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One thing must first be understood: Blodsvept is no masterpiece. However, it is not musically designed to be a masterpiece, but rather a frolicking over-exaggeration of its own genre, and as that set as its purpose, it certainly meets expectations.
Musically speaking, Finntroll has managed to, in most cases, balance the elements that comprise their album in a way that gives wholeness to it as well as a sense of individuality for each specific song. One example of this is in the use of a common theme as the foundation for much of a particular track and then alternate variations on the theme throughout the song to fit the progressing mood while still alluding to the structure of the track itself. This can be seen in "Midvinterdraken" where at polar ends of an interlude, the same chord progression is used which began the song but recurring in 3/4 time signature rather than in the 4/4 time signature it held initially. Also, in "Ett Folk Forbannat", part of the song uses a specific lead guitar phrase as the core of its structure including a 1-1/2 interval downwards drawing upon the phrase's conclusion, while intermixed within the track is an altercation of the phrase using a different background rhythm guitar chord progression and only a single-step interval, transitioning the mood from creative eeriness into greater listener accessibility. In "Mordminnen" and "Skovlarens Nod" we see examples of variation between tracks through the use of different time signatures and dramatic and emphatic changes in instrumentation and speed. The effect of all these somewhat technical modifications is a symbiotic relationship between complementary musical moods in each song and across all 11 tracks. In this way, Blodsvept avoids all convolution in their songwriting and brings together the entire album with great musical congruity.
However, what may be this album's greatest accomplishment may also be its downfall. Some of the melodic lines and catch phrases on the album, though they are often perfectly arranged, their intermixing within individual songs is occasionally sporadic and seemingly without much rhyme or reason. For example, in "Nar Jattar Marschera", the primary recurring melody arrives in full cheesy swing almost immediately without any climactic prompting, and follows the same interjecting pattern (or lack thereof) throughout the song. Likewise, in "Fanskapsfylld", the synthesizers draw on a more melodic emphasis in various areas along with chugging rhythm guitars and double bass, but the listener can never discern why exactly this transition occurs where it does. It's not a matter of being unpredictable, but instead of being well-thought out. Even in "Skogsdotter", though the climactic build is more decipherable, the imbalanced placement of the brass fanfare carries a certain weight of the sporadic, even though it happens to be my personal favorite on the album.
In addition, it seems Finntroll is a little insecure about the quality of some of their themes, thus shying away from the overuse of particular driving elements in a few of their songs: "Haxbrygd" includes unique rhythm guitar work near the end of the song, and "Ett Folk Forbannat" has a strong 6/8 time signature riff to get the ball rolling. The only problem is, these occurrences are singular and last no more than 30 seconds, but they really hold strong weight to their respective songs. There's just not enough of it.
If there's one thing that Blodsvept did perfectly, it was the acknowledgement that none of this should be taken too seriously. Finntroll even satirizes their own music in all of their instrumental interludes, most notably in "Rosets Kung", "Haxbrygd", and "Tva Ormar", where the goofiness is overly evident of being intentional, and you've just got to bop along with it.
Finntroll's Blodsvept is nothing really that miraculous, but sure is one fun ride.
When I think of Finntroll, I think of enduring authenticity, folkish tradition, and well…trollishness. Though Finntroll might not seem at first to be my style of music, I fell madly in love with the band on Nifelvind and, like many, have been anticipating its successor, Blodsvept, with bated breath. While this new album is certainly quite different than the band’s last entry, it presents an interesting (and personally, somewhat unanticipated) shift in direction, while simultaneously remaining as true to the band’s musical and thematic origins as ever.
First things first, Blodsvept, despite its title (which I believe translates to “shrouded in blood” or “swept by blood”) and imagery, is a considerably more upbeat and concise album than Nifelvind. Part of this comes from a reversion in the percussion (something I noticed immediately because it was so prominent on the previous work), with the band basing its sound much more pointedly around a traditional drum kit. Fear not, however: the humppa influence is as clear and as strong as ever and remains, along with the band’s signature somewhat-whimsical, somewhat-macabre trollish nature, one of their most defining elements as a true folk metal act.
