Review: Various Artists “Veritahroja / Bloodstains – Rare Finnish Punk 1979-1983”

Review: Various Artists “Veritahroja / Bloodstains – Rare Finnish Punk 1979-1983”

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Various Artists “Veritahroja / Bloodstains – Rare Finnish Punk 1979-1983” (Svart Records)

This is a compilation of obscure Finnish Punk releases, as the title suggests, from 1979 to 1983. Now, I love Punk, I got into it around 1980-ish, but my knowledge from that era is mainly of UK bands, as well as a few from the US… my Finnish Punk knowledge is set at zero…

Now I’m sure this has been a labour of love for the person that compiled it, but the first I notice during the first couple of tracks, is how tame it all sounds. Sure, we had a few tame bands in the UK, like The Buzzcocks… but for me, Punk is all about GBH, Subhumans, Angelic Upstarts, Peter and the Test Tube Babies. Music that fires up the anger.

Track 3, by Firenze, is heavy, mainly as everything is so distorted, but the vocals are no heavier than a Post Punk meets New Wave band.

Track 4, by Woude is more like it, although the guitars sound like Punked up Iggy Pop riffs from the Lust For Life album. But at least the album has caught fire.

Systeemi and Systeemissäkö vika?! are pure Punk in the tradition of a slowed down Ramones, with some rocking guitar leads going on. These guys definitely have the Punkest of hearts so far… and I’ll definitely track down some more of their material.

“Kioskikirjallisuutta” by Sabotaasi from 1979, is so under-produced it could have been captured on an old tape deck, but I love its spirit. The Rash could have done with better production as well, but they do make me smile with their catchy chorus on “Paavola”

Ending the first side is The Nivelreuma and it’s the worst sound I’ve ever heard… maybe it’s from an old chewed up tape… who knows, but it’s not worthy of inclusion as it offers noting to the comp at all.

Ok, over to the 2nd side… and we have a piano intro…. And after 30 seconds, we get some Punk, courtesy of Lapsuuden Loppu. It’s a bit poppy and it’s like The Buzzcocks mixed with Plastic Bertrand. I’m liking the guitars though.

AIV actually remind of Nena and “99 Red Balloons”… I shit you not. Loving the music, but the vocals are way too weak…

The Mean Ones and “Muusikot huiputtaa teitä” are an interesting bunch… sort of Punk N Roll. A Dave Vanian sound-a-like doing a Rock N Roll style over Punk… sounds a bit strange on paper, but it really works… and again, some cracking guitar work and probably the best bass on the comp as well.

The next couple of tracks aren’t really my thing… and then we get to Ratsia and “Kloonattu sukupolvi?” Which is actually a cover of Stiff Little Fingers best track, “Alternative Ulster”, complete with Finnish lyrics… this is the best find on the compilation, by far

The comp ends in fine style, with Outo Elämä and the track, “Mä vihaan sua”. I’ve not heard anything like this, so have no idea who to compare it to … but it sounds like someone complaining and singing at the same time…

The biggest surprise has been the lack of aggression compared to the UK bands of the same era. As I can’t translate the lyrics, maybe they didn’t have the political fire of their UK counterparts… but whatever the reason, this isn’t an all-out Punk compilation. But it has been a very interesting chapter in musical history. And I’m now going to track down the predecessor to this, Kuoleman Tappaneet –– The Death Killers… to see what I’ve missed out on.

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