Barack Obama, Finland, And Heavy Metal: U.S. President's Shout-Out To Heavy Metal At State Dinner Goes Viral

Anya Wassenberg

Barack Obama is hip to the heavy metal scene in Finland and he let an audience of Scandinavian leaders know it during a speech at the White House just last week. Leaders from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden had come together for an official state dinner and summit when the president made the remarks.

President Obama singled out Finland and its renowned heavy metal scene during the opening part of the speech where he talked about exports and the strengths of each of the Nordic nations. The United States president is quoted in Pitchfork Magazine.

"I do want to point out, that Finland has perhaps the most heavy metal bands in the word, per capita, and also ranks high on good governance. I don't know that there's any correlation there."

During his remarks, Obama mentioned Scandinavian inventions like Spotify, Skype, and the NPR show All Songs Considered among other praiseworthy Nordic innovations. As he outlined in the remainder of his speech, Barack Obama reinforced that he had more than Finland's heavy metal on his mind.

"In fact, in a world of growing economic disparities, Nordic countries have some of the least income inequality in the world. There have been times where I have said, why don't we just put all these small countries in charge for a while and they could clean things up."

"The metal underground got pretty excited about the President of the United States referencing the Finnish metal scene."

While heavy metal music flourishes throughout Scandinavia – perhaps due, as Mudrian speculates, to the long, unforgiving winters – it takes on different personalities in each country. Finland's heavy metal scene is known for its diversity and eccentricity.

"Finland is making the weirdest heavy metal imaginable."

Is it evidence of a real interest? With his retirement from White House duties looming after November's election, it may be that Barack Obama will find more time to explore his connection to Finland and the heavy metal scene.

[Image by Carolyn Kaster/AP Images]