Living legends of Finnish folk metal, Finntroll released their latest full-length effort Blodsvept earlier this year. At this point, I have to show my colors and admit that, with the exception of a handful of bands, I am not a particularly big fan of folk metal. On the contrary, it is one of those genres that I rarely enjoy listening to and, as it happens, Finnish humppa metal is the type of folk metal that appeals the least to me. So, Finntroll – among the originators of humppa metal – is admittedly not a band I have listened a lot to, and humppa metal is a genre that I do not have much knowledge of. But here goes.
The album starts out surprisingly epic with "Blodsvept" which also features some heavy riffage and is nicely guitar-driven, as opposed to much other fold metal where the rock instrumentation basically takes the back seat, letting the folk instrumentation dominate. "Ett Folk Förbannat" similarly has some epic features, but is much more uplifting and happy-sounding, which is kind of in contrast with the song title (which means "a cursed people"), and this track also has more of a punky feel to it. While I like the punky edge, the appeal disappears with the humppa elements, which, I must admit, strike me as being silly. "När Jättar Marschera" is more up my alley with its darker atmosphere, while "Mordminnen" features both a nice rocking groove, but also some pretty goofy swing-like element. Among the more enjoyable tracks to me is "Skövlarens Död" which is one of the few tracks to feature true guitar histrionics, plus is has a drive that reminds me of the Norwegian punk-metal act Kvelertak, which also applies to some extent to "Häxbrygd". In contrast, "Två Ormar" is a tad too goofy for my taste.
While I admittedly do not have enough appreciation for humppa metal to fully enjoy this album, I must say that it does have several attraction points compared to the few other humppa metal releases I have heard. Firstly, Blodsvept has a considerably dark atmosphere throughout, and it is more guitar driven, featuring more than a handful of crushing riffs. As mentioned, the punky attitude of some of the tracks – in particular "Skövlarens Död" and "Häxbrygd" – is also a nicea feature. I must also say that the closing track "Midvinterdraken", with its blend of folk metal and symphonic black metal, takes the cake as the best track of the album.
So, admittedly, this kind of music simply does not sit well with my overall taste in music, and that is just the way it is. But even I can hear that Blodsvept has a lot to offer both to fans of humppa metal and fans of darker folk metal generally.
2. Ett Folk Förbannat
3. När Jättar Marschera
5. Rösets Kung
6. Skövlarens Död
9. Två Ormar