Leaving all press coverage of a disaster behind we left for our scheduled nordic roadtrip on 23 July. Visiting 7 Northern European Capitals meant a lot of driving and ferrying and in order to also explore new horizons on the music front we were partially guided by the Metal Travel Guide. This site tells for a lot of countries and cities, where you can find your rockbars, live venues or CD/LP stores. As we started in Poland I did check, but not went to shops. Also because the Polish component of my music collection is already pretty good represented. After Vilnius on a Sunday with no metal either, we entered the first good CD shop in Riga and after Estonia and Finland I stopped again in Sweden and Norway due to similar reasons as Poland and the fact that in Norway CD shops seem to have followed the Dutch route and basically disappear from the cities.
So herewith a short overview of my findings which start in Latvia. The shop Randoms which we entered in Riga had a department Latvian Metal so that was easy. When asking for help in the shop I left with two great findings. BioMorph - Rupture turns out to be djenty, technical, grunt/clear and nice overall, but less acceptable to the family in the car. Indygo - Decoy is a very Tool inspired affair, but of high level and more compact in their songs. So when driving to our next country I found to have made two great buys for a very decent price as well.
In Tallinn I went to a shop found on MTG and played partially safe, as I looked for and found Estonian band X-Panda who played Holland twice before with good reviews and are coming back to de Boerderij early next year. Again asking for help I got hinted at TNVVNuM. With a name like that it is probably good they make instrumental music only with minor vocal parts. This turned out to be lacking some power to remain interesting, also the scarce vocals better stay out altogether. Musically OK, but not a CD I shall return to many times, yet the risks of buying in the blind.
Helsinki was the last stop with succesfull purchases. Easily the best and most complete shop as well, which such a long and hard name that I could not remember it. Helsinki really has Heavy Metal on the streets in the air and even in the supermarket. Wearing a black T-shirt was just a fashionable thing to do. On the CD's I did play on safe and found two bands I read positive reviews about before. The Chant - New Haven is somewhere towards Sentenced/Katatonia Melancholic and moody. Montage with their self titled debut is probably the best CD of my trip. 70's Hardrock, some progmetal, high voices and great songs. The tip was there, great to find I agreed with the positivism.
Apart from CD's I did look for potential shows, but there we were less lucky. Just missing Kansas in Warsaw and Manowar in Helsinki I did think of going to three extreme Metal bands in Helsinki to sense the atmosphere, but unfortunately found I mixed up dates in my head and we needed to get the ferry to Stockholm the same evening. Final conclusion: Anyone travelling for holidays or work, first check www.metaltravelguide.com as it might lead you to great surprises.