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Timo Rautiainen is a Finnish singer, guitar player, and songwriter best known for his heavy metal band Timo Rautiainen & Trio Niskalaukaus ("Trio Neckshot"). He has provided vocals and guitar for the bands Lyijykomppania ("Leadcompany") and Aku Ankkuli. In 2006-2007 he also hosted a cultural television program for Finnish TV. Timo Aulis Rautiainen was born on January 25, 1963 in Sulkava, Finland. During the early part of his music career, Rautiainen still worked actively as a student counselor -- and was frequently dubbed "The Grim Teacher" by the press -- but after his considerable success, he has been exclusively working as a professional musician. Rautiainen made his name as the singer-guitarist of Lyijykomppania, a Finnish-language heavy metal band with a strong cult following that started its recording career in 1990, although it had been started and disbanded once before in the early '80s. Trio Niskalaukaus was formed quickly after Lyijykomppania dissolved in 1996 with the idea of writing metal songs with ecological themes. By 2001, the band was consistently breaking onto the charts in Finland, and toured Germany with HiM after releasing their first German-language album. After several highly successful albums, Trio Niskalaukaus went on hiatus in 2004 and was officially dismantled in late 2006. A frequent collaborator with Rautiainen since 2002 has been Y.U.P.'s Jarkko Martikainen. Rautiainen's first solo album was 2005's Sarvivuori ("Horn Mountain"), produced and partly written by Martikainen and featuring many other high-profile guests, such as Nightwish-founding member Tuomas Holopainen and Alexander Kuoppala, former guitarist for Children of Bodom. The release received somewhat mixed reviews, but it nonetheless sold well. Rautiainen had planned to record only one solo effort, but the popularity of Sarvivuori resulted in a 2007 follow-up. His interest in folk music had been documented on his singles and tribute album appearances, and he was as likely to reinterpret the music of underground legend M.A. Numminen as he was the blues of Tuomari Nurmio. These influences, as well as his interest in bands like Hedningarna, resulted in Loppuun Ajettu ("Driven to the End"). That release showed Rautiainen expanding his musical range from metal and hard rock to flirtations with folk, blues and even rap music. ~ JT Lindroos