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Visor Om Slutet
Released: 2003, Spikefarm
Reviewer: Night of the Realm
The mighty Trolls from Finland are back with a new album, a new vocalist, and a new sound. VISOR OM SLUTET (translated as, “Songs of the End”) was originally intended as an experimental, acoustic EP in anticipation of the band’s next full-length, but according to Finntroll’s new singer, Tapio Wilska (who provided guest vocals on Finntroll’s previous albums, as well as with many other Finnish bands), the band, “had too much fun” in the process and decided to record additional tracks for VISOR OM SLUTET. The end result is 11 tracks clocking in at nearly 33 minutes, making this “EP” longer than Finntroll’s 28-minute “full-length” debut, MIDNATTENS WIDUNDER. Unfortunately, after the recording of this EP, Finntroll was struck another blow by the tragic death of guitarist Teemu “Somnium” Raimoranta in March, 2003.
The experiment of VISOR OM SLUTET is a drastic change of sound for Finntroll. In addition to being entirely acoustic, the tone of the album moves away from the blackened sound of the previous Finntroll offerings, bringing a lighter sound rich that is richer in folk elements. All in all, we have 11 tracks on the EP, 5 of which are instrumentals. Though the electric guitars are gone, the qualities that make Finntroll great still remain. “Suohengen Sija” is the typical Finntroll opener; light keys tinkle out the melody with ominous undertones running beneath as a chorus of frogs and night creatures set the backdrop for the swampfest to come. New vocalist Tapio Wilska croaks out his first sickened, throaty growls on the next track “Asfågelns Död (The Death of the Carrion Bird),” which has a swarthy, maritime sound to it. The best track on the album comes early with “Försvinn Du Som Lyser (Begone You Who Shine).” This raucous track captures the spontanaity of Finntroll’s musical personality. Harmonica, mouth harp, handclaps, and the classic sousaphone-synth come together in this piece of Trollish levity. If I ever get the opportunity to see Finntroll in concert, they had better play this track live onstage! “Under Varje Rot Och Sten (Under Every Root and Stone)” must be the soundtrack to the Trollish Renaissance Faire, first with its wandering landscape of synths before closing out with a tambourine/flute/kazoo and handclap dance of some chanting trolls, probably around some ghastly version of a May Pole. Finntroll even make their attempt at a ballad with “Den Sista Runans Dans (The Dance of the Last Rune).” Closing out the album is “Avgrunden Öppnas (The Abyss Opens)” which is as grand and sweeping an epic as any Bathory track could be, the majestic soundtrack to the north.
If you plan on picking up VISOR OM SLUTET, be sure to score the limited edition of the EP, which includes a sticker and pretty cool Finntroll patch (I just need to find a place to stick mine). The album is also specially priced at 11 bucks or so, making it a good deal for any die-hard Finntroll fan.
Listeners may be taken aback initially by VISOR OM SLUTET’s departure in style. In all, however, this EP is a collection of tracks that could serve as interludes, instrumentals, or Trollish-folk-party tracks on any Finntroll release. In memory of their fallen member Somnium, Finntroll are not about to call it a rest. Their touring plans are still in effect, and plans for a new album in late 2003 still hold. VISOR OM SLUTET may have been meant to satisfy the appetites of Finntroll fans worldwide, but it has only whetted the appetite of this fan. I eagerly anticipate the time when Rivfader, Lord of the Trolls shall issue forth from his great Northern Troll-cave and lead the armies of the night again.
(Reviewer’s note: tracklist translations thanks to http://www.proserpine.de
01. Suohengen Sija (The Place of the Swampspirit)
02. Asfågelns Död (The Death of the Carrion Bird)
03. Försvinn Du Som Lyser (Begone You Who Shine)
04. Veripuu (Bloodtree)
05. Under Varje Rot Och Sten (Under Every Root and Stone)
06. När Allt Blir Is (When Everything Turns to Ice)
07. Den Sista Runans Dans (The Dance of the Last Rune)
08. Rov (Prey)
09. Madon Laulu (The Worm’s Song)
10. Svart Djup (Black Depth)
11. Avgrunden Öppnas (The Abyss Opens)
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Visor Om Slutet
Released: 2003, Spikefarm Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
There´s a sticker in the right corner of the jewel case of Finntroll´s latest effort that says: “Special Price Acoustic Album…” Hmmm… now that´s interesting, I can tell. But as we talk about these lovely Finn trolls, there´s really a different meaning for the word ´acoustic´. It is explained very accurately and detailed way in the credits of the CD what kind of an acoustic album we are dealing with here. The whole arsenal of instruments used in creation of VISOR OM SLUTET looks the following: 6-stringed acoustic guitars, 12-stringed acoustic guitars, electric guitars, electric bass, various synths, recorder, tin flute, kazoo, mouth harp, harp, iron horn, buffroarer, minced meat (what the HELL…?!), saw, triangle, different pieces of steel, egg shakers, tambourine, bodhran, bongos, snare drum, floor drum, wooden djembe, iron djembe, beer crates (very often seen (empty) at the backstage of Finntroll, too…) , floor, handclaps, sticks and their own varied voices that occasionally turn out be rather inhuman-sounding (= scary snarls, trolls eating human flesh and breaking human bones type of things, etc. check a song called “Rov” and I´m sure you know exactly what I mean…).
