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.
- 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.
- Amulet of Concentrated Awesome: Ambiguously Implied in the video for "Choice Millionaire," with the Hopecatcher, a steel feather pendant that the subversive Deus ex Machina gives a labourer to facilitate escape from the Machine. Still, it is quite literally depicted as a Magic Feather.
- Anguished Declaration of Love: The opening verse of Obsession Song "Carnival of Rust," implies that the speaker has been unhealthily fixating on the object of their affection for so long they've been losing sleep, while the lyrics pivot from a passive, Wishful Projection-fueled Trial Balloon Question to a line that Deconstructs the declaration itself as predatory in nature.Of implication, insinuation and ill will, till' you cannot lie still
In all this turmoil, before red cape and foil come closing in for a kill?
- 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.
- Audience Participation Song: In concert, "The Happy Song," with its minimal, repetitive lyrics, may be reworked into a closing number that serves as an opportunity for the audience to sing along, with the addition of genially menacing new Madness Mantra lyrics to thank them for coming.Singer: 'Cause really, we love you!Audience: 'Cause really, we love you!Singer: LOVEYOULOVEYOULOVEYOU!Audience: LOVEYOULOVEYOULOVEYOU!
- Award Bait Song: "Late Goodbye," the country-inspired end-credits theme and Recurring Riff of Max Payne 2, which netted a 2004 Game Audio Network Guild Award.
- Implied in the video for "Lift." Taken together, Mad Dreamer Mark smiling and manifesting Black Eyes of Evil when presented with an evidence bag containing a straight pin, a photo of a woman with moth wings that figures prominently in both his psych hearing and his Happy Place, and his fixation on pinned moths all suggest that Mark has done very, very bad things to end up in Poet County Jail and deemed a "menace to society."
- Implied in "The Happy Song," wherein a Laughing Mad singer engages in Evil Gloating about how they're going to kill the listener. In Alan Wake's American Nightmare, it serves as the Villain Song for Mr. Scratch, a sadistic Knife Nut.
- Ballad of X: "The Ballad of Jeremiah Peacekeeper" a Western inspired Ennio Morricone Pastiche about an implicitly Messianic, Reluctant Warrior lawman.
- Black Eyes of Evil: In the video for "Lift," Mad Dreamer and jail inmate Mark manifests matte black eyes briefly during his psych screening when the female psychologist evaluating him confronts him with an evidence bag containing a red ball-head straight pin. Though his mouth is out of frame, his expression implies that he's smiling at the sight of it.
- 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 deities when paired with the title, showing a road sign with a lightning bolt.
- Bragging Theme Tune: "The Happy Song," a Villain Song for Mr. Scratch, Humanoid Abomination antagonist of Alan Wake's American Nightmare. In it, the singer rants about his madness with a kind of twisted pride, engaging in Evil Gloating about the listener's impending death.I told you I'm a psycho, psycho, PSYCHO, yeah!
- Break-Up Bonfire: Exaggerated in the video for "Daze," where Hamartia the Monster Clown reacts to a female attendee leaving his Masquerade Ball like a villain scorned, setting fire to her car, with her in it and the ball as a whole.
- Breakup Song: "The Ultimate Fling," a hypercombative song that dares the listener to "Give Me a Reason" for the breakup while dropping references to dialogue from Dirty Harry.
- Call Back:
- Temple of Thought Bonus Edition's Bonus Track and Follow Your Heart anthem "Signs of Life" shares a title with their first full album, a title frequently dropped in the song's chorus.
- Released in 2015, "Choice Millionaire"'s video is set inside "the machine" referred to in the lyrics of their 2008 album's Title Track, "Revolution Roulette," while "Millionaire"'s spoken-word outro contains part of the lyrics of "Dying to Live," from their 2010 album, Twilight Theater.
- Came Back Wrong: In "The Poet and the Muse," the Murder Ballad by Alan Wake's Old Gods of Asgard, this is the ultimate result of the Poet Tom attempting to exploit the eldritch power of a magical lake to resurrect his drowned Muse.And when he swore to bring back his love by stories he'd create
Nightmares shifted in their sleep, in the darkness of the lake
- 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 the 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.
