BW&BK Interview: FINNTROLL – New Blood For Old F(r)iends

By Carl Begai

Finntroll have seemingly been on a mission to tear folk metal as a genre a new one since 2007.

The Finnish septet rose to popularity amongst pagan/folk metal fans over the course of three albums – Midnattens Widunder (’99), Jaktens Tid (’01), Nattfödd (’04) – but chose to adopt a much darker and heavier black metal-influenced sound when they returned in ’07 with the Ur Jordens Jup album and new singer Mathias “Vreth” Lillmåns. Call it a reaction to the folk metal bands that were cropping up at every turn trying to cash in on a trend. It was a move that didn’t hurt Finntroll nearly as much as some fans and media people expected, which led to the even heavier and uglier Nifelvind record three years later. The ‘Trolls showed no signs or intentions of pulling back the violence for the future, which makes their new album Blodsvept a bigger surprise than any black/death/doom metal flavoured platter they could have come up with.

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“People have said this is the most diverse Finntroll album so far, and I think so too,” says Lillmåns. “We made some good choices when we did the pre-production for this album.”

When it came down to the actual recordings, however, there were moments when Blodsvept was on its way to blowing apart at the seams. The band documented their studio adventures via an online blog (found here), and there was a fair bit of kicking and screaming going on during the recording sessions thanks to some nightmarish technical glitches.

“It was a total horror show this time,” Lillmåns confirms. “They say we have this Finntroll studio curse because usually somebody has a close relative that dies when we’re recording, but this time nobody died. There must be some sort of equilibrium, though, because we had eight tracks of guitars that died in the middle of the whole thing.”

Ultimately, the fans sitting in the bleachers don’t care too much about the “how” or “why” of the new album. It’s the final result that matters. To that end, Finntroll fans that prefer the dark and destruction of the last couple records will be distressed to learn that Blodsvept is a dynamic, playful and fun folk metal album.

Yes. Fun.

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“Yeah, it is a lot of fun isn’t it?” Lillmåns agrees. “The last album we did, Nifelvind, there’s so much detail, there’s so much going on at all times that the stream of information is almost too much to handle. The evolution of the Finntroll albums has been ‘More, more, more, and even more…’ and we were thinking that there’s no way we can top Nifelvind in that respect. There was no way we even wanted to try to do that. So, we had the pre-production for two new songs done and we were working on ‘Blodsvept’, and that’s when we said ‘Fuck yes, this is the direction we’re going in.’ We went back to those first two songs and cut away all the Nifelvind stuff in them because of it.”

Fourth song in, ‘Mordminnen’, is probably the most extreme with regards to the fun factor…

“It’s some kind of weird, like Marilyn Manson goes jazz or something,” laughs Lillmåns. “The songs started coming really fast once we got down to writing. It was the same as it’s been with all the Finntroll albums; we had to find the thread that we wanted to keep through the album. On the first two songs we did everyone was ‘Naaaaaaaah! This is so mediocre…’ but when we did ‘Blodsvept ‘ it opened up a totally new scenery for us. Everybody got inspired to do stuff for the new Finntroll album. We found our spark again.”

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