Trollfest // Brumlebassen
Rating: 4.0/5.0 — Give them all your hard-earned dollars, babe!
Label: NoiseArt Records
Websites: trollfest.com | facebook.com/trollfestofficial
Release Dates: EU: 2012.08.24 | NA: Don’t hold your breath
To be honest, I’d never checked out Trollfest before. I’m an Angry Metal Guy, not a fucking silly one. These guys looked too goddamned much for me. Sure, I like Finntroll a lot, and they’re kinda silly, but there’s always been a serious side to them despite the band’s rambunctious and ridiculous music. But Trollfest? I dunno. They always struck me as just a pair of lederhosen and a made up language too far. But ack och fy, I have been living my life in the shadow! What a sad, sad, Angry Metal Guy I have been. Brumelbassen is a motherfuckin’ meistervärk, motherfucker!
Alright, so these guys sell themselves as true Norwegian Balkan metal, and that’s actually a pretty good description. Herein, you will hear the destabilizing (but amazing) mix of Balkan instruments twiddling along like something from a Goran Bregovic song, while offset by some Scandinavian oompah and some true Norwegian blast beats. While sometimes it’s dead on Finntroll – like opening track “Brumlebrassen” or “Finsken Norsken og presten” (“The Finn, the Norwegian and the Priest”) – sometimes they wander into Dropkick Murpheys or Flogging Molly territory like on “Rundt Bålet.”
And the thing about it is, the music is really good. The songwriting is tight and fun, nothing lasts longer than it should (and it shouldn’t last long ’cause it’s a comedy record, essentially), and it’s actually technical and interesting to listen to! Like the chorus on “Trinken Troll” which slopes in like a drunken troll with a combination of horns and electric guitar and instantly sticks in your skin, or “Illsint” which has a riff that sounds like it’s straight out of some former Soviet bloc country in the Eurovision Song Contest. It’s pure fucking genius.
The other facet here is, of course, the comedy. That’s going to be less accessible for the person who doesn’t speak a Scandinavian language or German, but even with the jabs at Swedes that show up in final track “Rundt Bålet,” I was still highly amused. The song “Verboten Kærlek” (“Forbidden Love”) seems to be about the forbidden love of the troll Brumlebassen and a bee (see: the cover). The song “Sellout,” features an English chorus, female vocals and a DJ and rocks the pre-chorus, “To sell their precious souls to the highest bidder and to make it big in the world,” and chorus “Give us your cash, give us all your hard-earned dollars, please!” And features a huge final chorus key change. Subtle? Hardly. But these guys *did* make up their own Troll Language to write silly songs in.
And so between the laughs and the frenetic Balkan melodies, I have very little bad to say about this record. Obviously, the downfall of any comedy record is that they’re fucking comedy records – they’re just not going to be funny in five years. But Trollfest avoids this pitfall in a way, by producing music that is genuinely fun to listen to. It’s the kind of thing that you can listen to while cleaning your house, dismembering your enemies or – preferably – drinking a lot of beers. And hell, if you finish it in 43 minutes and 20 seconds, your task will end with a “Woo hoo!”
Give these folks your money. All your hard-earned Euros.