Unearthing the Metal Underground: The Helsinki, Finland Metal Scene
Helsinki, my Helsinki. One year later, and still there is always something new and exciting here. In a city that is constantly evolving musically, a city where Gods of Metal roam the streets, what could be hidden under the surface? Clearly Helsinki is a center in the musical world, where it seems as if everyone you meet either plays an instrument or is in a band. One only has to look at the music that comes from this epicenter to realize how raw with talent the city and surrounding suburbs are.
With such internationally acclaimed acts such as Nightwish, Apocalyptica, Wintersun, Norther, Amorphis, and Moonsorrow boasting their origins here in Southern Finland, is it really a surprise that there is even more phenomenal talent hidden right beneath our noses? That’s not the Koskenkorva I smell, it’s the scent of fresh, raw talent. Heavily influenced by folk metal and symphonic metal, Helsinki area also has a surprisingly good local scene; this week we’ll Unearth the Metal Underground with everything from black metal to symphonic death metal.
Assemble the Chariots
To start with, a hefty dose of black and death metal! Assemble the Chariots was formed in the summer of 2008. The band's musical focus is death, black and hardcore metal, and in its own words “fast guitar shreds, and shit you’ve never heard before.” They had their first release in 2008 and currently are writing a demo set to come out later this year. Personally, I’m loving the flowing guitar riffs and the way the songs quickly transition to Opeth style growls and blast beats. Piano interludes provide melancholic interest and leave me wondering how the hell these guys aren’t on any magazine covers yet.
Another group that has caught my ever listening ear is a band called My Reflection. Formed in Sipoo in 2007, My Reflection boasts a lineup remnant of a Tarja era Nightwish. High energy and full arrangements combined with the angelically powerful voice of vocalist Lumi will leave your head banging and your heart soaring! Guitarist Petja also provides male vocals, and if he is the solid earth beneath your feet, then Lumi is the air lifting you from it to epic heights. Their most popular song at the moment is called Sweet Freedom, but listeners would do well to check out every symphonic moment My Reflection has on the table.
Northern Discipline is one of those bands that you can just tell is poised to explode. Formed in 1996 in Järvenpää, these guys combine thrash with death metal and vocals that are just flat out epic. Impressively, Northern Discipline was placed first out of over 2000 participants in a Greatest Bits competition Organized by Mikseri and Universal Music in 2004. They’ve just released this fall and I for one am just waiting with bated breath to catch these guys live. While they are signed to Inverse Records, a smaller label here; Northern Discipline has not received the attention they deserve outside of Finland. Truly a shame because once exposed to singer Markus Louhi’s vocals and Teemu Grönberg’s melodically taunting guitar lines, there is really no turning back.
There are plenty of other quality underground metal bands in the Helsinki area, so if you'd like to recommend some, please feel free to discuss them in the comments below.
Check back every Monday as we delve into a different scene or genre to unearth some new underground metal bands.
Rachel Roth has studied classical music and folk music at the University level, and enjoys studying Folklore in her spare time. She is an avid metal fan lucky enough to be living in Helsinki, Finland, where she now studies social work. Currently, she has expanded her love of music to include photography and freelance writing. You can see more of her photography here.
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