Released: 2013, Indie
Alberta Assault! In early 2014 Calgary, Alberta will be hosting the WACKEN METAL BATTLE. This contest has regional acts perform to audiences and judges who then decide who gets to go further in the contest, with the winner getting a trip to perform at Wacken. Visit http://www.metalbattle.ca
for more details. This is a good a time as any to do my bi-annual, quick, regional round-up of releases from Alberta Metal bands. Even though not all of these bands may be competing in WMB, I’d like to thank the bands who provided review copies for me for my radio show and Metal-Rules.com. The bands are Armifera, Black Pestilence, Bloated Pig, Enemyus, Exit Strategy, Ides Of Winter, Kataplexis, Misanthropy, Scythia, Throne Of Vengeance, Trollband, Vile Insignia and Villainizer. Please feel free to check out the other reviews in this feature.
I saw this young Edmonton act opening for Finntroll in late in 2013 and was so impressed I bought both their albums right away. They keep a fairly low profile in Calgary but already have two full-length albums out, SAMSARA being the most recent. About the band name...there are already lots of bands named ‘troll-something’ or ‘something-troll’. When a band comes up with something unique and original, there are soon disciples and followers. I would stop short of saying Trollband are imitators, but in an era of a crowded Metal market Trollband is certainly a newcomer onto the whole ‘troll’ scene right now. Trolls are cool. Trolls are Metal, so why not have a few more troll type bands? So giving the sextet the benefit of the doubt, they are working with a really good sound and image and making it their own.
SAMSARA is the bands second album and perhaps unfortunately it is only a cardboard slipcase with virtually no information. I understand that time and money are the enemy of any young recording artist, but for a band like this that has a strong identity and image, they should have put out a full CD with jewel-case, booklet, photos and so on. The cover of the album is gorgeous and I really like the band logo too. In terms of production SAMSARA sounds fantastic. It’s loud and clear with good tones.
Self-described as blackened Folk Metal, I’d say that is a very apt description. The band have developed many interesting sonic elements that add to the core sound. There are some spoken/whispered vocal parts, some chanting, some acoustic parts. The opening section of the song ‘River’ is a prime example of the folk elements that are very well done. The swirling keyboards also bring a great dynamic to the sound. The band is still very heavy, with blackened elements, the vocals of Sam are much more blackened in style and delivery than many of the big name Folk Bands. His voice reminds me a hint of Jens Ryden and his tone with Thyrfing. The whole band have a full rich textured sound that is both epic and compelling but heavy with double-kick drumming, layers of guitars and the aforementioned black style vocals.
In a very short period of time Trollband has leapt up my personal scale of bands in Alberta. The debut and now SAMSARA are both excellent examples of world class blackened folk Metal.