Label: Playground 2011
Review by Kimmo Toivonen
"Dinosaurs playing heavy metal to the kids". That was the concept that Mirka Rantanen (drummer of Thunderstone) came up with a few years ago, and HEVISAURUS was born. Two highly successful albums were released under that name, but last year things went sour between Rantanen and the band's label Sony. Lawsuits, dirty dinosaur suits and insults were flying all over the internet and media, and as a result, things are a bit complicated now. There are actually two dinosaur bands now touring and recording in Finland: Sony-owned Hevisaurus which includes the orignal vocalist and production team/songwriters and SAURUXET, Rantanen and the original live band with a new vocalist. Sauruxet were the first to release new material, and apparently the new monicker didn't alienate them from their audience - the band went straight to number two on the Finnish Top 40 chart this week. Without diving any deeper into the waves of controversy (or is it too late already?), let's take a look at the album...
The music of SAURUXET is very 80'ies-sounding melodic metal and hard rock, well performed and produced. The lyrics have been written to appeal to the pre-school and elementary school children, so there are songs about things that that age group can relate to. For example, there are songs about visiting a candy factories, goblins, little green men and treasure maps. And dinosaurs, of course. Sure it's kinda weird to listen to these songs and I can't really relate to the lyrics, but then again, if I can listen to the obscenities of Steel Panther or the worship songs of several christian bands and enjoy them, why I couldn't enjoy these songs too?
The style of the songs ranges from the power metal á la Teräsbetoni, Manowar or Stratovarius to the melodic rock of Europe and Van Halen. The influences are at times very thinly disguised, take the title track for example. It's a song about leaving for another planet, and features a familiar sounding keyboard parp... You can easily spot some other familiar bits and pieces here and there.
My favourite song of the album is the irrestibly catchy "Kummitusten Yö", a fine slice of pop-metal that wouldn't sound out of place on a Lordi album either, except for the vocals and lyrics. Strangely the hook reminds me of a Kaija Koo song - Finnish readers might know a song called "Tinakenkätyttö". Other noteworthy songs include the aforementioned titletrack (never mind the Europe similarities!), the funny "Iskää Hevittää" (about a dad who plays in a metal band) and the sport anthem "Voiton Huumaa". Yeah, I'd surely rather listen to this than the Smurfs or The Chipmunks in the car. I'll try to introduce this to the one in my family who's in the target age group too...