Album review: FINTROLL – Blodsvept

Century Media – Out Now.

“Shrouded In Blood”, the English translation for “Blodsvept”, is a title that one would find most fitting for an extreme Death Metal band and not the sixth studio album of the Folk-influenced septet Finntroll, however, I guess we are all used to surprises from the Helsinki-based outfit by now.

Actually, if I am to be entirely honest with you, I am probably one of the few people I know who refused to be charmed by the band’s commercially successful EP “Trollhammaren” and, to this day, I can hardly describe myself as a fan – all making my decision to write a review for the band’s latest album a strange undertaking, to sat the least.

Well, in retrospect, I believe that my motivation towards working on this review must have been based purely on instinct as I am now in a position to say that I have finally listened to a Finntroll album I can say I like. Don’t get me wrong: there are still happy/silly (to me, at least) Folk-infused sing-along moments that I find very difficult to digest and relate to but, luckily for me, when the band decides to leave all the fanfare behind and go heavy, they do so in style.

With an average duration of three minutes, each of the eleven compositions on offer depends on simple riffs and catchy guitar/keyboard melodies in order to establish a connection with the album’s intended audience – something that, for once, even the least initiated of fans like me will manage to achieve.

I still remember how surprised I felt when first listening to the same-titled track “Blodsvept”, how impressed I was by its solid/heavy riffs and the pompous yet fitting keyboard hooks – an impression that has stayed with me. Based on a more light-hearted melodic theme but equally assertive “Ett Folk Forbannat” successfully paves the way for the heavy-laden “Nar Jattar  Marschera” – a four minute piece whose haunting keys operate in a similar way to those used by more epic-orientated extreme bands, such as Septicflesh.

It was just as I really started enjoying the clever rhythmical arrangements of “Mordminnen” that the folky tunes of “Rosets Kung” barged in, reminded me that what I was listening to was a Finntroll album after all and though both the riff—orientated “Skovlarens Dod” and the up-tempo Rock n’Roller “Skogsdotter” were delightful to the ears, the album’s cohesion and impressive momentum was sadly forever compromised.

The final section of the album contains the weakest material and it is only when I heard the blast beat (yes, that’s right) section of the closing theme “Midvinterdraken” that my eyebrows moved along an upwards trajectory for the very last time.

Finntroll are a commercially successful band with a wide and loyal fan base – a band which, so far, has not managed to create an album that I would personally consider important enough to add to my music collection.

Is “Blodsvept” an album that could find its way in? Well, even though I cannot say that I will go out of my way to get my hands on a copy, it is the first time that I would even consider doing such a thing and that speaks volumes. Now, what would the band’s loyal fans think?…

John Stefanis

Rating: ***1/2 (3.5/5.0)


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