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The mighty Trolls from Finland are back with a new album, a new vocalist, and a new sound. VISOR OM SLUTET (translated as, “Songs of the End”) was originally intended as an experimental, acoustic EP in anticipation of the band’s next full-length, but according to Finntroll’s new singer, Tapio Wilska (who provided guest vocals on Finntroll’s previous albums, as well as with many other Finnish bands), the band, “had too much fun” in the process and decided to record additional tracks for VISOR OM SLUTET. The end result is 11 tracks clocking in at nearly 33 minutes, making this “EP” longer than Finntroll’s 28-minute “full-length” debut, MIDNATTENS WIDUNDER. Unfortunately, after the recording of this EP, Finntroll was struck another blow by the tragic death of guitarist Teemu “Somnium” Raimoranta in March, 2003.
The experiment of VISOR OM SLUTET is a drastic change of sound for Finntroll. In addition to being entirely acoustic, the tone of the album moves away from the blackened sound of the previous Finntroll offerings, bringing a lighter sound rich that is richer in folk elements. All in all, we have 11 tracks on the EP, 5 of which are instrumentals. Though the electric guitars are gone, the qualities that make Finntroll great still remain. “Suohengen Sija” is the typical Finntroll opener; light keys tinkle out the melody with ominous undertones running beneath as a chorus of frogs and night creatures set the backdrop for the swampfest to come. New vocalist Tapio Wilska croaks out his first sickened, throaty growls on the next track “Asfågelns Död (The Death of the Carrion Bird),” which has a swarthy, maritime sound to it. The best track on the album comes early with “Försvinn Du Som Lyser (Begone You Who Shine).” This raucous track captures the spontanaity of Finntroll’s musical personality. Harmonica, mouth harp, handclaps, and the classic sousaphone-synth come together in this piece of Trollish levity. If I ever get the opportunity to see Finntroll in concert, they had better play this track live onstage! “Under Varje Rot Och Sten (Under Every Root and Stone)” must be the soundtrack to the Trollish Renaissance Faire, first with its wandering landscape of synths before closing out with a tambourine/flute/kazoo and handclap dance of some chanting trolls, probably around some ghastly version of a May Pole. Finntroll even make their attempt at a ballad with “Den Sista Runans Dans (The Dance of the Last Rune).” Closing out the album is “Avgrunden Öppnas (The Abyss Opens)” which is as grand and sweeping an epic as any Bathory track could be, the majestic soundtrack to the north.
If you plan on picking up VISOR OM SLUTET, be sure to score the limited edition of the EP, which includes a sticker and pretty cool Finntroll patch (I just need to find a place to stick mine). The album is also specially priced at 11 bucks or so, making it a good deal for any die-hard Finntroll fan.
Listeners may be taken aback initially by VISOR OM SLUTET’s departure in style. In all, however, this EP is a collection of tracks that could serve as interludes, instrumentals, or Trollish-folk-party tracks on any Finntroll release. In memory of their fallen member Somnium, Finntroll are not about to call it a rest. Their touring plans are still in effect, and plans for a new album in late 2003 still hold. VISOR OM SLUTET may have been meant to satisfy the appetites of Finntroll fans worldwide, but it has only whetted the appetite of this fan. I eagerly anticipate the time when Rivfader, Lord of the Trolls shall issue forth from his great Northern Troll-cave and lead the armies of the night again.
(Reviewer’s note: tracklist translations thanks to www.proserpine.de)
(originally written by me for www.metal-rules.com, May, 2003)
Most people know Finntroll as brutalish and trollish oompah metal. Finntroll's acoustic and experimental Visor om slutet isn't though anywhere near this description, but with one exception, it is very trollish! The best way to describe Visor om slutet is probably trollish and atmospheric soundtrack of the forest.
The record itself is, as told, completely different than what we have used to hear from Finntroll. This is no bad thing though, as Finntroll has always had a little bit of humour in their music. But, let's get to the songs themselves: there are only four "real" songs with lyrics and everything, two instrumentals and five interludes. One shouldn't be depressed from this fact as all the interludes work well and each of them brings a nice mood to the record. The real songs and instrumentals are very well done also and after the first listening you'll probably have memories from at least "the fast-song" 'Försvinn du som lyser', 'Under varje rot och sten' with the troll drinking/feasting in the end and from the second track Asfågelns död, which rolls forward with a steady beat. The song has excellent snotty vocals and rough instruments. You shouldn't bypass the other songs though as in my opinion all the tracks are very good. As I had listened to the record a few more times the songs 'När allt blir is' with it's cold and spooky mood and peaceful 'Den sista runans dans' corroded into my mind.
As the last song fades away you probably notice that the record was quite short, just a bit over half an hour. I was, and probably everyone was/is, quite puzzled after the first listening but as soon as I had listened Visor om slutet a few more times, I realized how beautiful and marvellous record it is. I hope you will, too. The fact, that the record is indeed quite short and that there are not that many "real" songs, decreases the amount of points I'm going to give. Nevertheless, a great record. I know, that everyone (especially true metal fans) don't like this one but for me this was one of the best records of 2003. If the end (slutet means end in Swedish) is like this, I truely wan't to get there soon ;)
If you haven't still heard Visor om slutet go and get it!
Visor Om Slutet is not a metal album. It is an athmospheric folk album by a metal band. It is also a last album for one of the band's creative forces; guitarist Somnium who went to Valhalla due the falling accident (R.I.P).
One thing sure about this album is that it's the most 'trollish' piece of music ever written. The haunting instrumental intro Suohengen Sija is something I've learnt to expect from the band. The first real song Asfågelns Död is something unexpected, rythmic song full of folk-melodies and simply the most trollish vocals ever!!! Finntroll is propably the best band on earth to sound completely ridicilous and evil at the same time.
The third song Försvinn Du Som Lyser is again quite different. What comes to my mind is the ending moments of Jaktens Tid, it's same kind of country music-influenced stuff.
Song Veripuu is another intro which paves the way and sets the mood to more classical folk song Under Varje Rot och Sten. Under Varje Rot och Sten is actually my favourite song on the album; starting beautifully folky and moody ending with uplifting choir of drunk trolls on the campfire (or that is at least what comes to my mind).
Next song Närr Allt Is is an athmospheric instrumental piece. Calm, beautiful keyboard-driven, with cool soundeffects. At this point you can hear mood of the album changing into more melancholic and while the next song Den Sista Runans Dans is kind of a folky ballad I would expect from Finntroll is also quite a special song on the album. Quite melancholic when it comes to the mood.
Then comes the most evil part of the album. Yet again it's an intro track, called Rov. Song with evil sounds of trolls breathing and cutting flesh out of the bones and making disgusting noises while eating it. Simply evil and trollish. The song that follows Rov is yet again something different from the band. Madon Laulu to me sounds like some kind of lappish/sami folk. The song is basicly just drums and some kind of mantra in finnish..
Last real song Svart Djup reminds me of the song Den Sista Runans Dans. Again a melodic, melancholic folk song. The last song, outro, Avgrunden Öppnas is perhaps the most powerfull part of the album. Sounds like preparations for war...
Overall, quite different from the previous metallic Finntroll albums. Yet something quite good from a good band. Too short though.
PS: Tested this with a folk-fan friend, he said it sounds quite good. :)