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Album Reviews : Finntroll – Nifelvind

By on April 5, 2010

Fintroll - NifelvindNifelvind is the newest album by Finntroll, those pointy-eared Christian-eating folk from Finland. Musically it is quite similar to their previous albums – in other words, awesome – but with even more atmosphere and consistency.

The album is darker than Nattfodd and more consistent than Ur Jordens Djup and it still retains that element of fun is so important to Finntroll’s sound: It is truly excellent album. The opening track ‘Blodmarsch’ (Bloodmarch) is a dramatic intro full of brass and percussion and eerie (trollish) chanting. This intro is a perfect scene-setter for the rest of the album and generates an almost palpable image of some sort of dark pagan passion play. It then climaxes into the first full song ‘Solsagan’ (The Sun Saga).

While the music seems a little dark to be associated with the “Sun”, this is a fantastic song. Frantic, heavy and exciting, it was a great choice to open the album. The chorus is a fast-paced, symphony-augmented jig with similar chanting to that in ‘Blodmarsch’ that will render you unable to tap your feet and chant along. As we have come to expect from Finntroll, the album explores many different aspects of ‘folk’ music.

The intro to ‘Den Frusna Munnen’ (The Frozen Mouth) sounds like something from a primitive African or Caribbean tribe, and the song follows some unusual time signatures that add to the already massive amount of musical variety on this album, as well as being a simply great song. While we have African tribesmen in ‘Den Frusna Munnen’, the next track ‘Ett Norrskensdad’ (A Deed of the Northern Lights) has an intro that is more Irish than anything else; the song follows an interesting rhythm that maintains the Irish lilt even after the drums, guitar and growls join in.

I can honestly say every song on this album is great, but other songs of particular interest include ‘Galgasang’ (Gallow Song) – the soft and atmospheric acoustic piece which no Finntroll album would be complete without. The clean vocals on this track are kind of dodgy if I may be honest, but that just makes it easier to sing along to for those of us who are vocally challenged. ‘Mot Skuggornas Varld’ (Towards the World of Shadows) has excellent symphonic incorporation and a gut-pounding rhythm. ‘Fornfamnad’ (Embraced by the Ancient) has a chuckle-worthy intro that sounds slightly muppetish (yes muppetish, as in Jim Henson style), which then explodes into a thunderous intro that brings forth Finntroll’s black metal elements.

If you opt for the special edition, you get a bonus track called ‘Under Dvargens Fot’ (Under the Dwarf’s Foot), which is essentially a more folky version of ‘Under Bergets Rot’ (Under the Root of the Mountain), a song on the basic edition, this too is a great song, and it took me a while to notice it was a different version of a previous song, so different is the sound – anyway both the versions are great.

The production in Nifelvind is spot on and you can here every note played by every instrument, from the banjo to the tin whistle. The musicianship is pretty astonishing, and the symphonic elements are seamlessly weaved amongst a blackened metal foundation in a way that does not compromise its heaviness, but only increases its atmosphere tenfold. As I mentioned before it is quite similar to previous Finntroll albums – especially Nattfodd and Ur Jordens Djup.

However I feel it to be more consistent and dramatic. Lyrically…. well almost nobody listens to Finntroll for their lyrics… I mean, they’re Swedish; and I haven’t been able to find any translations for them beyond the names of the songs. However the album does seem to have a certain theme to it. If you have a look at the final page of the album booklet there is a paragraph that explains that Nifelvind is a “celebration” of myth and folklore all over the world, and I feel that this theme does come through even just through the music, despite me being unable to understand the lyrics.

I can think of no better theme to suit Finntroll’s sound either. Overall I am immensely enjoying this album. I have had it a few days now and have been playing it almost on loop, and every listen yields something new and undiscovered for me. It is everything we’ve come to expect from Finntroll – it is atmospheric and dramatic, fun and exciting, heavy and brutal. Those who enjoy Finntroll’s previous material, and those who enjoy folk metal in general – GET THIS ALBUM, I guarantee you will love it. And those who do not listen to folk metal, I assure you that this album may well change that. Now I must pray to the Troll Gods that an Australian tour will follow. 9.5/10

Band: Fintroll
Album: Nifelvind
Year: 2010
Genre: Folk Metal
Label: Century Media
Origin: Finland
www.myspace.com/officialfinntroll

Tracklisting:
1.Blodmarsch (Bloodmarch)
2.Solsagan (The Sun’s Saga) <– Reviewer’s choice
3.Den Frusna Munnen (The Frozen Mouth)
4. Ett Norrskensdad (A Deed of the Northern Lights)
5. I Tradens Sang (A Song of the Trees)
6. Tiden Utan Tid (The Time Without Time)
7. Galgasang (Gallow Song)
8. Mot Skuggornas Varld (Towards the World of Shadows)
9. Under Bergets Rot (Under the Root of the Mountain)
10. Fornfamnad (Embraced by the Ancient)
11. Drap (Manslaughter)
12. Under Dvargens Fot (Under the Dwarf’s Foot) [Bonus Track]

Review by Cameron Hawthorne

About

Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.