'Sandstorm' was originally picked up by Neo Records from an MP3, and has gone on to take the UK club-scene, and the chart, by storm... The track has also been embraced by the European charts, scooping the No1 position in Finland for an impressive 16 weeks.Of course Ville Virtanen did have home advantage in Finland (I have no idea whether there's any kind of state support or airplay quota for local acts over there, but the regularity with which HIM have topped charts there suggests there is). Nonetheless, success for this track was widespread, with it even crossing over to the US Hot 100 and finally earning a gold disc there after ten years. I'm pretty sure it's the biggest hit by a Finnish act in most other countries, and I'd daresay it trickle-sells a good few downloads even now, though at time of writing it's probably being kept out of the iTunes chart by the influx of Christmas songs.
The trouble with instrumental dance tracks is that they're not the easiest of things to write about. On the positive side, you escape the temptation to write about the lyrics and ignore the music, but without words or obvious structure it's harder to know where to start. To most people within a certain age range, 'Sandstorm's jagged riff will be instantly familiar, and possibly that was something that helped it cross over to a wider audience in a way that more relaxed trance productions can't. He makes a decent effort to vary the tempo over the course of the track and the radio edit at least is one I can listen to all the way through without being tempted by the skip button, although I wouldn't rush to seek out the full-length track. Like many a dance producer, he succumbed to the curse of the near-identical follow-up hit and diminishing returns but this is a track I can appreciate without enjoying as much as 'Groovejet'.
Also appearing on: Now 47
Available on: Trance