- Commedia dell'Arte:
- "Carnival of Rust's" singer Zoltar, a fortunetelling automaton with tatty clothes, peeling paint and tell-tale black-accented white makeup, is a Deconstructed Pierrot. While genuinely tragic, pining after the woman in the gas mask who visits the Carnival, he's rendered sinister because his idea of love is deeply dysfunctional and self-interested, since he thinks it will fix his life/free him from the Carnival. Though his desperation is sincere, there's a reason his demanding chorus is signalled by a Scare Chord.
- Hamartia, the sinister jester mascot of Twilight Theater's album art and Villain Protagonist singer of Jealous Gods' "Daze" is a Harlequin in black-and-red motley who's Adaptational Villainy has him behaving far more like the devil of the character's roots than as than a mere Trickster. He's alternately depicted with a nasty Slasher Smile or moodily antagonizing the object of his jealousy as Orcus on His Throne.
- Commitment Issues: The subject of "Diamonds For Tears," as the singer searches for reasons to bolt, precisely because he suspects his lover is worth keeping.'Cause when you're sleeping right next to me, I know you're the one
So when I hear you calling my name, why do I turn away and run?
- Continuity Nod:
- The video for Signs of Life track "Lift," sees a prisoner declared "Illusionist," and "Dreamer," a reference to "Illusion & Dream," another track on the album.
- 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."
- Cool Mask:
- In "Carnival of Rust," the Carnival customer conceals her face behind an impressive gas-mask, while its workers are all bare-faced, implying that the environment is toxic.
- In "Daze" all the Masquerade Ball attendees wear ornamented Venetian half-masks, but Villain Protagonist Evil Clown Hamartia has an exceptionally elaborate full-face Venetian Jester mask that he drops on beginning to sing, and toys with throughout.
- Cover Version:
- In their earliest shows, they would pad out their set by covering Simon & Garfunkel's "Hazy Shade of Winter."
- They performed a live studio version of "You Know My Name," Chris Cornell and David Arnold's James Bond theme from Casino Royale, for The Voice's Livenä Vieraissa compilation album, while fully decked out in Bond Tuxes.
- They covered Finnish rock band Dingo's "Tobacco Road" for the tribute album Melkein Vieraissa - Nimemme On Dingo
- They sometimes cover "Salaisuuksia" (Secrets), a song they originally composed for Johanna Kurkela. To date, its the only song they've performed in Finnish.
- During a set, vocalist Marko Saaresto may perform an a capella version of Irish folk ballad "The Wind that Shakes the Barley."
- They've performed a live acoustic cover of Adele's Breakup Song "Rolling in the Deep" at Radio Nova's Nova Stage.
- Culture Police: In the video for "Lift," an Ambiguous interpretation of the Poet County Jail officials conducting Mad Dreamer Mark's psychiatric evaluation (with which he would agree) is that they find his brand of creativity threatening. The lone female psychologist finishes the evaluation form by checking boxes marked "Illusionist," "Dreamer" and "Menace to society."
- Dastardly Dapper Derby: Downplayed in the video for Obsession Song "Carnival of Rust," where several of the vaguely menacing male Carnival staff wear them, including Sad Clown Zoltar the fortuneteller, who manages to put off a customer by being so Love Hungry he becomes intimidating as a result.
- Destructive Romance: "Kamikaze Love" has a pair reveling in their illicit, volatile and presumably doomed romance.Take me where the angels fall
You take it all
You give no quarter for my love
You raise me high to tear me down
Leaves you reeling, feels like stealing
Frantic moments of kamikaze love
- Disproportionate Retribution: In the video for "Daze," leaving Hamartia the Monster Clown's Masquerade Ball without his by-your-leave gets the object of his jealousy and everything in Hamartia's vicinity torched like kindling.
