Nothing Like Your Ordinary Metal Head: Reflections on Heavy Trip

For such a heavy theme, you’d think that Heavy Trip would include gore, violence, sex, rituals, and other metal and goth things. But it begins with a scene in a small town that looks so homey and safe, you’d wonder if you’re watching the right movie. You’d also think that the main character Turo, with his long hair and all black outfit, would crash and destroy anyone who’d get in his way. And yet, you’re presented with a shy type that can’t even respond back to the insults his neighbors have for him. Personally, I was excited to see this film given that I’m familiar with metal music and quite actually enjoy it. But the film presented me with scenes far from what I associate metal music with. The film itself was a complete contrast to how most people would imagine metal heads to be like; and that for me, was its best feature.

Heavy Trip shows us a very lighthearted take on how a “Symphonic Post-Apocalyptic Reindeer-Grinding Christ-Abusing Extreme War Pagan Fennoscandian metal band” pursued their dreams despite constant stereotyping and scrutiny from their community. It begins with a band with big dreams, who despite their heavy outfits, could still be mistaken as teenagers with the way they’re acting. Given this, the metal heads really where breaking all the stereotypes assigned to them. For one, Turo’s character as the lead vocalist of the metal band doesn’t seem to match his shy attitude and his anxiety with performing in front of an audience. He is sweet to his neighbors and even works in a nursing home, which isn’t very metal at all. However, Turo’s dilemma of lying to his community about being accepted into the metal festival in Norway, became an avenue for him to grow. It showed us the progression of a basement metal band to a band that proved to be the most “metal” band there is.

There is always this constant struggle present with the characters trying to break free from the stereotyping they receive from the people around them. Heavy Trip itself being a comedy that features metal heads is already breaking away from the stereotype of metal bands being “metal.” Although the band were true to their persona, given the outfits and the hair, I believe it was only after they left their basement and pursued their dream of playing in Norway that they were able to truly break away from the confines of what was expected of them. Pasi remodeled himself to Xytrax, wearing corpse paint on his face and reindeer fur, which showed his love for mythology, occultism, Satanism, and crappy fantasy literature. Oula was able to redirect his aggression through playing drums for the band, and he has never been more calm than ever. And Turo was able to fight back the people who called him gay by showing them how gay he could be, and then saying that “Gays are real men. Manly men.” 

This film only goes to show us that even metal heads can be as lighthearted as how the film was. It shows us a different side to them where they try to pursue their dreams despite the many challenges they are faced, which a lot of us can relate to. They too, struggle just as normal people do, it’s just that they live their lives quite differently from us. Maybe a lesson one can learn from watching Heavy Trip is that corpse-make up wearing, occult-loving, gore enthusiasts metal heads can also be your loving neighbor that gives you pie every morning.

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