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There are a lot of new bands in metal and most of them have pretty good intentions, which makes it hard to really say anything about the ones that really suck without coming off as a total a-hole who doesn't respect artistic freedom and underground bands that don't have the luxury of even letting millions of people hear their work. Well, while I'd really love to say that this isn't a horrible piece of puked up, jingling, happy-clappy nonsense...well, I'd be lying on both counts, as it is a horrible piece of puked up, jingling, happy-clappy nonsense, and I would love to say it.
So, yeah, Finntroll! The first of many bands who decided that mixing metal with folk in a more subtle and restrained way with good songwriting and a solid, 50-50 mix of the genres was not the right way to go about it, that you didn't need serious or compelling music to match any kind of lyrical message, and that metal hadn't already been raped enough by the existence of the grunge movement and the subsequent nu-metal one. This is their most popular album, entitled Jaktens Tid, or Hunting Time, and lo and behold, I think it sucks the big one. It's really baffling how this gets any praise; just listen to it, it's as shallow as can be. There's no thought or imagination put into any of this. The blend between the folk and metal parts is done with little nuance or innovation, and it produces nothing of any worth whatsoever, whether from a musical standpoint or just an entertainment one. These songs attempt to fuse metal with humppa folk music, but they don't do anything interesting with them; they just sort of take these standard cookie-cutter metal templates and slap humppa melodies around them rather than fusing them in more interesting ways. It's not intriguing at all and it's just...tame. There's nothing exciting or gripping or endearing about this at all; it's just average, basic music made annoying at the worst.
Apparently the band was drunk when they made this terrible aberration of styles for the first time, and that actually explains a lot, because nobody sober could ever conceive of something this ridiculous and puerile. Just listen to those guitars; they're so muted they might as well not be there at all. They don't play anything interesting anyway. They're very generic rock-a-metal slush that is only just barely riffs, and the only reason people don't notice more often is because the forefront of the music is dominated by the whoreish "folk" keyboards and the unambitious vocals. The vocals are really not even that harsh when you compare them to other bands. They don't sound threatening, they don't create any kind of atmosphere, they don't even sound very commanding...they're just kind of there.
And good god, can this album be any more artificially flavored? It's like drinking a whole can of whipped cream and then topping it off with some of that flavored gunk from the dentists' office they put in your mouth to make molds of your teeth, only Finntroll are worse. It's candyflossed, manufactured shit, no integrity at all. You can hear it in every note they play; they really are just trying to be "fun." Every riff, every melody is tailored to try and make you tap your feet or dance. That isn't a bad idea in principle, but it is when you can't write good songs! These guys want SO BADLY to be fun and likable that they stumble over their own feet and end up a bloody, irritating mess of crap. Even when the band conjures up something listenable, they flush it right back down the drain with silly, irrelevant polka melodies that make it near impossible to derive enjoyment from this.
The keyboards on here are far too present here, and they don't really add to the songs at all - the worst part about this being that EVERY SINGLE FUCKING SONG ON THIS ALBUM IS DRIVEN BY THEM. Good god, do I even have to say anything else about this? Is it really so hard for people to comprehend the concept of songs that don't suck monkey scrotum? This is insipid! This is madness! These songs just bounce along at insufferably annoying paces, whimsically raping ears and defying the conventions of gayness, and...okay, I just can't get into this. It's not my thing. In the interest of being an asshole critic, I'll say that I don't understand why people would like it, and maybe I don't, but apparently some people really do enjoy it, so I can just chalk this up to a simple difference in interests and tastes...
Nah, I'm kidding with you. Of course this album is terrible. Did you really expect anything else?
This album being taken seriously in the metal scene is just one of those things that proves that people don't know better. It's boring, it's unimaginative and there is absolutely no reason to listen to it. So why do people like this so much? Well, from my general experience, it's been said that this band is good for two things: for fun and for drinking music, and because they really do sound like trolls making music.
Fun? I've had more fun taking math tests. I've had more fun drinking cough medicine. Fuck that, that isn't the only reason you should have for liking a band, that's no excuse for shitty, un-creative music. And the only reason to drink to this crap is to forget about it the next morning, really. Nothing else. People will tell you that the band is good because they "sound like a pack of trolls" or something equally retarded, too, and to that all I have to say is, trolls probably wouldn't be any good at writing music if they actually existed. I'm really not even sure they'd write music at all. Wouldn't they be too busy like...digging in caves, or something? If they did write music, it'd sound more like Slough Feg's "Troll Pack." Now there's a band I can get behind!
