Finntroll - Ur Jordens Djup
Century Media
Blackened Folk Metal
11 songs (55'56")
Release year: 2007
Finntroll, Century Media
Reviewed by Alex

Some things in life are meant to exist or be experienced in a single possible way. Humans must be warm-blooded, the visit to a dentist has to be associated with pain and Finntroll is to play humppa-tinged metal. Once/if this band considers the change in style they may as well change the moniker. At the sentimental level, the Trolls owe it to two founding members to stay the course having survived the tragedy, guitarist Somnium tragically dying (committing suicide?) and vocalist Katla losing his voice because of a throat tumor. More broadly, humppa metal is what propelled Finntroll to recognition and broad acceptance. They are among a few blackened extreme vocals powered bands not shunned by power metal fans, and some close minded kvlt figures also squeeze wry smiles when thinking about the band’s tongue-in-cheek style.

On Ur Jordens Djup Finntroll lets a little bit of Two-Face personality seep in. Sure enough they are still the loud, slightly obnoxious bunch with simplistic punched up guitars and blackened vocals, courtesy of the new throat Mathias “Vreth” Lillmans. At the same time, it feels that Mr.Trollhorn, keyboardist Henri Sorvali, who plays a large role in songwriting, influenced the direction quite a bit. The album, albeit divided loosely, can be described as a tale of two halves. Starting with the instrumental opener Gryning (Dawn), the band takes us on a cinematic journey aided in large part by symphonic and atmospheric keyboard sound. Granted, the forest painted by the Trolls is dark and damp, tree arches closing overhead, Hansel and Gretel losing their trail, but this is something new in the band’s sound. Ur Djupet (Out of the Depths) and the aforementioned Gryning are almost over-the-top kid’s movie creepy, while Nedgang (Downfall) has all of the epicness of the communist parades of my youth. Overly pompous or not, it is certainly not in Bal-Sagoth territory, but whether this direction is better left to Moonsorrow (Henri Sorvali’s other band) and Ensiferum would be a subject of the ongoing debate. Even the most black metal song of the album Slagbroder (War-Brothers), its percussion ranging from weird jerkiness to double bass to blissful blast, has keyboards contributing in a form of world famous Oginski polonaise.

If I had a pang of doubt about this faux seriousness entering my mind while listening to Nedgang, then there is none of it whatsoever with the songs like Korpens Saga (Raven’s Saga), En Maktig Har (A Mighty Horde), Ormhaxan (The Serpent Witch) and Maktens Spira (Scepter of Might). This is the Finntroll of old, all the way. Korpens Saga, Ormhaxan and Maktens Spira are humppa rhythmic, keys sounding like accordion, hand claps, mouth harp and drunken choruses in full force. A little less playful (Maktens Spira), with great outro lead (Ormhaxan) or all-out charade (Korpens Saga), these songs must be as fun to play as they are fun to listen to. A special note goes out to En Maktig Har, borrowing its quirky percussion and riffs from the in your face “made men” gang music of the Black Sea Odessa seaport.

The new vocalist Vreth does not disappoint at all, being a capable replacement for a banished Troll Tapio Wilska. All in all, Finntroll is recharged and ready to roll. And if as a reminder that this is the music born amidst friends after a few (maybe not so few) drinks, the closer Kvallning (Dusk) has a hidden a capello drunken singing the only accompaniment being the jingling of empty bottles. Partly, this is what Finntroll appeal is all about – to give you an impression that you and your five best drinking buddies can also put together a band to be beloved the world around.

Killing Songs :
Korpens Saga, En Maktig Har, Ormhaxan, Maktens Spira
Alex quoted 83 / 100
Other albums by Finntroll that we have reviewed:
Finntroll - Blodsvept reviewed by Metalette and quoted 88 / 100
Finntroll - Nifelvind reviewed by Tyler and quoted 87 / 100
Finntroll - Nattfödd reviewed by Jay and quoted 93 / 100
Finntroll - Visor Om Slutet reviewed by Jack and quoted 60 / 100
Finntroll - Jaktens Tid reviewed by Marc and quoted 89 / 100
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