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Album Review: FINNTROLL Blodsvept

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In case you haven’t heard the news or the teaser material, Finnish humppa-metallers Finntroll—Vreth, Trollhorn, Beast Dominator & Co.—are back with their seventh studio album, after making us wait three years for the pleasure. But dammit the wait was worth it. Although, when I first listened to the album, I noticed that something was different. The band’s sound had changed in some almost imperceptible way. I mean, they’re still Finntroll; you can tell across every album when you’re hearing Finntroll, they’ve forged their own signature sound.

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And Blodsvept is no exception. The title track opens with that monstrous roar, and you’ve got the folkish breakdown with a baritone ahhhhhhhhhh in the background. You’ve got the catchy synth-infused chorus in “När Jättar Marschera” (When Giants March). You’ve got the strange, though wildly appropriate, big band horn section throughout “Mordminnen” (Memories of Murder) that makes the grim subject matter somehow festive. You’ve got the dark, creepy vibe in “Skövlarens Död” (Skövlarens Death) and the crazed, frenetic banjo in “Skogsdotter” (Forest Daughter). As always the rhythm-heavy guitar style propels the faster songs forward, the band’s energy tightly wound and precise. You’ve got all the elements that make the music enjoyable, memorable, and downright trollish.

You can set Blodsvept on repeat, like the other six Finntroll albums, and not get sick of it. My eight-year-old is already growling along to Vreth’s vocals, and she doesn’t speak of word of Swedish. So what’s different, compared to earlier Finntroll? What am I hearing—or not hearing—that gives me pause? I think it’s the tone. The demented-carnival vibe so prevalent throughout Ur Jordens Djup and Nifielvind is a bit more subdued on Blodsvept, or perhaps more controlled. The music doesn’t seem quite as dark either, but rather simpler, more straightforward in its delivery. None of this is a bad thing. It did take a few listens for Blodsvept to grow on me, like musical fungus, but maybe part of my problem was forgetting to shut off my critical ear and just enjoy the damn music.

The drawback of Blodsvept is that the album seems to be over before I’ve really gotten a chance to immerse myself in it. That it leaves me wanting more, however, is its strength. It draws energy from the constant repeat plays in a feedback loop of growling Finnish polka metal that my upstairs neighbors seem to be tolerating. But I doubt fans need my convincing. They’re a fiercely loyal bunch of miscreants who, in my experience, don’t suffer any bullshit from Finntroll detractors.

I’m sure you’ve repeatedly listened to the title track, Blodsvept, since the teaser was released back in February. Fortunately you’ll be able to buy the whole thing before long: 22 March in Finland and 25 March in Europe, and April 2 for us schmucks in the US, via Century Media Records. As a bonus, Finntroll’s playing a bunch of European tour and festival dates this summer. I suppose we Americans will just have to wait out turn for that, too:

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8 May (DE) Berlin — K17
9 May (BE) Vosselaar — Biebob
10 May (NL) Dordrecht — Bibelot
11 May (DE) Cologne — Live Music Hall
12 May (FR) Paris — La Machine Du Moulin Rouge
13 May (UK) London — Underworld
20 June (PL) Jaworzno — Metalfest Poland
22 June (FR) Clisson — Hellfest

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