Truly, this album is amazing. Most of you have found out about Finntroll from the amazing work that is Nattfodd; then eventually stumbled upon this treasure. The mix of "grim" black metal and "fun" Finnish polka created this masterpiece truly created from the gods themselves. The black metal remains consistent and dark, while the polka gives it an aura of true maniacal nature.
The album begins with the intro entitled “Krig.” The sound of this intro is almost as a war march, it has an ambient sound that is truly haunting followed by the blast of a horn and war drums. Krig leads into the deep tones of a piano played by Trollhorn on the first song of the album “Fodosagan” which roughly translates to “Tale of Birth”. The up-beat feeling of the song of all deep instruments is truly eerie. As the song progresses the sound of an accordion takes over the listener’s ears; followed by a brief interlude of an acoustic guitar. The entire song may as well have been created by trolls, the instruments sound BIG, and Katla’s vocals sound like it was recorded from real trolls singing. There you have it, a quick glimpse of the masterpiece that is “Jaktens Tid”.
The entire album continues with the dark mood of trolls taking over human life, in various and amazing ways. While the music sounds great absolutely, the truly frightening fact about this album is that as happy as some of the songs sound, when the lyrics are translated, they project gruesome images of death and some gore. If you are looking just for great music “Jaktens Tid” is definitely what you are looking for. If you are into truly frightening art, then “Jaktens Tid” is definitely what you are looking for.
When it comes to Finntroll, listeners are generally divided into two categories. Some will hail them as one of the best folk metal bands ever, while others will always take them as nothing more than a highly overrated joke from a bunch of totally drunken Finnish guys.
Though, as you could have guessed reading the unusually high mark I gave to this album, I belong to the former category, let’s admit that at first listen this album seems to give some arguments to the latter. This whole “troll” gimmick to begin with: lyrics only dealing with trolls eating, drinking and chasing Christians through the Northern forests, silly nicknames and equally silly artwork by guitarist Skrymer, and of course the photograph showing all the bandmembers heavily drinking. Coming to the music now, you got this stupid interlude Kyrkovisan beginning with church organ and Latin mumblings, eventually degenerating into one minute of blastbeats after (presumably) the priest has been murdered, the hilarious instrumental polka Bakom Varje Fura, and even a closing “hidden song” showing the guys jamming around while drunk (at least I suppose, it can’t be another way).
But now, if Jaktens Tid hadn’t more content than that, it would be the kind of album which for sure gives good fun the first time one listens to it, but after five or six times ends up as a dust collector. However, it isn’t. Beyond the gimmick, as even die-hard fans can’t deny Finntroll indeed IS a gimmick band, there’s actual content, and solid one. Apart from the generic orchestral intro and outro which don’t really count, there is no weak track on this album. Each song sounds different, and it takes a good number of listens to appreciate the genuine riches of each one.
Of course all tracks are built on “humppa” (the Finnish polka) rhythm, but this doesn’t prevent the band from proceeding to tempo and structures changes, from high-paced festive songs like the excellent title track or Släget vid Blodsälv to far slower, darker tunes like the closing monster Aldhissla – clocking at 6:30, a quite unusual length for Finntroll.
The presence of Henri Sorvali (aka Trollhorn) of Moonsorrow fame behind the songwriting is evident considering the research of majestic orchestrations, harmonies and abundant use of keyboards which can be found all throughout the album, especially in the slowest songs, and are the predominant characteristic of the aforementioned Viking band, but Finntroll is still completely different from Moonsorrow. Indeed Finntroll doesn’t sound “Viking” a single bit. Apart from Aldhissla songs here are very short and in some way straight-to-the-point: no intro, the humppa/polka rhythmic line on which are grafted the folk-inspired guitar melodies, keyboards, and to crown everything Katla’s unique voice. Growling, howling, grunting, most of the time hard to describe, it indeed lives up to his reputation of the most “trollish” vocalist ever. Though I won’t unlike many put him above his successor Tapio Wilska, but it’s another point.
