Teräsbetoni - Metallitotuus review
|Release date:||April 2005|
02. Älä Kerro Meille
03. Taivas Lyö Tulta
04. Vahva Kuin Metalli
05. Silmä Silmästä
11. Teräksen Varjo
12. Maljanne Nostakaa
One is usually inclined to put Teräsbetoni in the "guilty pleasures" box, for many reasons, but mostly because the band is known as the Finnish Manowar. Indeed, the similarities, at least on the surface, are endless: dressing up in leather costumes; lyrics that drip with cheese you can recognize from ten miles away (even if you don't speak Suomi); and an epic heavy metal sound. Music-wise, the comparison stands, but their attitude is different than Manowar's, it's actually quite comparable to Twisted Sister's. They're aware that their presentation of the music is not the most serious one, but they make sure to offer nice albums for the lovers of their genre to rock out to.
When the album came out it was quite a sensation in Finland, reaching gold status in a short period of time and a number a songs from it became huge hits. If you try to pick this release apart and examine it, you'll find the elements that usually make people cringe and stay away, i.e. a staggering number of songs (three out of twelve) with the word "metal" in the title. But Teräsbetoni does everything with a healthy dose of humor, playfulness and that trademark Finnish self-irony.
Songs are mostly fast, with catchy choruses that get into the head quickly - even the use of the Finnish language isn't an obstacle there. Metallitotuus fires one hit song after another, some of my favorites being "Metallisydän", a magnificent trade of fast tempo for epicness, and the very humorous "Orjatar" (an homage to Manowar's "Pleasure Slave") which almost got the band in trouble with feminist organizations, though it is the most favorite song of many female fans of the band, including yours truly.
There aren't many guitar leads, and they're quite simple, but I don't need to stress how music isn't a video game competition, as I don't expect complexity-a-holics on this thread anyway. On the last track, Arto Järvinen (the band's guitarist and one of the main composers) proves that he also has a nice singing voice - but anything the band does falls under the mighty shadow of Jarkko Ahola's vocals anyway. This vocalist extraordinaire manages to capture attention like no other. I see him as the heir of Marco Hietala in the Finnish scene.
This release certainly has its fans, though a lot of people seem to dislike it and dismiss it as second-rate Manowar. True, you must dig a little deeper in the band to find their little humorous perks, but I think it's well worth it. And coming from a rabid hater of anything that has to do with "brotherhood(s) of metal", it's a great praise for Teräsbetoni.
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| Carl Berg
Learning To "X"
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