Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Finntroll - Blodsvept

Finntroll
Blodsvept
Century Media Records/E.M.I. Music Australia

While the folk metal scene has exploded over the last decade, there’s few within the scene that match Finnish (Helsinki based) outfit Finntroll in terms of consistency and innovation. Over the last fourteen years, Finntroll have continued to lead the way for the folk metal scene, and have produced a body of work that has rarely seen the band fall below the high standard they set with each and every new album released.
Hot on the heels of their ‘Blodsvept’ E.P. released earlier this year (Through Devil Inc. Presseverlag), the six piece ‘Humppa Folk Metal’ outfit (Comprising of vocalist Mathias ‘Vreth’ Lillmåns, guitarists Samuli ‘Skrymer’ Ponsimaa and Mikael ‘Routa’ Karlbom, guitarist/keyboardist Henri ‘Trollhorn’ Sorvali, bassist Sami ‘Tundra’ Uusitalo and drummer Samu ‘Beast Dominator’ Ruotsalainen) are back with their sixth full-length album ‘Blodsvept’. And as expected, Finntroll have once again produced another first class folk metal album that stands proud alongside their highly regarded former efforts.
The opening title track ‘Blodsvept’ (Which translates to ‘Shrouded In Blood’, and appeared on their last E.P.) gets straight down to business, with only a demonic animal growl marking an introduction to the album (Which is something different given that most of their previous efforts had intros). As a song, ‘Blodsvept’ is a heavy opening track, and one that is typically Finntroll sounding. Despite the aggressive and straight forward approach adopted on the track, the band do incorporate a folk based interlude around the three quarter mark, and the use of strong keyboards and catchy choruses more than manage to give the song a real character that the band excel at creating.
The follow up track ‘Ett Folk Förbannat’ (‘A Cursed People’) is an energetic speeding number that showcases a greater keyboard presence to rival the guitars, while ‘När Jättar Marschera’ (‘When Giants March’, and which also appeared on the band’s last E.P.) follows a similar heavy path put forth on the opener, but with a lush keyboard presence that really allows the strong melodies within the choruses to stand out.
The eclectic and horn section infused ‘Mordminnen’ (‘Memories Of Murder’), the chanting festivities within ‘Rösets Kung’ (‘King Of The Cairn’) and the banjo led blitz of ‘Skogsdotter’ (‘Daughter Of The Forest’) are by far the most traditional sounding ‘Humppa Folk Metal’ songs to be found on ‘Blodsvept’, with all of the mentioned tracks boasting plenty of polka-styled tempos, big choruses, epic keyboard sounds and huge sing-a-long choruses. Not surprisingly, the tracks rank amongst the favourites to be found on the album.
But that’s not to say that the rest of the album is a letdown. ‘Skövlarens Död’ (‘Death Of The Waster’) and ‘Midvinterdraken’ (‘The Midwinter Dragon’) are noteworthy for their darker and more epic overtones (Not to mention a brief guitar solo in the former – which is something quite different), which help give the album a lot more variation, while the carnival-like horns on ‘Häxbrygd’ (‘Witch’s Potion’, and the first promotional video clip filmed for the album) adds a real sense of fun to what is otherwise a hard hitting track.
Speaking of fun, it’s hard not to get swept up in the power and madness of ‘Två Ormar’ (‘Two Serpents’) and ‘Fanskapsfylld’ (‘Devilish’), both of which keep the Finnish polka vibe alive and well.
Finntroll don’t break any real new ground on ‘Blodsvept’, but they do manage to retain their place as one of the leaders of the modern folk metal scene - and to these ears, that more than enough to recommend fans check out ‘Blodsvept’.

For more information on Finntroll, check out - http://www.finntroll.net/

© Justin Donnelly