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The title of this review stems from a non-existant genre that many youngsters just getting into black metal seem to think exists, usually due to websites like wikipedia using ignorant labelling. Of course, there are bands that base their lyrical themes on the idea of trolls (the most obvious being Finntroll, Mortiis and Arckanum), although merely scratching the surface reveals that the more well-known, commercial, 'fun' bands that write about trolls, goblins and polka dancing and the darker, rawer, more serious old Scandinavian bands that touch upon the concept of trolls as part of their unveiling of their own mythological history are completely unrelated, and are far and few in between as it is.
However, if such a concept as 'troll metal' were to exist though, this would probably be the best example. Firmly rooted in old Norwegian black metal, this one off demo (with no relation whatsoever to the other Norwegian band Troll) is a far cry from the cheesy, danceable pomp of Finntroll, yet unlike traditional black metal it does have a 'little men jumping around in the forest' vibe. The music is very well written to reflect a feeling of mischievous spirit, and an atmosphere of creatures that may have once dwelled deep in the woods that only came out at night to steal babies and dance around a fire. The music sounds fun, but in a serious way.
The first two tracks are the definite highlights, featuring some really beautiful melodies of the "nostalgia even though I've never been to this place or lived through these times" kind. The demo is fairly raw, although only as much as you would really expect from such a demo, nothing is overly harsh in an Ildjarn way. The melodies come from both the guitar and the keyboards, and the vocals range from a simple black metal rasp ("trollish", if you will), to some moderately clean chants, to some 'whimpered' sounding vocals. Drums are simple, playing their role of keeping a beat effectively. Bass is pretty buried although just about audible, and tends to follow the guitars.
I really dig this demo, I find the concept to be really interesting (I find trolls and the like to be fascinating) and the music reflects it very well, with lots of good melodies that liven up the music without taking away it's black essence. It's a shame, because this demo is raw yet melodic, consistant and short, Norwegian and from the early 90s, yet most people don't even seem to know it exists. A shame indeed.