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'Ur Jordens Djup' (Century Media)

Review by Jeff Maki
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The Finnish sextet Finntroll combine black metal and elements of humppa. What in the hell is humppa, you ask? For those, like me, who are unfamiliar with humppa, I'll save you the research (like you were actually going to look it up) and elaborate. Humppa is a form of Finnish music related to jazz and fast foxtrot. Basically, you dance to the bouncing bass of the music; social dancing in Finland can even be called humppa. Well to me, humppa or not, Fintroll's style is more like kooky halloween music crossed with black metal. You know, that “things that go bump in the night” type of stuff. Or maybe the soundtrack to Tim Burton's Beetlejuice crossed with The Kovenant playing at a Renaissance festival. The Kovenant similarity is evident on the sinister “Slaybroder.” Also of note, Finntroll have a new vocalist, known simply as Vreth, on this, their fifth album.

The funny thing is, as heavy and evil as this music sounds at times, I can actually see people dancing to this. Dancing? That's fucking weird, yes, but also original. “En Maktig Har” (yeah, the song titles are all in Finnish) is a great example of this, complete with banjos, flutes, fiddles and heavy guitars. It's one of those songs you'd hear playing in the Shire in Middle Earth. Maybe this band could play our local Renaissance festival? I'll look into it. Other material here is just flat-out, wicked black metal, with great production and musicianship. It's not as orchestrated as Dimmu Borgir, but it flat-out shreds, like on the ripping “Ormhaxen.” Plenty of spooky keyboards back the insanity, with every song sounding capable of being a Scandinavian national anthem, given the folk aspect (minus all the screaming).

All joking aside, this was a fun album to listen to and a fun review to write. Finntroll takes their music seriously (at least, I think they do), even if they allegedly spent “many nights of drunken debauchery,” as their bio states, making this album. This is somewhat of an aquired taste, but I invite metal fans with an open mind to try out Ur Jordens Djup and all its pagan-folk metal prestige.