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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 aka Sam Lake, a friend of Saaresto’s and a scriptwriter working at Remedy Entertainment, 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 game’s 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. And in the sequel, Alan Wake II, they provide three songs as the Old God's of Asgard: "Anger's Remorse", "Herald of Darkness" (featuring Matthew Porretta and David Harewood, the voice actors of Alan Wake and Mr. Door) and "Dark Ocean Summoning"; as well as "Heroes and Villains" as themselves.

They have another two songs in Remedy's 2019 video game Control: One as themselves and one as the Old Gods. The latter, in typical Old Gods fashion, provides the soundtrack to one of the game's most memorable sequences.

Fun fact: their first two albums were produced in Kaarlonen’s 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)
  • Clearview (2016)
  • Ultraviolet (2018)
  • Ghostlight (2022)

This band contains examples of:

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 Artist: Downplayed in "Drama for Life," where the agitated "madman" of the song is a "prolific designer" Ghost in the Machine who has a Battle in the Center of the Mind with the singer over who gets creative control. In the full video itself, they've reached a compromise of sorts, with the singer as a Willing Channeler who refines the madman's Room Full of Crazy lyrics and manic impulses into songs and performances.
  • 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...
  • Mental Story: "Drama for Life" is about a Battle in the Center of the Mind where the singer attempts to grapple with and embrace his creative Ghost in the Machine, and its aftermath, never really leaving the symbol-filled confines of the singer's head.
  • Messianic Archetype:
    • 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"
      He takes on the world all in a stride, and your wounds will be his scars
      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
  • Non-Appearing Title: "The Ballad Of Jeremiah Peacekeeper", "Daze", "The Game" and "Once Upon A Playground Rainy" never use the title in lyrics.
  • 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.

Alternative Title(s): Old Gods Of Asgard