True to the capricious nature of the band, Blodsvept is a marvelously creative storm. The zany twang of a banjo, the low, hollow chants of earthy voices, and the constant intertwining of guitar with synths and the sounds of woodwinds lend it a strong personal identity. I would gauge this as quite possibly Finntroll’s most melodic and accessible work to date. Despite “reverting” to their less experimental, pre-Nifelvind period, the music can be quite appealing to those typically less then enthralled by this sort of melodic folk/death metal. Blodsvept is similar, perhaps, to Ur Jordens Djup, but with better pacing and carried out more consistently.
Speaking of consistent, Blodsvept is just that, and the album rolls through great tracks from beginning to end. It’s rare that my favorite songs from a given work fall at the very beginning, the very end, and right in the middle, but that’s precisely what Finntroll makes happen for me here, as the eponymous opener, brooding closer “Midvinterdraken”, and median tracks “Rosets Kung” and “Skogsdotter”, all include some interesting tidbit or another to make them stand out.
I’ve seen pretty shining reception for this album almost universally, and my acceptance is no less wholehearted. Granted, I felt that the band was at their very best with the darker, more powerful, and more adventurous Nifelvind, but the pure unhinged charisma of Blodsvept is undeniable, and I think this will serve as a gateway album for many folks into the rich catalog of Finntroll’s works. Recommended (obviously) for all fans of Finntroll and authentic folk metal, for those looking for truly unique metal, and for any wishing to get their feet wet in the more accessible end of the extreme metal pool.
Original review written for Black Wind Metal
Known generally in the folk metal genre, Finntroll are again kicking ass with this masterpiece of fun, dancing around a fire with underwear songs. The funny thing is one of my friends showed me this band with the album Jaktens Tid years ago and that day he blew my mind. Also, in high school a guy was saying out loud that he disliked heavy metal music because of the harsh vocals and saying that it's only noise. Surprisingly, this is the kind of band along with Korpiklaani and Moonsorrow that makes listening very easy because of the main dominance of the keyboards. Checking them by the internet last summer, I saw that release and was sure that I couldn't go wrong with it.
I was right. Each song of this album is pure comedy, heaviness, and fun. Most of the choruses in this album are so uplifting that you just want to drop your computer chair and go in a mush pit drunk in any show. Before I wrote this review, my favorite songs we’re ‘’Ett Folk Förbannat’’ and ‘’När Jättar Marschera’’. After a few listens, I changed my mind about it and I found that most of the songs have stimulating choruses that make you want to raise your hand up doing the sign of the horns. Also, this album has a lot of variety, like the dark, slow, and mysterious song ''Midvinterdraken'', then in contrast you have the fast, folkloric, and mindblowing song ''Skogsdotter'' that reminds me of one of my favorite songs from Finntroll, the famous ‘’ Ellytres’’ from their most popular album, "Nattfödd’’.
There are so many images while listening to this album that you will fly away to the moon with the weird-sounding ''Häxbrygd'' because of the flying saucer sound of the keyboards. Also, the songs are so connected to each other that if you like the first song, the kick ass starter and title track, ''Blodsvept'', there is a 99% chance that you will like the others. The riffs are so entertaining that you feel like a king on a throne.
Generally, the songs are mainly symphonic, orchestral, and dark. I am sure that those guys like to go to theaters in their free time. Another characteristic is that the vocals are very sing-along like the lyrics, but sadly I don't even know any words of the Swedish language (even if they come from Finland). Bad points, you say? Maybe '' Två Ormar'' feels not as good as the others, but still is very tolerable to listen to. For some people maybe the songs will sound repetitive, but this is really not my case. Jesus Christ, they even put that awesome honky-tonk/banjo-sounding piano at the end of ''Fanskapsfylld'' that makes you feel boosted up for the listening of the last track of the album.
