(09 September 2007) The debut album from Finland's rock group Katra shares the name of the band and their stunning lead vocalist. The 2007 release is on Edel Finland, Cat No 402975878921. Katra's music is a rock blend combining elements of Nightwish, Within Temptation and Aryeon. Katra's vocals are operatic sharing Sharon Den Adel and Simone Simon's sweetness and Tarja Turunen's range. Guitar parts can be compared favorably to Scandinavian metal bands but share elements of Arjen Lucassen's work. Choir parts are extensive and add great texture to the lead vocals and instrumental parts.
Katra came to worldwide recognition in the run up to the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest process. A neutral jury was put together to decide if the track "Tietäjä" featured on this debut album and composed by Risto Asikainen is a copy of Within Temptation’s "Jillian." Fortunately they came to the conclusion it is not. There are however certainly similar riffs!
The controversy called the "Katragate" exploded end after the second Finnish semi-final where Katra qualified for the Euroviisut final with "Tietäjä." The song was a clear favourite by the televoters gaining 75% of the votes against the other song that the lead singer had in the running, "Vaaratar." Both songs are written by Risto Asikainen and Ilkka Vainio. The jury that consisted of four music professionals, composers and conductors compared the songs on paper and decided they are not the same song.
"I have listened to Within Temptation before" says Katra, "but I was more worried "Tietäjä" might be compared to Nightwish’s "Wishmaster" if anything. This "Jillian" [comparison] is something totally unexpected to me. But good music awakes this kind of passion and feelings."
Katra has been one of the most interesting singers in this year’s Euroviisut even before this small controversy. Her rock-metal-opera leaves no-one cold, you love it or you hate it. Many who were in the Tohlhoppi studios to see her live commented that she lost half her charm when seen on the small TV screen.
Katra also denies being a well designed product. "This is me. I have designed my wardrobe myself. I have had this long hair for a long time, it’s all mine. No extensions, only the color comes from a bottle," she says. She has been studying music for the past fifteen years and at the moment studies composing and piano in Tampere. She also reads and travels a lot. "I have just been to Egypt, seen the pyramids. I also feel very much at home in Greece. I think the ancient cultures are very close to my present persona," she concludes.
Katra used to sing and play keyboards in Lovex, and she currently lives with a Lovex member with whom she has a child. We can only guess what the main topic of discussion has been in that household lately.
The Katra debut album is comprised of eleven tracks sung in Finnish and will certainly appeal to fans of Nightwish, Within Temptation, Epica and After Forever to name a few. Sung in the band's native language, it will most likely draw attention from early Nightwish fans. It is lavishly packaged in the new super jewel box format with a full color--but dark--booklet with plenty of artist photos and full lyrics.
The singer is powerful, wide-ranging and expressive. Her operatic style has a sweetness shared with Within Temptation's Sharon Den Adel and Epica's Simone Simons. The band avoid all grunting and therefore are aptly categorized better as a rock band than heavy metal. With attention drawn to their music by Eurovision Song Contest, the band are clearly at the beginning of their run and we should expect significant output from them as the rise in this style of Scandanavian and Northern European rock builds across the industry.