- Driving Song:
- "Late Goodbye," the Theme Song of Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne, is a melancholy country tune implying a never-ending Stern ChaseLonely street signs, power lines, they keep on flashing, flashing by
And we keep driving into the night
- Wanderlust Song "Daze" is as much about the highs and lows of touring as it is driving itself, but the video makes a point of emphasizing the latter, as an absconder from a Masquerade Ball glories in driving her car.Rolling down the freeway, master to the speed of light
Screaming up in the air, bursting through the night
- "Late Goodbye," the Theme Song of Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne, is a melancholy country tune implying a never-ending Stern Chase
- Eldritch Abomination: The villain(s) of the songs performed by Alan Wake's Old Gods of Asgard are all aspects of a malign Reality Warper entity that embodies darkness, known in-universe as the Dark Presence.
- Eldritch Location: The "magic lake"/"ocean" repeatedly referred to in the songs of Alan Wake's Old Gods of Asgard is the home of a Reality Warper Eldritch Abomination, and proximity to it grants creative humans the power of Rewriting Reality, as explained in their "The Poet and the Muse,"
- Ennio Morricone Pastiche: Played for Drama in "The Ballad of Jeremiah Peacekeeper" a Western inspired tale about an implicitly Messianic, Reluctant Warrior lawman that borrows Morricone's tone.
- Evil Gloating: The point of "The Happy Song," particularly in context as a Villain Song for Mr. Scratch, Humanoid Abomination antagonist of Alan Wake's American Nightmare, as the singer sounds self-satisfied, even when maniacally threatening the listener.Violent schizophrenia
You know I'm gonna get ya
- Evil Twin: Discussed in "Balance Slays the Demon," as Alan Wake's Old Gods of Asgard warn the game's protagonist of the nature of the villain, a Humanoid Abomination "Demon," that wears Wake's shape to manipulate events in his favor.Like an evil twin, feel it scratchin' within
Like an insane sovereign ragin'
And his beautiful face in his leather 'n' lace
So canít you see the play you're stagin'?
- 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.
- Feather Motif: Denotes the magical and the eldritch.
- In the video for "Daze," Hamartia the Monster Clown jester-king sports black feathers in his Improbable Hairstyle that mimics a jester's cap.
- In the video for "Choice Millionaire," the Deus ex Machina subversive against the Machine also wears black feathers on his armor, one of which he plucks off and transforms to gift an imprisoned labourer with a "Hopecatcher," a steel feather pendant that functions as an Amulet to aid the labourers in escaping from the Machine.
- 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.
- Give Me a Reason: Downplayed in "The Ultimate Fling" where the physically hypercombative tone and demand to "Give me a reason" is a metaphor for initiating the Breakup of a relationship.
- Greatest Hits Album:
- Hallucinations: In the video for "Lift," Poet County Jail inmate and Mad Dreamer Mark suffers from persistent visions of moths during his psych screening, even in an Inkblot Test that's later revealed to have a very dissimilar shape. He pleads with them to make him fly, and they similarly feature heavily in his Happy Place, from which they bleed into reality.
- Happy Harlequin Hat:
- Subverted with the hat sported by Hamartia, the Monster Clown jester mascot of Twilight Theater's album art. While he's menacingly happy, his hat is far from jolly, ending not in bells, but the shadowy head of a snake.
- Subverted again with Hamartia's reappearance as an Orcus on His Throne figure in the video for "Daze." His jester's cap now takes the form of a monarchic Improbable Hairstyle, black hair sectioned and plaited into tails and trimmed with bells and black feathers. By contrast, his ever-present Venetian Jester mask is Played Straight, underscoring his nature.
- Happy Place: In the video for "Lift," Poet County Jail inmate and Mad Dreamer Mark sometimes retreats to a mental house stuffed with framed and flapping moths, children's toys, and illusory band mates during his psych screening.
- 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.
- Hostile Animatronics: Downplayed in the video for "Carnival of Rust," as Zoltar the depressive fortunetelling automaton begins to beat on the walls of his case when he realizes the customer he's been pleading to love him in a bid for freedom is leaving the Carnival.
