Finntroll – Nifelvind Review

Finntroll // Nifelvind
Rating: 4.5/5.0 – This record is everything it should be…
Label: Century Media
Websites: |
Release Dates: EU: 22.02.2010 | US: 03.09.2010

I remember the first time I ever got to hear Finntroll. It was shortly after Jaktens Tid had been released and it absolutely blew my mind. It was like the most ridiculous thing I’d ever heard: oompah and metal, all tied up in one over-the-top packaging, complete with joik! Many have approached Finntroll as though they’re a joke band, but honestly since Nattfödd, they have been a very serious band in my mind. They took it to the next level with Ur Jordens Djup, which was as dark as anything the band had produced up until this point. And honestly, I don’t think a lot of fans were sure of what to expect next from these Swedish speaking Finns. The answer to that question is Nifelvind… which may be Finntroll’s finest record yet.

Everything about this record oozes excellence, honestly. I would even go so far as to say a return to form, if Ur Jordens Djup hadn’t also been a pretty damn solid album. The band approaches their perverse form of folky blackened metal with what almost feels like a fresh energy. The instrumentation and melodies are as catchy as they’ve ever been the songs pop out of the speakers with wonderful energy. From the obligatory introduction track “Blodmarsch” to the final orchestral notes of “Dråp,” this record is littered with amazing songs. Every single track has at least one part that I can point out as the thing that catches me and keeps me around, like the chorus from “Solsagan,” which superbly blends the drunken male voices into the dark tale. The introduction to “Den Frusna Munnen” is possibly one of the coolest hooks that they’ve ever worked into a track and that is only outdone by the amazing violin melody that comes in later in the pre-chorus of the song. And that’s just the first three tracks, I can literally sit through this record and point out everything that makes me excited like a little giggly school girl.

This record is probably most comparable to Nattfödd in the Finntroll catalogue, but I think it is actually a stronger album than that one. The song-writing feels more mature and the production is leagues beyond what the band could afford in 2004. The soundscapes have gotten better (as have the costumes) and the band seems to have really gelled around this newer, more mature sound and the (not-so) new vocalist. But mainly, this record is just all-around darker, more dynamic and pretty riffy. The instrumentation is still quite dynamic and varied, with haunting melodies (I particularly the track “Galgasång” which is reminiscent of Visor Om Slutet), but also with unbridled rage and a sinister bent at times. And while the band isn’t really bringing anything at you that you haven’t really heard from them before, this is exactly what you want from them: huge, epic, folky and catchy.

Nifelvind is what heavy metal should be about in 2010, in my opinion. While at the same time being interesting to listen to and in front of everything fun to listen to, the music is also remarkably unpretentious and honest. It’s probably just projection, but it sounds to me like the band is having a lot of fun while still managing to produce something that can be taken seriously, because it can’t possibly have not been a total riot to produce something that is so fun to listen to. Fans of the band will be more than pleased and this is a good place to start for anyone who hasn’t given these guys a chance, yet.

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