Trollfest – Flamingo Overlord [Things You Might Have Missed 2022]

Cover art for Trollfest - Flamingo Overlord!

If Finntroll, Korpiklaani, and Diablo Swing Orchestra had an awkward Norwegian cousin with a drinking problem, that would be Trollfest. And very quietly, this awkward Norwegian dude has been making bizarre ‘folk metal’ albums for nearly 20 years. At its root, Trollfest’s sound combines the “huumpa and the beast” formula popularized by Finntroll with the diverse musical influences and a willingness to expand into whatever style feels fun at the moment like DSO. But unlike aforementioned artsy (and potentially fartsy) Swedes, Trollfest pretty much sings about their collective alcohol problem (like Korpiklaani). And honestly, every time I listen to a new Trollfest album I ask myself the same question: “Why don’t I listen to these guys more?”1

Flamingo Overlord may be the band’s finest conceptual work to date. They have taken the pink flamingo and created an album surrounding it.2 This includes jokes about: dancing like a pink flamingo (“Dance Like a Pink Flamingo”); goose-stepping like a pink flamingo (“Rule the Country”); hurting the feelings of a pink flamingo overlord (“Overlords Have Feelings”); and even about genetically crossing pink flamingos with gorillas (“The Flamingorilla”). Through it all, Trollfest hits the listener with track after track of musical references and textures. “All Drinks on Me” starts like a Flogging Molly track that makes a hard right turn into yodeling and steel guitar. “Twenty Miles an Hour” features a funk breakdown and a not-totally-embarrasing rap, while the aggressively hooky trap-influenced “Piña Colada” features a guy talking Norwegian like he’s Daddy Yankee with the chord progression of “Despacito.”3

The trick with bands like this, however, is that they have to be good at what they’re doing. Jokes are only funny a few times, so if the listener doesn’t want to return for the music, then it’s a waste of everyone’s time. And, like a Weird Al non-parody song, these weirdo Norwegians happen to also make really good music independent of the jokes. The core of their sound is a merge of styles between Nifelvind-era Finntroll (check the verse to “The Flamingorilla”), groovy/grindy death metal—with screeching vocals reminiscent of Corporal Death from Macabre—and a heaping helping of Balkan influences. This helps to build the backbone of the band’s unique idiom and it imbues Trollfest with the kind of fun, addictive dynamic that is necessary to be more than a laugh every once in a while.

Trollfest promotional band photo

If you haven’t had enough fun, weird shit in your life in 2022, look no further than Trollfest’s newest conceptual platter: Flamingo Overlord. Sure, it’s silly. Yeah, it’s got a bit of a juvenile fratboy vibe. But must you listen to oppressive blackened doom all day? Is it necessary to sit alone in the dark and focus solely on the meaninglessness of existence, the struggle of your everyday life, and your inability to overcome your psychological prison for which you have only yourself to blame? No, I think you—just like your weird Norwegian cousin—deserve to day drink pineapple juice, coconut milk, and rum. Or their musical equivalent.

Tracks to Check: “All Drinks on Me,” “The Flamingorilla,” “Flamingo Libre,” and “Piña Colada” – but seriously, just give the whole damned thing a spin.

Show 3 footnotes

  1. The answer to this is that they were on NoiseArt Records forever and that label literally sent us 96 kb/s mp3s for promo. That’s not just bad, it’s insulting. So, after a while of not reviewing their stuff, we just stopped getting promos from them. Honestly, I understand labels are trying to protect their bottom line by not letting quality files get leaked; but that’s one of the ways that they hurt bands in the process.
  2. It’s probably a joke about ‘banana republics’ now that I think about it, but it’s thematically far too pink to only be that.
  3. At first glance, I didn’t actually double-check my work on this ref at the risk of having That Fucking Song stuck in my head for the next 18 months.
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