President Obama welcomed the leaders of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden to the White House on Friday. In his remarks to Finnish president Sauli Niinistö, Obama praised Finland's heavy metal culture, saying (see video below): "I do wanna point out that Finland has perhaps the most heavy metal bands in the world per capita and also ranks high on good governance. I don't know if there's any correlation there."Heavy metal and hard rock music continues to thrive in Finland, where bands like CHILDREN OF BODOM regularly top the chart with their single and full-length releases. According to Slate, Finland has the most heavy metal bands per capita in the world. While Sweden and Norway have only 27 heavy metal bands per 100,000 inhabitants, Finland boasts double as much, 54 bands per 100,000. Some claim that Finland is "the only country in the world where metal is mainstream," and people actually study Finnish and Norwegian to better understand heavy metal music. People have speculated that the climate in Finland, which is characterized by cold, and sometimes severe, winters and relatively warm summers, has contributed to the population's disproportionately high interest in heavier forms of rock. Says the A Metal State Of Mind web site: "When someone is surrounded by cold and dark for long periods of time, it is only natural that some form of depression will start to set in. And how do many Finns combat this depression, release the negative energy, and make themselves feel more positive? Well, I can't think of one form of music more tailored to the release of the negative more than metal." Although the suicide rates of Finland are higher than those of other Nordic countries, the number of suicides among Finnish men has gone down by 48 percent since the '90s, according to a July 2014 report in the Helsinki Times.
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