on 16 May 2008
If you haven't heard of Finntroll yet (and you really should know them by now) the band play a bizzare yet captivating blend of keyboard driven black metal and folk music. What sets them aside from other Scandinavian folk metal bands, say Ensiferum or Moonsorrow, is that Finntroll heavily incorporate 'hummpa', a sort of Finnish hoe-down polka, wheraes the other rely mainly on traditional folky sounds.
Ur Jordens Djup is a big step up for the band. Aspiring for more mature and darker music, the album moves into slower, heavier and less comical music then ever before. The album sounds a bit different from Nattfodd or Jaktens Tid; it's got a crushing, almost death metal/black metal feel to it, and the guitar riffs are a lot thicker and more muscular then before. There's also a much more twisted and evil atmosphere going on, with less of a circus/carnival feeling then previous outings.
Now, when Fintroll make it work they sure make it work with a vengence. The best songs of this album combine the darker, more agreesive apporach with a strong backbone of folk melody and atmosphere, and really breathe new life into the sound. I'm talking about beasting tracks like Korpebs Saga, Maktens Spira, En Makting Har and Ur Djupet which masterfully combine the blast beats and thumping riffs with soaring folk melodies, driving guitars and some atmospheric choirs. These songs benefit from a bit more muscle and a bit less sillines which throws the listener into a nightmarish fairy tale world only Finntoll can. Slagbroder even has a wonderful quasi-power metal chorus, and things are really turned on full with the brooding Kvallning, which really shows how mature Finntroll have become (yeah i know what you're thinking 'Finntroll? Mature?')
However, when things don't work it's pretty anticlimactic. On a couple of tracks, the band seems to have taken their new love of brutality a bit too far and cut out all the folk. Sang, a fairly bland, straight up black metal tune which works mainly on variations of the same uninteresting riff. Even new vocalist Vreth's unearthly growl's can't save it for me. Likewise Songs like Nedgang and Ormhaxen, deviod of folk elements, strike me as rather plain and uninteresting. Sure heavy and dark and burtal is great, but when you cut out the melody it all sounds a bit stale. As such, the album sounds a bit uneven in places as the folk-less tunes just don't fit. Which is a shame as the rest of the album is pretty smashing stuff.
Up Jordens Djup is defo not a bad album, and in fact it gets better with every listen. As with most transition albums, there's a bit of experimentation. sometimes it pays off, sometimes i'm left wanting a bit more. It's just a shame that there's a couple of sub standard tracks which just don't have that Finntroll magic. Folk metal, no mater how heavy, relies on a backbone of melody, and when you take that away its just plain old boring... thankfully tracks like Korpens Saga (which might be their best song) make up for it
I would recommend this, but fans of older works should be prepared. I just think that this could have been alot better with more songs like En Makting Har and less (even better none) like Sang.
If you're a fan of older Finntroll albums you might wanna look into Equillibrium, Finsterforst and Trollfest.
on 21 May 2012
Ur Jordens Djup, the fifth studio album by Finntroll, is a far darker outing than its predecessor, Nattfodd. Whereas Nattfodd felt like a 'Blackened Folk Metal' album, Ur Jordens Djup's sound is more 'Folkened Black Metal'.
The album, structurally, is quite similar to previous albums, particularly Jaktens Tid. Quite predictably, it starts out with an instrumental as a great build up. The first 'proper' song on the album, Sang, is a great, hard-hitting opener in the vein as the brilliant Fodosagan from Jaktens Tid, and a fine example of the more defined Black Metal sound to the album. Of course, there's 'the big epic song titled after the album' (although not completely titled after the album this time around) in the excellent Ur Djupet. And, of course, there's a slower, more epic penultimate song (in the same vein as Jaktens Tid's Adhissla and Nattfodd's Grottans Barn) before ending with a soothing instrumental. There's also an amusing hidden track in which the band sing a drunken song about trolls.
As for the band, they have the perfect chemistry. New vocalist Vreth fits the heavier sound perfectly - he's not quite as trollish as Katla or Wilska were, but makes up for it with his brilliant death growls. The guys on the instruments create a fantastic blend and, throughout the whole album, you get the impression that everyone in the band is just having a good time.
Although the album is not quite as essential as the brilliant Nattfodd, Ur Jordens Djup makes up for it by being longer. It's 55 minutes long (although about 8 minutes of that are wind/silence prior to the hidden track) in comparison to Nattfodd's disappointing 34 minutes of length, and in comparison to Jaktens Tid, Finntroll's only other 'reasonably lengthed' album, this is a far more consistent effort that doesn't wane in quality as the album progresses. Simply put, Ur Jordens Djup is excellent from start to finish.
The songs provide a good measure of diversity too. There are pounding Black Metal efforts (Sang, Slagbroder, Nedgang), big epic pieces (Ur Djupet, Under Tva Runor) and the traditional Humpaa/Folk-influenced 'fun-yet-top-quality' Finntroll classics (more or less everything else).
Overall, *****, easily. As good as, if very different from, Nattfodd. However, if you're looking to try your first Finntroll album, I'd recommend Nattfodd.
Top three tracks (my personal picks): Korpens Saga, Ur Djupet, En Maktig Har
on 9 May 2007
I read in a review that this album was not as good as 'Nattfod', the previous album. As I was not that impressed by 'Nattfod', that did not bother me.
This album is miles better than 'Nattfod.' It has a much darker, more atmospheric and epic sound. It is a bit more like 'Jaktens Tid', but darker.
I think Finntroll have done a good job here.
on 9 December 2007
After such a brilliant album as 'Nattfodd', Finntroll had a lot to live up to. With a new vocalist in the line up as well it was entirly plausable that the album would be a disaster, yet the Fins have done an amazing job.
The album is much darker than Nattfodd, which was already a sinister piece of work. There is a much greater focus on the metal aspect in this music with some truly brutal guitar and drum combos. I would have liked a little more use of the keyboard in the album as there are no truly jiggy songs such as 'Trollhammeren' from the 2004 album 'Nattfodd'. Yet the songs that do use keyboards to great extent such as Slagbroder and Mektens Spira do so with stunning results (especially Mektens Spira which features the band's more comical side).
The album is a perfect winter album, focusing on the darker side of folk metal with some slight similarities to black metal but not quite as quirkey and easy going as Nattfodd. Overall a very good album and a great progression for the band.