Well, maybe any dude will say that this album is too cheesy for him. I feel like this is gloomy and dark enough that this makes the music powerful with the help of those Finnish musicians. Let's not forgot the keyboard players that add that ''atmospheric'' touch that will keep you feeling like a mysterious emperor in a mighty forgotten Scandinavian dungeon.
In a way, it might be difficult to recommend this album to your friends because they will have that question mark in their mind when they will see that they don't understand the titles of the songs. This is the magic powers of music, for any band in any country that speaks a different language can play some beer-partying tracks like this. Overall, this album just makes me want to buy a one way ticket to Oktoberfest while listening to heavy humppa songs when I eat for breakfast while being hungover.
(This is actually my first review ever, so I just want to say to the reader that I am little bit inexperienced on writing reviews, so sorry if some sentences may sound incorrect since English is not my main language.)
Let me start off by saying, that I am an avid Finntroll fanboy. Love the Trolls. I'm planning a tattoo in their honor. That being said, I have a sort of mixed opinion about this album.
On the one hand, it is a legitimately great album. The hooks are catchy, everything is lusciously produced, and when they want to bring down the hammer, this album will absolutely crush your head in for brutality. The whole thing is riddled with earworms that will keep you coming back. I for one absolutely dare you not to repeat Mordminnen or När Jättar Marschera atleast a few dozen times. There really isn't a sound out of place here, as far as performance and production go. There is a nice coat of polish on everything that enters your ears. You can practically hear the deliberate effort that went into perfecting the whole album. The best word for it is, quite simply, competent and professional. This is the offering of a band that has been around the block and knows *exactly* what they are doing, and that shines through in the quality of the sound. And this really just further emphasizes the catchiness and brutality you find dancing together like passionate lovers through the entire thing. Just, really, it is a damn solid album.
But, on the other hand - that's *all* it is. Maybe I've simply been spoiled by Finntroll's previous albums. I've gotten used to unexpected musical twists and turns sprinkled throughout. I perhaps took the Elfman-esque flair of Nifelvind and Ur Jordens Djup for granted. Hell, maybe I was just listening to far too much Diablo Swing Orchestra at the time (which is an entirely fair accusation to make against me), but when the final track on Blodsvept ended, I could not help being a little disappointed that nothing had really thrown me for a loop. This album is great. Really it is. But coming right on the heels of the exciting new flavors of Nifelvind, one can't help but be a little let down. Where did my Elfman influence suddenly go? Where are my musical surprises? Where are the little gimmicks and quirky musical intrigues? Where are the raisins in my pudding?
It may very well be that they are simply evolving as a band, and maturing as musicians, and that I am simply not maturing with them. But god damnit, I like raisins in my pudding! So, sitting next to the rest of their discography, it doesn't look so hot. In fact, it kind of feels like a step backwards. As far as musical progression goes, I would say this is the album that should have been between Nattfödd and Ur Jordens Djup.
But, at the end of the day, you have to judge an album by its own merits, and not by how it looks next to its big brothers and sisters. And, as much as I want to be a grumpy old man (or a spoiled child, depending on your point of view) I simply can not escape the fact that if you listen to Blodsvept, you will have an absolutely amazing time. It's fun, it's brutal, and you will be hard pressed not to dance at times. Every time you close your eyes, you will practically be able to see the Troll gang jigging around on stage right in front of you, jauntily swagging to and fro like the gleeful picture of a well practiced professional jackanapes. So yes, have no doubt, this is truly an amazing album. As much as I want to judge it harshly, I just can't. It is simply just to much damn fun! So I suppose, in a way, that is an altogether more powerful testament to their potency and ability as musicians: They can write an album so well that you simply can't hold its lack of progress against it.