- Humanoid Abomination: Each Old Gods of Asgard song features the Alan Wake games' Eldritch Abomination antagonist willfully manifesting itself in humanoid form in an attempt to gain more power.
- In "Children of the Elder God," it has an elderly female human avatar in the "Scratching Hag" and servants in her "taken slaves," twisted husks of humanity that serve her interests.
- In "The Poet and the Muse," the Hag's origin is revealed, as she was once the Poet's Muse before she Came Back Wrong after being drowned in the Abomination's lake, an opportunity it took to transform itself and expand its sphere of influence.
- In "Balance Slays the Demon," the "Demon" is its latest attempt, an Evil Twin (and implied Enemy Without) of the protagonist who serves as his jailer to keep him in service to the Abomination.
- I Just Want to Have Friends: One of the yearnings of the speaker in Wanderlust Song "Daze," as they express envy of the shadows' "constant companions." Since the video has Monster Clown Hamartia as an Interactive Narrator of sorts, after singing the lyric, he rolls his eyes dismissively by way of commentary.
- I Warned You: A repeated sentiment in "The Happy Song," as a form of Evil Gloating, ranging from whispered to screamed.You knew I'm a psycho
I told you I'm a psycho
Really, I'm a psycho, heh heh heh heh heh heh
I told ya, I told ya!
- Improbable Hairstyle: As an Orcus on His Throne figure in the video for "Daze," Monster Clown Hamartia's black hair is elaborately styled to mimic a jester's hat, with heavy braids for flaps, and trimmed with black feathers and bells.
- Inkblot Test: In the video for "Lift," Poet County Jail inmate and Mad Dreamer Mark thinks he sees a highly defined image of a pinned moth in an inkblot during his psych screening. The video's final seconds confirm we've been looking Through the Eyes of Madness, as the image resolves into an ordinary inkblot with a very dissimilar shape.
- Insane Equals Violent:
- Zig-Zagged in the video for "Lift." Evidence from his psych hearing combined with imagery from his Happy Place suggests Mad Dreamer Mark, diagnosed with schizophrenia, delusional parasitosis and dissociative identity disorder, is genuinely Ax-Crazy. But in his more stable moments, it takes very little trolling on his part to provoke varying degrees of violent responses from frustrated staff, whether the psychologists are breaking pencils and scattering papers in rage, or a guard is attempting assault.
- In "The Happy Song," this is the opinion of the Ax-Crazy singer as he smugly admonishes the listener for failing to realize that referring to himself as a "psycho" was Not Hyperbole.
- Interactive Narrator: In the video for "Daze," jester Hamartia is narrating the thoughts of an absconder from a Masquerade Ball, (which includes punctuating a particularly wishful lyric with a hard eyeroll) the twist being its his ball she's fled, and, as Orcus on His Throne, he's feeling jealous enough to retaliate.
- Jerkass Gods: A Central Theme of the album Jealous Gods, from the cover with a road sign warning of a Bolt of Divine Retribution, to the Title Track, musing on the god-like sense of impulsive grandiosity inherent in a new relationship, and wondering if that's something good or bad.
- Laughing Mad:
- The singer of "Psychosis" opens and punctuates his bitter ranting with nasty chuckling.
- The Ax-Crazy singer of "The Happy Song" punctuates his open admissions that he's "a psycho" with husky chuckles or shrieky laughter depending on whether his Evil Gloating takes the form of a mock-conspiratorial whisper or an enthusiastic scream.
- Lecherous Licking: Inverted in the video for "Lift," when Poet County Jail inmate and Mad Dreamer Mark lifts his cuffed hands and licks his fingers suggestively to blatantly Troll the token female psychologist evaluating him. It works, as she stands up in a rage, throwing papers into disarray, and a guard has to be restrained from hitting him by his peer.
- 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.
