through.“
On May 21st VELVET OCEAN released the latest music video, this time for the album song „Elysian Fields“:
2020 • Purposes And Promises (Full-length)
4 / 5
„… for the young band’s debut album, it’s a shockingly strong accomplishment.“
4 / 5
„You’ll love the mix of depth and the accessibility here – it’s a winning combination … a great debut.“
8 / 10
„… clean and defined sound quality, with the right amount of modern aggressiveness and weight. So everything can be heard and understood, and the listener will be able to catch what the band is trying to express … excellent work …“
„Emerging with a debut that is certainly promising for a strong career, VELVET OCEAN have shown themselves to be adept at both captivating songwriting and artists in balancing the contributions of a great number of artists.“
„… this debut album has a very pleasant sound, very kind, very much if you like style, sentimentality and the charm of the peaceful … worth listening to … spirit and emotional experience, that does deliver and fulfill.“
(Dark Metal Divas)
„Riitu Ronkainen‘s melancholic vocals can’t help but remind me of Evanescence‘s Amy Lee. The amount of emotion in her voice is incredible, which adds so much more depth to the otherwise straightforward yet charming melodies. She effortlessly transitions from poppy to classical vocals, hitting every note. From then on, the tracks remain easy to listen to and flow into one another smoothly … every single one of the seven band members has something special to add to this record, from powerful, varied bass lines to drums ranging from explosive to sensitive … they have managed to develop and grow into their very own musical identity during the making of this album, due to an intuitive creative flow that can only be celebrated. It’s undeniable VELVET OCEAN has put their heart and soul into ‚Purposes And Promises‘ …“
„VELVET OCEAN together with front woman Riitu Ronkainen themselves create a kind of crisp, fresh, romantically charged Alternative Metal sound, with confidently played (Rock)guitars and opulent arrangements. The extremely tasteful performance is pampered by catchy, velvety soft tone sequences and Riitu’s anytime devoted vocals.“
„Ten atmospheric tracks inspire with hard sounds and velvety soft melodies. Impressive use of cello and soulful vocals give the compositions an inevitably engaging character. The enchanting voice of singer Riitu is powerful and fragile at the same time and always conveys captivating emotionality … ‚Purposes And Promises‘ surpasses its promises!“