Heavy Trip. Photo by Harri Räty

 

Heavy Trip Delivers Headbanging Laughs

Finnish film finds black metal’s warm and fuzzy side

According to a number of sources, Finland has the most metal bands per capita in the world, with erstwhile headbangers found across the Nordic country, in major cities and rural villages. It is a group of these small town metalheads and their dreams of glory that propel Heavy Trip (Hevi Reissu), a madcap comedy adventure that celebrates its World Premiere at SXSW 2018.

“We made this film as a kind of antithesis to Finnish films which tend to be pretty dark…”

Co-directed by Jukka Vidgren and Juuso Laatio, the movie follows Turo, lead singer of Impaled Rektum, a self-described “symphonic post-apocalyptic reindeer-grinding christ-abusing extreme war pagan Fennoscandic metal” band that has spent 12 years rehearsing in the guitarist’s parents’ reindeer slaughterhouse without actually writing a song or playing an actual gig. Meanwhile, Turo must compete with the smarmy local lounge singer for the affections of Miia, who works in the town flower shop, while dodging taunts and threats from other villagers, including Miia’s intimidating policeman father.

When fate interrupts with a visit from the promoter of one of Norway’s biggest metal festivals, the stage is set for an epic journey. Bands who have gone to great lengths to travel to SXSW should get knowing laughs watching Impaled Rektum’s wild, against-all-odds misadventures.

For Vidgren and Laatio, who have directed several heavy music videos and hail from Oulu, considered the epicentre of Finnish metal, the subject matter is close to their hearts. “Probably every town in Finland has a couple of metalheads walking the streets being given a lot of shit for their long hair,” says Vidgren. “But they choose to be themselves, and I think that’s something to be proud of.”

“There’s a weird contrast in the musicians too,” he continues. “Super angry music, played by really nice friendly guys. And playing some really niche-metal that most people would just consider loud noise is probably not going to make you rich or famous, so you know the motivation for these dudes is really the music.”

That contrast extends to Vidgren and Laatio’s conceiving Heavy Trip as a comedy. “We made this film as a kind of antithesis to Finnish films which tend to be pretty dark,” Vidgren explains. “We wanted to make a feel-good film … the kind where you really want the main characters to succeed, and to be genuinely funny.”

 

Heavy Trip ’s 10 Essential Heavy Metal Albums

as compiled by co-director Juuso Laatio and co-screenwriter Aleksi Puranen:


Rust in PeaceMEGADETH
Rust in Peace
For some reason humanity is still creating new art even though it was already perfected in 1990.

Draconian TimesParadise Lost
Draconian Times
Pioneers of gothic metal. Depression never sounded better.

Ceremony of OppositesSamael
Ceremony of Opposites
Swiss black metal classic from the early 90’s. Sweet sweet blasphemy.

The UnspeakableYear of the Goat
The Unspeakable
Amazing harmonies from this occult metal band from Sweden, Finland’s hated neighbor.

Bloody KissesType O Negative
Bloody Kisses
Slow, deep and hard, with a great sense of humor. RIP Peter Steele.

Tales From the Thousand LakesAmorphis
Tales From the Thousand Lakes
You can really feel the cold breeze of the sunless Finnish winter with this one.

Keeper of the Seven Keys, Part 2Helloween
Keeper of the Seven Keys, Part 2
The latter and better half of the two albums that formed the “melodic power metal” genre.

The Cold White LightSentenced
The Cold White Light
Melodic, dark and rocking metal that took their dark, suicidal sense of humor to the max.

Blackwater ParkOpeth
Blackwater Park
Face-melting growls and blast beats mixed with beautiful vocals and acoustic guitars. You can totally have sex to this album.

StrongholdSummoning
Stronghold
The dark side of Tolkien’s fantasy world that mixes ambient and black metal in a perfect way.

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