Released: 2004, Century Media
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
To the casual metal listener, the sound of an accordion replacing the solo of their beloved electric guitar could be a difficult concept to swallow. Finntroll’s use of traditional Finnish folk music—“humppa”—in their extreme metal sound is admittedly a bit off-putting at first, but once the whole “Weird Al” Yankovic vibe is gone, Finntroll’s music is quite spectacular. This isn’t “Octoberfest” music that Gramps will be getting up and doing a jig to. The music is heavy and tends to lean towards black metal, only with a jaunty backbeat that is descended from the traditional “humppa” sound. On NATTFODD, the band’s fourth full-length release, two new members bring a new angle to an already respected and established band. Somnium’s accidental death/suicide (depends who you ask) and Katla’s inability to continue singing paved the way for Tapio Wilska and Skrymer to join the fold marking not only a new incarnation of the band but also the chance to take it to the next level of brutality.
“Vindfard,” the Bathory/Viking-album inspired intro, segues directly into “Manniskopesten,” where choirs, keyboards and of course an accordion are used to begin an atmosphere of majestic grandeur that echoes throughout the record. The opening of “Eliytres” features a speedy keyboard and accordion passage that embodies the whole “humppa” sound. It’s hard not to crack a smile at this because it has a carnival-like feel to it. The metal kicks in soon enough, but the first few seconds are pure fun. “Trollhammaren,” for which a single was released, is positively infectious. The beat of this song is almost danceable and the “troll” vocals coupled with the accordion solo and monster chorus make it the standout track. The title track’s acoustic passage, and that of the instrumental “Routas Vaggvisa,” shows that Finntroll can actually play their instruments behind all the hullabaloo, as well. “Ursvamp” and “Marknadsvisan” are short tracks that deliver some good punch. “Grottans Barn” is a slower track that despite Wilska’s harsh growl/rasp still is one of the better tracks. Usually a harsher vocal over a slower track (or vice versa) produces mixed results, but this one ends up quite good.
NATTFODD is yet another pleasure from our friends in Finntroll. With the loss of two founding members, they should have been down for the count but this CD has them back stronger, heavier and better than ever.
KILLER KUTS: “Eliytres,” “Trollhammaren,” “Nattfodd,” “Grottans Barn”