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Music / Poets of the Fall

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An Alternative Rock band from Finland, Poets of the Fall consists of vocalist Marko Saaresto, guitarist Olli Tukiainen, and keyboardist Markus "Captain" Kaarlonen, who also produces the songs. When touring, the band is supported by three additional members: bassist Jani Snellman, rhythm guitarist/supporting vocalist Jaska Mäkinen, and percussionist Jari Salminen.

Shortly after the band was formed in 2003, Sami Järvi, a friend of Saarestoís and a scriptwriter working at Remedy, asked him to turn a poem Järvi had written into a song for Max Payne 2; this would turn into "Late Goodbye", which serves as the gameís end credits theme and a recurring motif. Additionally, Kaarlonen had previously worked at a software company, which contacted them to use the song "Lift" in a benchmark program. Both of these helped expose the band to a wide audience. Their debut album, Signs of Life, entered the Finnish charts in the number-one spot and remained in the Top 40 for over a year.

Since then, they have maintained a high-quality output; each of their albums has entered the Finnish charts as number one. Not including Signs of Life, all of their albums have been certified gold in Finland in three weeks or less, and Signs of Life and Carnival of Rust have both been certified platinum.

They worked with Remedy again in 2010, on the video game Alan Wake. They appeared as the Fake Band Old Gods of Asgard, writing two songs specifically for the game. Additionally, they appeared as themselves in a flashback, and the song "War" was played on one of the in-game radios. They also have two songs in the Alan Wake Gaiden Game, Alan Wake's American Nightmare: "Balance Slays the Demon'' as the Old Gods of Asgard, and "The Happy Song" as themselves.

Fun fact: their first two albums were produced in Kaarlonenís living room.

Discography

  • Signs of Life (2005)
  • Carnival of Rust (2006)
  • Revolution Roulette (2008)
  • Twilight Theater (2010)
  • Alchemy Vol. 1 (2011)
  • Temple of Thought (2012)
  • Jealous Gods (2014)

This band contains examples of:

