|Photo credit: Iiris Mäki|
In every musical genre, each year there is always a highly-anticipated release that receives a great deal of attention, press, and general hype among its fanbase—a beloved artist returns after a long sabbatical, a flagship band reunites, or a new, promising young talent hits the scene and generates such a buzz that the entire fan community stands up and takes notice.
For most of 2017, if you are a fan of either symphonic metal or female-fronted metal in general, then you probably already know that the big name on everyone's lips has been Maidens of the North. The brainchild of Dutchwoman/Finnish expatriate vocalist La Vero (known for her work with bands like Heavenqueen, as well as being a multi-talented dancer, actress, and model in her native country of The Netherlands), she sought to form a female band of “all equals”, where there was no set frontwoman, but each person contributed her own unique talent to the greater whole.
Upon moving to Finland, she would find her fellow musical kindred spirits in Satu Eronen and Elsa Wellamo. After meeting up with composer Helena Haaparanta, the wheels were set in motion and the first steps were taken to form what La Vero referred to as “the metal version of Celtic Woman”. By January 2017, the group of women that formed the original core of Maidens of the North was born.
The idea was simple: each woman represented a particular element (water, air, fire, etc.), and combined their abilities to form a musical sisterhood where empowerment was key. In a scene where competition and rivalries are oftentimes encouraged as being the norm, Maidens of the North aimed to channel their energies in the opposite direction and nurture each other's talents. Maidens of the North would be about positivity: building up, not breaking down.
With such a unique concept, word spread quickly about the band, and they received an outpouring of support when they launched a crowdfunding campaign for their upcoming album and video. Without ever hearing a note of their music, fans around the world took them on faith and picked up on their good vibes of loyalty and encouragement. Maidens of the North were already living proof that we get back the energy that we put out into the world, and they received that positive enthusiasm back in abundance.
By the time the band announced the name of their first single and video, “Carry Your Darkness”, the fanbase had been whipped into such a frenzy that anticipation was at a fevered pitch. Everyone who had chosen to “enter the saga” with Maidens of the North were now excited to hear the end result of the long months of waiting.
The video starts off in a sterile, white museum, where there are artifacts sealed behind glass cases. As the camera pans through the pristine hallways, we come to a room where some paintings kept beneath a white sheet fall to the ground. The shot zooms in closer, and the bright color portrait of the ancient Maidens of the North transport us into their world.
As this is the public's first introduction to Maidens of the North, we see each of their personalities come through; but as the song is called “Carry Your Darkness”, the video's concept shows each woman dealing with personal trauma, and how they find their own inner strength to pull through. One woman runs in fear from a chasing wolf. Another resists an angry mob looking to burn her at the stake. Yet another is caught in a storm. Each one is approached by a maiden dressed in black, the Maiden of Spirit, and as she touches each of them, they gain the power to confront their fears and “carry her darkness” so that what she fears cannot hurt her any longer.
As the Maiden of Spirit transforms each woman, they are empowered, and join her as she continues to seek out each Maiden, and gives them their newfound strength. The final Maiden, running away from a group of people chasing her, clings to an old book. As she falls to the ground, she opens the pages, and a big flash appears, causing the crowd to faint dead in their tracks, leaving only the woman who has transformed into the Spirit Maiden, who also had her own darkness to carry.
“As the sun rises, we are still here”: this line is delivered as we see the Maidens stand together hand in hand, showing their unity. The story's moral is plain to see, and it is such a positive message: everyone goes through tough times, but we don't have to suffer alone. We are so much stronger when we stand together and lift each other's spirits. Sometimes we find the best part of ourselves when we allow others to help us.
For more information on Maidens of the North, visit their official website.