TerÄsbetoni - Metallitotuus
Warner Music
Heavy Metal
12 songs (50:51)
Release year: 2005
Teräsbetoni, Warner Music
Reviewed by Kayla

In 2006, something highly unexpected took place in the vast wasteland of pop music known as the Eurovision Song Contest. Finland, usually placing at the bottom of the heap, stormed the peak of victory with Lordi, a decidedly metal quintet with an aesthetic more akin to Gwar than to your average European pop star. That event seems to have opened an unanticipated door; although Finland fielded a more traditional contestant last year, this year they sent four more would-be gods of metal onto the international stage. The Eurovision website chalks up Finland’s entry to their “love [of] unusual and innovative music,” which I translate as “Oh God, they chose a metal band again.” Teräsbetoni carry a bit less in the way of spectacle, although part of me dearly wishes they would show Eurovision on American TV so I could watch audiences’ reactions to four half-naked, leather-pants-clad Finns taking the stage.

If that particular visual conjures Manowar associations, you’re on the right track. The Finnish metal warriors’ first album, Metallitotuus, sounds like what might have happened if Manowar had decided to take their recent fascination with Nordic mythology to the next level and actually recorded in a Scandinavian tongue. With two power-ballad exceptions, the album is chock full of strong, marching beats and relatively simple, if powerful, riffing, while transitions are marked with rolling, bass drum thunderclaps. The opener, Teräsbetoni, begins as any metal call-to-arms should, with the first instance of that marching drumbeat, building to the sudden crash of the first insistent riff. There’s nothing sinister in this call, though; it’s as back-slappingly comradely as any paean to metal brotherhood.

The lyrics, as far as I can tell with my admittedly limited grasp of Finnish, mostly continue in that same Manowar vein, with metal hearts and warriors abounding. Jarkko Ahola has a solid voice, deftly climbing from a midrange tenor to glass-shattering wails. His strength lies far more in the upper registers, though, and most of what he delivers in a low tenor tends to be more chanted than sung; the verses of Orjatar have the lowest (non-distorted, non-drunken chorus) vocals on the album, although the chanting style fits well with the slower, more ponderous nature of the song. (There are quite a few instances of that larger chorus joining in, perhaps in recognition of the whole of the brotherhood of metal, although Voittamaton uses it to the best effect.)

While there’s nothing that stands out to mar Metallitotuus, there’s nothing really that would serve to grab the attention of someone who isn’t predisposed to love Manowar-style cheesiness. There’s nothing new and innovative here, nor is it a particularly outstanding example of its breed. It’s a solid, fun time, and if that’s what you’re looking for, you’ll be quite happy to pick up your leather pants and broadsword and join with your fellow metal warriors.

Here’s hoping for another Eurovision coup, and perhaps coming one step closer to my (perhaps Manowar-cheesy) dream for metal world domination.

Killing Songs :
Taivas Lyö Tulta, Orjatar, Voittamaton
Kayla quoted 72 / 100
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