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Finnish heavy metal band gathers legions of fans abroad

Finnish heavy metal music is now huge in Brazil. Music from one of Finland’s largest metal music exports, Children of Bodom, is selling like hotcakes in South America.

Keikkahurmosta Children of Bodomin keikalla São Paulossa.
Keikkahurmosta Children of Bodomin keikalla São Paulossa 25. toukokuuta. Image: Heidi Lipsanen / Yle

The Galeria do Rock (Gallery of Rock) shopping centre in São Paulo, Brazil is every heavy metal fan's paradise. T-shirts with the insignias of many Finnish heavy metal bands are well represented here, because Brazil has a taste for Nordic metal.

“Without Scandinavia, metal music wouldn’t be nearly as strong as it is today. Thanks to Sweden, Finland, Norway and a few other countries, heavy metal is still alive and kicking,” says Animal Records owner Carlos Chieroni.

A local Children of Bodom fan club, which sports over 2,000 fans on Facebook, created a gallery the day before their big gig in the city.

“Their music stands out from other heavy metal music. That’s why it appeals to so many Brazilian fans,” says fan club founder Mikaella Balis.

Aggressive in a good way

Internationally-acclaimed Espoo band Children of Bodom is currently touring South America for the fourth time. São Paulo is one of the melodic death metal band’s favourite gig venues.

“The fans here are really aggressive in a good way. They are loud and love to rampage and be fanatical,” says Children of Bodom guitarist Alexi Laiho.

The part about fanaticism seems to be true when one considers the number of fans among the one thousand or so in attendance at the São Paulo gig who have tattooed themselves with band emblems and slogans.

“Children of Bodom inspired me to start my band and play the guitar,” says one fan named André Molina.

Some of their most ardent followers have even learnt Finnish.

“My name is Plinio,” says one smiling fan in Finnish, “I have learned Finnish because I want to live in Finland someday.”

One of Finland's best-selling artists of all time and a top metal band in North America and Japan as well, Children of Bodom will move on to gigs in Argentina and Columbia after wrapping up in Brazil.

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