Years I have spent drooling in agony for another Finntroll album and finally my thirst is quenched by the almighty release known as Blodsvept. I first discovered Finntroll around the time they released Ur Jordens Djup. Still in middle school at the time and relatively new to metal, I was flabbergasted by this evil and circus-like black and folk metal hybrid machine of a band. I always wanted to show more respect to the band more at the time but just couldn’t find enough interest because I was so hooked on melodeath kingpins like In Flames and Soilwork. As time grew on so did my musical maturity as I gained monstrous appreciation for the more obscure genres of metal, especially (massive emphasis) for Finntroll. Nifelvind was released three years later and until now is easily, by far my most listened to album. It was that album that helped me identify myself (somehow) and shape me into who I am today. Another three years later, lessoned with further knowledge and appreciation, we have the pleasure of indulging ourselves Finntroll’s latest creation.
Blodsvept (also the first song and self-titled track) starts off with the sound of a demonic beast trotting through the forest, ultimately halting and unleashing a hellish roar: Enter wild keyboard and steady heavy riffs that define Blodsvept and the late and great Nifelvind. Vreth’s epic growl-shouting chorus’ are more present that ever and leave you screaming and begging on your knees for more. I have only dreamed of seeing Finntroll live and now those dreams are vivid every night. The great trollish-talking style vocals make their way into some songs too, a staple in Finntroll musical history. Breakdowns vary from trios of acoustic guitar, soft drumming and aforementioned vocals to absolutely breathtaking sky-high pitch mini orchestra's of “Fanskapsfylld” paired with riffs that will leave you head banging till your neck snaps.
The eleven songs featured skip back and forth between a rawer, ultimately harsher non-humppa metal song and the revised, folk a-la-max, accordion integrated fun metal song. It’s never a dull moment when the riffs are building up then thrown together with creeping carnival keyboards and an array of brass instruments. These guys are so unique and bring that uniqueness to the table every time; and it seems to be only getting better.
“När Jättar Marschera” takes the cake for one of the best songs I have heard this year. The chorus is ridiculously entrancing and melodic, backed up with Finntroll’s classic humppa-as-hell instrument section. ”Häxbrygd”, the album’s first single is also a crowning moment on the album. Evil and melodic with the zany horn section blaring in the background. While not as hectic as most of the other songs, this is a very solid and complete track.
Blodsvept packs all the perks of its predecessor combined with some of Finntroll’s older musical aspirations. I am speechless once again after treating my ears to this metal feast and something tells this won’t be the last time I feel this way.
written for themetalreview.com
I am amazed to realise it is three years since Finntroll's previous album, "Nifelvind" came out - an album I quickly declared my appreciation of back then, and still do so now - in which time I have caught them live four times and have pondered why the prevailing underground consensus on these wacky Finns has slid into levels of mediocrity, even disinterest. They certainly were at the head of the folk metal craze, which has notably died down in the last year or two, but to level blame at Finntroll for this gimmicky trend would be unjust, especially considering how their music sounds so utterly unique in comparison to the warpaint-clad plagiarists out there. The live show has begun to feel stale, yes, but will new LP "Blodsvept" do much to dissuade any doubters out there? The answer is yes and no.
As the title track kicks the album into life it quickly becomes apparent the basic formula has not changed, but why should it considering no band sounds at all akin? Don't go thinking this is a mere repeat of "Nifelvind" though - the keyboard passages sound even more juicy and carnivalesque than last time around - "Ett Folk Förbannat" and "När Jättar Marschera" will tell you that - and the overall atmosphere more cartoonish and jovial, which considering I said "Nifelvind" resembled theme park music meets The Jungle Book meets humppa is quite an achievement. The gang vocals of "Rösets Kung" and the banjo-lead manic riffing in "Skogsdotter" lend them the air of a couple of sea shanties; the trumpet accompaniment to "Häxbrygd" provides backing to a punky chorus and a collection of spooky synths not ill-fitting to Scooby Doo or Ghostbusters. "Fanskapsfylld" is more of the same fast-paced funky material that is de rigueur for the band while album closer "Midvinterdraken" slowly comes to life with a broad range of synth interjections of sweeping backing atmosphere alongside those punchy chords that always help reduce any extremity coursing through blackened guitar riffs and hammering drum beats to easily digestible bursts of chaotic humour in Finntroll's sound.
