FINLAND: Jurahevin Kuninkaat - Hevisaurus
Updated: Apr 10
Heavy metal for children? More like heavy metal for everyone!
For millennia, people have tried asking life’s biggest and most unanswerable questions. These questions often root from a place of existential crisis in which we try to learn and understand who we truly are. I myself have taken part in these soul-searching quests, praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem where my ancestors have stood for centuries before me, walking down the famous Camino de Santiago path that many Christian pilgrims follow each year, and engaging in a regular meditation practice that has its roots in Buddhist doctrine. Whilst all of these experiences have revealed something to me, none of them have been as powerful an experience in self-discovery as listening to Hevisaurus’ album Jurahevin Kuninkaat. After years of searching, it turns out that who I am beneath the surface is a four-year-old Finnish rock-gobbling monster child...
“It is epic, and one would imagine that the reason why, is that to make good quality children’s entertainment in any form, be that books, television, or music, the parents have to be kept engaged too.”
There have been various moments of revelation throughout this process of listening to albums from across the world. From listening to Youssou N’Dour’s Immigrés for the first time which helped me realise the breathtakingly spiritual quality of music to Leonard Cohen’s You Want It Darker which informed me about the immense power of lyrical genius I have had several preconceptions challenged. My aversion to heavy metal music has been well-documented on this site before, but never has it been called into question like it has with this album. What I now understand, is not that I don’t like heavy metal music, but that in metal terms, in the same way as a child who prefers orange juice to a vintage red wine, my palette is not yet fully developed. The metal music I like is not shouting about doom and destruction, but rather a general sense of appreciation of the joys of milk such as Tahdon Maitoo, a song from Hevisaurus' album Räyh! which celebrates the benefits of the nutritious calcium-rich goodness, and frankly I am all for it. This is metal… for children!
Whilst I am not fluent in Finnish (yet), one can immediately tell the overtly wholesome nature of the band’s lyrics from the outset of the first track Syntytarina which introduces the members Komppi Momppi, Milli Pilli and Riffi Raffi. Even the names of our head-banging comrades puts me at ease and allows me to feel like I am more willing to engage with the type of vigorous and aggressive melodies that I would usually be opposed to. I remember growing up with the soft version of the counting song ‘the animals went in two by two’, and here I am as a grown man who has a developed an unashamed and genuine appreciation of candles, flowers and baths (perhaps I am revealing too much about myself). I cannot help but wonder had I instead been raised on the Hevisaurus version Kapteeni Koukku whether instead I would be a real man’s man - fighting other viking-esque giants on the ice hockey rink, living on a diet of potentially poisonous false morel mushrooms and the frankly disgusting delicacy of salmiakki licorice.
Though this album perhaps calls my manliness into question, I don’t care, nor do I feel embarrassed by the slightly infantilising nature of enjoying something that is made overtly for children. I genuinely love it. The reason why I enjoy it so much isn’t just because it is metal for toddlers by men dressed in leather dinosaur costumes (although that is reason enough), it is because it is genuinely fantastic music. “Wait, Danny”, I hear you say, “men dressed in leather dinosaur costumes?!” Oh yes, I forgot to mention these are not just metal songs with kid-friendly lyrics, when performing these guys dress in giant dinosaur costumes dressed in spikes!!! If you are resistant of listening to the album then at least check them out on YouTube playing live, it is something to behold.
Anyway, back to the quality of the music. It is epic, and one would imagine that the reason why, is that to make good quality children’s entertainment in any form, be that books, television, or music, the parents have to be kept engaged too. For me, the pièce de resistance on the album is Jee Hevisaurus, a high-energy belter of a track that would rival anything Iron Maiden have done. The album is full of hard-hitting bangers from the title-track Jurahevin Kuninkaat, to the sublime Intiaanin sotahuut, to the insanely lively Haloo haloo. But the band have musical depth and are not just a bunch of dinosaurs with just one mode. Viimeinen mammutti is the band’s Solitude, a genuinely moving track that demonstrates real talent and skill. The band’s primary aim is to educate and entertain, and whilst an English adult man may not be their target demographic, they have succeeded in educating me about the endless possibility of music and by doing so with a smile behind the ridiculous costume managed to authentically entertain me throughout.