- Love Hungry: Obsession Song "Carnival of Rust" is all about this dysfunctional approach to love. The video has its singer Zoltar, the depressive, decaying fortune-telling automaton, so desperate for escape from the Carnival that he causes the object of his fixation Tarot Troubles in an attempt to compel her affection, and utters these lines preceded by a Scare Chord:Come feed the rain
'Cause I'm thirsty for your love dancing underneath the skies of lust
- To make matters worse, the opening verse notes he's aware that his attitude "should remind [him] of greed," but he twists the realization into Wishful Projection, hoping his listener shares his outlook.
- Love Nostalgia Song: "Skin," deals with a speaker meditating on his grief at a failed relationship he can't get over, in the house he and his beloved once shared.This house is full of stories we both told
These rooms their very stage where they'd unfold
These walls they whisper secrets and memories thereof
But this door no longer leads us to that love
- Loving a Shadow: "Carnival of Rust"'s singer Zoltar is a decaying automaton stuck in his fortuneteller's booth, desperate to leave the Carnival, and its clear that his pleas and demands for love from his customer stem from Wishful Projection. He taints her Tarot reading by declaring her "The Star," his Messiah Figure, instead of recognizing her as a person in her own right, and as a result, his affections go unreciprocated.
- Lyrics/Video Mismatch: In "Lift," the lyrics depict someone struggling to articulate both enthusiasm for and anxieties about their romantic relationship. The video follows a Mad Dreamer prisoner undergoing psychiatric evaluation. In a bit of Lampshade Hanging, the psychologists transcribe the lyrics as his speech, and treat it in-universe as the rantings of a Talkative Loon.
- Macabre Moth Motif:
- The band's "Morpho" logo is a silhouette of a pinned moth with wings distressed as though they've been partially scorched by fire.
- In the video for "Lift," Poet County Jail inmate and Mad Dreamer Mark is very attached to his Hallucinations of moths, pleading with them to make him fly, and consistently makes a flapping moth shape with his cuffed hands when undergoing psych screening. He's diagnosed with delusional parasitosis and finally deemed a "Menace to Society" as a result.
- Mad Dreamer: In the video for "Lift," Mark is a mentally ill prisoner of Poet County Jail who has Hallucinations of moths and a Happy Place filled with illusory bandmates. The psychologists examining him make an effort to transcribe his in-universe Word Salad, which looks suspiciously like song 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.
- Masquerade Ball: The video for "Daze," is set at a lavish party where Venetian-masked attendees (band members among them) literally burn money, presided over by Hamartia, the Monster Clown jester-king. The plot kicks off when a female attendee decides to unmask and ghost, which Hamartia doesn't care for at all...
- Messianic Archetype:
He takes on the world all in a stride, and your wounds will be his scars
- In the video for "Carnival of Rust, this is Invoked by Zoltar, the Carnival's fortuneteller, during a Tarot reading, as he pulls "The Star" (a hopeful savior figure) and "The Nine of Swords" (despair, entrapment) in succession, and in his chorus, demands she love him so that he might be free of the Carnival. His attempt is Subverted when she is taken aback, and ignores his advances in favor of visiting other attractions, then leaving.
- Played Straight in "The Ballad of Jeremiah Peacekeeper" a Western inspired Ennio Morricone Pastiche about a self-sacrificing, Reluctant Warrior lawman who's mission is "to keep your peace"
So won't you remember when the night comes
He will need your open arms
For to be invincible, he needs your love.
- Metal Scream:
- 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.
- Monster from Beyond the Veil: In "The Poet and the Muse," the Murder Ballad by Alan Wake's Old Gods of Asgard, the Poet Tom unwittingly ushers a Humanoid Abomination into being when he attempts to resurrect his Muse by Rewriting Reality. The catch is, this ability comes from being near the "magic lake" she drowned in, because it hosts a Reality Warper Eldritch Abomination. As a result, she Came Back Wrong.In the dead of night she came to him with darkness in her eyes
Wearing a mourning gown, sweet words as her disguise
- Murder Ballad: "The Poet and the Muse," Alan Wake's folky Power Ballad by Heavy Mithril Fake Band Old Gods of Asgard, which tells a rather simplified version of the tale of in-universe characters Tom the Poet and his Muse. Tom used the magical properties of the lake he lived by to resurrect the Muse by Rewriting Reality when she drowned in its waters. When Tom discovered she Came Back Wrong,He took her in without a word for he saw his grave mistake
And vowed them both to silence deep beneath the lake
Now, if it's real or just a dream one mystery remains
For it is said, on moonless nights they may still haunt this place
- Not Hyperbole: The Evil Gloating in "The Happy Song," makes a point of Implying that the listener ought to have taken the singer's admissions about his mental state more seriously.You knew I'm a psycho
Yeah, I told you I'm a psycho
Why, why, why, why?!
