I will confess that I have never liked FINNTROLL, with their gimmicky incorporation of the inappropriate polka sounds into ‘Black’ Metal. However, despite my distaste, they seem to be an eminently popular act, going from strength to strength despite much adversity. Originating with a more straightforward Black Metal/Humppa cross, the band soon took on a more epic, catchy approach more suited to the live arena than to disc. In actual fact, that is my chief criticism of the band – similar to the Celtic Metal of later CRUACHAN and the Brazilian (what the fuck?) TUATHA DE DANANN, FINNTROLL are about as culturally significant and accurate as the tourist oriented airport gift-shop, with their music fanning the flames of stereotype. Thus, the importance of this as an enterprise is non-existent, save for a little light-hearted gaiety.
Conversely, although on disc TUATHA DE DANANN cannot be taken in any way seriously, they are the metal equivalent of Dance Music, horrible to listen to, but understandable in context (i.e. in a ‘disco’), in this case the live arena. Indeed, their set at Wacken a couple of years back was one of the most enjoyable of the festival, and those who saw FINNTROLL at their last Wacken performance similarly shouted their praises.
For the fans, I’d say this is a mild return to the slightly less epic, more straightforward material of old, but the approach still reeks too much of that CHILDREN OF BODOM, KALMAH type Finnish nonsense for my taste. Moreover, there is a somewhat lack of quality and conviction here (even by their standards), with the album sounding like a band running out of ideas, somewhat proving to be the all-gimmick, no-substance band that I’ve often thought. All in all, it is too average and a too long repetition of their former ‘glories’ – this is the sound of a band content to rest on their laurels. Still, I’ll bet that for many this will still be worth going ape-shit over in the concert hall and the sun-baked pits of the Metal festival.
(Online May 29, 2007)