Finntroll – Blodsvept
text: Basak Gunel
Finntroll is a Finnish folk metal band which was formed in 1997. The band was formed by the former vocalist Katla and former guitarist Somnium. Although the band is labeled as folk metal, they have elements from black metal as well.
Finntroll’s songs are in Swedish (except one song) because the former vocalist Katla decided to use Swedish since it sounded more ‘trollish’.
Finntroll’s first debut album is ‘Midnattens Widunder’ which was released in 1999. Two years after the release of ‘Midnattens Widunder’, the band released ‘Jaktens tid’ and with this album they made their international breakthrough.
Finntroll has six studio albums and two EP’s released in total. Many line-up changes mark the band’s career; the founding members are not with the band anymore. Since 2006 the band’s line-up has not changed.
Finntroll’s lyrics are about legends and tales revolving around the fictional Troll-King “Rivfader” and the trolls fighting against the Christians who entered their lands and spread their beliefs. A recurring theme is the story of two priests named “Aamund” and “Kettil“. The first three full length albums, ‘Midnattens widunder ‘ (1999), ‘Jaktens tid’ (2001) and ‘Nattfödd’ (2004) feature a rather short but fierce song, about the two men who constantly get themselves into trouble with the trolls, only to get beaten up and mutilated over and over again by the wrathful followers of Rivfader.
‘Blodsvept’ welcomes the listener with a roar from a monster, which is possibly a troll, and this introduction actually reminded me of fantasy- movies or games. In contrary to the classic ‘long and instrumental’ Finntroll intros, this short intro really surprised me because that is quite unexpected from them. Especially when I think about the long intro ‘Blodmarsch’ on the band’s previous album ‘Nifelvind’, this intro was close to nothing.
However, I am sure the listener will understand why the band chose to go in this way; after that the first song ‘Blodsvept’ just blows the listener away. There are no slow rhythms or atmospheric melodies: ‘Blodsvept’ is just like a slap in the listener’s face. Surely, there is the classic Finntroll vibe that is recognized from the first moment. Especially those powerful growls and melodies in the background fit perfectly to the vibe of the song.
The album’s sound and rhythm get more interesting with ‘Ett Folk Förbannat’ and ‘När Jättar Marschera’. While ‘Ett Fölk Forbannat’ takes the listener to a musical-like atmosphere with the marching rhythm, ‘När Jättar Marschera’ has a darker vibe with the Tim Burton movie music combined with spooky and dark tunes.
Personally I like ‘När Jättar Marschera’ because Finntroll played it live in Heidenfest 2012 and it really impressed me. Listening to it in this album made no difference; this song has everything for sure so it can be considered as one of the highlights of this album.
One of the turning points of this album is ‘Skövlarens Död’, with this song the album becomes darker and slowe. One thing that really surprised me is the melody change of the riffs in the middle. Those riffs remind of the eighties metal era and it definitely catches the attention of the listener. As a matter of fact, these twists and turns in this song define the album’s essence. I am sure that the listener will recognize similar twists and turns in other songs in this album and these elements make this album more unique!
Another highlight of the album is definitely ‘Häxbrygd’. It stands out in the album mainly because of its oriental vibe. I stated before that the album is full of twists and turns and this song is another proof of that. Finntroll definitely knows how to blend in styles and melodies from different regions, without sounding too awkward; as a matter of fact, they do it perfectly. Another song that would be the sibling of ‘Häxbrygd’ is ‘Fanskapsfylld’, this one has the full Balkan atmosphere and it will make the listener dance rather than headbang for sure.
The album surprisingly ends with the slowest song ‘Midvinterdraken’. I personally expected a much faster end to the album, because all of the songs except the last son, feel like being in a roller coaster. So when the whole album is considered, I think that the last song is quite weak, although it is a great song in its own.
Generally, the album is quite different from the previous releases, but it has definitely those Finntroll elements. Moreover, what I like most is that every song has its own highlight: in some songs those are the riffs and in other songs the highlights are the melodies and the atmosphere behind the riffs. This shows that the album is really colorful and has a lot to offer when it comes to the band’s sound and style.
Songs like ‘Häxbrygd’ , ‘Mordminnen’ and ‘Fanskapsfylld’ are clear examples of how Finntroll gets inspired by everything. It is also impossible to choose a favorite because almost every song is quite different and unique in its own way. On the other hand I think that ‘Mordminnen’ and ‘Midvinterdraken’ did not really fit to the whole album, although they are great songs.
Another surprising element that I really liked, is how the band made tributes to their older songs. The Finntroll fans might hear some elements from ‘Rivfader’ in ‘Tva Ormar’ or ‘Det Iskalla Trollblod’ in ‘Fanskapsfylld’. This doesn’t mean that the band repeated themselves though. They have just improved their sounds but they didn’t forget their classic songs at all!
“Blodsvept” is definitely a masterpiece and it once again shows that no other band does it like Finntroll. This album is like the metal musical, but only spookier and more trollish of course! Ladies and gentlemen, get ready for a roller coaster ride with “Blodsvept”, it will not disappoint you at all.
2. Ett Folk Förbannat
3. När Jättar Marschera
5. Rösets Kung
6. Skövlarens Död
9. Tva Ormar
Mathias Lillmåns a.k.a. Vreth – Vocals
Mikael Karlbom a.k.a Routa – Guitars
Samuli Ponsimaa a.k.a. Skrymer – Guitars
Henri Sorvali a.k.a.Trollhorn – Keyboards, Guitar
Aleksi Virta a.k.a. Virta – Keyboards
Sami Uusitalo a.k.a. Tundra – Bass
Samuel Ruotsalainen a.k.a Beast Dominator – Drums