Cause really, I'm a psycho
I told you I'm a psycho, psycho PSYCHO!
- Obsession Song: "Carnival of Rust" has its Love Hungry singer advertising his deeply dysfunctional, passive-aggressive fixation on his listener via an opening verse that takes the form of a Trial Balloon Question lathered in Wishful Projection.D'you breathe the name of your saviour in your hour of need
N' taste the blame if the flavor should remind you of greed,
Of implication, insinuation and ill will, till' you cannot lie still
In all this turmoil, before red cape and foil come closing in for a kill?
- And this is before the Scare Chord punctuated chorus, which is a blatant, direct demand to be loved, or his life will be ruined.
- Orcus on His Throne: In the video for "Daze" jester-king Hamartia presides moodily over a Masquerade Ball while a female attendee elects to ghost on him. As an Interactive Narrator, he knows just what she's thinking and where she's going, and as Villain Protagonist, he's powerful enough that all he needs to do to retaliate is to knock over a single, flaming wine glass.
- Performance Video: Several.
- The video for "Fire" filmed live at Finland's Ankkarock festival.
- The video for Breakup Song "The Ultimate Fling" shot by fans with cellphone cams.
- The video for their Cover Version of "You Know My Name," for The Voice's Livenä Vieraissa compilation album, performed live in studio, in Bond Tuxedos.
- Their second video for "Dreaming Wide Awake," filmed live at Finland's Provinssirock Festival.
- The video for the Unplugged Version of "Temple of Thought," filmed live in studio.
- The video for "Running Out of Time" filmed live in concert in Moscow.
- Phrase/Word Salad Lyrics: With the exception of the chorus, the lyrics to "Choice Millionaire" range from nonsensical to flirting with coherence from line to line as the listener attempts to parse them.Subliminal love for the ones you hate
LOL as I abbreviate
Alleviate if you can relate to the pink slip
Of love unzipped
- 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."
- Post-Apocalyptic Gas Mask: Inverted in the video for "Choice Millionaire," which does take place in a post-apocalyptic 2045 where labourers are enslaved to a Machine, but the gas masks are a method of sedating the labourers, feeding them vapors that keep them asleep and imprisoned.
- Power Ballad:
- "The Poet and the Muse," Alan Wake's folky Murder Ballad 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.
- The Power of Rock: The entire song catalog of Alan Wake's Heavy Mithril Fake Band Old Gods of Asgard Invokes and Exploits this in-universe, as each song they release contains helpful hints on how to defeat the Eldritch Abomination plaguing the hero, partly because that Abomination's own Reality Warper powerset incidentally grants any artist in its vicinity Magic Writing powers.
- Purple Prose: They do this with a few songs, while proving that Tropes Are Not Bad.
- Reality Warper: In "The Poet and the Muse," the Murder Ballad by Alan Wake's Old Gods of Asgard, this is an Implied power of the Eldritch Abomination living in a magic lake. To further its aims, it turns creative humans like the Poet Tom into its proxies, granting them the power of Rewriting Reality when in proximity to its home, in order to Exploit their ideas to increase its power.
- Reality Warping Is Not a Toy: In "The Poet and the Muse," the Poet Tom learns that attempting to use Magic Writing to resurrect his drowned Muse is playing directly into the ambitions of an Eldritch Abomination aiming to become a Humanoid one, using his Muse's "return" as a pretext.
- Recurring Riff: "Late Goodbye," the Theme Song of Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne, is a melancholic country-inspired tune hummed, sung and played on piano by multiple characters in-game before appearing in full as its Solemn Ending Theme. Max even owns the album.
