This past weekend, Aksel Kankaanranta became the first 2020 national final winner who was unable to secure the make-up ticket to Rotterdam. It was particularly heartbreaking after seeing how much more at ease he was on stage compared to his previous performance. Given the result, maybe he’d want to follow Blind Channel’s lead and put his middle finger up at the Finnish delegation for having a national final this year.
Blind Channel formed in 2014 and refer to their style of music as “violent pop.” They were originally a five-piece band, but they added DJ Aleksi Kaunisvesi in October 2020 after he helped them polish their demo for “Dark Side.” (He’s a song “betterer,” according to the UMK English commentators.)
“Dark Side” is unapologetically nu metal, which isn’t the most beloved metal genre around. I’ll tell you what, though: it is ridiculously catchy. It helps that Blind Channel lead with the chorus, then repeat it four times. The huhs and the ai-yis act as the fists that cram the hook into your skull. Vocalists Joel Hokka and Niko Vilhelm are so similar in tone that it’s hard to tell them apart. Yet this works to their advantage because their intertwined vocals bolster the song’s anthemic feel.
Even though I like “Dark Side,” I’m having trouble really getting into it. The band mentioned during UMK that they wanted to see the crowd shout “huh” along with them, and for some reason that kind of rubbed me the wrong way. I’m not one of those “death to false metal” types, and I don’t really demand authenticity in my rock music. But “Dark Side” is presenting itself as authentic, and I don’t really buy it.
Still, if they do get an audience of Eurovision fans to flash their middle fingers on cue, I have to admit that would be pretty awesome.