Noting that alongside other bands like Turisas where the synth has assumed an even greater role in the lead aspects of the songs than the guitars, the direction and structure of these eleven songs doesn't deviate greatly from "Nifelvind", however the execution of the contrasting humppa beats and stricter guitar work rarely sounds forced or unnatural, a point which is arguably Finntroll's strength. With Vreth's unchanging blackened vocal howls and the clean yet gritty production doing nothing to harm the band's underground status, it is very much a case of 'if ain't broke' on "Blodsvept" as the album manages to reach the heights of their excellent last outing.
Originally written for www.Rockfreaks.net
Finntroll is one of the most characteristic bands in the whole metal world. They are, in a way, pioneers of this trend in folk metal, which is really genre-wide; their purely trollish, lively music is one of a kind even if there are many bands that are apparently inspired by Finntroll. As I am big fan of 'Trolls, you can easily predict my reaction when I saw information on their Facebook about a new album recording and my face when I was reading all those extremely random studio diaries.
But on the other hand, I always had that small problem with Finntroll. Each album has usually three or four songs that I like very, very much, while other ones are not that good. I was full of hope that the new album called "Blodsvept" would break that bad streak. Unfortunately, after almost a week of torturing my neighbors with Finntroll, I can only say that "Blodsvept" is a really, really solid album, but...is still in this streak, which I mentioned before. Nevertheless, as on their typical album, there are really good songs which make this album really good and raises the rating to 9/10.
First of all, I'm a bit disappointed by no intro track. Songs like "Gryning" from "Ur Jordens Djup" or "Blodmarsch" from the last album are classic openers that prepare the listener for a crazy journey to Finntroll's world. On "Blodsvept", there is only a troll scream at the beginning of the title track and nothing more. Of course, it's not that important, though I got used to their epic intro tracks.
The first song that we had the opportunity to listen to was the title track, "Blodsvept". It's the first single (but released as an EP) released before the release of whole album. To be honest, it wasn't a good choice. In my opinion, it's the worst one on this album along with "När Jättar Marschera", which was also included as a B-side on the aforementioned EP. Both of them sound a bit generic; it's just a typical folk metal song which gives me no emotion except maybe the heavy beginning on both of them, which is good. The same thing is with "Mordminnen", which also has some good moments, but as a whole is just boring.
Between these first four rather poor songs, there is small silver lining called "Ett Folk Förbannat". When I saw the teaser of the album on YouTube I was quite amazed by this song. It's a much better one than the aforementioned three tracks, but the middle part of it is again quite boring! However, the beginning and strong ending makes it quite good, but nothing more.
After the first four not so good songs we have something really strong in "Rösets Kung". These trollish choirs! That sick fragment of a drunken (or feasting on Christians' corpses) troll! That brass section! These extremely good guitars (important thing: Skrymer and Routa do an amazing job, but I'm not sure if it is the best since the very beginning)! This song is just amazing. It's three minutes of condensed fun, folk, alcohol, and I don't know what else. Definitely the second best song from this album.
The next one, "Skövlarens Död", is, along with "Midvinterdraken", the darkest atmospheric and heavy song with - surprise - a really good solo. To be honest, I don't remember any Finntroll song that contained that hard and fast a guitar solo. A strong point, but not my taste, actually. But then...
...then we have definitely the best one and, in my opinion, one of the best songs Trollhorn have ever written. "Skogsdotter" ("Forest's Daughter" - yeah, the translation was easy even for me) is the strongest point of this album. The folk melody at the beginning is fantastic, extraordinary, and just perfect. And it contains...banjo. Yes, banjo. Actually, shredding on banjo and on guitar simultaneously. This song is totally amazing and I have no idea what more to say about it. Just listen to it. The whole album is worth buying only because of this song.
