Scandinavian metal perfect for Vikings


David Matteri, Staff writer (The Inquirer/2010)

Music defines us as human beings. Like stories or paintings, songs creep into the dark corners of our minds and bring pleasure, sorrow, joy, or fear to the imagination. 

But today’s music is too often bland, repetitive, lacking spirit, and seemingly only produced for the sake of sales. You hear it in the streets from the inaudible booming of rap and the chaotic thrashing of guitars and drums that emanate from passing cars. 

If you want to experience something different, however, then come with me on a trip across the Atlantic to Northern Europe, land of snow, ice, and contemporary Finnish metal.  

Most songs written in this subcategory of metal deal with the fantastic or supernatural, such as Stratovarius’s “Babylon” (Babylon/ your memory haunts me forever/ it won’t leave me be), or “7 Days to the Wolves” by Nightwish (I will dream like a God/ And suffer like all the dead children), which is loosely based off of the fifth book of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, “Wolves of the Calla.”  

There is blissful harmony in Finnish metal, something that is ignored by the majority of screamers and thrashers in heavy metal. Tarja Turunen, the former lead vocalist of Nightwish, for instance, is operatically trained. Listening to her fine voice accompanied by electric guitars, drums, and keyboards brings a tear to the eye. 

The guitar chords of Finnish metal imitate the complex melodies of classical orchestras, often employing violas, violins, and trombones, such as heard in the first two tracks of Sonata Arctica’s “Days of Grays.”  

Contemporary Finnish metal provides a refreshing alternative to the uninspiring drivel flooding the musical marketplace on this side of the Atlantic, but you won’t find it at your local Best Buy.  

Your best chance at experiencing these metal excursions into the subconscious is either to travel to Finland or buy the albums online.  

But please don’t pirate their songs. Musicians need to eat too. Even Finnish ones!


Contact David Matteri at [email protected]