Whereas a lot of the new breed of Thrash Metal either comes from the States, Germany or Italy, Finland has lately been more commonly associated with great Doom bands such as Spiritus Mortis. However, Speedtrap might be about to change all that. With "Raw Deal" they have released a fantastic six-track debut CD, which is now out on vinyl via High Roller Records. The cover of the album looks like a cover of Exciter's classic "Heavy Metal Maniac" sleeve. With a little pun of course ...
Guitarist Ville Valavuo explains: "Yeah, actually it's supposed to be kind of a tribute to Exciter AND Blood Money, mixing the "Heavy Metal Maniac" cover (the bleeding amp) with the "Red, Raw and Bleeding" cover (the bloody chainsaw). We wanted to have a painting on the cover, and contacted a few artists like Dimitar Nikolov, but considering our financial situation it would've cost way too much." Talking of Blood Money, this obscure N.W.O.B.H.M. band and Diamond Head are amongst Speedtrap's faves: "It's impossible for me to speak for all of us, but I think none of us will disagree if I tell you that Blood Money's "Red, Raw and Bleeding" LP and Diamond Head's "Lightning to the Nations" LP have been two of the most influential albums to us. So yes, the N.W.O.B.H.M. is without a doubt our favourite Metal movement, even though I'd say Blood Money is more like (proto-) speed metal." Speedtrap's music has been described as "Diamond Head on 45", that sounds interesting ... Ville is not so sure of this description any more: "Ehh … yeah, it seemed like a good idea at the time when we put this on our myspace page, but we should probably try to get rid of this!" Finland is not a small country at all, so I was quite surprised to hear that all four members live in different cities or towns: "Originally we're all from eastern Finland (Lappeenranta, Taipalsaari, Joutseno), but now all of us live in different cities. And with Miika moving to Helsinki that kinda adds the fifth city to the list, since I'm living in Tampere, Markus is in Turku, Jori's in Joensuu and our rehearsal place is still in Lappeenranta."
As Speedtrap is a young and eager band, ready to go out there and take the world by storm (as Demon once sang), it is no wonder that they have already amassed new material: "Yeah, we've got six or seven new songs ready, and then there's a lot of nearly-finished tracks. I'm not sure about the next release yet, but we're planning a split release with a Finnish metalpunk band called Deah With A Dagger. A full length album demands so much more planning that we won't be doing that yet."
Finland is known for its more Gothic bands like HIM. Is there a strong traditional Heavy Metal underground, I want to now from Ville? "There ain't many bands playing traditional Heavy Metal, but the Metal underground in general is alive and kickin'. With Speedtrap, Armour, Cast Iron, etc. you could actually see a new wave of heavy metal bands forming in Finland, too bad Cast Iron split up. Their stuff was really promising. Besides bands, there are organisations arranging shows and bringing big underground names to Finland every year. This year there's Manilla Road, Blasphemy and Nifelheim to name just a few." I do love old '80's Finnish bands like Iron Cross, Ossy, Oz, Sarcofagus, Peer Günt or Albert Järvinen (who recorded a 12" EP with Lemmy from Motörhead). Ville is also familiar with those oldtimers: "The Heavy Metal scene seems to have been pretty active back in the 80's. Many of the albums are now classics, for example "Fire in the Brain", "Moottorilinnut" and "Steel Warrior". According to some sources, Motörhead were planning to take Albert Järvinen in the band, too bad that never happened."
Although from Sweden, Portrait and In Solitude are two of the hottest current Scandinavian hopefuls. Speedtrap's guitarist shows that he is in the know: "Yes, I've seen Portrait and In Solitude both live and really liked them. Had to get the albums too. But my favourite one of these new Swedish band has got to be Enforcer. I can't wait for November when Enforcer are playing a few shows in Finland. If I've got enough money, I'll probably go see all three shows."
Matthias Mader (Iron Pages)