Another strong one is "Två Ormar". It's a bit similar to "Under Bergets Rot" from "Nifelvind", probably because of the similar sound of keyboards. Anyway, both of them smell like a lunatic circus and my imagination shows me scenes where trolls are watching humans as circus attractions or something like that. A really good one that smoothly transforms into "Fanskapsfylld". A nice one that's fun to listen to it (again, many banjo parts), but that's nothing special. Just another solid song just like"Häxbryd", which is between "Två Ormar" and "Skogsdotter".
Last song "Midvinterdraken" is very atmospheric and dark and reminds me in some way of "Dråp" from "Nifelvind", but to be honest, I don't know why. Anyway, it's a bit of a different track compared to the whole of "Blodsvept"'s style, more like "Nifelvind" ones, but after all those really fast and melodic tracks it is in a way a very refreshing song. A very good one with a strong impact at the end of the album.
"Blodsvept" as a whole and in comparison to earlier ones is more folk, cleaner, and a bit of a different album. There is definitely less of black metal's influences except fantastic Vreth's vocals, which are getting better and better. Maybe composing more funny and more folk songs is the way of relax for Trollhorn (Moonsorrow's latest albums are rather black metal ones and not folk, which is not good information for me), but I don't know. But I have to say that I really enjoyed this album even if I expected something more (still in this bad streak!). Songs like "Skogsdotter", "Rösets Kung", and "Två Ormar" made it a really good one, but I also must admit that the whole album has really grown on me and I think is growing constantly. The more you listen to it, the more you like it. Should be enjoyable for all more folk-oriented Finntroll fans and not only these folk metal listeners who didn't liked Finntroll's noticeable blackish influences should also enjoy it.
Highlights: "Skogsdotter" (the best one!), "Rösets Kung" (second best one!), "Två Ormar", "Midvinterdraken".
Finntroll has always managed to release fantastically dark albums, full of mythological creatures, Finnish folklore, and even anti-religious messages. Forming in 1997, they have yet to release a failure of an album, or even a “so-so” release. Their sixth studio album, “Blodsvept“, is another promising and powerful addition to their already impressive discography. One warning to the listener however, don’t let the name fool you. “Blodsvept” is likely one of the most lighthearted and playful releases to date from this band.
Vader himself would likely say “the folk is strong in this one…” as throughout the entire album, there are constant folk elements in the music. The lead patterns in the guitar, moments of trombones and brass instruments, and superbly orchestrated keyboard presence makes for some happy sounding music, despite Vreth screaming his lyrics in Swedish at you. Finntroll absolutely turned the folk up to 11 in this release. In tracks like “Ett Folk Förbannat”, “Skogsdotter”, and “Två Ormar” a beer is practically a necessity, or some form of drink to put in a stein and swing along. The musical arrangement and instrumentality is more dance-like than metal, but with the heavy guitar, bass, and drum presence, it makes for a fabulously original sound, reminiscent of Jaktens Tid just a bit more polished.
Skrymer, Trollhorn, and Routa on guitar have a phenomenal balance of rhythm and lead focus, a true art in folk metal that many take for granted. This can truly be found on the last song on the album “Midvinterdraken” which is a more finn-traditional sounding tune. This song, like many albums in the past, is dark and gloomy, and almost seems to pull you in with its minor key and driving, yet slower tempo bass and drum lines. After an album full of the near cheerful tunes, this track is a definite breath of fresh air, but in a classical reminiscent sort of way.
The album as a whole maintains that typical Finntroll aggression, especially in the title track, but a lot of the heavier more black metal like elements are lost. A step in the more melodic direction may not necessarily be a bad thing for the band, as even though this album is very contrastive to any in the past, it’s an outstanding release and something to be proud of. A few classic Finntroll fans may be lost, but this is opening a door to an entirely new group of fans, those of us who enjoy the folkiest of the folk metal, rather than the black metal dipped in a light folk metal batter. Face it, most of us don’t understand the lyrics, and have to use Wikipedia to track down what an album is even referencing. So listen to the album expecting these happier sounding tracks, some even bordering silliness, grab a beer and enjoy… as that is definitely the point of the album.
“Blodsvept” is a strong release, worthy of a toast, so cheers Finntroll, to another amazing album.