A lot of countries will keep cranking out the same commercialized gimmick over and over, and the true art of music is lost to a cash grab. We all recognize the fact that music has evolved greatly since the early days of drinking-songs and folk music. Sadly a lot of the evolution has turned toward being so passionless with the craft that the “artist” has to strip to their underwear as a distraction (I’m looking at you, Miley Cyrus) while they are singing songs written by about 6 different writers.
While my home country of America is searching for the next blonde teenager to strip down in front of the camera and have them say “baby” repeatedly, there are still a few bands who have some kind of passion and will crank out distorted guitar riffs. The problem with most metal from the USA is that it is made with the hopes of popularity. Then we end up with yet another Slayer clone, Linkin Park (please God, make them go away already), or Slipknot.
If anyone reading this happens to be a fan of Slipknot, I believe their music is generic and they are terrible musicians to need 7 people (they started with 9) to produce THAT sound. Animals as Leaders has 3 musicians and make Slipknot sound like angry overprivileged teens with their very first drum kit and karaoke machine. But then again, I prefer my metal without a DJ and a turntable.
A lot of us Americans are left craving real music. Something with emotion and meaning. Anything to help us escape the commercialism of our everyday lives. When hunting for great metal you are guaranteed to come across a lot of Norwegian black metal. While it is great, I can’t help but keep searching for something more. Japan has quite a few metal acts, but it feels as though Japanese metal is more on par with what America is cranking out.
My first experience with Finnish metal was Children of Bodom’s 1997 release Something Wild. I could feel that they were playing because they had music running through their veins. There were no songs on the album that were obviously made to appeal to the masses and be broadcast over the radio. Something Wild kick started my search of metal from this mysterious country.
The record stores in the states are guaranteed to disappoint every time. They will have endless rows of anything MTV would air when they still showed music videos. I turned to the Internet and started bidding on random CDs on eBay. I would listen to anything I won the bid on and quickly found that Finnish music is packed full of a true love of the craft. Bellowing vocals, perfectly including accordions and violins, keyboards that actually stand out, and a certain passion that will pour out into your own blood. Metal that is reminiscent of drinking-songs, but will still make you bang your head and simply enjoy being alive.
It is easy to be curious as to why the metal from this small country is so unique. Is it because of the long, cold and dark winters? Is it a feeling of isolation? Maybe it has to do with paganism being the indigenous religion. Whatever it is, thank you Finland. Thank you for reminding the rest of the world what true metal music is all about.