Heavy Trip

Living in a small town of small minds in rural Finland where he works as a janitor at the mental hospital, Turo Moilanen is a metalhead, his band rehearsing in the basement of the reindeer slaughterhouse, Turo on vocals, Lotvonen on lead guitar, Pasi on bass and his best friend Jynkky playing drums and occasionally dying; all they need to move forward is a name, a logo and some original songs, Pasi refusing to be part of a cover band.

Their “symphonic postapocalyptic reindeer-grinding Christ-abusing extreme war pagan Fennoscandian metal” genre explained by Pasi – also the local librarian – as “the souls of hundreds of reindeer screaming in pain,” a unique sound capable of causing churches to spontaneously combust is no use if nobody hears them. Their first gig at a local bar the talk of the village for the wrong reasons, what they need is a slot on the bill of Northern Damnation, Norway’s biggest metal festival.

Directed by Juuso Laatio and Jukka Vidgren from a script by Laatio, Aleksi Puranen and Jari Olavi Rantala, Heavy Trip (Hevi reissu) shakes the windows, rattles the floorboards and irks the local police constable, father of pretty florist Miia, who would prefer his daughter does not consort with the type of degenerates he groups en masse with drug-taking hippies.

Far from it, embryonic though it may be, the band are unswervingly dedicated to their music to the exclusion of all else, Johannes Holopainen as Turo, mocked by the locals for his long hair, Samuli Jaskio as Lotvonen, heir to the slaughterhouse, Antti Heikkinen as Jynkky, blessed with more enthusiasm than good sense, and Antti Heikkinen as Pasi, intelligent, intense, possessed of an encyclopaedic knowledge of metal riffs and preparing to reinvent himself as “Xytrax.”

The mishaps and antics of their attempts to fulfil the simple ambition of getting a demo tape accepted by the festival promoter thwarted by the slings and arrows of outrageous and escalating bad fortune, if in their quest for metal godhood even making it across the border to Norway will take an act of divine intervention, what better way to invoke the old gods than by grave robbing, grand theft auto and asking to join a Viking raiding party?

Understanding the peace brought by the overwhelming noise, blocking out all pain, distraction and loneliness, Heavy Trip stands alongside the brutality of Lords of Chaos as a representation of the extreme Scandinavian metal scene though the antics of Impaled Rektum verge more towards Spinal Tap, offering a heartfelt depiction of the metal scene, of the outcasts, misfits and unfortunates who form their own fringe community of acceptance where the only expectation is that the love of the music is genuine.

Heavy Trip is streaming on Arrow now