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Album Review

Finntroll's second album, 2004's Nattfodd, offers yet another confounding manifestation of their weird splicing of black/death metal brutality with Finnish folk music — more specifically, the quite uppity, polka-like form known as "humppa." Yes, it's all quite daft, to be honest, and we haven't even touched upon the no doubt drunken sextet's fantasy-based lyrics — sung entirely in Swedish, naturally. Further enhanced by mood-setting sound effects (ocean sounds, horses galloping, birds chirping, seagull's squawking, etc.), mind-boggling tunes like "Fiskarens Fiende" and "Marksnadsvisan" are usually spared utter comedic dismissal only by the carefully assembled layers of sound underneath, which collate pummeling, dark-edged guitar riffs, spine-chilling death shrieks, and fully orchestrated walls of synths, strings, and chorales. Yet, having said that, it's rather telling that Finntroll's strongest moments (see the stunning title track and album-closing tandem "Grottans Barn" and "Routas Vaggvisa," in particular) seem to occur when dramatic minor chords crush those happy-go-lucky melodies and polka rhythms underfoot. Therein lies Finntroll's dilemma: how to sell a project so obviously rooted in a good giggle as a serious enterprise — especially within a genre as oh-so-serious as heavy metal? Clearly, it comes down to a matter of opinion and a split decision. If the rudimentary folk-metal experiments of Amorphis were already more than you could stand, then stay the hell away from Nattfodd; but if you're starved for a little bit of humor and variety with your heavy metal, Finntroll's well-executed curiosity offers a welcome diversion.


Genre: Metal

Years Active: '00s

Finnish metal sextet Finntroll describe their music as trollish hoedown metal, which is to say that it combines the extreme elements of death metal with traditional Finnish folk melodies. Apparently the result of alcohol-induced experimentation, Finntroll's bizarre fusion began one night in March of 1997 when founding members Somnium (ex-Thy Serpent and Impaled Nazarene) and Katla decided to add the de-tuned guitars and brutal vocals of black metal to Finnish folk melodies played in the humppa style...
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Nattfödd, Finntroll
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