By the release of VISOR OM SLUTET, a new Finntroll –dude named Wilska steps into the line-up of Finntroll as a permanent member and replaces the band´s ex-vocalist Katla; well, partly at least as Katla still took part of the recording of this acoustic album. It kind of hard to get any proper picture from Wilska´s skills to be the vocalist of Finntroll from now on as yet ´coz an acoustic album basically don´t let you to use a whole range of your voice as varied and wide way as possible. But according as Wilska´s vocals part arranged especially for this acoustic album, it think he sounds at least decent. But I´ll keep on waiting for his vocal delivery on the next Finntroll album that hopefully should be similar to the very same atmosphere they had created on their previous JAKTENS TID before I have guts to judge him even more and more accurately. That´s only fair toward him, I think.
As for some even sadder other notes, VISOR OM SLUTUT was the last Finntroll album that features one of the founding members of the band Teemu “Somnium” Raimoranta (R.I.P.). This album was naturally dedicated to his memory…
My first yet very much honest impression of VISOR OM SLUTET was like I was sitting my headphones on and listening to some kind of a soundtrack album; a soundtrack album where giant, furry and gruesome goblins and trolls out of the darkest woods could have their hunting time going on for humans, trying to catch and kill them for their own hungry needs. Pretty much turning out like kind of a sequel to their JAKTENS TID album, at least sort of if ´hunting humans´ as a topic is concerned. This type of feeling is strongly present in such songs on VISOR OM SLUTET as “Asfogelns Dod (in which you hear some ravens croak as well…)”, “Nar Allt Blir Is”, “Rov (in which it sounds exactly like humans are eaten up by trolls in their hidden caves in the deepest forests…), “Madon Laulu” whereas more pompous yet epic feelings have been reached in the following tunes as “Suohengen Sija”, “Veripuu”, “Under Varje Rot som Lyser (probably my favorite song off the whole album due to its totally brilliant folkish yet melodic atmosphere!!)” and “Avgranden Oppnas” which simply works out as a perfect ending for this a bit obscure and strange Finntroll –opus all in all. But what I found really special and unique about Finntroll´s acoustic (mini-) album was our favorite troll´s amazing and even occasionally almost breath-taking abilities and skills to create both a very spooky and dark, but at the very same time, a very beautiful ´soundtrackish´ -feel for their songs by using everything from different pieces of steel to egg shakers to beer crates as their instruments on VISOR OM SLUTET. All that without a doubt requires some sort of creativity and very good imagination from a musician already – that´s for sure. Maybe they are not humans in the first place at all, but some true and mysterious yet very gifted trolls far from the past times who have come to take over the world from humans?! Think what you want about them, but these Finn trolls are damn gifted people anyway (…to be continued).
01. Suohengen Sija
02. Asfogelns Dod
03. Forsvinn Du som Lyser
05. Under Varje Rot och Sten
06. Nar Allt Blir Is
07. Den Sista Runans Dans
09. Madon Laulu
10. Svart Djup
11. Avgrunden Oppnas
Tundra, Trollhorn, Katla, Wilska, B. Dominator, Skrymer and Somnium.
Instruments used in creation of VISOR OM SLUTET:
6-stringed acoustic guitars, 12-stringed acoustic guitars, electric guitars, electric bass, various synths, recorder, tin flute, kazoo, mouth harp, iron horn, buffroarer, minced meat, saw, triangle, different pieces of steel, egg shakers, tambourine, bodhran, bongos, snare drum, floor drum, wooden djembe, iron djembe, beer crates, floor, handclaps, sticks and our voices.
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