Finnish rockers Highway Queen have honed an engaging sound that draws on old-school and more modern influences, the fusion of which they describe as “melodic, catchy and soulful.”
The band, from Lahti, which is just north of Helsinki, is led by the delicious vocals of Virpi Kääriäinen, alongside Teemu Kääriäinen (guitar), Henri Backman (drums) and Petri Orava (bass). They’ve honed a classic rock sound that packs a punch with catchy choruses, riffs and guitar solos.
On the band’s sound, Teemu told us: “I think maybe Highway Queen sound is part old-school and part modern style hard rock. With beautiful sounding vocals, heavy drums and bass. I’m especially proud of guitar sounds because it is a tone from a guitar that I carved myself from a block of wood with my uncle when I was about 18 years old.”
Our latest taste of the Highway Queen sound is new single Hellfire. It opens up with a fun lively riff, which drops into Virpi’s laid-back vocals supported by piano chords, with other instrumentals creeping in before bursting into a huge singalong chorus. A funky little riff jumps in to answer big vocals and, second time around, the chorus gives way to a really cool guitar solo. That drops into the big vocal and guitar call and response section with driving drums in support to bring this catchy track to a close.
On the track, Teemu told us: “Hellfire has had great reception. We have had very positive feedback so far. You can expect 80s style guitar riffs and a singalong chorus.” Check it out in the video below:
Hellfire follows previous, equally catchy single The Predator, which opens up with a cool laid-back guitar lick and rolling drums. Engaging vocals take over supported by chugging guitars and heavy drums, which flows into a big singalong chorus “Please, Let me go, Into the night, Let me be free, Let me be free.”
Another laid-back lick comes in and drops into a second verse, which ends on stabbing guitar riff that feeds into another catchy chorus. A drawn-out guitar lick develops into an awesome guitar solo, then stabbing guitars and rolling drums support drawn-out “woh-oh” vocals that feed into a big chorus to bring the track to a close.
There’s plenty more where that came from in Highway Queen’s collection of five singles to date, including the excellent debut single I Don’t Need You.
The band’s music has been influenced by many of the 70s and 80s heavy rock greats, including Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and, for Teemu personally, Tony Iommi and Brian May.
And on what inspires them to write music, he tells us: “Our songs are about peoples’ lives. Life is a rollercoaster so there is a lot to write about.”
We don’t get to speak to too many Finnish bands, so we asked the band for their thoughts on the local scene. Teemu told us: “The Finnish rock and metal scene is full of amazing bands. I think there is support and fans in Finland. Still we don’t have too many venues, where smaller bands could meet an audience who likes their kind of music.”
There’s plenty more to come from Highway Queen, including their next single You Better Run being released by Inverse Records on 6 May followed by Walls Are Burned on 8July. They also have new songs demoed and ready to be recorded and are looking forward to being able to gig by the end of the year.
And, as Teemu tells us: “Our next couple of songs have different kinds of moods and vibes to Hellfire so I think Highway Queen isn’t a one trick pony.”