- Red and Black and Evil All Over:
- Hamartia, the jester mascot of Twilight Theater's album art, wears a typical Harlequin red and black diamond motley, but the flap of his Happy Harlequin Hat terminates in a snake head instead of bells, and he has a nasty Slasher Smile, both of which mark him as a Monster Clown.
- Downplayed with Hamartia's reappearance as a jealous, vengeful Orcus on His Throne figure in the video for "Daze," as the motley is replaced by a subtler color scheme in his royal costume, with black hair trimmed with black feathers, black pants, an elaborate red leather jacket, and deep maroon lipstick and facepaint, all of which fit with the decadent Masquerade Ball over which he presides.
- Rewriting Reality: In the Alan Wake games, an Implied power of the Fake Band Old Gods of Asgard, as their songs always presciently advise the hero on how to defeat an Eldritch Abomination with note-perfect timing. Their "The Poet and the Muse," goes into detail about how their contemporary, the Poet Tom, Invoked these powers to resurrect his Muse, but the Abomination who granted them Exploited this in turn, to incarnate itself in her body.
- Ridiculously Human Robot: In the video for "Carnival of Rust," singer Zoltar, a Sad Clown fortunetelling automaton with peeling paint stuck in a glass case, is nonetheless very human in appearance (as played by vocalist Marko Saaresto) and psychology. He's obviously depressed and Love Hungry in the extreme, hoping to escape the Carnival, and his Obsession Song is a desperate bid for the love of his customer, that he might be free. He beats the walls of his case and sheds a Single Tear when his attempt fails.
- Robosexual: Invoked by Zoltar the Fortuneteller in the video for "Carnival of Rust," as the Love Hungry automaton pleads with his gas-masked female customer to love him and free him from the Carnival via his Obsession Song. It doesn't work.
- Rockabilly: "Grinder's Blues," the Theme Song of Sci-Fi Platformer Rochard.
- Rules of the Road: The album art◊ for Jealous Gods, who's Central Theme is Jerkass Gods, is a battered yellow road sign with a black lightning bolt against a clear blue sky, warning of a potential Bolt of Divine Retribution from out of the blue.
- Sad Clown: The video for "Carnival of Rust" Deconstructs this with singer Zoltar, a ragged fortunetelling automaton with peeling paint and a Pierrot's black and white makeup. He's become so warped by playing his role at the frightening Carnival where he works that all that's left of his clownishness is his decaying facade. In desperation, he sings an Obsession Song pleading with his latest customer to love him so he can be free, but its sentiment is so Love Hungry that it frightens her off, and he weeps a Single Tear as she leaves.
- Scare Chord: An electric guitar variation precedes the chorus in "Carnival of Rust." In its video, it accompanies Zoltar the fortuneteller pulling "The Nine of Swords" (anguish, entrapment) after declaring his customer a "savior," and she staggers backward in startlement as he begins his Love Hungry demand that she love him to set him free from the Carnival.
- Second Law My Ass: Downplayed in the video for Obsession Song "Carnival of Rust," where the Carnival's Love Hungry automaton Zoltar the Fortuneteller has no problem turning a customer's Tarot reading into a jarringly abrupt Anguished Declaration of Love, with the implication that he's stacked the deck to make his pitch.
- Serenade Your Lover: Deconstructed in the video for "Carnival of Rust," where the Carnival's automaton Zoltar the Fortuneteller, when activated, treats his customer to a sudden Obsession Song with such indiscriminately Love Hungry overtones that it frightens her off, and makes it painfully clear he's Loving a Shadow instead of a person.
- 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.
- Zoltar the Fortuneteller, the Sad Clown automaton singer from the video for "Carnival of Rust," is named for the Zoltar Speaks machine in Big.
- "The Ultimate Fling" has nods to two of Dirty Harryís quotes in its chorus; specifically, "Make my day," and "Do you feel lucky?"