Then, though this album belongs without question to the folk metal genre, Finntroll surprisingly doesn’t use many so-called “folk instruments” on it, less than on the following Nattfödd for instance. Occasional joik-singing (often hilarious, on the title track especially) by Jonne Järvelä better known for his work with Korpiklaani, accordions and very scarce acoustic guitars, that’s pretty much all you will find. That may sound odd coming from a band that will later record an entirely acoustic album (Visor Om Slutet) using tons of different instruments, each one weirder than each other, but the fact is, one hasn’t the impression such instruments would have added anything to the work. Jaktens Tid definitely keeps a folkish vibe even if most orchestrations are programmed and electric guitars play the main part.
Actually, after several listens one realises this album is unique. It may belong to the “dark folk” subgenre, but it still has very few black-ish elements in it. Katla’s voice? Not really. Keyboards? They don’t sound really icy. Blastbeats? There are some, but they remain anecdotic. Production is quite clear. No, Jaktens Tid may rather be considered as the reference of a new “humppa metal” subgenre, a genre such bands as Korpiklaani will then explore – and I’m aware that before Korpiklaani, there was Shaman, but Shaman played a different sort of folk metal. But anything Korpiklaani has produced so far can’t hold a candle to this masterpiece. The only album that seems to match it might be another Finntroll release, Nattfödd.
Highlights: Födasagan, Slaget vid Blodsälv, Jaktens Tid, Der Hornkrönte Konungen, Aldhissla
It's really tough to say something great about this album that hasn't already been said, but here goes nothing. A strange melting pot of genres collide on this modern metal classic. Incorperating aspects of black and folk metal with a dash of medevial polka, Finntroll tears through 10 tracks of atmospheric yet primitive metal which is lead by an excellent drummer (one who knows more than blasting), an ample keyboardist, the rhythm guitar and bass providing the crunching riffs and a growling vocalist. The use of acoustic guitars in certain parts is very complementry, as it accents the riffs with a certain twang feel. The ambience is beautiful and very "trollish".
Favourite song? The title track, by far. The chorus part is incredible, with the hymn-like voice chanting something in Finnish (a language which I'm not the greatest with!). Also, the final track, which after about 3 minutes kicks into an acoustic version of the title track of sorts. It showcases the troll-like vocals to the best extent, making it the most memorable part of the album.
Grab a keg, a stein and march around while listening to this! Highly recommended!
I've never quite really heard another band quite like Finntroll. It's no surprise that they found their sound while being completely fucken drunk, so this naturally makes excellent drinking music.
Finntroll mixes polka and black metal. Yeah, polka and black metal. They do a damn good job with it too. Don't be alarmed if you can't understand what the vocalist is saying either, it's all in Swedish! The keyboards are awesome and the guitars are follow it with some amazing, catchy ass, fucken riffs. This whole album is catchy as hell, you'll get songs stuck in your head for days.
The title track, "Jaktens Tid", has to be my favorite out of the whole thing. It has this sick as fuck "Joik-singing" on the intro and chorus, it almost sounds middle-eastern. Them fuckers must be fun drunks! Another good track on this album is "Den Hornkrönte Konungen", and the keyboards and riffs on that song just completely blow me away. It's very hard not to whistle along to most of this shit.
Finntroll manages to mix a very up-beat type of music (polka) with a very dark type of music (black metal) and the outcome is seriously some of the best and most unique shit I've ever heard. Sadly, in 2003 their guitarist Somnium (Teemu in Impaled Nazarene) died from falling off a bridge while drunk. At least he left behind him some music that I, along with many others, will surely never forget.
Right from the start you can tell that this album is going to kick a ton of ass, with the grand introduction track of "Krig," which does a great job setting the atmosphere of the album for some kick ass "Troll metal" (I think that's what they call themselves). The Trolls have struck again, this time easily surpassing their previous effort and creating the awesome "Jaktens Tid." Everything is better on this album; the vocals are more throaty and commanding, guitars are heavier, keyboards are more atmospheric, drums are better. Further crazy tracks make this nothing short of a metal masterpiece, which succeeds in impressing and amusing throughout the entire 45 minutes that the album spans (which is much better than the previous 30). Tracks like Slaget Vid Blodsälv, VargTimmen, and of course the title track Jaktens Tid provide some excellent headbanging music that is nothing short of remarkable. This album has definitely raised the bar for Finntroll and I'm going to be very interested in listening to their next release (to see if they're able to beat out this album). Jaktens Tid is by far the highlight of this entire album, and is another great "metal anthem" of sorts.
Pros - Every track throughout, especially Jaktens Tid and the joik'ing throughout the chorus.
Cons - Makes you want to see them live, which is difficult if you're in the US.