Released: 2007, Spinefarm Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
The mysterious Finnish forest people have crawled back to us again from their dark and cold caves, this time under a troll march titled UR JORDENS DJUP which also marks Finntroll´s 4th full-length album in their respectable long career (keeping in our minds what kind of unfortunate yet somewhat ugly happenings they have gone through in the past, and still survived despite all those hard times).
UR JORDENS UP is also the first Finntroll album to feature Vreth (aka Mathias Lillmåns) in the band´s line-up to replace the band´s previous massive headtroll Wilska for snarls, gritters and growls. When you are looking at the guy, and the same time get to hear his voice, you start to wonder how an earth such a small and skinny guy is able to produce such infamous and ear-piercing voices out of his lungs? Well, it´s obvious Finntroll hardly could have found a better replacement to fill up Wilska´s massive leather boots for a new fronttroll of the band.
As for the songs on UP JORDENS UP, the album is opened up by a very pompous and soundtrack-like intro titled “Gryning (“Dawn” in English)”, which puts nicely cold shivers running down listener´s spine. The whole intro sounds a bit like it has been ripped out from one musical scene of the “Lord of the Rings” -trilogy in which thousands armies of vicious and murky trolls meet their enemy on a untamed battlefield; and mercilessly crush them to pieces. The first real song, “Sång (“Song”)” starts piercing through the air like a half dozen of trolls´ claws ripping humans´ flesh to pieces after a successful hunt, it becomes pretty evident these trolls have taken their time while giving a birth together to their new material for this new and victorious Finntroll saga, UR JORDENS UP. “Sång” sounds like a pure Finntroll -song, and it´s a very guitar-driven and rewardingly catchy song all in all. “Korpens Saga (“The Raven´s Saga)” brings up the band´s more folk-ish and their somewhat trademark-ish ´Humppa-polka´ -side, leaving its listener strangely humming the song afterwards, many minutes later when the song has come to its end. “Nedgäng (“Downfall”)” on the other hand, is an extremely symphonic and upliftingly folk-ish song, both the guitar - and keyboard parts quite surprisingly reminding of some of those strong moments the Norwegian kings of northern darkness Dimmu Borgir have actively been sowing around on a couple of their latest releases. “Ur Djupet (“Out of the Depths”)” continues victoriously these trolls´ ability to build up their songs on such a top level song structure-wise that only a few bands have the same capability to do the same in terms of certain catchiness, and how a song wraps up listener´s attention and concentration immediately. In “Slagbröder (“War-brothers”)” we are attacked - somewhat surprisingly, by a heavy Dimmu -vibe again in the beginning of the song, but luckily Finntroll manages to find a way back on their own rewarding huntpath again after heading toward to their enemies´ camp for the first couple of minutes. The song itself is pretty straight-forward, trollish heavy guitar riffs crawling out from the misty, great forests like a swarm of pitch-black ravens - and catching its target in no time. Not an extraordinary song by Finntroll´s standards, but still a good and catchy song nevertheless.
In “En Mäktig Här (“In Mighty Horde”)” we are introduced to Finntroll´s strongly folk-ish musical world of ´Polka-humppa´ the way only these fine Finnish trolls are capable of introducing it for the whole world. The song is amazingly danceable and full of positive spirit for a great feast. Love this song for what it is. “Ormhäxän (“The Serpent Witch”)” offers some of those familiar and already known ingredients for the listeners what we have used to hear from our beloved Finnish trolls over the years: Strong, ear-nailing folk-ish melodies and unique atmosphere that this furry sextet always manages to create so easily. “Maktens Spira (“Scepter of Might”)” represents also pure Finntroll at best, incorporating fast-tempo folk-inspired elements with Black Metal in a great way.
“Under Två Runor (“Under Two Runes”)” is where these troops of trolls slow down a little bit and switch their more epic and mid-paced speed on - and in “Kvälling (“Dusk”)”, they continue slowing down drastically even more and spread their whole arsenal of instruments on the wooden table they have introduced to people earlier on their previous albums, too. It´s a very mellow-sounding instrumental song and closes the chapter for this album somewhat perfectly. It´s somehow refreshing to know our infamous trolls have not been fossilized to repeat one thing over and over again, but can expand their music by developing it to any direction where they feel it needs to be developed into, as long as the music reminds of them and give them all those credits for what they are (Oh, and that hidden track in the end of the album, is also a mandatory listen and very damn hilarious, done in a true Finntroll -fashion - probably under the influence of that mighty ´krigsmjöld´, ha!).
UR JORDENS UP probably may not be Finntroll´s finest and most memorable hour, but it still comes pretty close to the same brilliance that was reigning on their classic 2nd full-length album, JAKTENS TID. So congratz our beloved trolls for another excellent chapter in the Finntroll -saga... Victory is still yours.