Reviewed: October, 2020
Released: September 25, 2020 Century Media Records
Reviewer: The Elitist Metalhead
I love Finntroll. I love folk metal so it would only be natural to love the band that is the embodiment of folk metal! My love of folk/pagan metal goes back to the early 2000s where I discovered bands like Moonsorrow, Thyrfing, Manegarm, etc. Finntroll made metal you can sing along to (even if you don’t speak Swedish!!) and even dance to….preferably in inebriated groups! Is metal supposed to be fun? Why not? Finntroll is a serious band that does not take themselves too seriously and the result is quality metal that is fun and huge at the same time. I’ve met and hung out with these guys on numerous occasions. Always a blast and a lot of fun, their seventh full length, VREDESVÄVD, shows the band taking it back to the roots while still sounding very fresh. After repeated listens it is apparent, this is the best Finntroll album since JAKTENS TID.
The first thing that set this album apart from some of their last few releases was the feeling I got when I first heard all of the songs in their entirety. It was that same feeling I got when I first heard them in 2002. Folk metal had been a thing going back to the early nineties but Finntroll changed the game by adding Finnish Polka (Humppa) to their sound as well as great orchestrations. The result is great metal that is riff laden and has atmosphere without being keyboard driven. VREDESVÄVD sees the band taking the best ideas from their first three albums while still being able to maintain a fresh sound. As always they have a huge intro that builds you up for the fury that is about to begin. “Att döda med en sten” hits you like a ton of brick with some blasts and ruthless riffs while the keyboards are restrained just enough add the atmosphere. Instead of driving the song, they add depth with the orchestration.
As I progress further I come to the first teaser released, “Ormfolk.” The reason I bring up the teaser, and their position on the album. “Ormfolk” is a furious song that has fits right into the song after the proper opener. The fury is mixed with a lot of melody, especially on the instrumental parts between verses. Once again, the riffs drive the song and the keys give it such a huge sound. As they slowly let the melody flow, it sets you up for my new favorite Finntroll song, “Grenars väg.” It begins with the acoustic guitars, strings, accordion, and mouth harp playing very melodic folk music. Then the riffs kick in for a few bars with a gang shout “HEY!” This is real Finntroll. As we go through the song, the riffs and the melodic, acoustic parts combine to, once again, give this album that huge sound. Then the “OH OH OH!” chorus over the main riff just adds to the brilliance of the songwriting on display here.
The rest of the album is more brilliance. Songs like “Stjärnors mjöd” and “Ylaren” are classic Finntroll. As I mentioned earlier, placement of songs on an album is highly important. How songs play out on an album, as well as how they are preceded and followed, really can make or break an album. I really think that is where the magic lies on VREDESVÄVD. Each song on its own is really good. But together as whole, this album is almost thirty-eight and a half minutes of brilliance! It has been seven years since the trolls graced us with new music…..it was truly worth the wait.