FINNTROLL: Pre-Listening @ Sonic Pump Studios, Helsinki, 01.09.2009

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On September 1, Finnish folk metal band Finntroll introduced several songs to media representatives from the long-waited sixth studio album under working title Mot Skoggornas Värld. The Finnish metal trolls gave journalists a chance to hear songs “Solsagan,” “Den Frusna Muhnen,” “Dråp,” and “Under Bergets Rot.” The album was recorded at Sonic Pump Studios in Helsinki – the labor bed for the band’s previous album, Ur Jordens Djup. “Mot Skoggornas Värld” will be mixed, most likely, by the end of November and the album is to be released in December – a perfect Christmas present to all Finntroll fans.

finntrollstudio2On the first autumn day, we got an impossible-to-decline invitation – the Finntroll guys asked us to come over to Sonic Pump Studios, where we would have a chance to check out the piping-hot results of troll labor. The Musicalypse ladies went to an industrial-looking district of the Finnish capital and did their utmost to locate the studio. It took us just twenty minutes of wandering through the suburban jungle before we found ourselves at the studio door and were welcomed by the band. The invited journalists were treated by a somewhat exotic troll culinary creation: a cake made of …sausages. The Finntroll guys had apparently decided, after a couple of beers, that the media people would be a bit more receptive to their music, so the studio doors opened at a very strategic moment and we stepped into the sanctuary.

finntrollstudio3The press were to hear four songs from the upcoming album, which so far bears the working title of Mot Skoggornas Värld. The first song we heard, “Solsagan,” suggested that the Finnish trolls have grown older and more mature. The guitars went gloomier and darker. All-in-all, the sound brought into mind the latest Ensiferum album and Turisas’ earthshaking metal battles.  The next song, “Den Frusna Muhnen,” perfectly corresponded with the introductory remark of Finntroll singer Mathias Lillmåns: “Now you’ll hear something totally different.” The heroic mood of the previous piece was changed by the sounds of something “dangerously” resembling absolutely non-metal string instruments. The song had a very catchy melody, more similar to good old rock tunes. Next came “Under Bergets Rot” which made the brain work to try to find an appropriate musical definition: is “troll punk” a thing? There was a banjo covered by fast, somewhat pushy power chords by an electric guitar, all together making a very clear melodic line, and yet somehow managed to be quite simple. Preserving a good part of the traditional old-school folk sound, the song creates a gloomy “after world” mood. The last song on the album-to-be, “Dråp” starts with evil laughter and includes the trademark troll melodies. But keeping a good deal of humor, the song became less playful – the forest tavern party came to an end and the trolls are out to deal with their heavy black jobs. The song dies away little-by-little with echoes of old rollicking feasts, and has a totally open ending: you are free to fantasize in which direction they will go next.

finntrollstudiocollageIt seems that Finntroll is continuing to move in the direction they took with “Ur Jordens Djup,” with less humppa and more song blackwash (both mood- and vocal-wise). Despite the clear connection between songs, each of them differs from the other, quickly changing melodies and rhythms. There is not a hint of self-cloning or self-quoting, typical for many bands who’ve stepped beyond the point of three albums. Thus, we would suggest looking forward for the new Finntroll record – it might become the black star of your music collection!

Text: Victoria Maksimovich | Photos: Tanja Caciur | Ed: Amy Wiseman

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