- Single Tear: In the video for Obsession Song "Carnival of Rust," fortunetelling automaton and Sad Clown Zoltar cries a black, make-up stained tear when he realizes his customer is leaving the Carnival and will never return his affections.
- Slasher Smile: The album art for Twilight Theater gives us Hamartia, the Monster Clown jester who finds perverse humour and joy in others' disastrous errors. No wonder he's smiling.
- Snakes Are Sinister: Hamartia, the Monster Clown Slasher Smile wearing jester mascot of Twilight Theater's album art, sports a Happy Harlequin Hat with a flap that turns into silhouetted, coiling head of a serpent.
- Solemn Ending Theme: "Late Goodbye," a melancholic, country-inspired tune implying a never-ending Stern Chase, is the end credits music and Recurring Riff of Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne.
- Something Blues: "Grinder's Blues," the Rockabilly Theme Song to Rochard, where the Asteroid Miner protagonist laments that he and his crew are barely skating by.
- The Something Song: "The Happy Song" an ode to psychopathy, and Villain Song of Mr. Scratch, Humanoid Abomination antagonist of Alan Wake's American Nightmare.
- Spoken Word in Music: After a spate of static at the end of "Hounds to Hamartia" a tinny, muted lo-fi commentary can be heard as Marko Saaresto explains that "Hounds" is a polished rehash of the first version of their earliest song, "Late Goodbye."
- 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.
- Stern Chase:
- Driving Song "Late Goodbye" has a couple chased endlessly by "the Devil" though its unclear whether its literal or metaphorical.The devil grins from ear to ear when he sees the hand he's dealt us
Points at your flamin' hair, and then we're playin' hide and seek
I can't breathe easy here, 'less our trail's gone cold behind us
'Til in the john mirror you stare at yourself grown old and weak
- Driving/Wanderlust Song "Daze" has the singer complaining "I Just Want to Have Friends" but being compelled to drift from place to place by a pursuerWith constant companions, would that I could
Further afield my nemesis on stilts is gaining on me
- Driving Song "Late Goodbye" has a couple chased endlessly by "the Devil" though its unclear whether its literal or metaphorical.
- 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 before 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."
- Surprisingly Good English: One of their draws. Vocalist Marko Saaresto learned English from a young age, and affects an American delivery at will, with remarkably few tells.
- 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.
- Theme Tune:
- "Late Goodbye," the country-flavored, melancholic Driving Song that serves as Recurring Riff and Solemn Ending Theme of Noir Third-Person Shooter Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne,
- "Grinder's Blues," the Rockabilly Expository Theme Tune of Sci-Fi Platformer Rochard. where the Asteroid Miner protagonist complains that he and his crew are at the ends of their economic ropes.
- "The Happy Song," the Bragging Theme Tune/Villain Song for Mr. Scratch, Ax-Crazy Humanoid Abomination antagonist of Alan Wake's American Nightmare. The singer screams and rants with considerable relish about his own madness so repetitively it borders on Mantra.
- Through the Eyes of Madness:
- In the video for "Lift." its a given that Mad Dreamer Mark is actively having Hallucinations of flying moths, but a final reveal that an Inkblot Test which he also saw as a moth shape is actually totally dissimilar throws even the less fantastic imagery he was shown at his psych hearing into doubt.
- Zig-Zagged in "Psychosis," the chorus makes a point of confessing the singer's psychosis, even as other verses that initially sound like Word Salad Philosophy resolve into relatively coherent expressions of rage and frustration at the superficial nature of fame, before the singer eventually decides to exploit it and start a Cult of Personality.Revelation leading to my psychosis and inspiration
Digest another hallucination, psychosis by recreation
Happy till the next deterioration, psychosis
- Unplugged Version: Frequently in concert.
- The band's first single, "Late Goodbye," contains multiple versions of Max Payne 2's Solemn Ending Theme, one of them fully acoustic.
- The single for Break Up Song "The Ultimate Fling" includes "The Impromptu Alternate Version," an acoustic version that sands off the original's hard rock edges.
- 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 song "Temple of Thought" and Love Nostalgia Song "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