Remember when BEHERIT slayed a Mall Battle of the Bands?
While noodling around on YouTube for random metal videos, this strange but fantastic vid of Finnish Black Metal weirdos Beherit came up. Sure enough, it’s quite early in their career AND it’s them playing at a Battle of the Bands in a shopping mall. The video title is “Sampokeskus bändikilpailu,” which roughly translates to Battle of the Bands at Sampokekus Shopping Centre* which is in the northern Finnish city of Rovaniemi. Said city is mostly famous for the very not Black Metal reason of being the official home of Santa Claus. The four bands a’ battling took place on June 25th 1990 – so by the time you read this we can celebrate its 27th Anniversary – woo hoo!
The first band is Blue Ribbon – a shiny, melancholic (they’re Finnish after all) power pop act ‘ala Marshall Crenshaw. The crowd is mostly perplexed and just seemingly listening to this stuff “cause it’s there.” Meanwhile some teenage boys are looking at ladies passing by, maybe looking for nearby stores to stock up on flatbread and canned reindeer? This looks like the background of a later-era mall scene at Fast Times at Ridgemont High, but now we’re watching Fast Times at Rovaniemi High with Jeff Spicolinen as the skiier / party dude and Mr. Handaa as the history teacher and Sami Yaffa instead of Sammy Hagar on the soundtrack.
2:57 these power poppers disappear (thanks to editing) and (black) magically a young trio of mean teens appears playing dark as fuck, guttural death/black metal. Enter: Beherit. The bassist is in what looks to be an early Carcass shirt, the drummer in a bootleg Slayer tee. The three young boys to the left of the stage area are trying to figure out just what the helvetti is going on and would likely rather be at home playing Super Mario Bros. 3 (or hopefully Splatterhouse).
This footage also comes up on YouTube as a solo Beherit version which has comment gems such as:
Beherit primitive real under metal band no posers, no recomended dimmu and posers mp3 dickhead
Which makes me wonder if Dimmu (Borgir) has an obscure demo release called “Posers Mp3 Dickhead,” and was it supposed to be a continuation of Enthrone Darkness Triumphant?
Who can forget that title track – “Satan’s Foodcourt
The song is a Sarcófago, more evidence of the Finnish-Brazilian connection as Sarcófago has covered several songs by Finnish hardcore band Terveet Kädet. Plus, Helsinki band Força Macabra took it even further by recording all their songs in Brazilian Portuguese.
This is the most diverse audience Beherit had ever played for: moms, dads, soccer kids, soccer moms, soccer dads, hockey moms, proto-tech dads, soccer dads, proto-tech moms, gamer kids, toddlers, nerds, dorks, geeks, nuclear girls, metal girls and boys, cool teens, and not cool teens.
Had they gotten together for some kinda Nuclear War Now! Productions fest in Helsinki it would’ve just been a bunch of samey metal dudes. But on the other hand they’d likely attract the same audience even if they kept their original name as Horny Malformity.
3:49 – A big blonde metaldood with a Voi Vod screen printed t-shirt stumbles his way toward the front of the crowd. I assume this dude sounds like a Finnish version of Otto from the Simpsons, which would be way cool, and I admire his D.I.Y.-ness. Meanwhile 3 girls – once of whom is in a cool denim n’ leather combo jacket – sit down while Metallisti Otto goes wild with the headbanging as Marko – or as you may know him – Nuclear Holocausto Vengeance whispers diabolically about oaths of black blood and more moms look on in concern. Other people mill about hoping to get to use their coupons at Hesburger or the Sampo place, which, contrary to what you learned from MST3K, REALLY IS A PLACE! Others may be considering the sale on Kaikki Asssisteet brand ale. Lest I forget, the United Colors of Benetton shop behind stage side left. (Side note: What if it was United Colors of Glen Benton?)
Granted none of these stores had access to Werewolf, Semen and Blood, and the Gate of Nanna was yet to be built. Plus, your nanna wouldn’t necessarily be into the Metal of Death but she’d love the Metal of Discounts!
Anyway, the next band is a 4-piece called Nightmare whose singer looks like a California surfer dude with a multi-color bandanna and a dark-haired bud that looks like he would be the same surfer dude in say, Hardbodies, along with an often lost looking lady on keyboards in a white puffy shirt she might’ve picked up with the guys at Chess King.
5:20 – Guy in varsity jacket – probable hockey team captain. Nightmare‘s 1st verse (even with my limited knowledge of Finnish) is damn catchy though
5:41 – The 3 kids behind the stage look bored as hell again.
5:59 – Good shot of the surfer / skiier bassist dude and a vaguely interested crowd.
6:07 The metal girl and her friend are like “fuck this!” and leave.
Next up is the terribly named Chris Middletown Psycho who just fuck up Hendrix’s “Purple Haze” and whose singer looks a LOT like a guy I used to borrow D.R.I. and Kreator records from in high school, only this fella has his dad’s tie cut up as a Hendrixian headband. But the less said about this the better. Ugh! Oh but hey uhhh THANKS for posting this excellent video Chris Middleton of Thee Chris Middletown Psycho! Suddenly Voi Vod shirt print Otto comes back with a beer, sits down again and thinks to himself “ahh I could fuckin’ shred better than this chump!”
Around 7:33 a woman in a yellow shirt takes her dog into the mall. I wanna know what the dog was thinking. Maybe they were more of a Beherit fan and played guitar for a tribute to that era’s black metal called Sacródóggo?
8:05 the crowd moves around and no band is playing until…
8:21: A mustachoid doofus in a Confederate Flag shirt is standing in the center of the crowd with his friends. C’mon dude you’re not even in the South of FINLAND! The camera pans to a jock type guy with a shirt that seems to read “A legend born…SEX”
8:25: An announcement is made by presumably the head judge of this battle. Wait…does that long hair kid have a Carnivore back-patch?!?
8:39: Some “R’s” are rolled.
8:40: Your winner…NIGHTMARE. Now the band takes the stage again with the judge announcer guy in his Radio Roy shirt which I think is like Radio Shack in Finland.
9:14: Nightmare starts again and counts off “Eih, Ka, Kol, Lay” (or something like that) and strums hard on a raw power pop/almost punk number.
Hey, this is pretty good (*furiously checks Discogs* – “Nope not that Nightmare, or THAT Nightmare…shit there’s 26 of them?!? “). It comes off kinda like a band on the “Bloodstains Across Finland” comp.
Of course Beherit became way more famous than any of these bands and garnered international attention. Well, excuse me I’m gonna be pondering what a Gate of Nanna would look like. I just found “nanna” also means “candy” in Finnish. Or maybe it’s about pro badminton player Nanna Vainio? See ya goats later.
(* = spelled the UK Englishy way)