A New Hobby For Gimlet

Studying Finnish:

Michael Brown’s long hours of studying the exotic language of Finnish may seem like a pretty noble use of time.

An American international-relations major at the University of Washington in Seattle, he aims for a life in foreign service. Finland’s strategic role in the Arctic and as a vocal member of the euro zone means his investment in the language could be a good bet.

But, Mr. Brown’s interest has a much more casual origin.

“It was heavy metal, unmistakably,” Mr. Brown said when asked what inspired him to pursue a language spoken by a nation that has fewer people, at 5.4 million, than Washington state. Finnish bands perform with a “dark woodsy resonance” that he has come to love, he says, and “the poetic and obscure nature of the Finnish tongue really gave it a unique wave.”

Mr. Brown isn’t the only one to channel a love for the metal genre into the pursuit of learning an obscure tongue. A band of young metal heads—spanning Romania to Singapore—have taken up a Northern European language in order to better appreciate or even mimic their favorite metal bands.

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2 thoughts on “A New Hobby For Gimlet

  1. Sorry for the late reply…must not be so late to comment-bait!

    I actually am not very familiar with many Finnish bands. In fact, the only two that come to mind are Vinum Sabbatum and Nightwish.

    Our babysitter, who travels to Finland regularly, had told me once that she felt most Finnish bands sounded similar to Evanescence. Which is basically the impression I’d gotten from Nightwish.

    I’m probably a lot more familiar with Swedish metal acts, at least of the retro variety. Although I certainly can’t claim comprehension of all of the intricacies; I recall reading an interview with one of the guys from Amon Amarth, and when asked about another band, he explained that those guys were black metal, while they were Viking metal. Which apparently are completely different and do not mix, at all.

    I’ll close this out by saying that I know of at least one Norwegian act (Devil), but no Danish ones. So get your act together, Denmark!

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