Finland is the world’s capital for heavy metal music, home to some of the world’s best metal artists and more underground metal bands than any other country. Fans of any metal sub-genre can find a bar, nightclub, festival, or record shop somewhere in Finland to suit their tastes and get their music fix. These are some of the best places in Finland for metalheads.
A rock bar in Oulu which is legendary amongst Finland’s heavy metal community and regularly has lines around the block. 45 Special was founded by former members of metal band Zero Nine and is known for showcasing local bands. The bar also hosts nights for stand up, disco, and jam sessions and tickets are highly affordable. Pub food such as burgers, nachos, and wings are served until 3am.
Bar Loosister in Helsinki’s Kallio district, home to the city’s young and trendy population, has a more chill vibe with a classic rock and roll theming. Many locals prefer this bar to the ones in the city centre for this reason. During weekends it is vibrant and noisy but during the rest of the week it is calmer and an ideal place to hang out. The kitchen serves burgers, fries, and pizza with inventive toppings such as the wild boar pizza and a large range of vegan options.
Despite being a relatively small backwood city, Joensuu in eastern Finland has birthed many famous Finnish metal bands. Fittingly, it is also home to one of Finland’s most popular metal festivals. Ilosaarirock takes over the entire city for the weekend so if you keep an eye out you may spot some famous Finnish artists around town. The festival itself hosts many notable acts from around the world including Nightwish, Lordi, and Imagine Dragons. It has also held some wacky events, such as breaking the world record for skinny dipping at the 2017 festival (which was sadly beaten in Ireland less than a year later).
KVLT (which stands for ‘knowledge, victory, leadership, tradition’) is a small black metal record store and label in a somewhat seedy part of Helsinki. While the music and Necronomicon inspired décor may be a little too extreme for the average heavy metal fan, those who prefer the darker metal subgenres will feel right at home. In the store you can find many underground black metal albums and merchandise, many of which are hard to find elsewhere. Don’t be put off by the staff’s somewhat threatening demenor; they are incredibly knowledgeable and willing to help anyone with an interest in black metal to find what they are looking for.
Music Hunter One of the best specialty shops in Helsinki for music lovers, particularly for fans of Finland’s heavy-metal scene, Music Hunter sells not only CDs and records, but also music paraphernalia and band merchandise such as rare posters, collectables, shirts and more.
Provinssirock is a huge rock festival in western Finland, attracting over 50,000 music fans. Its three-day run in June is regarded as the start of the Finnish rock festival season. As one of Finland’s largest festivals, it draws internationally famous acts including Within Temptation, Marilyn Manson, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and Rammstein.
Operating since 1970, Tavastia in Helsinki is one of the oldest rock clubs in Europe which is still open. Many Finnish metalheads have memories of attending their first gigs at Tavastia. The classic rock vibe is still felt at the club, yet it still welcomes recent acts from all over the world. Pre-concert meals are provided by the nearby Restaurant Ilves, combining great music with quality food.
Finland’s largest and most famous heavy metal music festival is held every year in a disused power plant in Helsinki, providing a highly appropriate aesthetic backdrop. It draws over 30,000 metal fans over three days and some of the best rock and metal musicians in the world. In previous years the likes of Sabaton, Lordi, Nightwish, and Alice Cooper have taken the stage at Tuska. It is a must visit for any metalheads both in Finland and throughout the world.