Counting Hours – Rapture From the Deep

Thursday, 31st August 2017

Featuring past and present members of The Chant, Rapture and Shape of Despair, Counting Hours are about as good as it gets for those who relished in the glory of not only the aforementioned acts, but dark, melodic Finnish metal as a whole. With only a four-song EP to their name, Counting Hours possess an infinite degree of potential and promise, combining the soft, emotive clean vocals of Ilpo Paasela (also of The Chant) with the drive, despair and melancholy of classic Finnish melodic dark metal.

Currently unsigned, Counting Hours are taking matters slowly. But according to guitarist Jarno Salomaa, there is to be more action on the horizon, which, hopefully, includes a full-length album. Looking to investigate further, we sent the man some questions electronically. Here’s the scoop…

Dead Rhetoric: Each of you have been in successful Finnish metal bands. What brought you together?

Jarno Salomaa: Well, successful and successful…let’s say we’ve been working on our own projects for a long time now. Besides what I’ve done with Shape of Despair, Rapture was one of my main interests back in ’98-’99 when we started to work on our first full-length album Futile. After that, when I left the band, I had some material already written for later use, but these kind of stayed in my own forgetful mind, so to say. So, after years went by, I thought “Why the hell wouldn’t I make something similar to what I did back then?” That’s where I got the idea to form some kind of group to create the same kind of music I really like to make.

Dead Rhetoric: As I’m sure you are aware, a lot of people are clamoring for new music from Rapture. Would you consider this the next-best thing?

Salomaa: Even this may have some Rapture-ish kind of music and playing style, I’m sure we’ll be keeping this music the way we just feel right. Rapture was pretty much more in a certain style and has its own touch, which isn’t keen on changing too rapidly. Not sure about new material though. It will be interesting to hear what’s coming out later on.

Dead Rhetoric: Does Counting Hours ultimately put Rapture to rest?

Salomaa: No, definitely not.

Dead Rhetoric: The combination of Ilpo’s marvelous clean vocals, melodic and depressive guitar work and tight arrangements makes the EP simply fantastic. What’s the songwriting process like with you guys?

Salomaa: So far it’s been quite an easy task. I’ve been doing the songs for which we’ve been looking for some vocal lines, basically by improvising, in our rehearsal place with Ilpo. Ilpo is really good in working on the melody passages and lyrical work as well. I’ve been playing guitars with Tomi for a long time now so it’s also very easy to work with him.

Dead Rhetoric: You can hear signs of Rapture, Shape of Despair and The Chant, but Counting Hours feels like it has its own identity. However, did you guys ever put something together that you felt was too close to those bands?

Salomaa: No, I think this is a continuum of what was left undone back in the late ’90s. We definitely will try and see how this works going forward. I’m not trying to push our music forward and try to evolve as much as possible. What just gives good vibes is the most important thing.

Dead Rhetoric: There’s a video of the band covering Katatonia’s “I Break.” How much of an influence is Katatonia? What’s your favorite era of the band?

Salomaa: That cover was simply an ode to Katatonia. We got an opportunity to play our first show in Vernissa with Hanging Garden and we didn’t have enough songs in our setlist so “I Break” was quite an easy choice to add some minutes to the set. Discouraged Ones has been a huge influence, at least for me, still actually is, amongst their other albums as well… earlier ones more so.

Dead Rhetoric: With everyone still involved in other projects, how much of a priority is Counting Hours? Or, is it a fun side project?

Salomaa: Counting Hours will be a project with which we’ll be making music just when we can. I wouldn’t call this a fun side thing, but maybe more of a serious side-project. But, it’s true when every one of us has something else going on in life than music, keeping musical things alive, it needs some pushing.

Dead Rhetoric: To that end, do you have any long-term goals with Counting Hours?

Salomaa: More songs, maybe a full album later on. But not sure about going onto any label’s roster. I hope we could keep this as simple as possible and keep the “strings on our hands” when talking about releasing music and so on.

Dead Rhetoric: Have you started writing for a full-length? If so, how are the songs coming along?

Salomaa: I’ve been doing some songs and so on and actually we’re starting to rehearse more, so I really hope we could finish some more music.

Dead Rhetoric: Finally, what’s on your agenda for the rest of 2017?

Salomaa: With Counting Hours [the plan is] to rehearse and gather material as much as possible. There’s also new songs and a lot of rehearsing with Shape of Despair as well…so positively a lot of music coming ahead.