Finnish Death Metal Spirit and Chaotic Roadtrip on Heavy Trip (2018)

By: Ralka Skjerseth |

So what am I doing here writing a movie review in a music webzine? Correct, the movie has something to do with music, and the scene I am into. Heavy Trip (2018) that originated from Finland is a profound take on metal music in a movie, wrapped up with dark comedy. When it comes to movies about metal music, I previously have seen and loved the poignant Metalhead (2013) and the grotesque comedy horror Deathgasm (2015), and they all have their own characteristics that make them exceptional. But recently what caught my eyes and mind the most is definitely the newer Heavy Trip, which was just released last year. Finnish metal scene is truly something; there are some renowned names whose works have captivated me throughout the years, such as Sargeist, Children of Bodom, Korpiklaani, and Finntroll. And directors Juuso Latio and Jukka Vidgren have successfully managed to bring out the best of the aggressively subliminal vibes of the Finnish metal scene in a form of fiction. The fact that they managed to release impeccable thrashing tunes in fiction by a fictional band is drop dead god-tier. I mean, where else can we find a (fictional) band who calls themselves a symphonic post-apocalyptic reindeer-grinding christ-abusing extreme war pagan fennoscandian metal?

Local outcast Turo Moilanen (Johannes Holopainen)’s only solace in the small village he lives in is the underrated (or even unknown) heavy metal band he plays in, later named Impaled Rektum. His bandmates, whom he had known since he was younger, are the fiery Lotvonen (Samuli Jaskio) on guitars, who creates belligerent fast-paced riffs, the insightful Pasi a.k.a Xytrax (Max Ovaska) who memorizes every tunes he has heard before, and the fearless Jynkky (Antti Heikkinen) who has “died twice”. They have been practicing for 12 years straight at the basement of the reindeer slaughterhouse of Lotvonen’s family, with no experience of playing a gig nor writing their own song at all, having only been playing covers all their lifetime. When they tried to write their own song, things didn’t go well at first. Lotvonen subconsciously imitated riffs by Children of Bodom, Pantera, and Mors Subita, as pointed out by Pasi, when trying to write his own riffs. But they managed to obtain a source of inspiration from a reindeer getting stuck in a grinding machine; calling the noise a sound of “blast beats”. They finally got to finish a song of their own, namely “Flooding Secretions”.

A little hope sparked even more when they got a visit from a festival promotor from Norway, Frank Massegrav. They somehow ended up handing out their demo to Frank and they assumed it was a road to getting to play at the renowned metal festival Northern Damnation in Norway. They were all excited until somehow the festival managed to contact Turo, telling that they had no room for Impaled Rektum to that year’s festival, and things got fucked up. Jynkky died in a car accident when trying to steal their band picture that was stored in the police station, and the rest of the band almost completely lost their passion for metal music until Turo got reminisced of how fun playing with the band was, when he looked through the band picture that Jynkky had stolen. He then gathered Lotvonen and Pasi, kidnapped a mental hospital patient, Oula (Chike Ohanwe), at the mental hospital he works at as a substitute drummer, and went on a road trip to Norway, also carrying Jynkky’s coffin. They decided they have to get to play in Northern Damnation no matter what. In order to get to the festival, they ought to undergo what’s literally called a “heavy trip”. The “heavy trip” includes almost getting into a war with the army of Norway, jumping off a cliff in order to run away from the police, and getting guided by a group of role-playing people dressed like Vikings to the festival. When they arrived at Northern Damnation, Frank told them that they made it all over the news with all they have done and called it a real “metal attitude” and thus they got a slot to play there. All ended well in a dangerously profound way, even though they got arrested at the end.

Overall, this movie has pretty much solid music references and it’s one of the things I like best from it. There’s an occassion where Lotvonen subconsciously plays the imitation of the riffs to some notable songs in the metal scene, such as Everytime I Die by Children of Bodom, Walk by Pantera, and Sermon by the Finnish melodic death metal act Mors Subita. The fact that these songs are being mentioned could connect to the listeners of the bands and that’s a good thing.

About the original songs featured on the movie, the music is quite promising. The two most iconic songs by the fictional band Impaled Rektum are “Kuusamo” and “Flooding Secretions”. The song “Flooding Secretions” is a dark wave of shrieking blast beats that are belligerent, and “Kuusamo” is a melodic chaos. In the OST album, it also features some tunes by renowned Finnish names; to name a few, the melodic death metal band Diablo, the bassist of Stratovarius fame Lauri Porra, and the thrash metal band Mokoma. Conclusion? It is a rad take on the metal scene so far, both the movie and the music featured. Deserves a 8/10 from me.

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