Terveet Kädet
Sign Of The Cross
[Alternative Action]

Enduring on a sort of quest lately to resurface some of the most criminally overlooked bands in existence, I now come to a group which with good reason gained a completely cult following in Brazil during the mid 80's, and could not only be cited as defining most of the early Sepultura sound but was frequently covered by such greater acts as Sarcofago. Emerging from Finland in 1980, Terveet Kädet began playing heavily along the lines of more well-known hardcore projects like Black Flag and D.R.I - however, as the Motörhead, Discharge, and Black Sabbath influence seemed to become more prominent within the members, the style morphed closer to a metal/crust sound, and the band developed a genuinely authentic feel (as great bands do) with their own trademark vibe and resonance. All of the songs are blisteringly quick and overly pummeling, very little recovery room, and breathe with a life that is inspirational and spirited in all of it's own seething black essence.

In spite of all this though, I'm not going to wrack you with a long string of cliches again and tell you why this is yet another album that is absolutely essential - you would of course do well to check it out, but this could never be as imperious or meaningful (at least not to me) as say Hellhammer and Slaughter, and even in the midst of a very provocative metal aura it is still candidly hardcore at heart. This review is more written out of immense respect for a band that has been crushing listeners for over two decades now, and other than Mortuary Drape, very few groups come to mind at all that have remotely managed to keep a solidity like that or avoid playing out to certain audiences. As if that isn't colossal enough in itself, "Healthy Hands" have actually become continuously stronger in that entire stretch, rather than merely releasing something monumental and eventually degenerating into nothing, and while consistency is rarely as admirable as producing something utterly monstrous, it is a commendable virtue too.

For all of these reasons and for the sort of readers I know this is generally geared at I chose Sign of the Cross as the one to recommend, not because I necessarily find it to be the strongest release (although it's close), but on account of this 1995 album with such killers as "Devil Christ", "The Leader", and "Anno Domini" having an absolutely sonic metal feel to it that should be pretty clear to even those who totally despise everything punkish in nature. If you're inclined to seek out more at that point I'd follow up with Non Ultra Descriptica and the Horse LP, but I've never heard anything from the group yet which I simply thought was weak. Most Terveet Kädet material is carried by Solardisk, no surprise at all really given how much Impaled Nazarene took from them, and if you're having difficulty finding an album it's a good place to begin.

Another great band that has been almost unrecognized outside of Finland, and a testament to the old style. Who knows how many other legends like Beherit were probably covering these songs for fun in their garages once.

© 2002 hando