  • Alliterative Title: Revolution Roulette, their third album and its Title Track, a song about courting the possibility of Full-Circle Revolution.
  • Attention Whore: Deconstructed in "Save Me"; the singer is developing self-destructive tendencies in his quest for attention. Lampshaded in the chorus:
    Save me
    I'm my own worst enemy
    Running headlong to the wall
    'Cause I want my freebie.
  • Award Bait Song: "Late Goodbye," the country-inspired end-credits theme and recurring leitmotif of Max Payne 2, which netted a 2004 Game Audio Network Guild Award.
  • Ballad of X: "The Ballad of Jeremiah Peacekeeper" a Western-inspired tale about an implicitly Messianic, Reluctant Warrior lawman.
  • Body to Jewel: Referenced in "Diamonds For Tears," where the singer observes his lover's Tender Tears and Tears of Joy and interprets them this way while he wrestles with Commitment Issues.
  • Bolt of Divine Retribution: The cover of the album "Jealous Gods" alludes to vengeful dieties when paired with the title, showing a road sign with a lightning bolt.
  • Call Back: "Choice Millionaire"'s spoken-word outro contains part of "Dying to Live"'s lyrics.
  • Circus of Fear: The "Carnival of Rust." The Carnival is run down and creepy, and the staff is menacing and vaguely predatory. The video's plot revolves around Zoltar, a depressive, decaying Carnival automaton with flaking paint, and experiences of the gas-masked female customer who he tries to persuade to stay with foreboding, increasingly desperate pleas and demands for a relationship while banging on the walls of his case.
  • Continuity Nod: The music video for Title Track "Carnival of Rust" contains references to other songs on the album. Among them:
    • "Fire"-eaters ply their trade
    • The Ferris wheel is called The Great "Gravity" Wheel, and fragments of its lyrics serve as slogans on Zoltar the fortune-telling automaton's case.
    • The customer's fortune ticket bears a number "4" for "All the Way/4U"
    • The Bearded Lady is being tattooed with the word "Delicious."
  • Fake Band: As Heavy Mithril band "Old Gods of Asgard" in the Alan Wake series. Just to muddy the issue, they appear as themselves in a cameo; and before playing the Poets' song "War", a radio host compares the two bands, saying the Poets remind him of the Old Gods for some reason he canít quite place.
  • Full-Circle Revolution: The general message of "Revolution Roulette": easy solutions after a revolution tend to cause more problems than they solve, setting the stage for another revolution.
    Everybody has the perfect solution,
    It's just hard to resist the sweet seduction.
    There ain't no trick to winning double what you bet.
    Welcome to revolution roulette.
  • Genre Roulette: They can play a wide variety of styles, ranging from metal to hard rock to symphonic. Has nothing to do with Revolution Roulette.
  • Greatest Hits Album:
    • Best of Poets of the Fall, only released in India for some reason.
    • Subverted with Alchemy Vol. 1, as itís actually a collection of the bandís favorites and two new songs.
  • Heavy Mithril: As their fictional personas in the Alan Wake games, Old Gods of Asgard, who combine Norse Mythology with Cthulhu Mythos imagery in a seventies/eighties metal package, and aid the hero through The Power of Rock.
  • Live-Action Adaptation: The music video for "War" adapts a few scenes from Alan Wake, featuring Ilkka Villi, Alan's model and live-action performer, fighting Taken played by the band members, while the vocalist also plays a solitary camper singing the lyrics.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Miss Impossible" appears to describe such a woman, and lampshades her paradoxical nature:
    As she is beautiful, she's unpredictable,
    Damned irresistible, is it plausible to hate her?
    She is my common sense, revels on decadence,
    But what's the difference, it's impossible to bait her.
  • Metal Scream:
    • A short mid-range punctuation is present after a bout of manic laughter and a gasp in "Psychosis."
    • High-register, gravelly screams punctuate and highlight the chorus of their Heavy Mithril Fake Band Old Gods of Asgard's "Children of the Elder God."
  • Mind Screw Some of the music videos are really weird, but the best example has to be "Carnival of Rust", where a woman with a gas mask and a lollipop visits a dilapidated Carnival of Fear.
  • Monster Clown:
    • Downplayed in "Carnival of Rust," as the singer Zoltar, an automaton performer in a Circus of Fear carnival, serves as an unusually eerie and foreboding Pierrot-figure. Though a Sad Clown, his obvious decrepitude and increasing desperation make the air of menace that much thicker.
    • The album art for Twilight Theater introduces Hamartia, the Slasher Smile-sporting jester with a Happy Harlequin Hat that terminates not in jingle bells, but a coiled serpent's head.
    • The video for Jealous Gods' "Daze" sees Hamartia reappear to sing it, this time as an even creepier Jester-King, with bells hanging from his hair, presiding moodily over a decadent Masquerade Ball until an attendee elects to leave without his say-so. He responds by setting everything on fire.
  • Pop-Star Composer: They've a nice sideline composing videogame soundtracks.
    • Max Payne 2's ending theme, "Late Goodbye" was their first release, which suddenly became the Breakaway Pop Hit that properly launched their careers as perennial chart-toppers.
    • In the Alan Wake games, they're the real talent behind the Heavy Mithril Fake Band known as Old Gods of Asgard, and play all of the original songs that the band play in-game.
    • Poets' Markus "Captain" Kaarlonen did the soundtrack to indie FPS Shattered Horizon.
    • Likewise, Kaarlonen soundtracked Rochard, while the whole band performed its Theme Song, "Grinder's Blues."
  • Power Ballad:
    • "The Poet and the Muse," Alan Wake's folky story-song by Heavy Mithril Fake Band Old Gods of Asgard, which reveals the terrible fates of the protagonist's predecessors, and offers a way for him to escape their Eternal Recurrance.
    • "War" the sweeping epic devotional about unexpectedly finding someone you could fight a common enemy with, also in Alan Wake but credited (even in an in-game cameo) as a Poets' song.
  • Purple Prose: They do this with a few songs, while proving that Tropes Are Not Bad.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The title of their first album, (and later Temple of Thought Bonus Track) Signs of Life, is a nod to Pink Floydís instrumental of the same name.
    • "The Ultimate Fling" has nods to two of Dirty Harryís quotes in its chorus; specifically, "Make my day," and "Do you feel lucky?"
  • Solemn Ending Theme: '"Late Goodbye," a melancholic, country-inspired tune implying a never-ending Stern Chase, is the end credits music (and recurring leitmotif) of Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne.
  • Stepford Smiler: The song "Shallow" could be the Empty Smiler's Anthem.
    More in my face
    Than is my taste
    I grow so weary I'll surrender.
  • Subdued Section:
    • "The Ultimate Fling," a hypercombative Breakup Song, shifts into a sparer, less agitated mode when, instead of provoking conflict, the singer honestly asks what the reason for the breakup is, in hopes of getting closure.
    • "Revolution Roulette," a song fatalistically musing on Full-Circle Revolution, has a lulling, meditative piano bit both between verses, and backing a quieter verse befor the final, yelled chorus.
  • Subliminal Seduction: Their Heavy Mithril Fake Band Old Gods of Asgard's "Balance Slays the Demon" has a small section with reversed, sped up lyrics. Play it the right way round and you get "It will happen again, in another town. A town... called Ordinary."
  • Tarot Troubles: The video for "Carnival of Rust" has Zoltar the fortune-telling automaton give his gas-masked customer a tarot reading via a pair of trivision-style prismatic signs flanking his case. He considers her "The Star," a good-hearted Messiah Figure, but the second card he pulls (complete with electric guitar Scare Chord) is one of its opposites, The Nine of Swords, symbolizing anguish, despair and being trapped. On doing this, he begins the song's chorus, a blatant demand that she love him or he'll be stuck there, all but confirming he's tainting the reading with his desperate Wishful Projection.
  • Unplugged Version:
    • The band's first single, "Late Goodbye," contains multiple versions of Max Payne 2's Solemn Ending Theme, one of them fully acoustic..
    • When performed live, Alan Wake Power Ballad "War" is often played with an acoustic guitar.
    • Temple of Thought Bonus Edition has unplugged live studio versions of love songs "Temple of Thought" and "Skin."
    • the digital single of "Daze" also includes an unplugged version of Carnival of Rust's "King of Fools" which lengthens the song considerably, turning it torchy and Surprisingly Gentle.
  • Yin-Yang Bomb: Discussed in Heavy Mithril Fake Band Old Gods of Asgard's "Balance Slays the Demon", as an in-universe attempt by the band to steer the protagonist of Alan Wake's American Nightmare toward defeating the game's villain via lyrical metaphor.
    Ever the light casts a shadow
    Ever the night springs from the light
    In the end, it's never just the light you need
    When balance slays the demon, you'll find peace
    In the end, it's never just the dark you seek
    When balance slays the demon, you'll find peace

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